Happiness in Action
(Vinod Anand)

Stress is a disease of the 21st Century. It axes years from your life. Stress affects work output, causing failure and unhappiness. We need to develop internal protection from the challenges of life. You attribute your stress to an external agency. You believe your mother-in-law, boss or the weather causes your stress. Vedanta says that nothing in the world has the power to disturb you except yourself.

You may eliminate the mother-in-law, change your job, relocate to another country; your unrest will remain the same. Stress is an internal phenomenon.

Hence the solution lies within. Just as mammals developed the capacity to maintain the same body temperature in all weather conditions, human beings have the ability of keeping the mind calm in turbulent circumstances by ‘attitude control’.

Make an assessment of the world in which you live. Evaluate your immediate family members, colleagues and friends, their strengths and weaknesses. Then their faults will amuse and not irritate you.

Vedanta says samam, serenity, is the key to success, happiness and growth. Sportspersons have noticed that the combination of dynamic action performed in an inner environment of tranquility makes for success. Who wins depends more on the state of mind than on physical prowess. There are three states of mind.

When the mind is calm but there is no motivation to work and no action, it is the lowest state of tamas, apathy. When activity begins but discontent is the motive it is the intermediate state of rajas, passion. Vedanta speaks of the superlative state of sattva, purity, where the mind is calm, intellect sharp and actions brilliant.

What disturbs the mind? Negativity and desire. Tackle these internal causes and the mind remains serene even if a storm rages outside. The mind takes easily to negativity.

The intellect helps withdraw the mind from negative channels and think positively. Stress is defined as mental turbulence caused by unfulfilled desire. Hence, in the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna describes desire as enemy using four words — panthin, vairin, nitya vairin and shatru.

Yet you encourage and increase desire! Unbridled desire causes havoc. When fulfilled it leads to greed. Achieve still more and you get deluded with success. You envy those who have more than you and are arrogant towards those who have less.

When desire is blocked your thoughts get deflected towards the obstruction as anger. Desire comes in the way of meaningful relationships as you take the stand —my way or the highway! Unrestrained desire results in failure. The mind meanders to the unproductive avenues of past worry and future anxiety.

This may have caused the early dismissal of Roger Federer from Wimbledon! The mind focuses on what you do not have and gets attached to what you have, causing tremendous mental agitation and suffering. Rise above desire and enjoy the object of desire.

Desire is the greatest obstacle to obtaining the object of desire. Crave for a thing and it will elude your grasp. Let go, it will come to you. There are three ways of handling desire. Desire management gives relief. Desire reduction gives comfort and desire elimination brings bliss.

Scan your desire with the intellect. Fix a higher goal. As your mind is engaged in the higher pursuit, lower desires drop. Work dedicatedly, wholeheartedly, detachedly. Every action becomes perfect. You attain extraordinary success. You find happiness in the action itself. And you grow spiritually.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.