The last but extremely important sheath (5 covering layers of a living being) is the Bliss Sheath. When this sheath is uncovered, not only does the living being come very close to God but that it becomes God Himself. The soul is said to be a spark of God. Its ultimate form is Satya, Shiva, Sunder and God too is called Sat (existence), Chit (wisdom), Anand (bliss). Both these states ooze with supreme bliss. The ultimate goal is to make our lives happy, contented and blissful.
When the Bliss Sheath is purified, a person awakens his soul wisdom and thus becomes God, from a good human being. Such a person’s glory is akin to that of God. This spiritual standpoint truly is nectar of immortality. On attaining it the divine glories of immortality, divine beauty, divine aura etc. gives us the nectarine taste of immortality each moment.
Ordinarily a living being experiences bondage. Its organs of knowledge give a very limited taste and via the sense organs of action, it can amass very limited material wealth. Yet in the deep recesses of the inner personality of a human being lie such infinite potentials albeit in seed form that they correspond to the powers of the entire cosmos. The gross world is its body and the subtle world is its vital force. The vital force is more powerful than the gross body. In comparison to visible material objects, the invisible energy of heat, sound, light, ether etc. is more potent. But when this invisible nature is compared to the subtle world, the latter is infinitely more powerful. When one can enter that area or establish a strong bond with it, one’s limitations / bondage is cut as under and thus manifests limitless power. We have the example of Extra Sensory Potentials. Sometimes we get rare experiences of their miracles. But if we can enter this area more deeply, if we can unearth and gain knowledge of the utility power of these divine glories, their extraordinary nature can be compared only to realized saints (Sidhas). Only then can divinity manifest in human beings and that we can perceive God in mankind. This state has to ooze with supreme bliss.
The abovementioned sentences say that both the external and the inner subtle world abound in infinite divine sensations. There is no limit to its blissful feeling. This is a fact. Of course! It is something entirely different that you did not benefit due to illusory notions. A musk deer fails to realize that the fragrance of musk is manifesting from its own body and hence in order to smell it, the deer runs about here and there. Ultimately it gets tired and keeps despairing, its “plight". Thus one cannot blame God for one’s erroneous thinking. In fact God has filled us all with untold bliss, yet if we refrain from finding it within ourselves and run about furiously in the external illusory material world, who is to blame? The fault lies entirely with the one who aims for infinite bliss, while foolishly running after transient sense objects.
The Lord sent his eldest son i. e. princely man in this divine garden called the world, to attain supreme bliss. Over here there are means and probabilities of bliss. Yet if we face hardships, know for sure that it is the result of our distorted and tainted thinking. Over here bliss is our nature and sorrow has been superimposed on it in an illusory manner. God Almighty sent man in this world to experience bliss and not pain. If only man intensely endeavours to make this world more advanced, wealthy and cultured, he can remain blissful by conjoining to divine bliss served by the Lord. For this attainment no gigantic step has to be taken. If only we shed our vile intellect and lowly activities can we attain infinite bliss. Bliss is our rightful inheritance. As true descendents of God, we already have it albeit in a covered manner. It is most required that we know the nature of these attainments and utilize them for sacred purposes. Those who fail in this endeavor will undergo strife and pain only.
The Lord is bliss manifest. Every pore of a living being is an outlet of bliss. Mother Nature possesses the quality of beauty and giving us comforts. Everywhere there is bliss and bliss only. Thus our life is called bliss incarnate. Man owns this sheath in a natural, joyous and limitless manner. We all live in the world of bliss.
Yet our ill-fate is like the lines written by Kabir (great poet-saint of India).
“A fish swimming in water is thirsty. Hence I laugh aloud. "
Suppose a man locks up his house and leaves it. When he returns he realizes he has lost the key and hence sits out in the cold, experiencing a lot of discomfort. In the same way we have lost the key of the storehouse of bliss present in our own body. Thus we cannot even lead normal lives due to hunger, thirst etc. The Bliss Sheath is very much within ourselves, yet we undergo pain and sorrow. How amazing? What an irony! Aren’t we mocking our own selves?
One can only destroy all pain / sorrow by discovering the Bliss Sheath. It is said –
“All living beings exist with the hope of attaining eternal bliss. "
- Brihadaranyak (4/3/32)
“All creatures manifest from the ocean of divine bliss and live in the ocean of bliss. Ultimately it merges into pure bliss. "
- Taitariyopanishad (3/6/1)
“I can never describe that supreme divine bliss experienced by a Yogi. "
- Yog Rasayanam (114)
“When living beings are liberated from the bondage of sorrow they enjoy the ocean of bliss experienced by a Bodhi-Sattva (enlightened saint) in his bosom and this is sufficient. What can one gain from salvation that is devoid of divine bliss?"
“The Lord is nectar, manifest. When man attains this nectar he experiences untold bliss. Ere he was not truly the fundamental bliss principle that pervades every atom of the cosmos (like space), who would get the experience of bliss merely by living a life full of activities related to the vital force (Pran-Apan)? In reality this very principle is the fount of bliss eternal. "
- Taitariyopanishad (2/7/1)
The Lord is called nectar too. This nectar is spiritual and not material. It can be experienced as divine enthusiasm, contentment, satiation, peace etc. Its attainment is irrevocably united with inner greatness. The more one’s soul becomes pure and magnanimous, the more this bliss blooms forth. It depends on one’s exalted standpoint and high-level activities. But this eternal bliss can never be experienced if one’s thinking is lowly and activities are vile. Each individual aspiring for eternal bliss has to first enter the deep recesses of the Bliss Sheath, so as to drink that divine bliss from its mouth source.
Saint Emerson said, “If you send me to hell, I will convert it to heaven. " This is a fact not worth ignoring. With the help of a sacred view point, a lot of reformation can be induced in regions close by. Further we become capable enough to induce desired results from external circumstances. Heaven is nothing but divine vision and sacred thinking. Heaven is not some particular area, planet etc.in this material cosmos but is in fact, a divine standpoint at the mental level. Heaven and hell is nothing but good or bad results of our high or lowly viewpoint. Every human being like Saint Emerson has the capacity to create heaven in his life by purifying his very thinking.
Further the Bliss Sheath can give us salvation (Moksha). Salvation means overcoming bondage of this material world. The biggest obstacle that a creature faces while walking on the path of progress is its own inner weaknesses and mental taints. A spider weaves its own net and gets entangled in it. Even silk worms create their own net (bondage). Even so man is the creator of the bondage that he experiences and has thus chained himself to this world. One faces so much sorrow when one is experiencing bondage. This can be experienced even by birds and beasts.
The true meaning of Moksha or salvation or liberation is to look upon our soul as divine consciousness and not inert material i. e. we are not the gross physical body or name and form but that we are the underlying divine cosmic consciousness. This has to be experienced by each individual. One must experience that joy, happiness, success etc. are not the result of usage of external material objects (they are merely mediums/ instruments) but is a result of purification of the inner soul. One must give up bad qualities so as to first become a good human being and then experience one’s true divine nature. Greatness is God. Close proximity to God or attaining Him means conjoining greatness to our hopes, aspirations and valid desires. A person is truly liberated from bondage when he attains that inner state wherein like a fish swimming against the ocean current, one swims against the current of common lowly trends, downfall etc. Salvation is said to be the supreme goal of human life.
After death one may get the benefit of heaven or salvation. But one must strive for it while one is yet alive. All this is dependent on one’s viewpoint and transformation of one’s mind. One attains liberation while yet alive. What one attains after death is merely a reaction of one’s action while yet alive. Thus one should intensely endeavor in this very life to attain soul purification and hence true salvation / Moksha. This type of salvation is called “Jeevan-Mukti" i. e. liberated while yet alive. He who cuts asunder the bondage of limitations, vileness of mind etc. attains the eternal bliss of salvation. Following is what scriptural scholars have to say:
“A Jeevan-Mukta (liberated while alive) is one who is devoid of likes / dislikes, sorrow / elation and whose intellect is divine. "
- Mahopanishad (2/57)
“There are 8 types of bondage viz. hatred, suspicion, fear, shame, secretive attitude, pride of lineage, ideals, power. He who is tied up by these, is an animal and if one is liberated from these, one is God. "
- Tantra Kaustubh
“The one who renounces his ego, who is liberated from arrogance, jealousy etc. , who performs actions without harboring likes/ dislikes, is called a Jeevan-Mukta (liberated while yet alive) by wise men. "
- Mahopanishad (2/50)
“A person who with equanimity shuns another person’s wealth despite living in this deadly material world is truly spiritual and because this person experiences eternal soul bliss, he is called a Jeevan-Mukta".
- Mahopanishad (2/ 62)
“The space between bondage and liberation measures 2 feet only. Bondage says “this is mine" and liberation says “nothing is mine".
- Mahopanishad (4/72)
In this manner when one’s viewpoint is purified, when one understands the nature, basis and area of bliss, one’s belief becomes steadfast. What does one achieve by doing what? When this becomes definite, one’s spiritual ignorance is overcome and the wisdom of this reality is called spiritual philosophy. This biggest problem of this world pertains to the soul. Thus one can truly solve worldly problems only if this problem is solved. This knowledge is also called Brahmajnana, Tattvajnana, Sadjnana etc. In order to attain eternal bliss, one must endeavor to solve inner (mental) problems and give a proper direction to one’s thinking. This is also called Samadhi (trance). This is the first step towards attainment of eternal bliss (God). No doubt Samadhi is a very elevated Yogic state yet its beginning step is as mentioned above.
When one persists with experience of Samadhi (trance), the scattered mind gets focused and thus one gets benefits of pure thinking and actions. Thus the first leg of spiritual practices pertaining to the Bliss Sheath is based on Samadhi experience. This is a Samadhi in the waking state. Over here there is no need to become unconscious and that cravings and agitations have to be calmed down totally. When the storm of desires is silenced totally, man clearly visualizes his goal. Spiritual seekers of the Bliss Sheath are asked to concentrate and focus their minds. But this is not a mental exercise where one thinks about one particular thought exclusively so as to concentrate the mind. Such a mental state is called Samadhi (trance).
“Samadhi is that state wherein the mental agitations are overcome so as to get focused on divine truth. "
“Samadhi is that inner state wherein after renouncing craving / aversion towards fleeting material objects one steadies the mind and thus attains soul force. "
- Dakshasmriti (7/21)
“Just as when salt mixes with water, it takes up the form of water, in the same way Samadhi (trance) means the mind merging into the cosmic soul (God)".
- Saubhagyalakshmyupanishad (14)
“When the will power of a living being and God marches ahead in one direction, it dispels the sense of separation from one another. This state is called Samadhi. "
“When a living being’s material desires come to an end, and the living being and God march in one direction, that state is called Samadhi (trance). Samadhi is that balanced state of the soul wherein one’s agitations are nullified. "
-Saubhagya Upanishad (2/16-18)
The inner divine powers are destroyed if mental agitations augment. But if this mental turbulence is nullified, if the mind gets focused in one desired direction, one’s soul force augments as a result of obstruction of scattering of the mind. Thus many divine powers manifest in our soul which have been described as follows –
“Due to continuous practice of Samadhi (meditative trance) the mind merges into the cosmic soul (i. e. God) and thus, one gets enlightenment. "
- Yog Rasayan
“Objects seen in a dream are illusory whereas experiences of Samadhi (meditative trance) are the absolute reality. Further one gets greater benefits apart from those attained during Samadhi. "
- Yog Rasayan
The nature of the spiritual practice pertaining to the Bliss Sheath is the state of union of a living being / creature and God. Generally we know God as His name only. We no doubt chant His name and perform worship rites. Yet we never endeavor to merge our individual soul into the cosmic soul (i. e. God). We can never imagine with our limited material minds, the experience of this super blissful state. Ordinarily God is thought to be that individual who is appeased by a few prayers, eulogies, rites etc. Thus we try to satisfy our desires with God’s blessings. Thus vain worship rites are carried out which is nothing but mockery. Where can one find a true devotee of God who willingly desires disciplining by God? Where is that devotee who will surrender his all (mind) to God? In fact this is true devotion (Bhakti). Under such circumstances nectar will definitely manifest. There will be zeal and zest for life everywhere along with true contentment and peace.
God is not an individual but is a cosmic divine force. He can never be pleased with gifts, presents etc. just as we please others. In order to fully utilize electricity, its utility limits have to be studies carefully. The Lord can only be pleased by imbibing greatness of character. It is also called faith in the arena of sentiments, spirituality in the field of thinking and righteous qualities in the arena of actions.
The true nature of devotion / meditation is unification. The supreme goal of devotion is unification, oneness and surrender. Duality is replaced with non-duality (oneness). This can be called marriage of a puppet doll with the fingers of a magician. It is the bond between a husband and wife. This is establishment of discipline. By destroying one’s selfish / egocentric desires, one imbibes divine discipline and this is called surrender. This sort of self-surrender has been prescribed by the Lord on the part of a devotee in the Bhagwad Geeta. Wood and other types of fuel become fire itself when thrown in fire. When water is added to milk it becomes milk. The Lord should not be looked upon as a tool (means) of satiating our lowly desires but that we should become one with His great qualities. This state is called Brahma Nirvan, vision of God or attaining God. This is the non-dual spiritual practice of divine sciences (Brahma-Vidya). It is on this basis that a human being (Nara) can become God (Narayana), a Purusha can become Purushottama, a living being can become Brahman (all-pervading soul) and individual soul can merge into the cosmic soul (God).
Love is full of magnetic attraction. One adores the proximity of love and each individual yearns for it intensely. The very nature of divine love which is a result of devotion to God, demands that the wall between the individual soul and cosmic soul (God) be warded off. There should be eternal oneness between the two. Under such circumstances, either God acts as per the desires of an individual or that an individual acts according to the Lord’s wishes. It is very clear that a river cannot merge into a pond because a pond is not wide or deep enough to imbibe a huge river. Even so the Lord can never act according to an individual’s desire. Thus individual souls will have to give up selfish / egocentric desires and act according to divine (God) will. This is true faith and devotion. Thus one can enjoy eternal bliss of devotion.
Divine love can never be limited. The river Ganges emanating from the lofty Himalayan Mountains (in India) can never be obstructed when it is flowing. Instead it satiates everyone’s thirst and by merging itself in the ocean, it gives up its limitations. Devotion means divine love. Love is a result of sensitivity in the form of oneness of soul, compassion, generosity, science and good-will. When these sacred sensations go beyond the arenas of imagination and emotions so as to manifest in our day to day activities, it can be seen in the form of self-creation and world creation. One yearns to surrender and help others to surrender at the Lord’s feet by imbibing faith and divine energy. One continuously reflects on this aspect and then starts acting thus too.
The Bliss Sheath is the fount of faith and devotion. Over here one experiences the blissful union with God. Thus in order to fulfil the goal of meeting God, Indian Rishis laid down the path of a high leveled 5-sheathed Gayatri based spiritual practice. In the emotional area, the result of this divine union is experienced as bliss or zest. Bliss means experiencing intense joy on seeing the divine aspect of this world. Zest means the valour and daring with which we overcome the vile, demonic aspect of this world. A firm resolution of God, wherein He will incarnate in this world so as to establish righteousness after destroying unrighteousness can be seen fulfilled by a spiritual seeker in his own psyche. Such a seeker feels that the Lord has incarnated in his psyche as bliss / zest and faith/ devotion. This is the sensitive aspect of the Bliss Sheath.
Shriram Sharma Acharya, founder of the International Gayatri Family, was a great Yogi, seer and incarnation of God who wrote volumes of scientific literature mainly on spiritual subjects for world welfare and peace. For more scientific e-literature visit: http://www.shriramsharma.com/
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