The Bliss sheath/ आनन्दमयकोश
Bliss sheath is the subtlest and the most pervasive among all the sheaths. It is otherwise called the causal body/ कारणशरीर.
The components of causal body are nothing but the subtle and gross body in potential/ unmanifest form. Before birth, the subtle and gross bodies exist as seed form/ unmanifest in the causal body.
lets get this idea cleared_ There is total darkness in the night. All the things and beings are there as it is. They are not destroyed but they are just not perceived. As the day rises, they start appearing. In the darkness, we cannot differentiate anything.
In the causal body, subtle and gross bodies are there but in unmanifest form in the form of homogeneous vasanas. No differentiation. Got it?
We have seen the analogy of mango seed and mangoes. Just like the seed is the cause of a mango tree with particular subtle and gross qualities, the causal body is the cause of our birth with a particular subtle and gross body. Difference is, the mango seed which has given rise the mango tree, doesn’t remain in seed form. It itself has grown up in a tree. But in case of human being, the causal body ( seed/ कारणशरीर) is still there even after giving the birth to a particular subtle and gross body. In fact, causal body lives longer than subtle body. (Even after dissolution- we will learn this later on)
Thus gross and subtle bodies are in unmanifest form in the causal body. These unmanifest form are the impressions/ latent tendencies/ vasanas. A good singer/dancer/artist is born because of his vasanas/ impressions formed with his/her strong and persistent desires in respective fields, in his/her previous birth. So he/she is born (current life) in the particular conducive environment ( parents , place, etc), with a unique physic and skills (gross body), and thoughts , ideas ( subtle body) to get the vasanas fulfilled/ exhausted.
Thus the blue print of our current life (things, beings, events, profession, health, disease, etc ) is already present in our causal body.
Adding more and more desires in another fields, will create new impressions/ vasanas and those will be responsible for our future birth (with different gross and subtle body to exhaust those vasanas.)
One important term to be understood now onwards is ‘ Avidya’ / अविद्या.
According to our scriptures, Vidya/विद्या is the knowledge of the Truth/Self. Thus Ignorance of the Self is Avidya. So we can say the causal body is the layer of Avidya and it’s consequences I.e vasanas. Got it?
( we have seen in initial slides that Ignorance of the Self is the cause of desires)
Now we will learn why this sheath is called the Bliss sheath/ आनन्दमयकोश.
You must have heard a common idiom, ” Ignorance is the bliss” What does it mean??
You are enjoying sweets like jalebis, Burfis, one after another….and feeling joyous and blissfull. Suddenly some one comes and tells that these sweets are stale and contains insects. What happens? The moment you know the fact, you start nauseating. your happiness disappears and replaced by fear and disgust. But when you were in ignorance ( of staleness and insects ) you were blissfully enjoying. Thus- Ignorance is bliss. But dont you think this Bliss as a negalive Bliss? Don’t you think that knowledge prevented you from the further harm? No doubt, the blissfull ignorant state you enjoyed was awesome but it was temporary.
Same thing applies in a case of Bliss sheath/ आनन्दमयकोश.
Do you know, Why and how do you experience happy moments now and then ?? Lasting for few minutes to few hours??
You know that your true Self nature is Sat- chit- Anandam. The sat/ सत्( eternal existence), Chit/चित्( ever consciousness) and the Anandam/आनन्दम्(eternal Bliss ). This Anandam/Bliss aspect of the Self is the source of our happiness/ joy of short or long duration. How? ( You know that the mind experiences the joy and sorrow with the instrument of gross body and senses.)
Let’s take one analogy. There are two buckets, one with a clean and steady water and another with a dirty and unsteady water. You will agree that reflection of the sun will be clear in the clean and steady water bucket, but it will be blurred in muddy water bucket. In the same way, Anandam / Bliss of the Self gets reflected in the antahkaran ( mind/ intellect). More agited and unsteady the mind, less will be the reflection of the Bliss of the Self.
When ever you experience the flashes of Bliss/ joy/ happiness it is only the part of this Bliss of the Self, reflected in the mind when not agited. It is the borrowed Blisss from the Self.
A lady desires for a neckless. She continuously thinks of it. So many ideas come in her mind/ Intellect to get it. Thus her mind gets anxious, agitated, excited. In this state she doesn’t feel the bliss/ happiness. But the moment she gets the necklace, she becomes happy, and experiences Bliss. Because, her mind has become calm, quiet at the site of the necklace ( a desired thing) At this moment Self got reflected in her mind clearly. So she experienced the bliss. After few hours or days, she doesnt feel the happiness of the same degree. To seek the same type of bliss, she again starts seeking it in another object.
Thus this cycles of desiring, getting, experiencing short term bliss and again seeking goes on.
Thus it is clear that happy moments are experienced when mind is calm, when agitation s are absent. You experience such flashes of Bliss off and on, When you get a job, when you win some prize, when your loved ones come to meet you, etc. When you wonder the nature, mind becomes still and you feel blissfull. The extent your mind remains calm, to that extent you are happy.
Now, the mind and intellect are the part of subtle body, and we understood how do we experience the happiness through them. What about the bliss of causal sheath??
Be attentive, If you remember the diagramatic representation of an individual jiva, you will notice that causal sheath is the closest, most approximate to the Self/Atman.
Every one goes to sleep. In deep sleep, we enter the causal body. ( Vedantic texts mentions – When we identify with the causal body, we go in the causal body ; this state is the deep sleep) Thus, in deep sleep, we are closest to the Self. Now, be attentive- The Bliss of the Self gets totally reflected in this causal body. Just you have been told that Self gets reflected in the mind. This mind gets mearged in the causal body during deep sleep. It is there but with no modifications, clear and homogeneous with the causal sheath. That’s why Self gets completely reflected in this sheath. And we experience the total Bliss. After waking, mind start functioning. In the waking and dream states, when mind is alert, agitated, anxious it doesn’t feel happy but when it is calm , it experiences happiness. But in deep sleep, it remains calm for longer duration( homogeneous with causal body) that’s why Bliss is of long duration.
There are three degrees of happiness we experience in waking and dream sleep. That are Priya/प्रिय, mod/मोद, and pramod/प्रमोद.
Priya/प्रिय – when you think of a dear object or being.( mild grade happiness)
Mod/मोद- The intensity of joy increases when you actually get that desired object or meet the person. ( moderate grade happiness) Pramod/प्रमोद- The joy is maximum when we enjoy the object or become one with it.(Intense degree happiness or feeling of the oneness) e.g. when you think of your loved icecream, happiness is called Priya/प्रिय when you get it, the happiness is called mod/मोद. When you eat it, that joy is maximum and called pramod/प्रमोद But There are no such degrees of intensity of the Bliss in deep sleep.
King or beggar, rich or poor, educated or uneducated enjoys the Sleep with the same Bliss. In fact, if you are deprived of sleep, you get irritated. Many take sleeping pills to enjoy the Bliss. After waking from the deep sleep, everyone responds, ” I enjoyed the good sleep.” After sleep, you feel rejuvenated. In this state you are totally unaffected by the world and it’s disturbances because the transaction with the world stops when mind and intellect stop functioning as they are mearged with the causal body.
Thus as the Bliss we experience in the deep sleep is complete because of the complete reflection of the Self in this sheath, it is called the Bliss sheath/ आनन्दमयकोश
Although this state is blissful, why is it called the negative Bliss?
Because this Bliss is also of the ignorance that means We feel blissfull yet we are ignorant of its source, the Self. Although blissfull, we are not aware of the fact that ” I am the Self/ the source of the eternal happiness “
After waking, we start identifying with the BMI and suffer by the sense of incompleteness , like – I am short, I am frustrated, I am dull, etc. and try to make it complete with the world outside and suffers from heat, cold, joy and sorrow,..
Thus you must have understood that, happiness is not in objects or beings. But it is because the Self gets reflected in the quiet/ relaxed mind after getting that desired object or being. That’s why, same object cannot give same intensity of happiness after some period. Same object cannot give happiness to all the people. It depends upon the state of mind.
Deep sleep Bliss is also a temporary bliss although with long duration. Now, do you understand that if you want the permanent bliss/ happiness, you have to realise the Self?? Reflected Bliss now and then is not our goal, our goal is to be the source of the Bliss Itself, and we need not go anywhere to get it because we are That source. Still Difficult to digest….isn’t it?
You must have heard about the realised persons. These are called jivanmukta. They are in this permanent Bliss state as they have experienced the Self. This is called the awakened stage. Difficult but not impossible……. Slowly Slowly, we have to march forward….. Listen to vedanta knowledge….think and contemplate upon it……you will digest and assimilate it one day….. We will learn the three states of consciousness in next part.