“And if you go materially, satisfy your hunger, this, that, this, that, this, that, oh, it is simply illusion. It will never be finished. Just like you are advanced in material prosperity than other country. Does it mean that you are satisfied? Why there are hippies? Why there are so many frustrated youngsters? The richest country in the world.

“That, this richness of material world, the rascals, they are following that “If we become like America and some industrial, we shall become happy.” That is rascaldom. Actual happiness is how you learn to love God. Then you get happy. That can be achieved without any material advancement. Anywhere you can have, without any expenditure, without any effort, without any education, without any knowledge. Simply chant Hare Krsna and you develop that love.”

Lecture Excerpt — Boston, May 5, 1969

“Why can we not be content with an ordinary, secret, personal happiness that does not need to be explained or justified? We feel guilty if we are not happy in some publically approved way, if we do not imagine that we are meeting some standard of happiness that is recognized by all. God gives us the gift and the capacity to make our own happiness out of our own situation. And it is not hard to be happy, simply by accepting what is within reach, and making of it what we can.”

Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (New York: Image). p. 56.