A student asks Shambhavi about joy. Shambhavi talks about the fuller meaning of “ananda” and shares some insights about ananda from her own sadhana. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi
Podcast First Words
Student: I was hoping that you could talk about joy. I feel like for different reasons I’ve kind of rejected joy as an experience. But recently I feel like maybe there’s a way to experience joy that’s real.
Shambhavi: The word that’s used in Sanskrit that’s usually translated into joy or bliss is ananda. Ananda. There really is no English translation that does justice to the real meaning of ananda.
First of all, ananda is not personal. It doesn’t belong to your body specifically. It’s something to participate in, but it doesn’t belong to you. It is, basically, the feeling-attitude of all of reality. So when we destroy the obscurations to our experience of our real nature, then we can have this entering into what is already happening, which is ananda.
I’ve made two discoveries about that in my life as a practitioner. And again, there really isn’t an English word for the real meaning of ananda. So the one thing that I discovered is that this ananda is full of clarity. It has this absolutely blazing clarity, beyond even 20/20 vision. And it means clarity of mind, but it also means clarity of vision, in the sense that you see everything with this incredible, indescribable clarity. It’s even more than if you had the most perfect vision in your physical eyes.
This is part of the recalibration that has to happen. As our senses open, not just our vision, what we perceive now has more clarity, more precision, or more vitality. It’s like if someone had been experiencing and gotten used to deadened senses, deadened vision, and deadened vitality—it takes a while to get used to it. So this is part of our journey.