WHAT ARE PLEASURE , HAPPINESS AND BLISS ?……
“ Bliss has some quality of pleasure in it, it has some quality of happiness in it; but it is much more. And the plus is that you feel absolutely fulfilled, contented, with no desire, no expectation. This very moment you are where everybody wants to be, and there is a tremendous feeling that more than this is not possible; there is no way. It is just as there can be nothing bigger than the sky; it is unbounded. It is inconceivable to the mind, because the mind can only conceive limited things. Here you can feel how limited the mind is. It cannot even conceive something unlimited………”
I have been blissed out myself for almost thirty-three years. That is exactly the time Jesus lived on earth. Shankara also lived only thirty-three years, Vivekananda too. For the length of the whole life of Jesus I have been blissed out. And this seems to be the right time to ask me what bliss is. It is almost impossible to answer, but remember I am saying “almost”.
The “almost” depends on two things. First: if you are available, open, relaxed, with no idea of what bliss is, just a pure enquiry without any prejudice, without any mind; if your heart is available without any conditions from your side — then perhaps the almost impossible can become possible.
Secondly — and this is an even more difficult thing…. it is as if a person has been dead for thirty-three years. Logically you can ask him, “What is death? — because you have been experiencing death for thirty-three years — how long will you take to define it?” The dead man cannot answer; he is not there.
I am also not here — I am a dead man.
This is the nature of bliss.
As it enters in you, you are no more there.
Both cannot exist together. The coexistence of the ego and bliss is absolutely impossible; only one can exist. It is like darkness and light. You cannot manage some kind of coexistence between darkness and light.
In the East we have the story that darkness appeared before God with tears in her eyes and complained against the sun: “I have not done anything against your sun. I am not even acquainted with him, we have never met; still he goes on harassing me. Wherever I go he reaches me sooner or later, and I am constantly on the run. Now I am really tired, and I want you to do something about it. Why is he after me?”
God called the sun and asked him, “Why are you after darkness? What wrong has she done to you?”
The sun said, “Who is darkness? I have never met her. I would like to be introduced.”
God looked around to where darkness had been standing but nobody was there. Since then God has been trying to arrange some kind of meeting, a roundtable conference, some kind of mediation, negotiation. But although all the religions say that God is allpowerful, in this case He has failed. He has not been able to bring the light, the sun, in front of darkness; only one appears at a time.
The reason is very simple: darkness has no existence of its own. It is only the absence of light. When the light is present, how can its absence also be there? That absence is possible only when light is absent. This case is going to remain eternally on file, undecided. This story is really significant. It says something about you and bliss.
The ego is nothing but the absence of blissfulness.
The more egoistic a person is, the more in anguish, in suffering, in misery, in darkness he is. His life is nothing but hell.
There is no other hell than to live in the ego.
There is no other heaven than to come out of the ego.
In coming out of the ego you come out of suffering, misery, anguish — that whole company. And when there is no ego, what remains is blissfulness.
I close my eyes — it is there.
I open my eyes — it is there.
I walk — it walks with me.
I sleep — it sleeps with me:
I am no longer separate from it.
Ordinarily, in the dictionaries you will find bliss defined as happiness, pleasure, joy. Linguistically they all appear to have a similar meaning; existentially it is not so. And you will have to understand the subtle nuances and differences; only then you may be able to catch some hold of the phenomenon called bliss.
Remember, you cannot hold bliss in your fist.
You can hold bliss only in your open hand.
Bliss is just like a breeze:
Your fist will miss it.
Your open hand may have a little dance with it, a little love affair with it.
Let us start from the lowest because that will be easier to understand, that’s where man biologically is born. Pleasure is physical.
A great Sufi poet, Omar Khayyam, has the right definition of pleasure. He was not defining pleasure, he was writing a beautiful poem but, unknowingly, he has come very close to defining pleasure. He says: a cold winter night, having a good dinner… sitting by the fireside on your coziest chair, with a book of poetry in your lap, and a beautiful woman dancing and singing with a musical instrument…. The warmth, the beauty, the good, delicious food, and a great book of poetry in your lap; the music…. You are alone together in the cold night and the warmth of the fire…. This is pleasure.
Physically you are healthy. You enjoy your food. You enjoy your lover, your beloved. You enjoy friends, or music, or painting — all this is physical. Nothing is wrong with it; as far as my religion is concerned I am all for pleasure. Of course, I don’t stop there, I only start from there.
All the other, old religions are against pleasure; and that’s where they have missed, because if you miss the first step, please don’t hope that you will be able to reach the highest step. The first rung of the ladder is as essential as the last: they are both part of the same ladder. I have no condemnation of the first rung on the ladder, because without it the whole ladder will disappear.
I am all for pleasure, but I would like you to be reminded that there are higher things than pleasure.
Happiness is higher than pleasure.
It is not physical, it is more psychological. You may be hungry, you may be cold, freezing, and suddenly a friend knocks on your door. You forget your hunger and your cold, you simply give him a hug. It is something higher than the body can give to you; it is in your psychology. A friend whom you have not seen for a long time…. You forget your body — a tremendous happiness arises in you.
Animals have only pleasure, and most human beings are still animals. Most of them don’t know of happiness. There are people who have never loved. Remember, sex is pleasure, love is happiness. Don’t get confused between the two. Love can exist without sex; sex can exist without love. They can exist together too but there is no necessity for them to exist together.
Sex is given by nature; it is an inbuilt program in your biology. Love is not an inbuilt program; that’s why so many people go on missing it. It has to be evolved. You have to learn it, it is an art. You have to understand one thing, that nature and biology have no need of love; sex is enough for life to continue. Reproduction is the end of sex, and biology is interested only in reproducing.
Love is a luxury.
It has no biological function.
Unless you start learning something that goes beyond your body, which is not a need of the body — the body can exist without it — you will never be able to know what love is. Experiencing poetry, the depth of music or the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset…. No animal bothers about sunset or sunrise. You should not be deceived by the birds in the morning chattering all around. It is not a song of happiness to welcome the sun, no. It is just the overflowing energy after the whole night’s peaceful, relaxed state.
You don’t get up so rejuvenated because you don’t sleep well. Your mind goes on thinking and dreaming and projecting; your mind goes on keeping your body tense. Just watch somebody’s face while he is sleeping, and you will be wondering what he is doing. Sometimes his face becomes very tense, sometimes tension lines appear on his forehead, sometimes he is gnashing his teeth, sometimes he starts making some sounds. Perhaps he is saying something but in sleep it becomes gibberish; you cannot figure out what he is saying. But so much is going on.
Just the other morning Vivek showed me one of the white peacocks which always comes near my sitting room and sleeps on a treetop. That is his religious practice every night; it may be raining, it may be snowing — it doesn’t matter. And the place where he sits seems to be so risky that he could fall any moment, but he is so relaxed, almost one with the tree. Now, after these ten hours, twelve hours of almost going to the very source of his life in sleep, if he starts dancing by the morning it is no wonder.
It has nothing to do with the sun or the flowers, it has something to do with his inner energy which is overflowing. The birds are chirping, chitchatting — it is simply aliveness. But remember, animals or birds cannot have a taste of happiness; that is man’s prerogative.
One thing to be remembered: pleasure has its counterpart — pain; happiness has its counterpart — unhappiness. And you cannot have only one without having the other too; they are inseparable. If you have pleasure, in the same amount be ready for pain. It is not possible to have ninety percent pleasure and ten percent pain. Nature does not function that way. It is very fair; it is always fifty-fifty, equally balanced.
In the same way happiness is joined with unhappiness. Everybody wants to be happy, and you will find everybody unhappy. The more you want happiness, the more you are inviting unhappiness.
The American constitution has a very stupid idea in it. It says that the pursuit of happiness is man’s birthright. The people who were writing this constitution had no idea what they were writing. If the pursuit of happiness is the birthright of mankind, then what about unhappiness? Whose birthright is unhappiness? These people were not at all aware that if you ask for happiness, you have asked for unhappiness at the same time; whether you know it or not does not matter.
If a certain painting makes you happy, the meeting of a friend makes you happy, a certain song makes you feel happy…. But how long can you remain with the friend? In the meeting there is the departure; in life there is death. How long can you be happy with a song? Soon you will start getting bored by it, you will become fed up with it.
Mind is capable of experiencing happiness, but the more dimensions of happiness are open to you, the more dimensions of unhappiness are also open to you. It is not something to be surprised about that people like Jean-Paul Sartre feel more anguish than so-called ordinary human beings. Sartre certainly is a genius. His mind had more dimensions open to happiness; obviously he has opened the door to unhappiness too.
And one thing to remember about the relationship between happiness and time: Happiness is so beautiful, so juicy, so groovy, that you feel time is passing very fast. The watch, the clock, have no idea that you are happy or unhappy — they are moving at the usual speed; but when you are happy you feel time flying by because you would like to have as much of it as possible. You would like it to remain forever. You are clinging to it. You fear that it is going to slip out of your hands. In all this, the time has passed and suddenly you see that that great moment is no longer there.
So when happiness is there, it is momentary; when unhappiness is there you don’t want it, it is an uninvited guest. You want to throw it back, but you are incapable of throwing it away. Time will seem to be moving slower, as if all the watches are conspiring against you. When you are happy they move fast; when you are unhappy they suddenly become lazy, lousy. No, they are not doing anything to you.
Time is relative to your mind, so much so that it can be said that time and mind are almost one phenomenon.
Now I can talk about bliss. Bliss has no counterpart to it. That is the first thing to understand. Pleasure has pain, happiness has unhappiness, but bliss has nothing as a counterpart; it is an organic whole. Gautam the Buddha used to say, “If you taste the ocean from anywhere, it is salty.” So is the case with the bliss: you can taste it from any corner, from any space, from any direction — -it is just blissfulness. There is nothing opposite to it.
Bliss is the only experience in life which has no polar opposite to it. That’s why, once you are blissful, you cannot fall back. There is no way to be unblissful again. I have tried but nothing succeeds.
In Japan they have the statue of Bodhidharma — in Japanese his name has changed to Daruma. There is a doll called a Daruma doll, which was made according to a statement of Bodhidharma’s. He said, “What ever you do, you cannot put me upside down; I will always be upside up, downside down.”
This statement gave an idea to a toymaker to make a doll. It is heavy at the bottom, so you throw the doll any way and it always returns to sit in the lotus posture. You push it, throw it, hit it, do whatever you can do, but it represents Bodhidharma — it always settles in a lotus posture.
So is the case with bliss: whatever you do to it, whatever happens around you, it is absolutely the same, unchanging.
Bliss has some quality of pleasure in it, it has some quality of happiness in it; but it is much more. And the plus is that you feel absolutely fulfilled, contented, with no desire, no expectation. This very moment you are where everybody wants to be, and there is a tremendous feeling that more than this is not possible; there is no way. It is just as there can be nothing bigger than the sky; it is unbounded. It is inconceivable to the mind, because the mind can only conceive limited things. Here you can feel how limited the mind is. It cannot even conceive something unlimited.
The sky is there, without boundaries. You cannot come to a point where you can say, “Here is the boundary.” Just think about it. How can you say, “Here is the boundary?” — because a boundary means that something must be beyond the boundary. Two things are needed, absolutely needed, to make a boundary. If there is nothing beyond, then nothing is making a boundary; then there is no boundary, you will have to go into nothing. But you can never come to a point where you will find a board: “Here ends the universe.” It ends nowhere, it begins nowhere. The same is the experience of bliss.
Bliss is within you, without you.
Bliss is in life, it is in death.
It is when you are healthy, it is when you are sick.
It is when you are young, it is when you are old.
Nothing makes any difference to bliss.
Bliss is simply transcendental to all that exists in the universe.
And because it is universal, everywhere — within you, within me , howsoever difficult it may be to explain it, to experience it is not so difficult. Let me repeat my statement because that may look a little crazy:
To explain bliss is more difficult than to experience it.
That’s what the meaning of the whole phenomenon of Master and disciplehood is. The Master has bliss, the disciple has bliss.
But the Master knows that he has bliss, and the disciple does not know that he has it.
As far as having bliss is concerned, there is no difference. The difference is only that the Master’s eyes are open and the disciple’s eyes are closed.
Being in close proximity to the Master, in some unexpected movement you may have a taste of it, just like a breeze passing through you and the feel of the coolness; or just suddenly a fragrance passing by you which you cannot catch hold of. By the time you try to catch hold of it, it is already gone; and fragrances are not to be caught in your fist.
This is the whole function of my commune, to answer this question: What is bliss?
I am inviting you to be here, to be with me, because there is only one possibility: that just by your being here, a synchronicity may happen. It has happened before, it can happen again. And you have to remember, there is no other way for it to happen. It happens only in this way.
Let me try to explain to you something about synchronicity, because that is the fundamental law about bliss.
Have you ever experienced that you are sad, miserable; then a few friends come, and they are gossiping, talking — and you remember only later on, “My God, what happened to my misery and my suffering?” You got completely lost in gossiping and forgot about your misery. Those people were laughing and enjoying and joking, and something of their energy started to trigger something in you.
In Indian classical music this is an ancient, established fact, that you can place a sitar — an Indian musical instrument — in an empty room, in one corner, and on the other side, just facing that sitar, let a master sitarist play. And you will be surprised: if the master is really a maestro, the other sitar sitting there in the corner starts vibrating with the same tune. This is synchronicity. An invisible vibe of the music that is being played by the master slowly starts moving in the room. It is just like when you throw a stone in a silent lake, and ripples arise and go on spreading to the farther and farther shores.
In the same way every note of the master is creating a ripple in the air around him, and those ripples are going farther away. While passing the other sitar they will strike its wires. But the master has to be a very refined sitarist, because those wires on the other sitar need a very delicate touch — then they start slowly vibrating. Great masters have played it, showed it, exhibited it.
With the Master, the disciple is joined by the law synchronicity.
Every disciple is not a disciple unless the law of synchronicity starts functioning, unless something invisible transpires between you and the Master.
The Master is full of bliss, he is showering all that he has — because in the world of bliss the more you give, the more you have.
Ordinary economics is not applicable there. In ordinary economics, the more you give, the less you have. Something of a higher economics, totally different and opposite, functions: the more you give, the more you have.
The Master is showering.
Whether you get drenched with it or not is up to you, because you may be holding an umbrella. Your umbrella may get drenched, but umbrellas don’t feel bliss. You will remain dry, and you will go on asking, “What is the definition of bliss? What is bliss?”
Just close your umbrellas, put them aside. Better be utterly nude so nothing prevents — I mean spiritually be nude — so there is no barrier. When there is no barrier you will discover there has always been a bridge underneath the barrier.
I can help you to experience bliss.
The world of religion is the world of experiences.
That’s the difference between a teacher and a Master.
A teacher gives you definitions, explains the scriptures to you.
The Master allows you to go with him into the unknown.
He does not give you definitions, scriptures:
He gives you a push.
He throws you into the bottomless abyss of existence.
All my words are just “pushes.”
They have nothing to do with answering your questions.
I want you to experience.
And bliss is such an experience that it makes you dumb.
You know it, you feel it, you are it. But you cannot say what it is.
It is indefinable verbally, but existentially it is transferable.
Yes, I can give it to you.
My hands are not empty, they are full of it.
But you have to be empty to receive it.
Bliss is existential.
Bliss is a taste, a feel, and so overwhelming and so intense, that once you have got it you cannot believe how you have been missing it all along: “i cannot figure it out because it is simply there. It was always there; how did I manage to miss it for so many lives?” Once you get it, that is the problem that arises: how have you been missing it?
Bliss is just sitting at the very center of your being, ready to be remembered.
Bliss has not to be found, but only to be remembered.
This word “remember” is quite significant. Remember simply means: make it a part of your being again. Remember does not mean recall; no, it simply means making something a part of your being again. It is there, it is just that you have completely forgotten it. Remember: where have you forgotten it? — where have you put it?
So in the sense of remembering, the word is beautiful. In the sense of re-membering — making it again an essential part of you — it is again significant.
In the same reference I would like you to understand the original word for sin. The root from where it comes means forgetfulness. This is just strange: sin means forgetfulness.
Then the whole of religion has only one meaning:
There is only one sin — to forget your being.
And there is only one virtue — to remember it.
And the moment you know who you are, instantly, immediately, all the bliss of the whole existence is yours. You are so full of bliss that you can bless everybody, the whole existence, without exhausting it ever.”