The Self in man and in the sun are one.
Those who understand this see through the world
And go beyond the various sheaths of being
To realize the unity of life.
Verse 8.1 of Part II of Taittiriya Upanishad translated by Eknath Easwaran
This is a very early reference to the Koshas is in the Taittirya Upanishad- dated around the 6th Century BCE.
To continue our analogy of the Koshas using the metaphor of a lamp, the excerpt above is referencing the light. The lightbulb is the true Self unchanging and constant, whilst the 5 lamp shades that surround it are the illusions we identify with and become attached to in our daily life. The light is all connecting however and radiates throughout helping guide us back home to the awareness of our true origins.
We have worked our way through 4 of the 5 lamp shades that wrap around this light and now we come to the final one. The one that is the closest to the light and perhaps the most subtle.
Ananda translates as bliss. A kind of joy that is not conditional or dependent on anything. A happiness in just being. The philosophy goes that this resides within each and everyone of us and can be accessed at any time.
Children often display this, fully focussed, a state of flow, contented and in harmony with their surroundings.
I have asked many times in class if people can connect to this or if they have a memory of this state. Interestingly but probably not surprisingly, the associations are nearly always characteristically simple. Very often it relates to the natural world or to a focussed use of the body. Playing an instrument or running along a beach for example.
For me this also wraps up neatly with the sense of abundance. Of recognising just how much there is to experience and how we need very little and are incredibly rich and connected to everything and everyone.
This is still a layer of our being and not the actual light of awareness itself but nonetheless it is an essential aspect of seeing the whole of ourselves.
To let this sheath arise and be a part of your experience in life is to welcome the fullness of who we all are.
To Reflect on:
Remember a time when you were in touch with this state of bliss. Perhaps a memory from being young and carefree?
If this is hard to uncover then instead think of a child who displays it now. It's pretty easy to see. Kids run along the pavement and break into random free dance all the time.
See if you can focus in on this and then welcome it to arise within you. Once the felt sense emerges, let go of the image or the thought and instead see if it can be there with nothing else.