Addressing a group of students and faculty at the IIT campus in Chennai, India, Sadhguru answers a question on how to maintain joy and happiness regardless of the external circumstances.

Questioner: Good evening, sir. I happened to listen to a lecture of yours that talked about joy and happiness. You talked that joy depends on oneself, whereas happiness depends on others. I tried a little while to practice it but what I found was that I was not able to sustain those small moments of joy. I could experience joy when I was completely into it, very passionate about what to do, but somehow when an external person or say, some external entity recognizes what I do, the joy is just out of my life. So how do you sustain those moments of joy and not succumb to these pleasures of happiness? If you could… it would be nice if you can share the difference between joy and happiness to this crowd too.

Sadhguru: See, right now if I tell you... or if you're… not me, let’s say your Dean tells you, from tomorrow, all of you, what kind of clothes you should wear, immediately there’ll be protests in the college. If your Dean goes further and says, ‘Everybody must eat only four idlis in the morning.’ If your Dean tells you, ‘Everybody should get up at five o’clock in the morning.’ Let’s say he put ten different rules like this, physical things to do, you will think he's trying to convert you into slaves and you will shout and scream for your freedom, isn't it? But look at yourself and see. Right now somebody else, if they determine what should happen around you, you feel like a slave, but right now somebody else is determining what should happen within you. Is this not slavery? Somebody can decide whether you're happy or unhappy, is this not slavery? Somebody can decide whether you will be a pleasant human being or an unpleasant human being, is this not slavery

What happens within you, somebody else determines – this is the worst form of slavery, isn't it? Isn't it so? It is just that because everybody is like that it seems to be normal; it is not. It is not normal. Just because everybody is like that, it does not become normal. This human being, life around you will not happen… will never happen hundred percent the way you want it, and it should not happen; because if everything happens the way you want it, where do I go? I'm very happy it's not happening your way. And now that you're a student? You're still a student? I believe about sixty, seventy percent is happening your way. When you get married, the percentage will get reversed. We don’t know. We don’t know whether which way it'll go. So if… life around you will never happen hundred percent the way you want it and it should not. Unless you're living with machines, life will not happen and even those machines will freak on you, isn't it? Aren’t the machines troubling you every day for something or the other? They do. So outside will never happen hundred percent the way you want it and if your happiness or your joyfulness or let’s not use all these so many words – essentially it is pleasantness versus unpleasantness. For pleasantness we have many names, we call it peace, happiness, joy, bliss, ecstasy.

For unpleasantness we have many names – stress, anxiety, fear, tension, whatever else, madness, whatever. Pleasantness versus unpleasantness – if your pleasantness is dependent upon what happens around you, the chances of you being pleasant all the time is remote, isn't it? In the very nature of things it's not possible. Only if you're able to create a distance between this and that, it is possible, in the sense. Whenever things don’t work, there is a habit in lots of people, they will look up, uperwala. Hmm? Isn’t it? The whole world is looking up. Looking up. See, you know the planet is round? You know this? Okay. The planet is round and you're not sitting on top of the North Pole, you're sitting in Chennai, here in the tropical climate and the damn planet is spinning, so if you look up you're always looking up in the wrong direction isn't it? You're invariably looking up in the wrong direction. Isn't it so? Maybe at a certain moment of, whatever, Greenwich Mean Time, zero hours, when you looked up maybe you hit the heaven; rest of the time you're always looking in the wrong direction. Isn't it so? So in this cosmic space, is there somebody who knows which is up and which is down? Does somebody know? Hmm? Is there somewhere is it marked, ‘This side up’? Nobody knows which is up, which is down, it's just an assumption, isn't it? Do you know really which is north, which is south? In the real sense do you know what is north and south? It is just for our convenience we just fixed it, isn't it? Yes or no? Do you know what's east and west? No. Do you know what is forward and backward? You do not know. None of these things you know.

There is only one thing you can be certain of right now – this is, you know what is outward, what is inward; this one thing you're sure, isn't it? This is inward, this is outward – this is the only privilege you have. What is outward, what is inward, this is all you know. Just in case some day if you get enlightened you will lose that also. Yes. That’s what happened to me – now I don’t know which is inward, which is outward, which is me, which is not me, that’s why I'm all over the world because I don’t know whether this is me or that is me. So now you say, ‘I know what is inward, what is outward,’ let’s examine this a little more. Can you see me right now, all of you? Can you see me? Just point out where I am? Use your hands and point out. Can you see me? Oh, you got it wrong. You know I'm a mystic? You're getting it completely wrong. Now this light is falling upon me, reflecting, going through your lenses, inverted image in your retina – you know the whole story, right? Where do you see me right now? Within yourself. Where do you hear me right now? Within yourself. Where have you seen the whole world? Within yourself. Have you ever experienced anything outside of yourself? Everything that ever happened to you – darkness and light happened within you, pain and pleasure happened within you, joy and misery happened within you. Have you ever experienced anything outside of yourself? No. So what I'm asking you is – what happens within you, who should determine how it should happen? Hmm? What happens within you, who should determine how this should happen? Somebody else? Definitely you should determine what should happen within this, isn't it? So if you determine what's happening within this, your whole experience of life will be determined by you, nobody else but you, isn't it? The events around you may not be determined by you, but how your experience of life is on this planet is hundred percent determined by you, if you take charge of this. If you leave it loose, just about anybody will determine it. They will – not consciously, they're also like you, by accident.