Q4. Can I be happy without religion?
Much depends on one’s idea of happiness. True happiness is a state of mind in which man finds transquility and contentment. The external happiness conferred by material possessions and worldly activities is ephemeral and superficial. In Communist countries people may appear to be satisfied and contented as their material conditions improve, but can they really be said to have achieved true happiness and real peace of mind?
Perhaps one of the reasons for the present day decline in morals is the neglect of religion. Without high ethical standards, which are the foundations of all religions no organized and disciplined life is possible. Promiscuity and sexual aberrations are no doubt due to ignorance and a neglect of the fundamental principles of ethics. In a secular state, it is the duty of parents and voluntary organizations to impart to children a knowledge of moral and spiritual values and ennoble them. If a man who is under a strong temptation thinks that moral rules are man-made, he may easily violate them. He will hesitate more to disobey them, if he believes that they are God made and have been revealed to him through a Divine Teacher or the Guru.
Even men of piety and great devotion are apt to fall a prey to temptation. There are such notable examples as Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Joga Singh. If religion is not sincerely practised, it has little effect on our private lives or that of the community. An interest in religion makes people seek the company of holy men, which can give them the solace and happiness they really need.
Some people make a show of being religious. This does not serve any useful purpose. What is needed is a positive attitude, to seek the company and assistance of those persons who are truly devoted to religion.
Some people think that religion is an irrelvance, a matter of no consequence, and that they lose nothing if they exclude religion from their lives. They believe in the motto: ‘Eat, drink, and be merry’. But does this give an edge or meaning to life? Life has a purpose. Religion makes a man conscious of his spiritual heritage and goal.