ANAND (Skt. Anand, from nand meaning “to rejoice” or “to delight”) denotes mystical experience, spiritual bliss or a state of consciousness such as that ofaJi`van mukta, i.e. one released while still in body. Anand in the Upanisadic texts istaken to be one of the three inherent attributes of atman or Brahman, the other two being sat and chit. In the Taittiriya Upanisad (II. 15), it acquried this meaning of pure bliss. The self at the lowest or first stage of its evolution is defined as the annamaya kosa (the matter) which evolves successively into prana (life), man (mind or perceptual consciousness), vijnana (self consciousness) and ananda, nondual bliss.

In Sikh theology too, anand is one of the attributes of the Supreme Self; so it can be the state of the individual soul as well.Guru Amar Das`s composition Anandu, in the measure Ramkali, gives an exposition of the experience of anand, of the union with the immaculate Hari attained through absorption in nam, i.e. repetition of Divine Name. Guru Arjan attests that he has seen with his own eyesnain aJoia that the Supreme Self is anand rupu, i.e. bliss itself is anandamay, full of bliss (GG, 387). Guru Arjan further declares that the Lord of Nanak, the Supreme Being, who is the Cause of causes and is antaryami (the inner guide), experiences blissanand karai (GG, 387).

Guru Amar Das prefaces his poem Anandu with the affirmation that the experience of anand comes only through meeting with the true Guru and fully imbibing his instruction.He says that the longing for experiencing anand is inherent in men and is universal anandu anandu sabhu ko kahai (GG. 917), but it actually falls to the lot of the very few, for it cannot be had without the grace of the Guru which destroys sins, touches one`s eye with the collyrium of true knowledge (gian anjanu saria), cuts asunder the knot of attachment (mohu) and bestows a sublime way of living, sabadu savaria. These are essential conditions to experiencing anand. In the concluding stanza.

Guru Amar Das says that anand is liberation from all suffering. It brings one complete fulfilment, and is realized by listening to the Divine word. Then all sorrow, sickness and pain end.Anand is not an intermediate state in the journey of the individual self towards the Supreme Self, but the unitive one. The Guru is the sole guide and remembrance of the Name is the sole discipline or sadhna. Grace of the lord acts as the initial inspiration as well as the final arbiter.

Guru Nanak, mjapu, has signified anand as the state of being m`haJ or fulfilled; Guru Arjan, in Sukhmani, as the state of sukh or peace; Guru Tegh Bahadur, in his slokas, as the state of the giani, the enlightened one who has achieved sahaJ or equipoise and Guru Gobind Singh, in his verse, as the state of the heroic and dedicated one whose joy or anand is in philanthropic action and sacrifice. Guru Nanak summing up the entire theme of the Japu says in the last stanza that the glance of grace of the Lord makes one nihal, fulfilled or blessed.

References :

1. Kohli, Surindar Singh, A Critical Study of Adi Granth. Delhi, 1961
2. Taran Singh, Sahij te Anandu. Amritsar, n.d.
3. Caveeshar, Sardul Singh, Sikh Dharam Darshan. Patiala, 1969