|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - K
Unit - K01
Lesson K0106: Happiness Sheath
By Raja Subramaniyan
Out of the five sheaths with which every individual living being is covered, the Happiness Sheath is the innermost. EGO travels between Physical, Psychological and Intelligence sheaths during the waking period. Happiness Sheath is not accessible for the EGO since both the mind and intelligence have dissolved during the deep sleep. In the absence of the reflecting medium, the reflection, EGO, is no more.
The Happiness Sheath is identical to all living beings and this fact is validated through (a) Scriptural declarations, (b) Logical validations and through (c) personal experience.
Happiness Sheath is like the chillness in the ocean water after dissolution of the multiple icebergs. We cannot talk about the Happiness Sheath at the individual level since it is a sheath covering SELF, which is only one.
Happiness Sheath is closest to SELF and therefore it reveals the natural happiness of the SELF clearly. However, since both mind and intelligence are at the latent state during the deep sleep, the EGO cannot have direct experience of this Happiness.
Example: We cannot see our face directly. We can only see the reflection of our face. It is meaningless question to ask whether the reflected face can see our original face.
Similarly, it is meaningless to talk about the possibility of our EGO to perceive SELF. During the deep sleep state the distinction between the experiencer, experience and the experienced is blurred and not fully eliminated.
During the deep sleep, the expereincer is not EGO but the reflection of consciousness in the latent intelligence. Since it is in the latent form, intelligence is not able to recall the vivid details of the experience nevertheless it is able to recall the happy experience on waking up.
Experience is made possible by the conscious principle of SELF, without the support of EGO.
Experienced is SELF, whose nature is happiness.
Thus, the mind is modified during deep sleep with the happy experience. Even after waking up, this happiness lingers for sometime. The individual just lies down in the bed and continue to dwell in the original happiness for a while until the results of the past actions drive him into further action.
During the waking stage the thoughts at the intelligence level are modified when there is an experience of sense objects. This modification of the thoughts constitutes cognition. We gain knowledge only thorough cognition.
Example: Individual water droplets join together and solidify into ice
Similarly, during deep sleep, all the modified thoughts solidify into one undifferentiated mass of consciousness.
This undifferentiated mass of consciousness reflects the happiness aspect of ONE during deep sleep.
On waking up, this experience lingers for a while until the undifferentiated mass of consciousness melts into individual thoughts of distinct knowledge. Then the intelligence takes over and the person gets into the daily routine forgetting the happiness he had experienced during deep sleep.
The reflection of the joy aspect of SELF in latent intelligence of the Happiness Sheath is the happiness that we experience during deep sleep state. This daily experience proves that the happiness is neither external nor internal. Happiness is the inherent nature of SELF.
This experience serves as a daily reminder to all human beings that their original nature is immortal bliss. Therefore, human beings will strive continuously until they realize it, albeit without conscious awareness of this destination.
Without scriptural knowledge and guidance of the teacher, people will assume that Original Happiness is yet another type of happiness that they derive from objects of the world. Technically a person can sleep for most part of his life and enjoy happiness of the SELF but practically it is not possible because one can go to deep sleep stage only as an intermission between his experiences as dictated by his past actions.
Thus, the Scriptures provide the authority on the Original Happiness. The teacher helps to validate the existence of Original Happiness and the illusory nature of Internal and External Happiness through logic. Finally, the Happiness Sheath provides an opportunity for the individual to directly experience it.
Not everyone who understands the Original Happiness through the authority, logical validation and personal experience will be able to lead Joyful Living during the waking hours.
Example: A huge sum of money is offered as a reward to anyone who knows the four Vedas. One man claimed, 'From your words, I now know that there are four Vedas. So please give me the reward!'
One has to realize and get established in knowledge of ONE, so that he can live life joyfully. This requires hard and dedicated work.