WHAT BRINGS JOY AND SORROW?
When a person attributes his joy and sorrow not to himself but to some other object, person or circumstance, his joy and sorrow become subservient to someone or something else. He loses his independence. Being subservient in itself is a cause for sorrow. If one wants to retain one’s independence, one has to give up the notion that his joy and sorrow depend on someone or something extraneous.
All the time there are situations that cause joy or sorrow. The intensity of any such joy or sorrow does not remain the same. It diminishes and ultimately vanishes. Actually joy or sorrow have no independent existence. They come into being, due to our beliefs, imagination or reaction to any situation. If we retain our poise and equanimity, then no object, person or situation can lead us to sorrow.
When we attribute our joy or sorrow to some other person or circumstance, there is a fallacy in our thinking. Only a greedy person will get joy from riches and sorrow from their loss. The saints who have renounced all greed are not influenced by either acquisition or loss of riches. Similarly attachment to a person appears to be the reason for joy in union and sorrow in parting. An unattached person will be above joy and sorrow of meeting or parting. When we derive joy from the company of a person or thing, we get attached to them. Any harm to that person or destruction of that object, causes a sense of sorrow. Thus, joy and sorrow are not due to any person, object or circumstance, but due to our own folly of getting unduly attached to them. The moment we are able to overcome this folly, we will be above joy and sorrow. The reason behind this folly is the desire to get something or the other. Failure in the venture causes sorrow. Thus joy does not lie in getting what one wants, but in the nullification of desire.
The reason for sorrow is our continued attachment to things, persons or circumstances that we believe, give us joy. We almost become their slaves. If we want to be free from sorrow, we have to give up this attachment. This alone would lead us to a state of joy.