Boundless Bliss


Bliss With No Blemish

All of us seek happiness and shun sorrow. This quest is indeed universal. We crave to sustain such happiness, yet it vanishes and sorrow rebounds. One cannot constantly face such a paradox. While we want to be free of sorrow, we rarely succeed in it. Our desire to retain a state of sorrowless joy fails, despite our best efforts. Sorrow of one kind or the other, always erupts. Further, even if we feel joyous, the law of diminishing returns applies, abating the intensity of joy and ultimately leading to a state of joylessness and tedium. A state of sorrow again overtakes us. We find ourselves unable to break this cycle.

Sorrow thus acquires an undying existence. On analyzing, we realise that we sow the seeds of sorrow and allow them to grow, yet we want to escape from the inevitable consequences of our own doings. What is sorrow ? It seems that it is some undesirable experience. It may relate to body, mind, finances, family, society, politics or our own soul. Pain is inevitable in human life. When we do not get what we want, it gives us pain and sorrow. Even if we occasionally get the desired object, the joy of winning it starts diminishing right from the outset. Fresh pursuit of joy thereafter engages us. Not one aspiration comes to fruition. However, when we achieve some goal, we promptly turn our attention to other such goals. It is an unsatiable thirst. The Uttradhyayan (Chapter 9 gatha 48) states, that if we obtain mountains like Kailash of gold and silver, we are not satisfied because desires are like the endless sky. Even when, one gets a desired object fresh desires are born for something else.What is the reason for sorrow ? In simple terms, it is ridiculously not getting what we want. Contrarily, getting something desired, makes us joyous. This state leads to attachment (raga) which in turn leads to bondage. A person engulfed in joy has to undergo sorrow. It is inevitable. Can we touch the horizon? Similarly, no joy is possible from the gratification of senses.

The way to stay away from sorrow is to avoid getting snared by joy and by shedding attachment. A vitraga (ascetic) is not influenced by joy or sorrow, profit or loss, honour or disgrace, meeting or parting. He is able to strike a balance between the favourable and the unfavourable and maintains his equanimity. Maintaining such equanimity and balance is the reward of the pursuit of vitragatva (renunciation).

The pursuit of this mental equilibrium is denoted by Samayika in Jain Darshan, Vipashyana in Bauddha Darshan and Yoga in Gita. Other religions also attach considerable importance to the practice of this balanced attitude. This pursuit becomes the basis of other such exercises. Boundless bliss is possible only when attachment is eliminated.

We do not need momentary joy. We want it to be lasting. By getting rid of momentary pleasures, we can put an end to attachment. Spiritual prudence enables us to give up attachment.