--> Skip to main content

Vidyaranya Teachings On Bliss

Vidyaranya in his Panchadasi devotes the last five chapters of that work to the concept of bliss. He classifies bliss into

  • Yogananda or the raptures of yogic concentration
  • The atmananda or the realization of oneself being the same as Brahman
  • Advaitananda or the bliss of non-duality of knowledge
  • Vishayananda or the pleasure that arises from the contact with external objects.

This last has been included as a type of bliss because wherever there is some satisfaction or happiness, it is the bliss that is radiated, however weakly it is mixed with passing sources.

Some thinkers like Advaita-Vidyacharya say that even among pure minds there are gradations. A mirror may generally reflect the images, but a clean mirror reflects more clearly.

Chitsukha points out that everyone love his own self and this is because the self is bliss. For this reason, happiness is not the mere absence of sorrow. Love is a positive condition. What is more, one loves his own self even when it is overlaid with sorrow. Besides, the self is not a means to happiness; it is happiness itself. If it were just a means, there would not be this unconditioned love towards it as an end in itself. Nor is the self an object of enjoyment for somebody other than the self because it is the enjoying subject all the time, not the object. It is never an object; it is always the subject. It cannot be said that the self enjoys itself, because nothing can act on itself. The self cannot be subject and object at the same time.

It follows that the self which is of the character of bliss is one and total. Its manifestation in a limited body is conditioned so as to appear to increase or decrease in degrees. In itself it is constant and integral.