Dear Guruji, you have mentioned to us about love, happiness and Ananda (bliss). What exactly is the difference between happiness and Ananda (bliss)?

Difference between Ananda (Bliss) and Happiness.

Whatever pleasure you get in the outside world is measured on the yard-stick of happiness. A child goes to school to study and graduate with a degree in medicine, engineering, etc. and feels that it will bring great happiness. After securing the degree, the boy or girl then goes hunting for a job that will earn him or her a good deal of money and feels that thus happiness can be obtained.

Similarly, he or she expects happiness due to marriage, family, children, relatives, friends etc. It is only on growing old that it can be understood that what one targets and obtains is not real happiness but a mirage. Seeking more and more happiness leads one to increased desires and dissatisfaction.

Since birth unto death, man is always hankering after desires and happiness that are temporary or momentary. In the outside world, our happiness depends upon a particular thing. For example, one has a wish to possess a big car, whereby a one feels that possessing the car will keep him or her happy. Yet, once he or she has possessed it, the happiness will last only for a few days, after which once again, unhappiness and dissatisfaction will step in due to innumerable reasons. An object in the outside world cannot keep us permanently happy.

Ananda is not happiness – rather it is a superior ecstasy from within. It is the happiness of the inner world, which one may experience. One may share it with other like-minded people, like a guru and disciple. One of the methods for obtaining Ananda is through meditation. When we meditate, our karma (prarabdha) of the past gets released through our mind. After some years of meditation our mind becomes as clean as pure Ganga water. We then experience Ananda or happiness at its highest, in the Samadhi state of meditation. I is like the water of the Ganga flowing from the Himalayas. Originally the Ananda experienced may be negligible but as we meditate more and more, it increases and will be experienced within every cell in our body. So Ananda and happiness differ like day and night. Our original existence of consciousness is Ananda. Every living creature has to labour hard to attain it. Man seldom understands that he will not obtain Ananda by dealing with or possessing objects of the outside world. Ananda is the outcome of a clean mind and a clean mind is the outcome of meditation.

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