WRITINGS BY THE MOTHER
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Joy and pleasure
20 June 1956
Sweet Mother, sometimes when one feels depressed it lasts quite a long time; but when one feels a special kind of joy, it does not last.
Yes, that is very true.
Then what should one do to make it last longer?
But it is not the same part of the being that has the depression and the joy.
If you are speaking of pleasure, the pleasure of the vital is something very fleeting, and I think that in life--in life as it is at present--there are more occasions for displeasure than for pleasure. Pleasure in itself is extremely fleeting, for if the same vibration of pleasure is prolonged a little, it becomes unpleasant or even repulsive--exactly the same vibration.[new p. 191][old p. 192]
Pleasure in itself is something very fugitive. But if you are speaking of joy, that is something altogether different, it is a kind of warmth and illumination in the heart, you see--one may feel joy in the mind also, but it is a kind of warmth and beatific illumination occurring somewhere. That is a quality which is not yet fully developed and one is rarely in the psychological state that's needed to have it. And that is why it is fugitive. Otherwise joy is constantly there in the truth of the being, in the reality of the being, in your true Self, in your soul, in your psychic being, joy is constantly there.
It has nothing to do with pleasure: it is a kind of inner delight.
But one is rarely in a state to feel it, unless one has become fully conscious of one's psychic being. That is why when it comes it is fugitive, for the psychological condition necessary to perceive it is not often there. On the other hand, one is almost constantly in an ordinary vital state where the least unpleasant thing very spontaneously and easily brings you depression--depression if you are a weak person, revolt if you are a strong one. Every desire which is not satisfied, every impulse which meets an obstacle, every unpleasant contact with outside things, very easily and very spontaneously creates depression or revolt, for that is the normal state of things--normal in life as it is today. While joy is an exceptional state.
And so, pleasure, pleasure which is simply a pleasing sensation--if it lasts, not only does it lose its edge, but it ends up by becoming unpleasant; one can't bear it long. So, quite naturally it comes and goes. That is to say, the very thing that gives you pleasure--exactly the same vibration--after a short while, doesn't give it to you any longer. And if it persists, it becomes unpleasant for you. That is why you can't have pleasure for a long time.
The only thing which can be lasting is joy, if one enters into contact with the truth of the being which holds this joy permanently.
—Collected Works of The Mother, First Edition, Volume 08, pp. 191-92
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