Happiness Cannot Be The Purpose Of Life

Acharya Prashant
8 min readSep 20, 2019

Question : Sir, what is the purpose of life? Is it earning money, or happiness?

Speaker: The lady is asking, ‘What is the ultimate purpose of life?’ She has already presented us two options:

  1. Earning money or,
  2. Happiness.

But you already know. You have already discounted everything else and zeroed in on to two options. What are they? That the purpose could be either to earn money, or to be happy.

Alright. So let’s first look at these two. What does one earn money for?

Listener 1: For livelihood.

Speaker: And, why does one want a livelihood?

Listener 2: For comfort.

Speaker: What does comfort give you?

Listener 3: Satisfaction and happiness.

Speaker: So, it is very obvious that if one has to choose between money and happiness, one would quickly choose happiness because the very purpose of money is happiness.

See, you have a Rs. 500 note with you, that is what you call as ‘money’. If that Rs. 500 note can buy you nothing or if it can only buy those things which will not give you happiness, will there be any worth of that Rs. 500 note? If that Rs. 500 note can only buy you stuff which will not give you happiness, will there be any value of that note?

So, money has a value only if it can give you happiness. So, between money and happiness, one obviously decides for happiness. That is the easy and obvious part. But what is this ‘happiness’?

If we do a small experiment right now and ask you to write five things that make you happy, and then I ask you to exchange your sheets with your neighbor, what would you find?

Listener 3: That we have written different points.

Speaker: Yes. You would have written extremely different points. In fact, some of the points would be opposites of each other. Now, how does one decide that what makes him happy? How does the mind decide that what makes it happy? How do you come to say that this is what gives me happiness?

Alright. There is a particular tournament going on and the Indian cricket team is meeting the South African…