Swami Videha, Italy
Translated in English the name of the newspaper is “The Pleasures”, and it’s a magazine which likes to have many questions and short answers.
You just start.
So, we start from the idea of pleasure. Can enlightenment be the topmost pleasure, as a definition?
It is not pleasure. Pleasure is always something opposed to pain. It is never separate from pain. So pain can become pleasure. That’s why there are masochists in the world who torture themselves and enjoy. Your so-called saints are nothing but people who know the art of changing pain into pleasure. Pain can become pleasure; vice versa is also true: pleasure can become pain. For example, it is a great pleasure to kiss someone you love.
But if you are forced to continue kissing – a gun behind you – how long is the pleasure going to be pleasure? Soon the pleasure will become a pain. You eat something: it is pleasant, there is pleasure; but if you eat too much it becomes pain – otherwise you wouldn’t see so many obese people.
Thirty million people in America are suffering from this disease. They cannot stop eating. The pleasure is so much that they go on eating, knowing perfectly well that it is going to become pain.
So one thing has to be understood: enlightenment is not pleasure because it can never become pain. There is nothing opposite to enlightenment. The unenlightened person, his state of mind, is not opposite to the enlightened person and his state of mind. The unenlightened state is simply the absence of enlightenment – it is not opposed. It is like darkness… You just bring a candle in the room and there is no darkness. It has never been there; it has no positive existence of its own, it is simply absence of light.
So the unenlightened person is simply asleep, the enlightened person is awake. There is no opposition. Enlightenment is the transcendence of all dualities: pleasure, pain; love, hate, life, death – all oppositions.
Enlightenment is the situation where you have come to a point of witnessing all the opposites as complementaries and you are only a witness. So I cannot say it is pleasure – I can say it is bliss. And that is the difference between bliss and pleasure. Pleasure needs something; you are dependent.