You can hold bliss only in your open hand.
Bliss is just like a breeze:
Your fist will miss it.
Your open hand may have a little dance with it, a little love affair with it.
Let us start from the lowest because that will be easier to understand, that’s where man biologically is born. Pleasure is physical.
A great Sufi poet, Omar Khayyam, has the right definition of pleasure. He was not defining pleasure, he was writing a beautiful poem but, unknowingly, he has come very close to defining pleasure. He says: a cold winter night, having a good dinner…sitting by the fireside on your coziest chair, with a book of poetry in your lap, and a beautiful woman dancing and singing with a musical instrument…. The warmth, the beauty, the good, delicious food, and a great book of poetry in your lap; the music…. You are alone together in the cold night and the warmth of the fire…. This is pleasure.
Physically you are healthy. You enjoy your food. You enjoy your lover, your beloved. You enjoy friends, or music, or painting – all this is physical. Nothing is wrong with it; as far as my religion is concerned I am all for pleasure. Of course, I don’t stop there, I only start from there.
All the other, old religions are against pleasure; and that’s where they have missed, because if you miss the first step, please don’t hope that you will be able to reach the highest step. The first rung of the ladder is as essential as the last: they are both part of the same ladder. I have no condemnation of the first rung on the ladder, because without it the whole ladder will disappear.
I am all for pleasure, but I would like you to be reminded that there are higher things than pleasure.
Happiness is higher than pleasure.
It is not physical, it is more psychological. You may be hungry, you may be cold, freezing, and suddenly a friend knocks on your door. You forget your hunger and your cold, you simply give him a hug. It is something higher than the body can give to you; it is in your psychology. A friend whom you have not seen for a long time…. You forget your body – a tremendous happiness arises in you.
Animals have only pleasure, and most human beings are still animals. Most of them don’t know of happiness. There are people who have never loved. Remember, sex is pleasure, love is happiness. Don’t get confused between the two. Love can exist without sex; sex can exist without love. They can exist together too but there is no necessity for them to exist together.