Bliss of the Self: Hardcore Q and A

Cease thinking of the non-self; then blank prevails; the knower or the witness of this is pure knowledge without any modes; such is the Supreme Knowledge (Para Samvit). This is full of Bliss and therefore the highest goal (purushartha). This state is one of solid Bliss. The reason is: Misery is the result of upadhi (limiting adjunct), which is totally absent in the Self. This samvit is the condensation of the sum total of bliss, consequent on all the forms of enjoyment by all living beings put together. For samvit is desired by one and all living beings. 

Q.: Is it not pleasure from objects that is thus desired? How can it take the form of the enjoyer? 
A.: Since it is desired by all, the Self must be of the nature of Bliss. Otherwise it will not be desired by all equally. 

Q.: If it be the Self alone that is desired by all, how can the desires be various, e.g., for the body, wealth, woman, etc.? 
A.: The desire is not really for objects since it is for one’s own sake. Hence those desirous of heaven, etc., undergo fasts, etc., and willingly leave their bodies, etc. So the Self is never that which is not desired. Therefore it must be Bliss itself. 

Q.: Pleasure is obvious in the enjoyment of objects, whereas the other bliss cannot be proved to be so; therefore the Self cannot be admitted to be Bliss. 
A.: The agamas (holy texts) declare that all sensual pleasures are but fractions of the Bliss of the Self. This means that just as ether is not itself visible, yet it is known to yield space or room for a pot, etc., and thus seems divisible by other adjuncts, such as actions etc. So also Chit (Consciousness) though not visible, yet appears divided by objects seeming to be the source of sensual pleasures (which in reality are only fractions of the Bliss of the Self ). 

Q.: Your statements prove only the desire for pleasure by the self, and not itself being bliss. 
A.: Only the natural bliss of the Self prevails at the instant of relief of one’s burden and in deep sleep. This means: As soon as one is relieved of one’s heavy load, one surely feels refreshed; this cannot be denied; but here there are no objects to give pleasure, and how could it be felt unless it is from within, i.e., from the Self? 

Q.: It is due to the strain of load being removed. 
A.: Removal is negative; how can a negation yield a positive result such as pleasure? It must therefore be admitted to be of the Self. 

Q.: Relief from strain amounts to relief from pain. And this seems to be the source of pleasure. 
A.: But in deep sleep there is no strain to be removed and yet there is the bliss of sleep. This cannot be denied because there is the recollection of the bliss of sleep after waking from it. This bliss cannot but be of the Self. 

Q.: There is no such bliss of deep sleep. 
A.: Why then do all beings desire to sleep and also prepare for it? 

Q.: If the Self be bliss, why is it not always apparent? 
A.: Although there is noise constantly produced within the body, it is not usually heard. But if you plug your ears to prevent the intrusion of external noises, the noise is distinctly heard from within. Similarly with the bliss of Self. It is at present obstructed by the pains generated by the fire of desires and other latencies. These latencies lie dormant in their sources at the time of deep sleep and then the bliss of the Self becomes apparent like the internal sound on plugging the ears. While bearing the load the pain caused by it overpowers the common misery of current vasanas and thus predominates for the time being. As soon as the load is thrown down, the pain relating to it disappears and in the short interval before the rise of the current vasanas [latent tendencies], the bliss of Self is felt. Similarly with the other sensual pleasures. Innumerable vasanas always remain in the heart, pricking like thorns all the while. With the rise of a desire for an object the force of it overpowers the other vasanas which await their turn. When the desired object is attained, the immediate pain of its desire is at an end; in the short interval before the other vasanas manifest, the bliss of Self prevails. Hence it is said that what all always desire, is only the Bliss of the Self. 

Q.: How then do all not understand that the sought for pleasures are really only the Self?
A.: Owing to their ignorance of the fact that only the bliss of the Self manifests as the pleasure of sensual enjoyments, their attention being on the objects which are transitory, they believe that as the enjoyments are transitory, their bliss also is coeval with them. [coeval: of the same age, date or duration; contemporary]

From the Hindu text Tripura Rahasya:

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