Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Solved Exercise for Precis writing with Title “Sources of Happiness” Precis for Class 9, 10, 11, 12 and Higher classes.

Solved Exercise for Precis writing with Title “Sources of Happiness” Precis for Class 9, 10, 11, 12 and Higher classes.

Passages with Solved Precis

Who are really the happiest people? It is odd that we have no answer ready; for with most of us happiness is ‘our being’s end and aim’. We are sometimes in doubt whether our own balance is on the right side or the wrong. Looking back, I think I can separate the years when I was happy and those when I was unhappy. But perhaps at the time I should have judged differently. We are never either so happy or so miserable as we suppose ourselves to be.

The successful man generally tells us that he was happiest while he was still struggling for his success, or sometimes before he discovered that an ambitious career was open to him. As a rule the game of life is worth playing, but the struggle is the rise.

It is generally supposed that the young are happier than the old. This seems to me very doubtful. Young people are often very unhappy, torn by conflicting elements in their characters, which, after a time, come to some kind of a mutual understanding. Robert Browning boldly claims that old age is ‘the best of life’ and some old people agree with him.

The married are supposed to be happier than the single. They are certainly less prone to commit suicide; but suicide is riot a very good test, and it has been pointed out that married people with no children are not much less suicidal inclined I bachelors and spinsters. Still, as a rule, marriage is probably the happiest state. It all depends on whether the pair are well matched, and very bad choices are. I think the exception.

On the whole, the happiest people seem to be those who Lave no particular cause for being happy except the fact that they are so—a good reason, no doubt. And yet I should not choose a naturally contented temperament as my first request from a fairy godmother. It would be unfortunate if I said, ‘I wish to be the happiest man in England’ and promptly found myself locked up in an asylum, a cheerful lunatic who believed himself to be the Emperor of China. For all we know to the contrary, the happiest man in England may be a madman, and none of us would wish to change places with him. And even if the always cheerful person is perfectly sane, he is without the ‘splendid spur ‘which most men need if they are to do much with their lives.

But I have noticed with surprise how often the biographies of great men reveal that they were subject to frequent and severe fits of depression, which the world knew nothing of. Perhaps it is only shallow natures who never feel the tragedy of existences. I can sympathize with the man who wrote : `Send me hence ten thousand miles, from a face which always smiles.’

And Yet the Sermon on the Mount goes far towards ranking worry as one of the deadly sins. Spinoza agrees. Sadness is never justifiable, he says. The medieval monks, who must have known the moral dangers of boredom, placed among the Seven Deadly Sins one which they called Acedia. They describe it as a compound of dejection, sloth, and irritability, which makes a man feel that no good is worth doing. We have forgotten the word, and when we are attacked by the thing we blame our nerves or our livers. But perhaps the monks were right.

Religion is a great source of happiness, because it gives us the right standard of values, and enables us to regard our troubles as ‘a light affliction which is but for a moment’ But the religious temperament is susceptible to more grievous fits of misery than any other.

We hear sometimes of the gaiety which prevails in a monastery or nunnery, I confess that this vapid hilarity rather irritates me. Running away from life ought not to make people happy. Unworldliness based on knowledge of the world is the finest thing on earth; but unworldliness based on ignorance of the world is less admirable.

Very different is the happiness enjoyed by such a saint as the Hindu mystic and Christian missionary, Sadhu Sunder Singh, whose life has just been written by Canon Streeter. It is one of the most fascinating books that I have read for a long time. The Sadhu has undergone every kind of persecution, including two days at the bottom of a well in Tibet, where he found himself among the decaying corpses of former victims. He lives the life of St Francis of Assize, and is as happy as that most Christ like of saints. An English parlour maid announced him to her mistress as follows: ‘There’s someone come to see you, ma’am, I can’t make noting of his name, but he looks as if he might be Jesus Christ.’ I urge my readers to read The Sadhu. It will make them feel better-or worse, which is much the same thing in this connection.

To descend from these heights. The busy are happier than the idle, and the man who has found his work much happier than the man who has not found it Recognition by others is essential to all but the strongest and proudest virtue. I think I should put it third among the gifts which I should ask from the fairy godmother above mentioned. I should wish first for wisdom, like King Solomon; and by wisdom I mean a just estimate of the relative values of things. My second wish would be for domestic happiness, and my third for the approval of my fellows.

Can we say that some periods of history were happier than others? Nobody can doubt that we have fallen upon evil times; and it seems to be true that we take public affairs much more tragically than they did in the eighteenth century Dr. Johnson lived through the American War, the greatest misfortune that has happened to the British Empire. But this is how he delivers himself about public calamities. Boswell: “If I were in Parliament, I should be vexed if things went wrong .” Johnson: “That’s cant, sir. Public affairs vex no man.” Boswell: “Have they not vexed yourself a little, sir? Johnson: “Sir, I have never slept an hour less, nor eat an ounce less meat?”

 We are not so philosophical.


Sources of Happiness

Most people aim at happiness though no one can decide whether he is happy or otherwise. One is never as happy as one supposes oneself to be. The successful man imagines that he was happier while he was struggling for success and envisaging an ambitious career. Struggle itself is the prize.

Old people may be happier than the young because the latter are torn by conflicting elements in their characters while the old come down to a mutual understanding.

Married people and particularly those having children are happier than bachelors provided the pair is well-matched. Happiness is a matter of chance. The writer would not like to be gifted with a naturally contented temperament because mad men are the most contented. The contented man lacks the initiative to work.

Great men generally had frequent and severe fits of depression which the world does not know. Only shallow natures never feel the tragedy of existence. Philosophers and prophets, however, have condemned worry. The medieval monks were right in regarding it as one of the seven deadly sins. Religion may provide comfort from the afflictions of life, because it gives the right standard of values but the religious temperament is more prone to grievous misery than any other.

Monks and nuns are generally hilarious but only that unworldliness is good which is based on a knowledge of the world. Mere escapism cannot be admired. The Hindu mystic Sadhu Sunder Singh, whose biography by Cannon Streeter is fascinating and makes the reader feel better, has undergone every kind of persecution but is as happy as St. Francis of Assise.

The busy are happier than the idle and the man who finds his work congenial is happier than others. Recognitions by others is a good incentive. The writer would wish for wisdom, domestic happiness and recognition by fellow-beings.

People today takes public affairs more tragically than in the eighteenth century. Dr Johnson was least perturbed by the happenings like the American War. When Boswell asked him whether this war did not affect his sleep he said that he had never slept an hour less nor eaten an ounce less meat.


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