Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LIMITLESS JOY – Pujya Swami Dayananda


Atyanta-sukha (unlimited happiness) is a sukha that is not comparable to the degrees of sukha that you gather. This is where people make mistakes and talk about eternal bliss, etc. This sukha is not eternal bliss; it is one's nature, svarupa.

To refer to svarupa-sukha as bliss means that it is experiential. Then, comes the question, what is eternal bliss and how can I get it? If it is something that you gain and that only lasts for a period of time, how can you call it eternal bliss? If it is something experiential, there is no jnaana, no knowledge, there. Then what is this atyantasukha? The verse itself defines it as brahmasamsparshaatyanta-sukha, a sukha that is born out of recognising Brahman, contacting Brahman.
Whenever you touch something pleasant, the sukha you get is called sparshasukha. Does this mean that by contacting Brahman, by hugging Brahman, you will gain atyanta-sukha?
No. Brahman is not an object available for hugging. Brahman is a word used by the shastrafor revealing oneself as the whole. Because of the knowledge that aatmaa is Brahman, there is sukha, called brahma-samsparsha-sukha, a sukha born of the contact of Brahman meaning the recognition of the self as Brahman. This sukha belongs to Brahman; it is the very nature of Brahman, in fact. Therefore, it is called svarupasukha.
Svarupasukha is not a sukha that is experiential. It is the sukha that is recognised as the nature, svarupa, of every form of sukha. In any form of sukha that you get, the sukha is because of svarupasukha, the wholeness that is the nature of Brahman. Born out of the knowledge that the self is Brahman, the meditator is said to gain this svarupasukha.


In his commentary to this verse, Shankara says that atyantasukha is that which does not come to an end. If this sukha were bliss, it would come to an end because any experience has a limit. Therefore, bliss is a finite sukha, not atyantasukha that transcends all limits — the limits of time or degrees. Such limits do not exist for the sukha that is one's very nature because svarupasukha can never be experiential sukha.
For sukha to be experiential, there must be a particular condition of the mind and that condition will always change because it is within time. Since it is within time, experiential sukha is non-eternal. But, in every sukha, there is a svarupa, a truth, and that truth is the nature of aatmaa, which is free from any form of limitation. This limitlessness, wholeness, implied by the non-separation of the knower from all that is known, the firm understanding that, 'sarvam
asmi,' (All this is myself) is the svarupasukha,
referred to in these two verses as uttama-sukha and atyanta-sukha. And, being the very nature of the self, it cannot come to an end. As long as aatmaa is there, sukha is there, and aatmaa, being beyond time, is eternal.


And how is this sukha gained? We always ask this question because, generally, the more one does in the world, the more one gains. The more you work on something, the greater the result. This being a rule very well known to us, how much should one do to gain infinite sukha? Infinite karma? No. The logic that we have for finite situations in this finite world does not work here. In fact, if action were infinite, you could not even blink because blinking, like any action, is finite. Therefore, if you had to do infinite actions, you would do no actions at all!
In fact, no action is involved in gaining atyantasukha, as Krishna indicates here by the word sukhena, meaning 'easily,' without tears, without sweat, because this sukha is yourself. The self is Brahman and atyantasukha is born out of the recognition of this fact. (Gita Home Study)
Om Tat Sat