Sophocles once wrote, “Mortal man must always look to his ending, and none can be called happy, until that day when he carries his happiness down to the grave in peace.” These words of ancient wisdom proclaim that one needs to remind oneself repeatedly of the finite nature of one’s existence. Only then can one truly comprehend the uniquely exquisite significance and the ephemeral nature of happiness.
20th March is celebrated as the International Day of happiness and in the frightful despair and the overwhelmingly apprehensive atmosphere that this rapidly spreading epidemic has created throughout the globe, such ancient reminders of life’s temporal nature should be welcomed as liberating truths of our kind.
It is indeed a luxury to live in ignorance of the fact that one way or another one day each and every 1 of us would have to end the duration of our time in this world. However, the constant threat of coronavirus has in effect ended this luxury. As a result, today most of us experience an awakening to the once dormant reality that death rules supreme overall; and whether we acknowledge it or not, it seems as if living life has been redefined for all as being paralyzed by panic and uncertainty. Under such conditions any question of happiness seems to be a preposterous idea. Yet, I would urge your admirable wisdom to kindly reflect for a moment, were we not all bound by the law of nature to fade into the shadows of time even before the outbreak of this virus? Are we not all destined to experience the mysteries of death, may it is by any disease, a calamity, or by the mere fact that ceasing to exist is the fundamental nature of all existence? Yes, indeed, all living creatures are destined to be humbled by the absolute majesty of death.
Faith and education, experience and exposure, social prestige and economic protection, are all major factors in making this choice. But the will to feel the felicity of being grateful for the life and vigor in every passing moment is in our own hands and nobody else’s, and this is the deciding factor in choosing to be happy or otherwise. Here I would mention a friend who has learned how to sustain his happiness without giving in to the overwhelming burdens of his life.
An office boy at Human Development Foundation (HDF) head office, Mohammed Noman is an underprivileged youth of 25 years of age, who has an ailing mother, an average amount of salary, and other burdens of familial responsibilities to contend with, but whose happiness remains undeterred against all such odds. When asked how? His answer, given in a matter of fact tone teaches the meaning of Sophocles’ enlightening words mentioned above. “Life is too short to be left grumbling and in ingratitude towards my Creator. It is a gift, to be enjoyed thoroughly and to be lived to better one’s conditions and to serve all those we come across. For there is no greater source of happiness than being the cause of somebody’s smile, somebody’s comfort or relief of any kind.” says Noman. Living up to his beliefs, this worthy fellow rushes to the aid of anyone he sees in distress or need, and his insurmountable humor in addition to his bantering ways brightens the mood of the entire office and puts a smile on the faces of all those he meets. The most inspirational part of Noman’s efforts to further his happiness is to invest his energies and meager resources in a micro-enterprise, a small scale business venture of providing breakfast services to all HDF officials. Consequently, Noman counts himself as 1 of the most Blessed people of this world.
In essence, taking a leaf out of Noman’s book, let us all see beyond the barriers of our site and endeavor to gratefully appreciate every single 2nd of our lives and the opportunity they present us with to benefit all those we come across. For even as the horizon of life is being darkened by the gathering clouds of coronavirus, the fact remains that every 1 of us has the power to be the guiding lamps of hope and happiness for each other.