(Reflected happiness & Original happiness)
(adapted from the lectures of Swami Paramarthananda)
Each individual is constituted of three bodies, Sthula, Sukshma, and Karana sareeras. This division as three bodies is from matter angle; gross, subtle and causal that they are composed of. These three bodies are also divided into five layers based on functional angle. These layers are called Kosas. Kosa means a sheath and it is as if they are the sheaths encasing the Athma. It is said ‘as if’ because Athma is all-pervasive and it cannot be encased either by the three bodies or by the five kosas. The kosas are Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya in the increasing order of subtlety. Anandmaya kosa is the most subtle and pervasive and the innermost of sheaths and is called Anandamaya because it is characterised by ananda or happiness. This happiness is called Kosananda, as contrasted with Athmananda, the happiness and bliss that is Athma. Athmananda is the original happiness whose reflection in the mind is experienced as Kosananda. All happiness can be classified as either of the two; Athmananda and Kosananda. Of the two, Athmananda is the original happiness also called Bimbananda and Kosananda is the reflected happiness called Prathibimbananda.
Athmananda is Absolute Happiness and is everyone’s inherent and intrinsic nature, one’s real svarupa. It is not something acquired or dropped like the other attributes of the body/ mind, it is something which exists by itself as one’s Real Self, Athma, which is the Sat Chit Ananda, the very svarupa lakshana of Brahman, the Absolute One. This Athmananda is reflected in the individual’s mind as Kosananda. What one thinks as happiness derived from an object is one’s own Kosananda only. For if that object is the source of happiness, then happiness should be a part of its nature and this object should be a source of happiness to everyone in the world. On the other hand, that object may evoke hatred, the contrary emotion, in certain other persons for different reasons altogether. So, happiness is not part of its nature and this object cannot be the source of happiness. This can be illustrated through the example of a dog and the bone. A dog trying to chew a bone hurts its jaw and the dog mistakes the blood oozing from its own jaw as coming from the bone and bites the bone still harder hurting itself more.
Kosananda that one feels at the proximity or even thought of a loved object is classified as priya. This happiness deepens when the loved object comes under one’s possession and this state of happiness is called moda. This happiness becomes more intense when one enjoys it and this climax of enjoyment in respect of the object is categorised as pramoda. Kosananda whether it is priya, moda or pramodha is only inside oneself and not from outside and is only a limited expression of Athmananda, the original ananda, being its reflection in the mind. Further Kosananda is experiential happiness which is subject to condition of the reflecting medium, mind.
Athmananda being the very experiencer is not an object of experience; rather it is one’s higher nature. Just like one cannot see one’s original face and can see it as a reflection only in the mirror, Athmananda is not directly experienceable as an object. But, it is there at all times as one’s own Athma svarupa, the Sat Chit Ananda Athma without the experience/ experiencer division. So one does not have to get Athmananda since he is himself that at all times and one should only claim it as oneself attaining Atmajnanam. Taittreya Upanishad refers to it as ‘ananda Athma’ to emphasise that Athma and ananda are one only.
We saw earlier that Atmananda is original ananda and Kosananda is only reflection in one’s mind. Being reflection, it is under the influence of the medium. The more calm the mind is, better will be the reflection and the higher the level of ananda. The level of happiness experienced therefore will depend upon the level of the calmness of the mind and the extent to which the mind is satvic and turbulence-free. So this happiness is transient, subject to gradations and hence anityam. Taittiriya Upanishad says that the ananda enjoyed by a manushya and Hiranyagarba (Brahmaji) – the lowest level of ananda and the highest level of ananda, all fall under the category of experiential ananda alone, though there may be varying degrees of the level of ananda.
Let us list the differences between Athmananda and Kosananda as follows;-
1) Athmananda is the original happiness, Bimbananda and Kosananda is the reflected happiness, Prathibimbananda
2) Athmananda is ungraded happiness, taratamya rahitah niratisaya ananda, and Kosananda is graded happiness, taratamya sahitah satisaya ananda
3) Athmananda is permanent (nityah) and Kosananda is impermanent (anityah).
4) Athmananda is experiential and Kosananda is non-experiential.
5) Athmananda is jnana prapya, attained only through Jnanam that I am Athmananda and Kosananda is visaya prapya or vairagya prapya, attained through a mind that becomes calm and peaceful either on experiencing the desired object or by developing vairagya through viveka
This Athmananda was called Mokshananda in the blog “Vedic view of happiness” and Permanent happiness in the blog “Plan for Permanent happiness” and is the state of the Jnanis all the time. Even Ajjnani jivas are in this state temporarily during sushupthi, deep sleep, when there is no sense of ahankara, awareness of the body/mind or the world, a state as good as moksha. But it lasts only as long as the deep sleep lasts and at the end of sushupthi the ajjnani individual is back into the world of samsara due to ajnanam and adhyasa which automatically come into play when the jiva is back in the waking state and the mind continues to entertain all types of worldly desires leading to athripti and apurnathvam. But a Jnani through Athmajnanam overcomes these hurdles and remains in the state of Athmananda, a state of total bliss and fulfilment, in all the three avasthas, Jagrat, Swapna, Sushupthi i.e. waking, dream and deep sleep states.