Once I lost a vehicle document and looked for it in all the files at home. In the process, I cleaned the entire cupboard but could not find it.
Yet another day, when I was cleaning the cupboards loaded with files and photos at my
office, I suddenly came across the lost document.
Now if I keep it in one place and search for it in other places, is it possible for me to find it?
In our life too, we search for something which is very important and keeps us going—happiness. Like that hectic search to find the missing document, we search for happiness in physical pleasures, sensual stimulation, in more hazardous and addictive objects, people and situations. Our senses become weak, body becomes tired and the mind becomes bored. That illusory happiness we seek is still far away.
When life gets back to the same routine, again the search for happiness begins. This time it is in objects.
When it is so, we immediately start thinking of innumerable objects that can give us happiness. Well, you may be surprised to know that there are just five objects in the whole world.
There is the object of sight. Anything that we desire to see falls under this category and all those things, people and situations finally enter through the two small tiny windows called the eyes.
Then there is the object of hearing. Any sound or music, which is good, bad, ugly, pessimistic, optimistic, complaining, cribbing, scheming, planning, studying, chanting or singing, are just sound waves that travel into us through ears to give us a meaning to feel happy or sad.
All tactile sensations we enjoy come to us through that thin and large sense organ called the skin, and the tiny nose has so many different smells that it brings to our notice.
The last one is the sense of taste. The two-inch tongue feels it all and makes us feel excited or grumpy with the different tastes. Sri Adi Shankaracharya warns his disciple in Prashnottara Ratna Malika: Vishath
visham kim (what is the poison of all poisons?) Vishayah samasthah—all the objects—is the answer.
These objects are just five. Our knowledge flows through these senses waiting like an animal with a salivating tongue for some tasty food it sees. Yet the pleasures dull our discrimination between what is everlasting joy, life, and what just comes and goes, our imaginary perceptions of joy.