Real and everlasting-happiness is not situation-specific. Happiness is the very nature of Atma. How? Anything that is infinite is happiness, Ananda. Atma being formless and limitless existence, it is of the nature of permanent happiness.
In the scriptures we often see that to explain the mental state of a wise man, we are given examples of a madman, a child and a drunkard. Let us see how they are similar.
a) Madman: A madman is not aware of his surroundings, social norms, duties, relations, hurt, likes etc. In short, he is totally oblivious of any kind of mental transaction with the world and people. He lives in his own world and revels in it. His happiness arises out of his being centered on his own mind and not knowing anything else. His psychological disability to comprehend the worldly situations and people frees him from any kind of stressful or pleasurable situation that a common man would experience.
b) Child: A child has very few dependencies; hence has very few likes and dislikes. At the most, he is attached to his toys and mother. Other than that his mind is free of conflicts unlike adults. His mind is readily available to situations and the innocence adds a sparkling beauty to it. He places his total trust in his parents and has no worry of past or future. Relatively, he is in acceptance of whatever comes to him, without questioning or resisting. Such an unburdened, innocent, trusting mind is naturally happy.
c) Drunkard: Being in an inebriated state, a drunkard’s mind becomes lightened of its ‘burdens’. Drinking is just an escape for him, an escape from his life and the problems he faces, and the depressions he has. Has drinking solved his problem? Well, only temporarily. As long has he is intoxicated, the mind is numbed and the not as active to brood over issues. Hence, in this condition, when the problems are not floating on the surface, he just has his mind in a temporarily blissful, peaceful state.
d) Wise man: A wise man has totally destroyed his self ignorance. He has cognitively understood that he is Atma, infinite repository of happiness. He knows that happiness is not in objects or is nor is it a mental modification. Happiness, better still, to use the saMskRRita word Ananda, is not found elsewhere because it is the very subject.
For the ignorant, happiness is something that comes and goes. For the wise person, who has come to know his nature itself as Ananda, there is no wavering.
The ignorant seek objects and resultant temporary happiness thinking that they will get it permanently through their pursuits. The wise man has come to know the true nature of himself and hence has no longer got any desire for objects. That is because he has no sense of lacking or finitude any more. The mind is relaxed; and as a consequence the Ananda of the self gets reflected in the mind. This can be likened to sunlight getting reflected in clear waters. In muddy waters the same sunlight is not reflected. Is the sun not there above the muddy waters? It is there. The mud is preventing the reflection. A relaxed mind is a pure medium, where the Ananda of Atma is reflected to the fullest.
How do people then find happiness in objects, might be the next question?
The temporary happiness that is derived from relations, possessions etc. in the world is actually not derived externally. Man struggles to attain what he wants, thinking that he will derive pleasure from outside. There is a lot of physical and mental struggle involved in acquisition and preservation. After this struggle, when he finally attains what he wants, then there is a temporary cessation of passion, stress, anger and any other negative emotion. This cessation is because he is relieved of all that he went through to gain it. At this time, the mind is relaxed and the Ananda from within is reflected. Not knowing that it is from within, man wrongly attributes it to the objects outside. Quickly, he begins his struggle for acquisition again, because his ignorance is still there and he still believes that there is a lot of happiness hidden in the world.
In the above 4 cases, the happiness of a madman, drunkard and a child are wavering and temporary. The wise man alone knows that he is the very Ananda.