Bliss is the only criterion for life. If your life is not blissful, then know that you are moving wrongly. Suffering is the criterion of being wrong, and bliss is the criterion of being right – there are no other criteria. There is no need to read any scriptures nor is there any need to ask a guru. All that is needed is to see if you are becoming more and more blissful, if your bliss is going deeper and deeper. If it is, you are moving rightly. And if suffering, pain and anguish are growing, then you are moving wrongly. There is no question of believing somebody else; it is a question of looking into your own life every day and seeing whether you are becoming more sad or more blissful. If you ask yourself there will be no difficulty.
Old people say that their childhood was very joyful. What does this mean? Have they grown in some wrong way? Childhood, the time of joy, was the beginning of life, and now at the end of life they are sad. The beginning was joyful and the end is sad…then life has moved in some wrong way. The contrary should have happened. What should have happened is that the joy of childhood should have grown day by day as the man grew. Then, in his old age, he would say that his childhood was the most painful state because it was the beginning of life, it was the first stage.
If a student has gone to a university to study and then says that slowly, slowly the knowledge he had when he first started to study is disappearing, we would ask him, “Aren’t you learning? Aren’t you acquiring any knowledge? This is very strange.” We could have understood if he had said that he was more ignorant at the beginning of his studies. Naturally, after studying for a few years, a student should know more, not less. But to say that he now knows less sounds very strange.
People always say that they were more joyful when they were children. Poets sing songs of a blissful childhood. They must be mad. If childhood was blissful, then does it mean that because you are sad now, you have wasted your life? It would have been better if you had died in childhood – at least you would have died blissfully. Now you will die in sorrow. So those who die in childhood are fortunate.
The longer a person lives, the more his joy should grow – but your joy decreases. The poets are not saying something wrong: they are sharing their life experiences. They are correct. Your joy goes on decreasing. Day by day, everything goes on decreasing when in fact it should be increasing. So you are growing in a wrong way.
The direction of your life is wrong, your energy is wrong. One should be constantly vigilant, constantly inquiring; one should keep the criteria clearly in one’s mind. If the criteria are clear to you, and if you see that you are moving wrongly, then nobody except yourself is preventing you from moving in the right direction.