In modern times the world has made great advance so far as the acquisition of the various amenities of life is concerned. But, along with the objects of enjoyment have also come in various troubles with which we are being afflicted in our everyday life. Consequently, even after having so many ways to pleasure, there is the feeling of insecurity and unhappiness.
Whether in the East or in the West, the condition of human life today is more or less the same though there may be qualitative and quantitative differences in the nature of the joys and sorrows. We talk of backward and advanced countries, rich and poor countries and so forth. But there is one malady present everywhere and that is all-pervading unhappiness. In affluent countries they have enough wealth and sufficient amenities of life; but they are not happy. In India, on the other hand, many people are below the poverty line. They lack even the minimum requirements of life - they do not have enough to eat and enough to wear. Many lack enough accommodation. The problems that affect Indians today are mostly inadequate food, clothing, shelter, literacy and finance. Those who are comparatively affluent here are found to be without any belief in their ancient moral values and philosophical roots which can make their lives stable and firm. The problems that affect such people are lack of moral, cultural and spiritual values.
What is the root cause of all our problems? All our problems are caused by our not being able to find a direction towards which we should move. People all over the world, especially the younger generation, are bewildered because they do not know what should be the goal of their life. In the absence of such a definite goal, many young people are taking to devious ways, like becoming hippies, and turn out to be anti-social. Neither can they accommodate themselves in society nor can society find ways to make them live well-integrated lives. Each individual is a unit of life and society is composed of such units. So, the evils that are present in the units affect the society as a whole. Therefore, unhappiness and misery have today become universal. What then should be the aim that we should strive for? One thing has to be understood: Our search for happiness outside is in vain. Happiness, peace, joy and perfection are all inherent in us. Every man has the divine element in him, the Self or Atman. As Swami Vivekananda says, 'There is something in us which is free and permanent. But it is not the body, neither is it the mind. Beyond this momentary sheathing of gross matter, beyond even the finer covering of the mind is the Atman, the true Self of man, the permanent, the ever Free.' Blessedness, eternal peace, happiness and joy can be had only in perfect freedom. As long as man is bound by his senses, he cannot attain true happiness. Man is bound by his ignorance. So, the goal of man should be freedom from ignorance. 'Each soul is potentially divine and the goal is to manifest the divinity within.' With the manifestation of inner divinity comes true peace, real happiness and freedom from misery. That is the goal that we all should strive for. In the following pages, we shall discuss these ideas.
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