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Seeker: Dear James, would it be accurate to say that when I am caught up in śakti, in the bliss and emotion of the śakti experience, I am stuck in the bliss sheath (ānandamaya kosha)? The intellect (buddhi), the discriminating aspect of the subtle body, is not “available” for assessing and understanding the experience? So I continually crave more bliss, emotional experiences? The capacity to understand those experiences is smothered by the “grosser” manas aspect of mind?
James: Yes, indeed. Got it in one. Craving spiritual bliss is an emotional problem. It means you do not love yourself properly and/or it means you do not have blissful emotional relationships in samsara. It is a need for love. If you love yourself or someone else and they love you, you will be emotionally satisfied. Love takes care of the emotions. When you are in the bliss sheath the intellect is subsumed. It is there but it is discounted because all your attention is on the feel-good experience. When the bliss ends it plays handmaiden to the emotions and supports them with the idea that bliss is a wonderful experience that should be cultivated. So you do your bhakti, etc. and get into blissful states. It is like masturbation. This pattern continues until Isvara brings you to Vedanta. It awakens your intellect and you start to become aware of the underlying reasons for things.
~ Love, James