Are We Happier Than Our Ancestors?

Man of today, particularly the youth, feels that man of today is happier than his ancestors. In this age of Science, life is secure, sage and comfortable.

Science has come to man as a boon. Man is inventor and conqueror. He has yoked even the elements of nature to his service. He has done marvelous things to make himself happy. The world of hours has become very narrow. These air-conditioners, television sets, aeroplanes, refrigerators and other machines invented by man are being used as pleasure.

He is certainly happy and he looks to be happier than his ancestors would have been. There can be no two opinions about it according to the young man of today.

Now the question is whether it is really so. I am sure it is not at all the reality. Our ancestors were much happier than we are today. In the physical sense of the world, I may be wrong, but as far as the word happiness is concerned, they enjoyed happiness and we just now see its reflection in the modern inventions.

In this age of machine, man has himself become a machine. In-spite of having his talents, his potentials, his resources, he has become a mere cripple in the presence of machines. Dr. Radhakrishnan once remarked, that man of today flies in the air. He fathoms the sea and enjoys all the facilities provided by science, but his own plight is pitiable. He is at the mercy of machines. He has become a slave to the machines.

Jawaharlal Nehru used to say that Science is a good servant but a bad master. The man of today has made Science his master. He is at the pity of Science. If the electricity breaks down, he cries of heat. If in winter, the heater does not work, he passes difficult moments.

Every activity of the man of today is being guided by the machines. He has lost his individual ability and has become totally dependent.

According to Tulsidas, a well known poet, a dependent person cannot enjoy the life even in dream.

Man of today has no regard for the ethical and moral values of life. Money is his means and his object. No doubt in this material age, money should be the means, but it should not be the object of life. If money making is the object of life, the spiritual values go to winds and they take to wings.

Goodwill, mutual sympathy, love, affection, respect, service, sacrifice and all other good qualities are only talked about. Everyone speaks against corruption, but is ready to accept money that is earned by corrupt means. If we want to be happy, by black-marketing, we are mistaken.

Money can buy the facilities, comforts and luxuries of life. Does happiĀ­ness lie in these things? Our scriptures proclaim it with one voice. Certainly not, really happiness lies in contentment, friendliness, brotherhood, unselfishness, service, sacrifice and Dharma. None of these qualities are found in this world.

How can a man of today be happier than his ancestors? If he thinks so, he is living in a fool's paradise.