The great rishis made an exhaustive study of the sources of joy. Today's material preoccupation does not provide the required amount of intellectual poise for such a close study of life, for the purposes of investigating into the mechanism of the joy transactions. Ordinarily today, even the best of us only feel that there is a joy when a desire is fulfilled, but we do not pause to make a scientific analysis or an investigation into the principles underlying and governing sensuous joy.

The flickering joys tantalizing man are not a satisfying fulfillment to those who were really hungry to live fully. In their dissatisfaction they were goaded and encouraged to make exhaustive enquiries into the structure and composition of sensuous happiness.

No doubt there is a joy when a desire is fulfilled, but enjoyable only by the one who entertains the desire. The joy that an object provides is directly proportional to the amount of desire with which the individual has struggled for it. We also find that a given object that gives joy to one can itself dole out a measure of unhappiness to another. The same given cup of coffee, if it gives eighty units of happiness to a South Indian, it gives, perhaps, an equal amount of unhappiness to a Pathan who is not familiar with bitter Madrasee coffee! A young lady, after days of struggling, at last fulfils her deep desire for a blue Mysore Saree which provides her with a great satisfaction; while the same sari perhaps spells disastrous sorrows and a creeping sense of disgust in some of her dear friends !

If happiness were in objects, the coffee or the sari would give the same happiness to all of us. But it seems that the same object provides different units of happiness to different individuals, and the same object graces the same individual with different textures of joy at different places and times. Joy is not in the object. The object is only an occasion for the required mental condition that provides the individual with the experience of a sense of joy.

The Seers of Vedanta explain this exhaustively. A desire is a tortuous mental state wherein we fail to take our mind off a given thought disturbance that demands an immediate satisfaction by physically possessing or mentally enjoying or intellectually appreciating some object or objects other than ourselves. Thus, the commotion of desire is a mental disturbance; and the thicker the desire, the more powerful is the commotion. Satisfaction of the desire ends the commotion, and mental peace allows the joy of the soul to beam out undisturbed and unmolested.

The rishis cry that the Self is the repository of all joy, since Pure Awareness or Reality is itself Bliss Absolute. The mental thought disturbances, like thick monsoon clouds, veil the beam of joy, and the attempt of the individual in procuring and keeping sensuous objects is an unconscious act to bring about the necessary condition in his mind so that the joyous soul may peep out, shedding its infinite joy.

The rishis declared that all joys come from the Self, and sensuous joys are all flickerings of the Self seen through the intervals of peace in the mind's natural state of thought chaos. With this idea in mind, if we re-read the Upanishadic declaration, it cannot be very difficult for us to understand how an individual, on realizing his Self, comes to experience all the joys of every living creature all at once.

The Vedas are the divinely revealed and most revered scriptures, sruti, of Hinduism, likened to the Torah (1,200 bce), Bible New Testament (100 ce), Koran (630 ce) or Zend Avesta (600 bce). Four in number, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva, the Vedas include over 100,000 verses. Oldest portions may date back as far as 6,000 BCE.

Om brahmavidâpnoti param. Tadesh- âbhyuktâ. Satyam jñânam anantam Brahma. Yo veda nihitam guhâyâm parame vyoman. So asmute sarvân kâmân saha Brahmanâ vipaschiteti

Om, the Knower of Brahman attains the Supreme. Referring to that it is recited: "Brahman is the Truth, Knowledge and Infinity. He who knows it as existing in the cave of the heart, in the transcendent akasha realizes all his desires along with the Omniscient Brahman."

Krishna Yajur Veda

Taittiriya Upanishad 2.2.2

Commentary by Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda (1917-1993),Vedantist writer,lecturer, translator, dynamic spiritual leader and Hindurenaissance founder of Chinmaya Mission International