ANAND (Skt. Anand, from nand meaning "to rejoice" or "to delight") denotes mystical experience, spiritual bliss or a state of consciousness such as that of a jīvan mukta, i. e. one released while still in body. Anand in the Upaniṣadic texts is taken to be one of the three inherent attributes of ātman or Brahman, the other two being sat and chit. In the Taittirīya Upaniṣad(II. 1--5), it acquired this meaning of pure bliss. The self at the lowest or first stage of its evolution is defined as the annamaya koṣa (the matter) which evolves successively into prāṇa (life), man (mind or perceptual consciousness), vijñāna (self-consciousness) and ānanda, non-dual 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. Gurū Amar Dās's composition Anandu, in the measure Rāmkalī, gives an exposition of the experience of anand, of the union with the immaculate Hari attained through absorption in nām, i. e. repetition of Divine Name. Gurū Arjan attests that he has seen with his own eyes-nain aloiā-that the Supreme Self is anand rūpu, i. e. bliss itself, is anandamay, full of bliss (GG, 387). Gurū Arjan further declares that the Lord of Nānak, the Supreme Being, who is the cause of causes and is antaryāmī (the inner guide), experiences bliss-anand karāi (GG, 387). Gurū Amar Dās prefaces his poem Anandu with the affirmation that the experience of anand comes only through meeting with the true Gurū and fully imbibing his instruction. He says that the longing for experiencing anand is inherent in men and is universal-ānandu ānandu 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 Gurū which destroys sins, touches one's eye with the collyrium of true knowledge (giān añjanu sāriā), cuts asunder the knot of attachment (mohu) and bestows a sublime way of living, sabadu savāriā. These are essential conditions to experiencing anand. In the concluding stanza, Gurū Amar Dās 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 Gurū is the sole guide and remembrance of the Name is the sole discipline or sādhnā. Grace of the lord acts as the initial inspiration as well as the final arbiter.
Gurū Nānak, in Japu, has signified anand as the state of being nihāl or fulfilled; Gurū Arjan, in Sukhmanī as the state of sukh or peace; Gurū Tegh Bahādur, in his ślokas, as the state of the giānī, the enlightened one who has achieved sahaj or equipoise and Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, in his verse, as the state of the heroic and dedicated one whose joy or anand is in philanthropic action and sacrifice. Gurū Nānak summing up the entire theme of the Japu says in the last stanza that the glance of grace of the Lord makes one nihāl, fulfilled or blessed.