The question which is very often asked whether life gives more sorrow or more joy is very difficult to answer, for its true answer must always appear false. The true answer is: life is joy, and at the same time life contradicts it.
Really speaking, the nature of life is joy. The soul is joy itself and the experience one has which is contrary to it comes from the limitation of this dense earth. Man’s real being is joy itself and man seeks for joy by all different ways: by gaining wealth, power, renown, or greatness, or by seeking for pleasures or comfort, by being good or virtuous, pious or spiritual; in different forms, according to his particular evolution, man seeks after joy, and yet ninety-nine out of a hundred can say in this world, ‘the more we pursue joy the farther we seem to have been removed from it.’
Coming to the cause of the lack of joy, one realises by pondering on the subject that it is not pursuing after joy that results in disappointment; it is the wrong method adopted in the pursuit of joy which brings, instead of joy, sorrow or disappointment. For instance, when the source of joy is in the north and man, mistakenly, goes in its pursuit to the south, when joy is in Heaven and man looks for it on the earth, when joy is within and man wishes to find it without, then naturally he meets with disappointment. It would not be an exaggeration if I were to say that the whole tragedy that one experiences through life is caused by error, but by that I do not mean to say that there is any human being on the face of the earth who is not subject to error. Nevertheless, the lack of joy is the result of error. Nothing can take away joy from the man who has right understanding. Through all conditions of life he will retain it, but the one who lacks understanding, nothing in the world or Heaven there is, which can bring him a lasting joy.
This shows that in reality joy does not come from the external life, though always it seems so. Joy has only one source and that is the heart of man, which is the globe over his soul’s light. And the absence of joy does not mean that the soul has lost its light. The sun does not lose its light when under an eclipse. For a moment it is a shadow of the earth which covers the sun, and yet it cannot always cover. And so are the moments of depression and sorrow. They do not belong to the human soul, they are just the shadows of the earth which eclipse the heart for a moment and pass away. It must be remembered that the heart is the source of joy and if it is only kept pure and glowing, then joy will always be yours.