This is part XIII and concluding part of our series on understanding our physical body. We will now begin our discussion on the sheath of bliss which is the last of the five koshas or sheaths or coverings. We are just a step away from the supreme atman. Let us understand bliss. Bliss is a stage wherein your joy is radiated. You are totally happy only when you do not need anything. Bliss is a stage wherein you do not have desires and attachments. Your happiness is ruined when you do not get what you wanted. Bliss is full of joy, calm and peace. What is joy that we are talking about here? This joy is not derived out of a physical action but derived from our inner search. This joy is not external but purely internal and realised only internally. The sheath of bliss is more illuminating than the sheath of knowledge as the sheath of bliss is next to the self illuminating atman. You have already crossed the four sheaths and crossing the last hurdle is not difficult. The only difficulty is you lose your patience when you are about to cross this last stage and become restless out of anxiety. All these –difficulty, patience, stage, restlessness, anxiety – are caused by the mind only. You undertake a long journey and during the last half-an-hour or so you become so exited and would like to alight as the first passenger. In the same way you become so excited while crossing this last sheath as you are about to reach the destination. Excitement has no place in self realisation. Bliss cannot function independently and it has to depend upon buddhi for its existence. Please remember buddhi functions on the basis of inputs given by the mind. Therefore bliss can’t be experienced by everybody. It depends upon the status of your mind and your activities. If you perform noble and virtuous deeds, you can enjoy the bliss. If your acts are noble, bliss is derived automatically without your effort. When you feed a poor and hungry man, you can see the happiness in his face while he is eating. The joy derived by you on seeing his happiness is bliss. His happiness is not bliss, as he is happy because his desire has been fulfilled. This is temporary as he will again feel the hunger. You have provided food to him expecting nothing in return from him. That is why your happiness is bliss. Please also remember that the bliss you enjoy here is also temporary, as this is derived out of one of your actions.
Bliss can be perennial if all your acts give you internal happiness without expecting anything in return. Normally bliss manifests fully when we are in the state of deep sleep. Only during deep sleep all other sheaths cease to function and bliss alone is active. In the other two states viz. awake and dream, bliss will not totally manifest as mind continues to receive inputs. In your deep sleep state bliss is not influenced by mind as your mind at this stage is resting. Your anger and joy are derived from your mind. Mind is agitated both in joy and anger. You are under the impression that the cause of your anger or happiness is due to objects, as desire is only for an object. In fact object is not the cause but your mind is the cause, as mind is the source for thought. As long as the mind is agitated, it obstructs the manifestation of happiness, citing some reason or other. Nobody remains always happy because of the obstruction by the mind. That is why mind need to be tamed. When the obstruction is there, happiness is not radiated. Joy and happiness are only a miniscule of bliss. But remember that bliss is next to the illuminating atman. Therefore bliss appears more radiant than intellect. Finally, bliss also depends on mind. Bliss does not always manifest. Bliss is wrongly considered as atman because it is next to atman. Remember one basic fact. If anything is associated with the products of prakrti in the form of three gunas, then it is subject to change. If anything is subject to change then, it is not atman. Since all these five sheaths are subject to modification, we can now confidently say that these sheaths are not atman, but form as a covering around the self illuminating atman. What happens when we cross these five sheaths? We have crossed these five sheaths by means of elimination process. We have eliminated all these five sheaths as they are subject to modifications. Once we cross these sheaths, we have crossed all the obstacles and we are able to witness the shining atman from a distance. After our discussion on these five sheaths, we can conclude that atman is self illuminating, not subjected to change, not subjected to transmigration, not depending on any other source for its existence, being present without any activity and just witnessing our actions, etc. We need to know more about atman as our main aim is to explore atman within. With this we conclude our series on understanding our physical body. For comments and feedback please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org