Sanjeev Kotnala: Want to be happy?Read the book by HH Gyalwang Drukpa

18 Oct,2017

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I’m never going to be good enough, so I’ll just have to grab happiness where I get the chance. ( From the book)

It was late at night on September 19, 2017, at some 30,000 feet in Indigo 6E 404, flight from Nagpur to Mumbai when I finished reading the book ‘Happiness is a State of Mind’ by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa. I picked this book at Hemis monastery, on my trip to Leh last month.

We were hovering over Mumbai airport, and we were asked to go back to Nagpur. Mumbai airport was closed due to rains reducing visibility and a Spicejet flight skidding off the runway.

Next day, I was expected at MICA. I was to take a morning flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Surprisingly, this entire disturbance of schedule, and uncertainty did not lead to any panic or stress on me. In fact, I acted as stressbuster and guiding other passengers when we landed back at Nagpur. I was not worried. Where was food or when we get hotel accommodation? I was appreciating the effort of limited staff of Indigo at Nagpur, which was not prepared for such a situation. This I Believe Was The Impact Of The Book. I Recommend It To Everyone.

The book has its own definition and interpretation of happiness. The steps prescribed to achieve happiness are simplified and not tough to adapt. They have been broken down into easy to understand sections. As normal, the narration is iterative, but it adds to the understanding.

I write this note 15 days after finishing the book. I wanted to check the longevity of impact I think I am still feeling. I am happy to share that there is clearly a change. It Is About Change Of Perspective If Not The Behavior.

I quote Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical psychology, University of Oxford:‘The book guides us through practices that can help us reconnect with life as it is rather than as we wish it to be, and re-discover the deep pace, immeasurable and indestructible, that has been with us all along, hidden in plain sight’.

Go pick and read it. Discover what may work for you. Get a differential perspective to your chase of happiness.


To back my recommendation here I present few excerpts from the book:

Happiness is a state of mind- is all about developing a sustained sense of happiness from within. It talks about ‘nurture your mind to loosen its grip on worries or fear, pressure to succeed resentment or regrets, and instead look with love and generosity, embracing the potential in uncertainty, letting others be themselves, finding your inspiration. (Page 09)

I strongly endorse, and most of you would agree that ‘we human beings seem to find complications even suffering to a degree easier to deal with than happiness: it is easier to complain than to celebrate; it is easier to list what we didn’t get done today, then to acknowledge everything we accomplished. We wrap ourselves in anticipation and ideas about how we think things should be; and we worry that contentment, and peace will bring laziness’. (Page 35)

Here is another thought that is important, ‘It might sound morbid, but when we truly accept the certainty of death, we truly appreciate life. This is why Buddhist teachings encourage people to reflect on death, rather than hide it away in the corners of their mind. If we don’t accept today that we might die, at any moment, then how we can use this one certainty in our lives to inspire us to release all the conditions we place on happiness. There is no need to put off happiness; you can allow it into your mind and your heart today’. (Page 88)


‘If you think, you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.’ His Holiness The Dalai Lama.



HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND; By his holiness Gyalwang Drukpa. Hatchette India Publications. Rs 399. 253 pages full of happiness.

Net net. ‘You have to tread the path for yourself. Everything is totally in your hands. Believe and trust in yourself to allow a little more space in your life for happiness’.

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