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Teachings On Bliss In Hinduism

We commit an error in associating happiness with material possessions. It is also by error that we imagine we are the arbiters of our own destiny. But the error of errors lies in the assumption that objects outside (of ourselves) can cause or produce happiness within (ourselves). We forget our real nature. By serious introspection we are certain to know the truth that happiness lies within ourselves. It has to be sought only within.


Normally people derive happiness by acquiring possessions. However the opposite is also true. Sometimes the pleasure derived from renouncing possessions voluntarily or being relieved of them by force is equally great. Even kings acknowledge this.


If a man thinks that his happiness is due to external causes and his possessions, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore if he is devoid of possessions, his happiness should be nil. What is the real experience of man? Does it conform to this view? In deep sleep the man is devoid of possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realize his Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness. (Sri Ramana Maharshi)


Maitreyi: If indeed, Venerable Sir, this whole earth filled with wealth were mine, would I be immortal through that?

Yajnavalkya: Like the life of the rich even so would your life be. Of immortality, however, there is no hope through wealth.

Maitreyi: What should I do with that by which I do not become immortal?

Tell me that indeed, Venerable Sir, of what you know (of t he way to immortality).

Yajnavalkya: O Maitreyi, it is the Self that should be seen, heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. Verily, by the seeing of, by the hearing of, by the thinking of, by the understanding of the Self, all this is known. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, II 4.5)


The Sruti identifies Brahman with Bliss. Badarayana deals at length with the question of Bliss in his Vedanta Sutras.

Shankara who provides a complete explanation on the subject in his commentary on these sutras points out that it is with reference to the Supreme Self alone that the word Bliss is repeated many times (by the Sruti). (Vedanta Sutras, 1.1.12-19)

He is Bliss to be sure. (Taittiriya Upanishad,II.VII. 1.)

For one (that is, the individual) becomes happy by coming in contact with Bliss. Who indeed would inhale or exhale if this Bliss were not there in the supreme space (within the heart)? For this one indeed delights people. (Taittiriya Upanishad, II.VII. 1.)

This is an evaluation of Bliss. (Taittiriya Upanishad II. VIII. 1)

He attains this Self full of Bliss. (Taittiriya Upanishad II. VIII. 5)

The enlightened man is not afraid of anything after realizing the Bliss of Brahman. (Taittiriya Upanishad II. IX. 1)

He knows Bliss as Brahman. ((Taittiriya Upanishad II. IX. 1)

Knowledge, Bliss, Brahman. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, II 4.5)

The bliss or delight arising from the knowledge of Brahman baffles all description. It is the highest fulfillment. It is beyond comprehension. That is, it does not come within the scope of the intellect.

Even as a bird tired of flying about turns towards its nest, restraining its wings, even so the individual soul tired of functioning in the worlds of waking and dream, entering in the state of ignorance, enjoys his own bliss. (Paingala Upanishad, 11.9.)

During the time of sleep when everything is resolved, the jiva which is obscured by tamas attains the nature of happiness. (Kaivalya Upanisliad, 13.)

In deep sleep all thoughts disappear and the state of obscuration is one of bliss; there the prevailing body is the anandamaya. These are sheaths and not the core, which is interior to all these. It lies beyond waking, dream and deep sleep. That is the Reality and consists of true bliss (nijananda). (Ramana Maharshi)