Happiness, Pleasure, Well being, Enjoyment are similar words with different meanings. Happiness without awareness is the most commonly afflicted disease in human being. The typical “I am ok ,u r ok” kind of syndrome is not happiness. Its blind selfishness. Happiness is not in fulfillment of desire. That’s pleasure.
Tilak in Gita Rahasya defined or quantified Happiness through a mathematical equation:
Happiness Quotient = Desires Fulfilled / Desires Entertained
He said its impossible to achieve happiness by increasing the numeratori.e,Desires Fulfilled. More the desire you fulfill more you entertain. The denominator increases at a faster progression as compared to numerator. That diminishes the quotient.
The only option is reducing the denominator. By reducing the denominator you can increase the quotient. By continuously reducing the denominator i.e desires entertained and finally reaching zero the quotient becomes infinite i.e, anant or ANAND.
As all external answers even this is merely interesting not complete. Primarily Happiness can not be measured. A caveman was happy if he got his stomach full. He did not look beyond. That can not be defined as happiness. Its stupor.
Desires per se are essential for growth and activity. Annihilation of desires is like killing of Cancer cells by radio therapy , it would kill lot of good cells too. Self centered desires like cancer cells do cause more harm than good though. Yet desires are an essential pre -requisite for Human evolution.
As defined by Aristotle , Happiness is an activity not a emotion. A contended person sans of any activity would seldom be really happy.
The safety catch is that one should not relate the fulfillment of desires with ones innerself or happiness.
Happiness must relate to being socially contributor, to being an active participant in general well being. An alcoholic maybe on the seventh cloud yet that emotion though devoid of any desires can not be termed as happiness.
Happiness has to be independent of desires. An old axiom “getting what u like is success and liking what u get is happiness” is again an incomplete definition.
Happiness most of the time is an illusion. We perceive well being, health, wealth, as happiness. All these are conditioned responses. A hand out of our accumulated subconsciousness.
As Dr. Radhakrishnan said in his book “An idealist’s view of religion” that the biggest challenge facing the mankind is that they have stopped thinking and have become robot automata”. A person looks for external stimuli, recognition to know or evaluate his self . He looks at the mirror to know if he is fairest of all. He does not have enough confidence on his own self. That’s the principal reason why happiness has become elusive.
Without thinking, we are in the danger of becoming the clones as described by Aldous Huxleys in “Bravo new world” and likely to seek induced happiness. The induction or stimuli could be “som” as in this book or any other tangible or intangible substance. These are extremely superficial and transitory.
Few occasions when I HAVE FELT HAPPY are related to the moments when I did though small deeds but made the environment or surroundings slightly better. I have committed several wrongs too for my benefits. They have given on occasions big profits yet seldom happiness. Those are moments of a trade off for immediate pleasure for sustained happiness . This is a subject on which one can go on and on and yet reach nowhere. Happiness is in the journey and not in the destination.