Millenia ago, as ancient Vedic tribes roamed across India, paying their respects to Indra, Agni, Ushas and Asvins – the agents of Nature, delivering thunder and lightning, storm and fire, sunrise and sunset – scholars pondered the riddle of life and death and the peculiarity of pleasure and pain. They realised that happiness could never be permanently guaranteed in the general humdrum of civilized life. People become happy if they can escape a situation, or a set of circumstances, that make them unhappy, but there is no guarantee of never being in an unpleasant situation again. Happiness when reached, is temporary and fleeting. In order to detach from the miseries of everyday existence and reach a state of permanent ‘happiness,’ it may be necessary to rise above the daily drama of life. The scholars noted that the pursuit of knowledge seemed to be the only reliable path to ‘happiness’.
These ideas eventually formed part of Sāṅkhya, a school of Hindu philosophy that arose sometime during the 1st millennium BC.