The Philosophy of the Upanishads part III

                                                                                       You are Pure Bliss.

In the final analysis, what we all want is happiness. What is happiness? And more importantly, how can we be truly happy? The search after happiness forms the field of enquiry in a remarkable section of the Taittiriya Upanishad. What exactly is studied about happiness? The answer is: whether happiness is born of sense contacts between subject and object (as is usually understood) or whether happiness is the very nature of the Self. The Upanishad starts by looking at sense enjoyments as the source of happiness. If we want to study happiness scientifically, it would be helpful to actually measure happiness and for this we need a unit of happiness. The Upanishad proceeds to construct a model of maximum human happiness. Imagine a young man, physically strong, bursting with vitality and energy. He is highly educated and morally up right. Old age, physical weakness, ignorance and moral corruption – all causes of misery – are ruled out. Poverty of course, is one of the greatest barriers to the fulfillment of desires and so the Upanishad endows this fortunate young man with plenty of cash – all the wealth of the world, in fact. Now imagine the happiness of this person – young, vital, energetic, noble, very highly educated and extremely wealthy. This is the unit of human happiness –ekah manusha ananda’Is it possible to get even greater happiness? Yes, but not in this human existence. For this earthly existence, these material objects of enjoyment and the veryhuman frame itself, all have their limitations. Beyond this familiar plane of existence there are superior worlds, finer objects of enjoyment and powerful bodies designed for greater enjoyment. Such is the manushya- gandharva-loka where happiness is one hundred times the maximum happiness possible in a human body! And this is by no means the end. The Upanishad speaks of anascending ladder of lokas of truly cosmic proportions. As one ascends to theshigher heavens, happiness is multiplied by a hundred times at each level. In the highest heavens, happiness is millions and billions of times greater than the maximum of human happiness!
How does one reach these lokas? By the merit earned through the religious rituals prescribed in the Vedas. Of course, one has to wait till death to travel to these higher lokas.
Then comes the real point of this analysis. The Upanishad says that all happiness is only a reflection of the happiness of the Self – Atmananda. The bliss of the Self is reflected in the serene mind and experienced as happiness. Man, in his ignorance, feels that happiness is due to the enjoyment of a variety of sense objects and spends all his life trying to get happiness out of sense enjoyment. Ione can actually make the mind calm enough, it will be filled with happiness –without need of external objects. And how can we make the mind calm? By renunciation of desire, says the Upanishad. One who has the deepest convictionof the Vedantic truth – that one’s own Self is of the very nature of bliss – and does not hanker after sense pleasures, will get a hundred times the maximum human happiness in this very life – right now! He doesn’t have to earn merit and wait for death to go to the higher heavens. Whatever happiness the worldly man gets out of sense enjoyments here and here after, the all renouncing sage of the Upanishad gets here and now, by the very virtue of his renunciation. Finally the Upanishad makes a startling statement. The very pinnacle of happiness, billions of times greater than the unit human happiness, available in the highest heaven to the man of extraordinary merit, or here and now to the all renouncing sage – that ultimate happiness of Brahmaloka
 and the unit happinesin man of manushya loka, are virtually one and the same!
It is the Self, which is reflected as varying degress of happiness in man and in the highest deva.
The difference is in the reflecting medium, not in the Self. Just as you can see the reflection of your face in different mirrors and the quality of the mirrors determines the quality of the reflection. Yet in all mirrors, fine or poor, it is the very same face being reflected. Just as these varied reflections do not affect yourface, the Self is not affected by the variations in happiness in all these mediums, human and celestial. Indeed, just as you would not be particularly interested in seeing your reflection in a mirror all the time, an enlightened soul wouldn’t carto experience various degrees of happiness in various bodies. Upon realization, the difference of subject and object disappears and all is known to be Bliss Itself –Ananda swarupa.
This is the Ananda Mimamsa – an enquiry into bliss – of theTaittiriya Upanishad.
 In fact, all worldly happiness is a particle of the ocean of your own Ananda swarupa– your true Self. To the jnani, all experiences, apparently pleasant or unpleasant, reflect Bliss.
 You are Sat Chit Ananda.
So we see how the ultimate reality expounded in the Upanishads, Brahman, is Pure Existence–Consciousness–Bliss, Sat Chit Ananda.
Existence, consciousness and bliss are not qualities or properties of Brahman. It is not that Brahman exists, but that It is existence itself. Not that Brahman is a conscious entity, rather It isconsciousness itself. And not that Brahman is happy, It is bliss itself. All the Upanishads consistently proclaim that you are one with Brahman, that you are verily. And everything else, all other living beings, the whole universe is Brahman. All beings are in you, and you are in all beings – the real you, of course.This is to be made a living realization. ‘The one central idea throughout all the Upanishads is that of realization.’
The way to realization consists of Sravanam(lit. hearing) meaning repeated and systematic study of the Upanishads, Mananam, clarifying all doubts with rigorous logical reasoning and Nididhyasanam, assimilating the Upanishadic truth by meditation.The result is freedom – ultimate and permanent.
‘Freedom, physical freedom, mental freedom and spiritual freedom are the watch words of the Upanishads.’