Joy, happiness and Bliss!
The blissful Self!
Joy, happiness and bliss, though constitute a common meaning, yet there is a wide variation in the terms. Joy and happiness is of course related to the mundane world whereas 'bliss' is really supra worldly. Bliss can never be got from this mundane world or from the paltry pleasures of the senses. Bliss is in the realm of spirit or self.
Bliss is unadulterated and permanent contentment. Nothing will mar the bliss. But the earthly joys are really fading, momentary and they are like the flashes of lightening. All the pleasures conveyed by the sense organs belong to the category of 'fleeting pleasures'. They include, seeing beautiful scenes, hearing melodious songs, tasting nice dishes, the sensation of touch and smelling exotic aroma are some of the pleasures conveyed by the senses. Every one of us are aware of the fleeting nature of the above sensual pleasures.
How can we enjoy bliss bereft of the sensual feelings? In fact, bliss has nothing to do with earthly pleasures. Once a person become blissful, nothing will affect his bliss. Bliss is the quality of the soul or self. The Self is always blissful. It is ever existing, full of knowledge. Nothing will diminish the bliss. Hence, if one has to attain 'bliss', he should become one with the Self. He should introvert his vision from the external surroundings.
We all have several misconceptions about our life on earth. First of all, we were not created to enjoy the carnal pleasures of senses. They are incidental to living. We eat to live and we do not live to eat. Why we eat? To keep us hale and healthy so that we can perform our duties incidental to our life. There are two sets of duties assigned to man. Man lives in society. We can not live apart from society. Society provides many things for us like food, clothing etc. which are essential basic things. Hence we have got a debt to pay back to the society. Likewise, we are indebted to the Self within.
Out of ignorance, man nourish the body but starves his soul. His soul needs a different kind of nourishment. Man need to follow the human virtues and he must abhor vices. He should embrace all in selfless love and abhor violence. He should learn to live amicably with the fellow beings. These kinds of behavior of man will alone nourish the soul. Instead, if he becomes a slave to the senses and behave like animals, then his life on earth will become a waste. The priority of human life is the attainment of liberation from the continuous cycles of birth and death. Again and again human beings take birth and die. This sort of repeated innings will confer no benefit on the individual.
All of us are undergoing imprisonment. What sort of imprisonment we go through? Body is a prison and mind is the locked gate of the prison. The guards who ensure our imprisonment is 'i' and 'myness'. 'i' is nothing but the ego wedded to the body consciousness. The 'i' identifies itself with the perishable body and evanescent mind. The mind is the most unsteady instrument. It is worse than a monkey. We can compare it to an intoxicated monkey!
How the body or the mind will deliver us from the shackles of earthly life? No! It is quite foolish to rely upon the body/mind complex to gain freedom. Real freedom can be got only through the contemplation of the Self. Once we realize our Self as the be all, then we won't follow the mind enslaved by the senses. Hence the saints and sages always implore us to "Know thyself". Sri Ramana Maharishi of South India always tells his disciples to ask a vital question "Who am I? Then he answers the question himself. "I am neither the body nor the mind or the senses. I am the eternal self within all the bodies. One Sun is reflected in several pots filled up with water. Can we say that there are many suns? There is only one Sun! Likewise, there is only one Self reflected in the consciousness of all beings on earth!
In order to remain in everlasting bliss, one has to know the Self!