This song is an antidote for:

  • Discontentment
  • Cynicism
  • Worry
  • Clinging to old attachments, old comforts, or the familiar

Listen to the song (download mp3):

Bonus Track (download mp3): 

Watch the session with Satyaki:

From A Tale of Songs, by Swami Kriyananda:

This song had an interesting genesis. I was driving my car through a blinding rain storm, and could hardly see the road fifty feet ahead of me. I was intensely frustrated, for there was somewhere I was supposed to reach at a certain time. All at once I thought, “Why wish conditions were other than they are? If I can’t have good weather outside, I’ll just create it inside. And then this song came to me. I wrote it out on a piece of paper that happened to be on the seat next to me—hoping no traffic policeman would stop me for any erratic driving!

There’s joy in the heavens! A smile on the mountains!
And melody sings everywhere!
The flowers are all laughing to welcome the morning:
Your soul is as free as the air!

Leave home in the sunshine, dance through a meadow—
or sit by a stream and just BE.
The lilt of the water will gather your worries
and carry them down to the sea.

Men hunger for freedom, but don’t see their dungeon
is only the thought that they’re bound!
Desires are their shackles: the hope that tomorrow
the doorway to joy will be found.

There’s joy all around us! Why wait till tomorrow?
We’ve only this moment to live.
A heaven within us is ours for the finding,
a freedom no riches can give!

There’s joy in the heavens!A smile on the mountains!
And melody sings everywhere!
The flowers are all laughing to welcome the morning:
Your soul is as free as the air!

The song as an antidote (Satyaki’s comments):

Many years ago, when I first really listened to this song inwardly, I had the image come to mind of my heart being held aloft by a large hot air balloon, but the whole balloon was tethered to the ground. The metaphor is that the heart had a kind of natural buoyancy, but is often held down not by external conditions or other people, by the tethers of our own ideas and expectations. And this is a message we hear in the song.

In fact, Kriyananda describes this thought when he shares the song’s origin in A Tale of Songs (shown earlier). I can personally understand the last line of his story: many times I’ve had insights into these music antidotes while I’m in my car listening to recordings. Sometimes I’ve had a voice recorder with me, which works best, but other times I’ve had to scrawl the notes on paper in the passenger seat.

Appropriately, the song starts in the heart chakra and spends its time there in the first three verses.

There’s joy in the heavens, a smile on the mountains,
And melody sings everywhere.
The flowers are all laughing to welcome the morning;
Your soul is as free as the air.

“There’s joy in the heavens” suggests that there’s joy in an upward, expansive attitude, but not necessarily meaning only the sky. The other images given here—of mountains and flowers, and “melody sings everywhere”—suggests that “the “heavens” is really all of nature. This first verse is reminiscent of a number of other songs, such as Melody’s Everywhere, which has the same words and Come Chillun’, Wake Up, which has the same lines in the chorus. It’s also similar to a number of other songs that suggest singing in a meadow, such as Sing in the Meadows, Hello There, Brother Bluebell, Sing Out with Joy, Lift Your Hearts, and also He Who Clothes the Field. All of these, I think, specifically address the heart chakra, which Kriyananda often said is a pivot point in the spine from which energy can flow upwards or downwards. Positive, cheerful attitudes, as expressed here and in the other songs, constantly remind us to keep the heart uplifted by letting go of cynicism, as in “welcome the morning.” For when you let go of such downcast attitudes, your heart rises naturally: “your soul is as free as the air.”

The song’s unique guitar introduction, in fact, provides a first intimation of this contrast. It begins with a pluck and a hammer, meaning that the fingers on the frets are quickly pushed down on the strings to raise their pitch without losing the vibration in the strings. It’s very much an act of tensing. In the next phrase, the hammer is released, allowing the pitch to drop, which is very much an act of relaxation. After the release, there are a few more happy, joyful measures. Together, these bits in the introduction say, “Try this: feel the tension, in which there are questions and uncertainties. Now feel the relaxation, in which there is joy.” We can also interpret this hammering in the introduction as a kind of prod to wakefulness. “Are you paying attention?” it asks with the hammer? “Good, now relax,” it says with the release, “into the awareness of the joy that’s all around you.”

The second verse, then, is about our first experiences when we awaken to a new day, a reminder to see the positive in everything. The second verse, then, which continues in the heart chakra, reminds us to hold to that positive attitude even as we engage in our duties:

Leave home in the sunshine:

Which is to say, go out with a “sunny” disposition…

Dance through a meadow—

Or be active in the world…

Or sit by a stream and just be.

And allow yourself moments of calm being; don’t get too wrapped up in activity for its own sake. Remember to be still on occasion, to feel the joy of your own inner self.

The lilt of the water will gather your worries
And carry them down to the sea.

The “stream” here, as it occurs in other songs, inwardly represents the upward flow of energy in the spine. If you relax into yourself with a joyful, positive attitude, then that inward flow naturally moves upwards and lifts your consciousness out of worry. I think it’s interesting here that poetically and metaphorically, Kriyananda needed to use the words “down to the sea”—to say “up to the sea” doesn’t quite work with the rest of the nature imagery, because in the material world water always flows downwards. Inwardly, however, the energy is flowing upwards toward the ocean of self-expansion, the ocean of divine bliss. To allow your worries to be carried into that ocean, they become diluted, in a way, until they cease to have any reality of their own.

The third verse, now, recognizes that there’s one more aspect of the heart we truly need to address if the heart is to fly freely upwards:

Men hunger for freedom, but don’t see their dungeon
Is only the thought that they’re bound!
Desires are their shackles: the hope that tomorrow
The doorway to joy will be found.

When you read these words carefully, you have to pause and say, “Wow!” because they really pack a punch! That is, right there in this verse we get a very powerful spiritual message that applies to literally every human being. “People everywhere, across time and space, want to be free,” the lyrics say, “and go to all kinds of outward trouble to secure that freedom, if they can.” (Refer to If You’re Seeking Freedom for a thorough analysis of this idea!) And yet, the answer is incredibly simple: your bondage is in your mind (the thoughts of bondage) and in your heart (in desires), specifically the thought that you aren’t free in this very moment. It’s like that story of Daniel Boone, one of Yogananda’s direct disciples, who asked the Master,

“If I said I was free, I wouldn’t really be free, would I?”

“Oh, yes! That is, you would be if you said it in that consciousness of freedom. But you’ve answered your own question: You’ve said, ‘I wouldn’t be.’ The trouble is, the mind is already poisoned with the very delusions it is trying to dispel; it lacks force.”

Spiritual freedom is, in essence, nothing more than a matter of convincing ourselves, on all levels, that we’re already free. So many devotees lament, for years, “Oh, when will God come to me?” But Yogananda said repeatedly that God is here with you already; self-realization is already yours; you just have to increase your own knowing. And that knowing starts with releasing the thoughts of bondage and releasing the desires, which, as the song says, are rooted in future expectations.

What this song is really testing, then, is whether we’ll choose to offer our heart’s energy upwards, to allow its natural buoyancy to let it rise, or to allow ourselves to be dragged down by material desires—those tethers on the hot air balloon that I spoke of earlier.

In fact, by encouraging you to let go, this song helps to overcome that hesitancy to let go, that clinging to old attachments that dull your energy, clinging to old comforts, clinging to the familiar—even if painful. (How often do you hear old people gather together to talk about nothing but their physical ailments!) Your higher self is calling, and that’s its message in the fourth verse:

There’s joy all around us! Why wait till tomorrow?
We’ve only this moment to live.
A heaven within us is ours for the finding,
A freedom no riches can give!

Joy, God, self-realization, samadhi, or just a simple state of happiness—whatever you want to call it—is right here, right now, inside each one of us. We can live only in the present moment, so be present and find that inner kingdom of joy!

It’s during this verse that, if you’ve allowed yourself to accept the message to release those desires and expectations, that your discover the joy all around—an expansive quality of the throat chakra. And the imperative of “Why wait till tomorrow?” helps the energy continue to shoot up past the medulla to the spiritual eye on those words, “A heaven within us.” As we read in the Bible, “Be still and know that I am God.” Sit calmly, focus your mind at the point between the eyebrows, and meditate on the joy within you.

From this point we now repeat the first verse once more. Doing so from the perspective of the spiritual eye, we can truly see that in every moment there’s joy both in the outer heavens of creation, and the inner heavens of the upward flow of energy in the spine.

Appropriately, Swami Kriyananda also assigned There’s Joy in the Heavens to the Day 16 of Secrets of Emotional Healing:

The secret of overcoming discontentment is to realize that conditions are always essentially neutral: Whether they please or displease depends on the attitudes we hold in our hearts. Practice, therefore, being ever happy in yourself.

All of which, as we’ve seen, is spelled out in the song quite explicitly! For discontent is the result of clinging to old stuff: you know there’s more to life and you can see it, but you haven’t allowed yourself to experience it. “Men hunger for freedom/But don’t see their dungeon/Is only the thought that they’re bound.” It’s all in your head. “Let go,” our Higher Self tells us, always, “and allow yourself to fly, as you were always meant to.”