PLEASURES ARE ILLUSIONS -
NOT REAL JOY
We act like the deer that follows a mirage in a desert. We believe that joy is derived from riches, power, importance or other external factors and, consequently, pursue them. While we may get the desired objects, we do not feel satisfied. We again involve ourselves in the pursuit of some other desire, obtain it, yet remain dissatisfied and find no peace. By obtaining the desired object, we remain under an illusion of joy and yet stay joyless.
The Uttaradhyayana sutra 14.39 says that even if the entire world becomes yours and all the riches of the world come to you, still they would be inadequate. Riches will not be able to relieve you of pain and sorrow. Desires are endless like the skies.
When one pursues power or worldly objects, one is not able to free oneself from the greed of these possessions. These cravings pester us till the last moment. Absence of desires leads us to a state of mind devoid of excitement which, in turn, leads to a state of real joy. The materialist believes that desires cease to exist when we achieve them. It is this irrational concept that stands in the way of our following the right path.
To quell a fire, one needs water and not inflammable articles like oil, butter or petrol which will further inflame the fire. Desires are endless and trap people in their vicious circle. Real joy lies within one’s self rather than in the pursuit of material desires. If the external factors could lead to a state of joy, their effect ought to be similar for all the people. But it is not so. Opium may appear desirable to an addict, but is an anathema to others. To say that external objects or circumstances lead to joy is an illusion. They are accompanied with a momentary, sensory and material stimulation. In such a state there is no peace. Real joy lies in the absence of desire and this wisdom needs to be cultivated. Instead of igniting a fire further, wisdom lies in quelling it forthwith. Rather than pursue joys that are essentially illusory, we should steadfastly pursue genuine happiness.