Are we happier than our forefathers ?

In our modern age, we have comfortable homes, fine schools, railways for fast travel, motor-cars, telephones and mobiles, televisions and cinemas, books and medical services. Yet it cannot be said that we are always happy. In fact, modern life is a hard competition with much mental strain and worry since man became a city resident. The fight is harder; the jealousy between nations has increased since communications brought us in touch with other people. Nevertheless, doctors had so many cases of nervous strain to cure, never was there more fear of war. How is it that, with increase of material comfort, there has not been increase of happiness?

Our forefathers lived in villages. They knew nothing of the fine things mentioned in the preceding paragraph, but were engaged in plowing the soil for a living. In the evenings they sit in quiet talking with their friends, interested only in the affairs of the life in their own village or small town. They went to bed by the light of little lamps, not caring what might be going on hundreds or thousands of miles away, and sleep peacefully and in satisfaction. They did not feel the need of the fine things which we have come to look upon as necessary for life. Contentment is a real happiness of life.

This should not be a new truth. The old teachers of religions lectured simplicity. Socrates, Diogenes, and the Holy Prophet all taught that the man who could keep his personal desire and needs as few and simple as possible had the greatest chance of being contented. Yet we are slow to learn this lesson even after their teachings. The average man is not contented with one promotion and one salary rise, but longs for the next. He longs first for bicycle, then for a motor car. We live an age when men admire riches more then spiritual power and long for luxury of the body rather then the peace of mind. This age of materialism will never be happy till man pays more attention to the ancient teachings.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) spent his life in teaching this and in exemplifying it by his personal example of simplicity and service. Let us all learn to keep the things which science has given us in their proper place. Those things should be our servants; many of us have made them our masters. True happiness is a state of the mind, and can better be attained in the cottage then in the king’s palace.

    By Rehana khan(111/10)


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