Happiness is a lovely feeling, of pleasure, satisfaction, well being, fulfillment, or an elated feeling which makes us feel great and on top the world. Simple things in life brings happiness — a baby is happy seeing the mother’s face, a little toddler is happy with a new toy. a student is happy when he/ she wins a prize, a man is happy if he earns well or gets a good job, a woman is happy if receives a new gift or achieves her goal and the old are happy if they keep good health.
The perception of happiness changes as we grow from a toddler to an adult. To a child, having an ice- cream or getting the favorite toy would be the happiest thing where as to a father/ mother having a comfortable home and enough bank balance will be the happiest thing. As we grow older happiness means health and peace of mind.
Happiness actually is of different levels. At a very physical level we relate happiness to all material things. We are happy if we have all comforts, money and desires fulfilled. As human beings we try our best to fulfill our needs, feel happy and secure. For this, we earn money and to earn we qualify ourselves better. Money can’t buy whatever we need. Yesterday. if it was a flat color television today it is a laptop that makes us happy and tomorrow it’ll be something else. So, materialistic happiness though makes us feel well and good, is temporary. At a deeper level we relate happiness to sense of complete satisfaction, peace and harmony. This is emotional happiness, where happiness stems from good relationships, with love and care. This is important for a child, grown up adult, an old person or a man on the street. Everyone wants to be cared for. Money can’t buy this happiness in life. We have to earn it by our nature and character. A person may be rich and powerful but if he doesn’t have good relationship (say with his wife or children or friends), with whom he can share, and then he is never happy. How can old parents be happy with all the money but none of the children to look after them or spend time with them?
According to Gandhiji, happiness experienced is more when we give, than when we gain. When we help or care for the needy. the happiness seen on their faces makes us happier and gives us great satisfaction. So at a more meaningful level, giving is happiness experienced.
Even, at a higher level if we are happy, that is at peace with in one self and with one’s surroundings then we are happy within. Such people can make others happy wherever they are present. The goodness within them spread happiness.
So, practically speaking money can make our lives better in quality but cannot guarantee happiness. In the richer countries, people are not happier than they were because beyond certain level, happiness does not matter. All levels of happiness- physical, emotional & happiness within matters to man as social animal. It’s just that as we grow into more mature individual the level of happiness we seek is higher.