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7 Levels of Bliss

The fundamental nature of true reality is bliss. True bliss (ānanda) is abiding and lasting. The search for pleasure is a search for the true Self state of Bliss. While material pleasures are fleeting, a presence of consciousness in a moment of pleasure can allow one the awareness of the true Self state from which she came.


The Tantraloka of Abhinava Gupta lists seven levels of bliss:


1. Nija ānanda - innate bliss, the realization of Self as totally separate from the objective reality due to the realization of shūnya (emptiness) at the heart.


2. Nirānanda - trans bliss, arises when focused at the external reality as the prana ascends to the center of the crown.


3. Para ānanda - supreme bliss, realizing the Self contains all infinity within (indivisible objects), apana descends from the crown to the heart.


4. Brahma ānanda - Brahmic bliss, totality of objects exist within. Life force is in samāna form at the heart.


5. Mahā ānanda - great bliss, realizing the Self transcends all objective forms, life force is udāna in the central channel.


6. Cid ānanda - Consciousness bliss, realization of the self as subject and object, udāna life force converts to vyāna.


7. Jagad ānanda - world bliss, realization of the Self as including everything within and without. The highest enlightenment.


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