Gita Rahasya -Tilak
THE CONSIDERATION OF HAPPINESS AND UNHAPPINESS
There is a world of difference between (i) com- paring the means of happiness which are available to us to-day with how many of them were available to us a hundred years ago, and (ii) considering whether or not I am happy to-day. For instance, anybody will admit that the present-day travelling by train is much more comfortable than travelling "by bullock-cart, which was in vogue a hundred years ago. But we have now forgotten this happiness of train-travel, and we are unhappy only if some day a train gets late, and we receive our mail late. And therefore, the ' present ' happiness or unhappiness of man is usually considered by thinking of his present needs and disregarding all the means of happiness which have already become available; and, if we try to consider what these needs are, we see that there is no end of them. If one desire is satisfied to-day, another new desire takes its place to-morrow, and we want to satisfy this new desire; and as human desire is thus always one step ahead of life, man is never free from unhappiness. In this place, we must bear carefully in mind the difference between the two positions that 'all happiness is the destruction of desire' and that 'however much of happiness is obtained, man is still un- satisfied'. Saying that 'all happiness is not the absence of unhappiness, but pain and happiness are two independent kinds of organic sufferings' is one thing, and that 'one is dissatisfied, because new kinds of happiness are wanted, without taking into account the happiness which may at any time already be part of one's life', is another thing. The first of these two dicta deals with the actual nature of happiness; and the second, with whether or not a man is fully satisfied by the happiness he has obtained.
As the desire for objects of pleasure is a continually increasing desire, a man wants to enjoy over and over again the same happiness which he has already enjoyed, though he may not get new kinds of happiness everyday, and thus human desire is never controlled. There is a story told of a Roman Emperor named Vitalius that in order to experience over and over again the pleasure of eating tasteful food, he used to take medicines for vomitting the food which he had already eaten, and dine several times every day ' But the story of ,the repentant king Yayati is even more instructive than this. After the king Yayati had become old as a result of the cursa of Sukracarya, the latter, by a pang of kindness, gave him the option of giving his old age to another person and taking in exchange his youth. Thereupon, he took the youth of his son Puru in exchange for his own oldness, and, "having enjoyed all objects of pleasure for a thousand years, he found by experience that all the objects in the world were incapable of satisfying the desire for happiness of even one human being; and Vyasa has stated in the Adiparva of the Mahabharata that Yayati then said :
na jatu, kamah kamanam upabhogena samyati l
havisa krsnavartmeva bhuya evabhivardhate II 
References And Context
- (Ma. Bha. A. 75.49)