What are the means of obtaining bliss?

Contents


1. Definitions of Bliss

  • A. Bliss is the favourable experience experienced by the embodied soul undertaking spiritual practice (jivatma), the God realised soul (Shivatma) or the soul in the state of union with The Supreme God (Shivadasha), when the functions of the five senses, mind and intellect have ceased.

  • B. यास्‍मिन्‌ स्‍थितो न दु:खेन गुरुणापि अविचाल्‍यते ।

    Meaning: When the mind does not get disturbed even by intense sorrow and remains Blissful is itself the Bliss of Self-realisation (Atmanand).

  • C. सुखं आत्‍यंतिकं यत्‌ तत्‌ बुद्धिग्राह्यं अतींद्रियं
         यं लब्‍ध्‍वा चापरं लाभं मन्‍यते नाधिकं तत: ।

    Meaning: After acquisition of that happiness which does not arise from the organs and which the pure intellect can realise to some extent, one does not desire to obtain any other type of happiness. This itself is known as the Bliss of Self-realisation (Atmanand).

2. Synonyms of Bliss

Spiritual Bliss, spiritual happiness, eternal happiness.

3. Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations

Refer point ‘Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations’.

4. Differences between happiness and Bliss

Refer point ‘Differences between happiness and Bliss’.

5. Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness

Refer point ‘Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness’.

6. Bliss and Serenity (Shanti)

Even Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Anand) is not the real nature of Brahman as it is a spiritual emotion which has some attitude. Brahman means that devoid of an attitude (nivrutti), that is Serenity. In the nirvikalpa superconscious state (samadhi) one experiences Serenity. To simplify it, Brahman is a state of Bliss and Parabrahman that of Serenity. A quote from the Upanishads says ‘शांतं उपासितम्‌’ which means that in the state of union with The Supreme God one experiences Serenity whereas in the state of the God realised soul (Shivatmadasha), one experiences Bliss.

7. Types of Bliss, the amount of Serenity and the corresponding spiritual energy (kundalini) centre (chakra)

Type of Bliss Amount of
Serenity %
Spiritual energy
centre (chakra)*
1. Bliss (Anand) 10 No. 6: Adnyachakra
2. Parmanand 30 No. 7: Mahodadhichakra,
shrungachakra alias
dhvajanubandhchakra
3. Brahmanand 70 No. 8: Rutambharachakra
4. Serenity [The final
    Liberation (Moksha)]
100 No. 9: Sahasrarchakra

* Refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 38 – Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)’.

8. Theoretical discussion on Bliss

Refer point ‘Theoretical discussion on happiness and unhappiness’.

9. Why does one feel like experiencing Bliss?

‘A vast multitude of Bliss is stored within one,
Waves of Bliss arise in the river of Bliss,
Blissful is the nature of Bliss.’

This is a quote by Tukaram Maharaj. Bliss is the basic nature, the very core of the embodied soul and the universe. Hence the embodied soul has an inherent tendency to return to its basic nature, that is to experience Bliss and on attaining it, tries to sustain it. (Refer point ‘Why is man interested in Spirituality ?’.)

10. Although the nature of the embodied soul is Blissful why does it not experience Bliss ?

यश्‍च मूढतमो लोके यश्‍च बुद्धे: परं गत: ।
तावुभौ सुखमेधेते क्‍लिशत्‍यन्‍तरितो जन: ।  –  भागवत ७-३

Meaning: In this world, only two types of people are happy – 1. Those who are totally ignorant and 2. Those who have transcended the intellect. The remainder in the intervening category experience unhappiness to a large extent. – Bhagvat 7-3

Refer point ‘According to the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)’.

11. Why does the embodied soul not feel bored of Bliss?

Because Bliss is its basic nature. This is akin to sweetness which is the quality of sugar.

12. Seven regions (loks) and Bliss

The Bliss experienced in one region (lok) is ten million times that experienced in the other. For instance, the Bliss in the nether world (bhuvalok) is ten million times that on the earth. For more information refer point ‘The seven regions (saptaloks) and happiness ’.

13. How to attain Bliss?

Bliss is already within oneself. One should not expect someone else to give it to one. ‘If one realises the eternal value of life then one will be able to obtain Bliss from impermanent things. However without understanding the permanent, no matter how hard one tries to obtain happiness or Serenity from the impermanent, it proves futile. ‘There is no permanent happiness in objects which are changing or have a limitation. That which is infinite and eternal is the true site of origin of happiness. It bestows everlasting Bliss and releases one from the bondage of unhappiness forever.’ The ways of realising the absolute value of life are as follows.

13.1 Observing Righteousness (Dharma)

सुखार्था: सर्वभूतानां मता: सर्वा: प्रवृत्तय: ।
सुखं न विना धर्मात्‌ तस्‍मात्‌ धर्मपरो भवेत्‌ ।
                                  – वाग्‍भटकृत अष्‍टांगहृदय, सूत्रस्‍थान २:१९

Meaning: The tendency of all living beings is to attain happiness (in this context the word happiness is used synonymously with Bliss), but they cannot expect to get it without following the ethics of Righteousness. Hence they should be observed. The righteous individual whether knowledgeable or ignorant, will definitely experience happiness. Ashtanghruday by Vagbhat, Sutrasthan 2:19

13.2 Spiritual practice

spiritual practice

Only when the impressions of desires and instincts, likes and dislikes, temperamental characteristics, etc. are wiped off from the subconscious mind, that is only when nescience is destroyed can one experience the Bliss lying dormant within oneself. This method of destroying impressions and nescience is called spiritual practice.

Repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name, attending spiritual meetings or remaining in satsang (holy company) of seekers or saints, service of the Absolute Truth (satseva), sacrifice and spiritual love (priti) for all are the main aspects of spiritual practice. Spiritual practice wipes off the impressions in the subconscious mind. Apart from this, the accumulated account of destiny decreases and the ability to withstand suffering due to destiny increases. Besides, by doing spiritual practice the sattvik (sattva predominant) nature is enhanced. As a result decisions made are more appropriate and errors in wilful actions are avoided.

13.3 Company of saints

A. The Bliss that an ordinary man experiences in the company of a woman, is constantly experienced by the one who is liberated from the cycle of birth and death; hence he does not harbour any sexual desire. – Saint Eknath Maharaj

‘The less desires a person has the more enjoyable is his company. Inspite of the desires being present in a subtle form in children they are very lovable. Then why should one consider it impossible for one whose desires have totally been destroyed by The Lord’s grace to impart Bliss to others when in His company ?’ Saints emit frequencies of Bliss. Every seeker experiences them once he is able to perceive the subtle dimension beyond the five senses, mind and intellect.

B. In the company of an evildoer an individual begins to consider unhappiness, for instance stealing, drinking alcohol, etc. as happiness. In the company of a saint however happiness appears like unhappiness. Actually this is detachment (vairagya). Saints destroy the very desire for happiness. Similarly in the company of a saint, due to the acquisition of strength to endure unhappiness even that appears like happiness. Hence no unhappiness is felt, only Bliss is experienced in Their company.

C. Just as cancer cells are destroyed with certain radiations, so also dissolution of the mind and intellect occurs after exposure to frequencies of Bliss from a saint when in His company for a long time. In other words, the subtle and causal bodies and nescience are destroyed, and the individual experiences inner Bliss.

13.4 Sacrifice of happiness

One can acquire Bliss only by sacrificing happiness. Sacrificing all pleasures rather than indulging in them is of greater significance (प्रापणात्‌ सर्व भोगानांम्‌ परित्‍यागो विशिष्‍यते ।)

13.5 Avoiding loss of energy

That pure energy which is utilised in wishing for happiness, is itself Blissful in nature. Once this is realised, desires will not be generated at all.

13.6 Becoming loving

Our culture (sanskruti) teaches that an individual’s happiness and unhappiness depends on his actions (karma). All can never get the same amount of happiness. Although happiness and unhappiness are dependent on action, love is independent of it. Hence, one can express sympathy towards one who is suffering.This augments the individual psychological strength and he is able to tolerate the suffering. This itself is the special feature of our religion. Due to such a loving tendency, man’s attitude becomes sattvik (sattva predominant) and he learns to make greater sacrifices. Thus his requirements go on reducing and gradually he is able to attain Self-realisation.

13.7 Destroying ego

‘Righteousness (Dharma) proclaims that once one blends with the God principle (Brahman), one experiences eternal happiness. If this is true then from an individual’s viewpoint attaining the Final Liberation (Moksha), that is blending of the soul with the God principle itself is the supreme goal. One should certainly leave this body but should also destroy the awareness of ‘I’ness. Dharmacharan">Righteousness states that even thereafter one will experience happiness. If the one experiencing the happiness himself does not exist then he will acquire happiness, such is this strange concept (reality).’ [When ‘I’ness ends only the God principle exists and as It’s nature is Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Anand), one gets the spiritual experience of Bliss. At that time there is non-duality between the one experiencing it and the experience itself.]

13.8 Society experiencing happiness and Bliss if the Brahmans (priests) are righteous

‘The world’s happiness depends on the Brahmans being righteous and unhappiness lies in their unrighteousness. The foremost Adya Shankaracharya in the commentary on the Bhagvadgita has said, ‘ब्राह्मणस्‍यहि रक्षणेन रक्षितो वेदधर्म: ।’ which means that only if the Brahmans observe the code of Dharmacharan">Righteousness of a Brahman meticulously, then the code of Righteousness prescribed by the Vedas is protected. When none behaves unrighteously there is a lot of love among all the classes (varnas) and castes and consequently the world becomes happy. Thus, the happiness and unhappiness of the world certainly depend on the Brahmans alone’. – H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon, Pune district, Maharashtra

Reference: ‘Spirituality’, published by Sanatan Sanstha.