Vedānta series 24
Tattvabodha now asks ānandaḥ kaḥ - what is bliss? The answer is sukha svarūpaḥ - it is joyousness. It is not the material joy. Sukha also means virtuous and pious. Based on this meaning it can be interpreted that sukha means the happiness arising out of being virtuous and pious. In other words, it can be said that sukha here does not mean the physical comfort but the mental state. It is not necessary that the mind will also be happy if the body is happy. Mind inherently is attracted to pleasures derived from the materialistic world. Since the materialistic world constantly undergoes changes and modifications, the joy derived from material objects is not perpetual. When, what that exists today does not exist at a latter date, it causes sorrow. The sorrow arises because, one develops attachment to an object ever after knowing that any material object will not last forever and is bound to perish. When the object perishes on a particular day, his mind undergoes agitation leading to suffering and pain. His happiness was purely temporary. Temporary happiness gives alternative bouts of pleasure and pain. If there is the pleasure, there is bound to be pain. Wherever there is the pleasure, it is not bliss, it is only temporary happiness.
Then what is bliss? Bliss is the stage of mind, where the mind is devoid of any thoughts and fixed on the Self within. Fixation of thought about the Self is a secondary process. The primary process is to make the mind thoughtless. The mind can become thoughtless only if one does not think about either an object or an event. Let us assume that a person has a passion for pets. He wants to rear a cat in his home. He buys the cat. Whenever he sees the cat, he derives immense happiness. One day the cat falls ill and dies. What would happen to that man? His love for the cat was so immense he could not bear its death. His happiness was short lived. This happiness was derived from an object, in this instance, a cat and naturally short lived, as we know any object that exists today will not continue to exist forever. Attachment to short lived objects always leads to pain, misery and sorrow. Though one could also derive happiness due to objects, it is not permanent.
Then what is permanent happiness? That which is permanent alone is capable of giving eternal happiness. Brahman or the Self alone is eternal. The source of miseries arises from our inability to connect with the original cause, the Brahman; instead we always associate ourselves with the effect, the objects of the materialistic world. Instead of looking at the Self within, we make a great effort to look at the shapes and forms of the gross body. Here starts our misery. To overcome this misery, two things are needed. One is to acquire spiritual knowledge, which repeatedly says that the Self within is the cause for all the effects. Secondly, the practice, where one should to learn look within, where the ever illuminating Self exists. Only knowledge and practice together lead to realisation of the Self and surely not any one of them.