The Bhagavadgita on Truth, Bliss and Stability

Krishna

by Jayaram V

Chapter 6 Sloka 21

sukham ātyantikam yat tad buddhigrāhyam atīndriyam
vetti yatra na caivāyam sthitaś calati tattvatah.

Translation

sukham = happiness, bliss; atyantikam = endless, infinite; yat = which; tat = that; buddhi = discriminating intelligence; grahyam = realized, grasped; atindriyam = beyond the senses, transcendental; vetti = knows; yatra = wherein; na = not; ca = and; eva = surely; ayam = this; sthitah = situated; calati = moves, deviates; tattvatah = from the Truth or Reality.

Meaning

"He does not deviate from Truth or Reality when he is established in That Infinite bliss, which is grasped by the discriminating intelligence, but which is beyond the senses.

Commentary

A yogi who is in a state of blissful self-absorption (ananda samadhi) experiences infinite bliss because of the predominance of sattva in his higher intelligence (buddhi), as it reflects the essential nature of the individual Self, which is also bliss. Sattva has the ability to reflect reality, without distorting it. When the mind (citta) becomes pure with sattva, it acts like a mirror reflecting the essential nature of any object upon which it concentrates.

Thus, when it is made to concentrate intensely upon the inner Self (Isvara), it reflects the purity, brilliance and the blissful nature of the Self. In the final stages, it merges into the infinite Self and experiences its blissful state without awareness and without any discrimination (asamprajna).

Blissful (ananda) samadhi is described by the early commentators of the Yogasutras, such as Vacaspati Misra and Vijnanabhkshu, as one of the advanced states of stateful (samprajnata) samadhi, but not the final or the most excellent. In this state, a yogi frequently falls into rapturous trances, because of the predominance of sattva in his body and mind. While it is a sign of definite progress on the path of yoga, such experiences may distract people from making further progress, especially if they develop a taste for them and seek them repeatedly.

All formations, support and subtleties disappear only in the final stateless self-absorption (asamprajnata samadhi) or seedless (nirbija ) samadhi. The distinction between these two types of samadhi is very subtle and difficult to theorize. Even those who experience it do not know exactly what they have gone through.

The intuitive awareness of rapturous bliss arises in moments of intense concentration, in which neither the senses nor the mind (manas) participate. It arises when there is still some awareness and objectivity, although one may be blissfully unaware of it. Awareness of the blissful nature of the Self arises in buddhi because, among the constituents of Nature, it alone has the ability to reflect the brilliance and the purity of the Self.

The intuitive experience of the blissful state felt through higher intelligence is also much different from our usual and ordinary perceptual experience, which is characterized by three components, the grasper (grihtr), the means or the process of grasping (grahana) and the object grasped (grahya).

In the transcendental state of self-absorption, which is not entirely devoid of objectivity, only the grasper or the knower remains and the other recede into the background. In that state, the knower knows, without the effort of knowing, while some process of knowing remains.

According to some commentators, in this state of samadhi, which is not complete but almost complete, there is actually no direct experience of the infinite Self. One rather feels intuitively the infinite bliss of the transcendental Self in a state of undivided concentration.

The absorption is also incomplete because there is still some awareness happening and some subtle activities still going on. It is as if you are standing on the edge of an infinite ocean. You have not actually jumped into it, but by just looking at it, you know intuitively how big it is and how you will feel when you really jump into it. When you are standing in the presence of a great person whom you admire intensely or with whom you feel a great connection, you feel the energy and the electricity radiated from that person.

Same thing happens when you come face to face with your inner Self. You feel mesmerized by it and become enraptured by its very proximity. Whatever may be the truth, a person who reaches this state of inner transformation will not revert to the ordinary consciousness because his delusion and ignorance are removed instantly when he realizes the essential nature of his inner Self.

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