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Self-Knowledge gives the Greatest Joy

Of all the possible profits and gains, the supreme profit of all, which gives the greatest joy, is self-knowledge, the knowledge of the atma. That is the joy you must seek and make your own.

Consider a beautiful rose; the moment you look at a rose joy emanates from your heart. Similarly, when you see a handsome person or any beautiful thing in this world, you instantly feel joy. Many people undertake trips to go sight-seeing. Why do they go? In order to derive joy from it. Therefore, you can see beauty in nature and you can see beauty in people, and you can derive great joy from all the beauty that you see. But how long does this kind of joy and beauty last? The rose that you picked today starts to dry out tomorrow; then its beauty gets lost. The moment the beauty fades away, the joy that you previously derived from it also subsides. It is the same with the different stages of life: childhood, youth, adulthood and old age.

Childhood may be said to reflect divinity. During early childhood the individual does not suffer much from hatred, jealousy, anger and so forth. Jesus said that since children do not have any really bad qualities, they could be considered divine. During that period of life, there are no bad thoughts or bad traits, either in the mind or in the body. Little children are beautiful because they do not have impure feelings arising out of impure thoughts. As they grow up they gradually develop tainted qualities. The moment such negative qualities grow, the beauty of the small child fades away. Therefore, it is the coming in of impure thoughts which lead to impure words and impure deeds, which then results in the child losing its beauty.