Monday, January 9, 2023

Joy and Desire

You know, these philosophers must be nuts. I mean, all of us understand that what we call joy is the satisfaction of our desires. But what these chaps say is that the absence of desire is the primary prerequisite for joy. What rubbish.

Well, Tiru belongs in the same bandwagon. Here he goes

Inbam idaiyaraa theendum avaavennum thunbatthul thunbam kedin - Tirukkural.

You will perpetually be joyous if you are rid of desire which is the worst of sorrows - Loose Translation.

Well, well, well! Far from joy being a successful achievement of your desires, desires are the worst of sorrows! According to Tiru. But, then, he is not alone in saying that. The Buddha said it for one. As did almost any Indian philosophy, I think.

That, then, accounts for why we guys keep pursuing happiness but never really seem to achieve it. Cos, the WAY we pursue happiness is by pursuing satisfaction of our desires. Like, "Once I get a seat in IIT, I'll be happy"; then "Once I get a MS with assistantship in the US, I'll be happy"; then "Once is get into Microsoft (or whatever), I'll be happy" and on and on. You can change it to suit your own paths but, roughly, the way it works is that you find a new thing to pursue in case you achieve the previous one; OR you keep moping about not achieving the previous one!

And, thus...desires are the root of all pain. Failing to achieve it leaves you moping; succeeding only leaves you dissatisfied cos you are still not happy and, thus, you search for a new pursuit. Which is why retirement is such a difficult pill to swallow. For now, your pursuit has officially ceased and happiness has not been achieved, yet!

So, maybe Tiru has it right after all. To shed desire need not mean that you cease doing things. What's that other thing we all keep spouting and nobody really bothers to understand? Ah! 'Do your duty, lay not claim to the fruits thereof!' Desires are generally related to the 'fruits' thereof, no? I mean, for me writing blog posts is, say, my 'duty'. Appreciation for what I write, posts becoming 'viral' etc are the 'fruits'. Wanting that appreciation etc IS a desire which, as per Tiru, will be the root of sorrow to me. To shed that desire and to keep writing is, per Tiru, the route to permanent joy!

Ahem! I sure hope you'll make this post go viral!


  1. Thought-provoking in your inimitable humourous style.

    I agree with something I once read somewhere, that reaping rewarding outcomes while harbouring no expectations leads to maximum joy. And I read somewhere else that having genuinely loving folks around to celebrate your accomplishments multiplies your joy.

    Given the fact that nothing in life (joys or sorrows) is permanent, all we need to do is to survive and to help our loved ones survive, so that we have the satisfaction of navigating through a multiverse of emotions, but together.