From RAZA's blog Excerpts from FROM THE PRISON WRITINGS OF ABUL KALAM AZAD
Perhaps the ancient Chinese had understood the problem of life better than other nations. In an old Chinese proverb a question is asked ‘Who is the wisest person?’ and it is answered ‘One who lives happier than everybody else’. From this we can learn the Chinese philosophy of life and there is no doubt that it is true. If you have learnt the art of living happily in all kinds of circumstances, then believe you me, you have learnt the biggest thing in life. Now, after this the question does not arise about what else you have learnt. Be happy and keep telling other people not to make their faces sorrowful.
I liked a saying of one contemporary French writer, Andre Gide, written in his autobiography – to be happy is not only a physical need but a moral responsibility. The effect of the quality of our individual life is not restricted only to ourselves. It is contagious, it also affects the people around us. Therefore it is our moral duty not to make others sad by being sad ourselves. Our life is a room of mirrors. Every face is simultaneously reflected in hundreds of mirrors. If one face is downcast then hundreds of others will become the same. Our lives are not individual events, they are collective events. On the surface of a river one wave rises, but with one wave countless others form. There is nothing that is solely our own. Whatever we do for ourselves, others also share in it. No happiness would be able to make us happy if we are surrounded on all four sides by sorrowful faces. By being happy ourselves we make other people happy and when we make other people happy we become happy ourselves.
It is strange that religion, philosophy and morality all tried to solve the problem of life, yet all developed the tendency against life itself. It is commonly thought that the more despondent and long-faced a person looks, the more religious they are, the greater philosopher or greater moralist - as if knowledge and piety makes it a necessity. This insult and humiliation of life was not the trait of the Greek cynics only. The stoics and the peripatetic philosophers shared these elements. Gradually sad and sour looking faces became the predominant trait of the philosophers. Even the followers of eudemonism and hedonism had a tendency to display a similar despondency.
In the world of religion and spiritualism, dry piety and coldness have become so popular that now you cannot even dream of a pious or religious person with a happy face. Religiousness has become synonymous with harshness of character. Even if just one religious bigwig appears in a gathering, then a dark shadow is cast, making everyone uncomfortable.
We have to admit that by putting on the dry mask of a philosopher, pious person or a Saddhu we do not fit into the creation of the universe and the nature around. Nature’s forehead is shiny like the sun, and its face smiling like the moon. The twinkling eyes of stars, the dance of trees, the songs of birds, running water, the colourful play of flowers – dry and long faces have no place. Only life which has a warm heart and a shining forehead would have the effect of moonlight on a starlit night that would be like a flower among flowers."
Azad (1945) ,"Ghubar-e-Khatir" ,pp 96-100.