On Pleasure and Joy

On the day of Sri Krishna Jayanti (Iyengars all over the world celebrate today), I was reminded of the 19th century English Poet William Blake who wrote famously: “He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; He who Kisses the joy as it flies lives in eternity’s sunrise……….”.

I tried to recall the commentary given by our English Professor during my college days . My Professor said: “It is NOT the pleasure that he kisses but the joy! Not only that, he is Not trying to hold on or cling to it…rather he lets it fly”. What a spiritual insight this line provides. (It’s a different matter that this poet was considered eccentric and mad by his contemporaries for his radical views).

If you analyze Lord Krishna’s life, He showed how life should be lived based on this philosophy. He was always joyful and lived in the present moment. He never carried His past into His future. Even as He left Brindavan and the Gopis, He never kept  whining at the separation but fully focused on what needed to be done. For such a person every moment of life is a celebration.

J Krishnamurthy explores the topic of Joy & Pleasure and his observations are quite revealing. JK says pleasure divides whereas Joy integrates. How true! Pleasure is a pursuit of the Mind. We seek pleasure in so many things – making money, name & fame etc. It’s a self-centred activity. Because the mind is set on the object of pleasure, it has to satisfy itself through a series of restless actions. Having attained the object of pleasure , the mind will also try hard to hold on to it at all costs causing further division and conflict. On the other hand, Joy is a spontaneous thing, something that happens without the seeker actively seeking it. Therefore one enjoys what comes unsought and doesn’t become possessive about it, once experienced. The difference between the two states is nicely brought out by  two words in Sanskrit – one is Sukh (which
is the result of seeking pleasure) and the other is Anand(Bliss/Joy). One is temporary and the other is permanent.

Saint Thyagaraja conveys the same message in very simple words in his compositions in Telugu. Consider his song (‘kriti’) NIDHI CHALA SUKHAMA, RAMUNI SANNIDHI SUKHAMA? In this kriti he asks a number of rhetorical & meaningful questions using simple, rhyming words. I will explain here only one line to drive home the point. He asks what is the real source of joy – ‘Nidhi’ or ‘Sannidhi’ of Rama?
Nidhi, as many might know,  is wealth while Sannidhi may be translated as closeness. (closeness to the Lord Rama).

Let us celebrate Janmashtami in this spirit every day of our lives!!

Published in: on September 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. http://www.raaga.com/play/?id=48594,enjoy this!



  2. Simply great, simple to understand, very meaningful , wroth contemplating,

    • Thanks

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