What is the opposite of bliss?
This blog, like many other blogs I have written in my life, was triggered by a book I am reading. The book I am reading right now is called Krishna: The man and his philosophy by Osho. I don’t believe in religion for sure and was a little skeptical about reading this. But it came up in a conversation with a friend and I liked what he was talking about. I decided to read it and one of the lines that struck me from the book was The word bliss is without an opposite. And I asked myself, what is the opposite of bliss? I couldn’t find an answer. We talk of most feelings in pair: love-hate, joy-sorrow, pleasure-pain but bliss is just bliss.
In the book, Osho describes Krishna as a god of future. I don’t necessarily agree with that statement but I am reading the book with the understanding that the Krishna described here is a philosophy and not a god. He goes on to talk about how all the religion and gods of past and even present are based on suffering and renunciation. Most religions ask you to give up things and feelings. They ask you to find god in the amount of suffering you can handle. And that is something I cannot reconcile with personally.
However Krishna is a choice-less god. He does not ask you to choose because he understands that duality is the real nature of life. There is love and war, life and death, good and bad, start and end. Each of these things represents the two sides of the coin. Without war, love would lose meaning. Without death, life has no meaning. So people who just strongly believe in only one aspect (like only love or peace or war) are all neglecting the real nature of reality.
Osho talks about how Krishna was famous for flirting with women, of being a lover to many and yet he also fought mahabharat (which was considered the greatest war ever). Krishna didn’t run away from where life took him but rather accepted both situations with equanimity. Krishna understood that both the things are manifestation of the same reality and you could not have one without other.
Osho then talks about happiness and suffering. It made me realize how suffering and happiness are just waves (with both being different aspects of the same wave). They ebb and flow. You cannot know one without other, cannot have one without other. If you only want happiness in your life it does not work. The meaning of one is defined by the other. If you hug a person it may make him/her happy. But if you continue hugging them for too long, the pleasure turns into pain.
Holding on to suffering leads to pleasure and holding on to pleasure leads to suffering. There are times when the height of pleasure or the intensity of it is determined not just by the event itself but how long you suffered for the event to become reality. If everyone of us could get a Doctorate immediately, it would give us no pleasure. It is the struggle of years that brings meaning into that degree.
Krishna philosophy is asking you to accept both and not run away from one aspect to find the other. It tries to shed light on the relation between the two aspects of same thing. If you can accept both aspects as fact of life and deal with them as they arise, then you have bliss. Perhaps that is what buddha called enlightenment. This acceptance of all that comes your way, being choice-less and not trying to choose only 1 aspect of the same duality leads to bliss / enlightenment.
So is it peace we should be seeking or bliss? Peace in itself, in totality is seems unlikely to exist. For me personally it is hard to grasp this idea (and I still cannot believe it completely) but perhaps universal peace is not possible and should not be the ideal we strive to achieve. Perhaps there will be peace at times and war at other times. But in both the times how you approach the situation determines if you have bliss. And maybe that is the only ideal that can be truly achieved?