Why are Human Beings Unhappy Today?

The scriptures have declared that it is difficult to acquire a human body. Human life is the highest among all living beings in creation. With all these endowments if man lacks Jnana (wisdom) he is no better than an animal. It is Jnana that distinguishes man from other animals. Inspite of possessing a human body, with its sacred capacities, man pursues wrong paths and indulges in misdeeds, thereby degrading his precious heritage. One who ought to dedicate himself to the pursuit of the Divine - Nivritti Marga (the Inward Path) and experience bliss, makes himself a slave of his senses and wastes his life in the pursuit of the external – Pravritti Marga. All his efforts are directed towards the cultivation of sensual pleasures instead of aiming at realisation of the power of the Spirit within him.

Of what avail is the human form if one’s actions and thoughts are not conducive to the realisation of one’s inherent Divinity? By concerning oneself only with the demands of the body, man today is forgetting his Divine essence and is immersed in material, pursuits. It is this preoccupation with the mundane that is at the root of all the insecurity and unhappiness experienced by man. He is perennially filled with discontent and dissatisfaction. Discontentment affects man in two ways: One is lack of peace of mind. The other is unhappiness resulting from lack of peace.

How to get rid of Envy?

What is the root cause of discontentment? It is envy. This has been the besetting vice of man from the beginning of time. Only when envy is eradicated from the human heart will man have self-satisfaction. The contented man enjoys peace. How does envy arise? When one compares oneself with those who are better off, or who hold higher offices, or score higher marks, or are more handsome, and suffers from a consciousness of his own inferiority, envy arises. Discontent over what he lacks gives birth to envy. To get rid of this evil quality one has to look at those who are worse off than himself. For instance, when you look at those who have got lower marks, you can be satisfied that you have done better than others. Likewise, when one views the state of those holding lower jobs, one can feel satisfied with one’s own position. Thus, if envy has to be got rid of, this sort of comparison with those who are worse off has to be undertaken. In due course one develops a sense of equal-mindedness both towards those who are better off and those who are worse off. Such equal-mindedness is a Divine quality. There is nothing wrong in aspiring for higher positions. But one should not feel envious about those who are in such positions. It is a crime to entertain such feelings.

Source: Trikaranashuddhi: The Triune Path, My Dear Students Volume 05, Divine Discourse delivered on January 19, 1989 at the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam


  1. Heard Swami say through his discourses as printed in the books, 'The power of Discrimination' is what separates human beings from animals. Wisdom is not something we acquire at first birth as a human being.

  2. heard Sai say in a talk that we must feel affection for those better off than us and sympathy for those not as well off as us. at least we must not feel jealous of others due to comparison and competition :)


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