Out of bliss, all beings are born,
In bliss they are sustained,
And to bliss they go and merge again.
Anandaddhevya khalvimani bhutani jayante
Anandena jatani jivanti
–Taittiriya Upanishad (3.6.1)
This verse about bliss is my favorite quote from the Vedas, the ancient literature of India. Here is a music video:
One time my sister said to me, “why do you always use the word bliss?” It made me realize that most people can relate to being happy, inside or out, but few people can relate to bliss as the reality of their daily life. If bliss is the source, nature and ultimate goal of life, why isn’t it a common experience?
The Difference between Bliss and Happiness
Most people have experiences of happiness, at least some of the time. Happiness is a state of well-being or contentment. What is the difference between happiness and bliss? Bliss can be defined as more than just a fleeting moment of happiness. It is an experience of wholeness, complete happiness, heavenly joy, and, in its most stabilized form, the state of enlightenment.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation technique, has said:
The message of bliss has been the message of all the great masters of all religions of all times. Christ said, ‘The kingdom of Heaven is within you.’ Buddha gave the message of nirvana. The Upanishads speak of the same sat chit ananda, eternal bliss consciousness, that is your own Self.
Two Realities of Life
There are two realities of life, the outer and the inner. In our day-to-day outer activities the experience of bliss can be hidden, just like the fluid property of water is hidden when it is ice. Our mind and senses are so accustomed to experiencing only outer objects and situations that the inner experience of latent, transcendental bliss is easily missed.
Most people experience happiness as a result of an outside pleasurable situation—the birth of a child, being with friends, walking in nature, enjoying a party, or if you are my brother, having a good game of golf. Actually, according to him golf might fall into the bliss category.
When the mind can begin to experience finer regions of thought through techniques like Transcendental Meditation, and eventually transcends even the finest level of thought, it will experience the state of pure bliss—its own essential nature. Gaining familiarity with our own inner bliss through regular experience of the Self allows us to then recognize the same bliss in our activity and all outer values of life, because the world is as we are. Very naturally and effortlessly we develop a state of Being that does not depend on anything from the outside for joy and at the same time infuses all aspects of our lives with greater happiness and a more profound sense of well-being, ultimately leading to enlightenment.
Many people feel suffering is a natural part of life. If you are not anchored to the silent, transcendental of your Being, you can easily be tossed about by the constant changing circumstances of life. The path of bliss is straight, easy, effortless, and open to everyone because it is the essential nature of everyone. Why suffer or settle for only temporary happiness where we can enjoy our own essential nature—a state of pure bliss?