Question: When I talk to seekers, I find it hard to explain the difference between pleasure and joy.1
Sri Chinmoy: Pleasure is followed by destruction. Joy is spontaneous; it is something that blossoms.
You need six or seven hours of sleep. But if you sleep for ten or eleven hours, that is called pleasure — you are enjoying morning sleep very nicely. Then what happens? You are the boss of your company. When you finally go to work, you see that your workers have not come on time or that the machines are all in bad condition. Because you enjoyed the pleasure of sleep for three extra hours, your problems have become much more difficult, whereas if you had prayed and meditated early in the morning and brought down some divine light, you would have solved those problems easily.
Rest is needed, true, but who asked you to sleep for eleven hours? You have to pay the penalty for enjoying this kind of pleasure. When you get up early in the morning, on time at six o’clock, and you pray and meditate, then you receive tremendous joy. That joy you will carry to your office. But the pleasure that you enjoyed from the extra sleep will disappear as soon as you leave your bed. Immediately again, the whole world will seem miserable to you because early in the morning you did not meditate to receive divine love and light from God. The life of pleasure sooner or later will meet with destruction. Even if you cannot meditate for half an hour, if you meditate for two or three minutes, the joy that you get from that meditation will last for a few hours or for a few days. Pleasure-life, on the other hand, does not last. While you are enjoying pleasure, it is there, but as soon as it is over, it is gone.
SCA 1101. Sri Chinmoy answered this question in Padang, Indonesia on 31 December 1987.↩