The famous novelist Herman Melville, who authored Moby Dick 170 years ago, made this interesting statement:

Life is a voyage that’s homeward bound.

From a yogic perspective, was he correct? What do you think enlightened yogis would say? If they agree, then what kind of a journey is this life? And what exactly does home mean? Further, and perhaps most important of all— How do we get there, and is it possible to get there more quickly?

Home, in fact, yogically speaking, is not a place. Swami Kriyananda writes in one of his songs:

Home is my heart’s land. Home’s where I am. Nothing can dim the light of my soul.

Home then, we can say is a state of consciousness—a state of being.

Paramhansa Yogananda explains that human beings experience five specific states of mind. We all travel through these states on an inner journey that takes us from darkness to light, from illusion to illumination, from ego to soul, and from a foreign land to our true eternal home.


Just for illustration and fun, we will take an inner train ride representing the journey of life to explore these five states of mind. We will make stops at five stations. Each stop will explain and clarify these different states of mind.

Are you ready? Then, please take your seat. Your train ride is about to start. Do you hear the whistle? Fasten your seat belts! Let’s go!

Look around the train car. You are not traveling alone. There are countless other people on the train with you. In fact—everyone is traveling with you!

Large art noveau architectural metro station - high arches and shiny block tiled flooring. Photo by Peter H from Pixabay

First station: HAPPINESS

Our train is stopping after a nice long ride at the first station. This station is called HAPPINESS. In fact, everyone is disembarking and having a wonderful time.  Take a good look. Everyone is indeed happy.

Look at that man over there—He had a strong desire for a very fancy and fast car that he received, so he rejoices. The person next to him got a raise and suddenly has much, much more money. See how he smiles! Look at the next person: He just had a stimulating sexual experience and feels fully satisfied.

Then, look at that woman over there: She is celebrating the great success of her project at work. The guy at her side just had a dream vacation and he is still absolutely thrilled about it.  There is another fellow nearby: He is light-headed, giddy, and happy. He has enjoyed a bit too much wine. Right beside him, you see someone who just reached their goal and he is just jubilant. Another happy person to observe is the person over there celebrating the victory he just had at his favorite sports club.

In this station, everyone has one thing in common: a desire has been fulfilled that has given them happiness. This is the first state of mind.

Let’s get back on the train and see where it takes us next!

Second station: SORROW

The train moves on and lo, we are approaching the station. The next station is called SORROW. Look around as you exit the train.

Everyone here is gloomy. That brand-new car broke down. The money is gone and poverty awaits. That sexual experience is not available anymore but the thirst for it remains. Everything at work is chaotic and has failed. After the glorious vacation, the grey, dry routine settles in once again. The joy of wine turns into an incapacitating hangover and the sports club has lost heavily.

You will see gloom, unhappiness, frustration, and sorrow everywhere at this station. Everyone here has one thing in common—a desire that has been unfulfilled or contradicted now brings sorrow. This is the second state of mind.

The train of life moves back and forth between these first two stations. The station HAPPINESS is followed by the station SORROW and vice versa, continually. Everyone who goes to one station also has to visit the other. It is always a round-trip ticket for everyone.

Third station: INDIFFERENCE

Sometimes the train stops in between those two stations. That stop is the third one. It is called INDIFFERENCE. Let’s get off the train, take a stretch, and observe how the people are here.

When we ask around, ‘Are you happy? Do you feel content?‘ The answer is always the same: ‘No.’  And when we ask, ‘Are you sad?’ The answer is basically the same ‘No.’

In this third station, the people are in the middle. They are neither in the desired station of happiness nor the awful station of sadness. These people find themselves in an intermediate hollow – a neutral state of indifference. It is also a station that can foster boredom. Life here is dull, switched off, indolent, and uninteresting.

Let’s jump back on the train again and get away from here! Let’s see what happens at the next station on the journey of life.

 Fourth station: PEACE

Our train moves on. There is a new station in sight. It is called PEACE. We will get off the train and see what the state of mind is for the people who are here.

What we discover is this: The people here are experiencing an absence of fluctuations between sorrow and pleasure as well as detachment and boredom.

Bliss Clouds from Pixabay - rolling blue green mountain peaks beneath blue clouded sky.

View from train window between stations!

This fourth station is a very desirable stop. It is peaceful, restful, and enjoyable. People experience serenity here. After the tumultuous ride lurching back and forth between pain and pleasure along with intermittent stops at the station of indifference, the passengers who arrive here profoundly enjoy the calm state of tranquillity and inner peace.

 In this station, everyone has one thing in common: They are centered in themselves, less worldly, and possess a positive, wise, and balanced way of thinking.  The people here are serene, poised, secure, and accepting of whatever is.

Interestingly, this station also is just one stop on the journey. Observe the people closely: Something deep within them is still longing for another destination. They sense there is something more.  We heard someone ask, ‘Is this all we can attain? Is this all life offers?’  Someone else was heard to ask, ‘This is nice but isn’t there more than peace?’

These thoughts percolate up from a soul memory. Something is reminding them that there is something else deep down for all of them to remember.

This much is true: After so many turbulent periods on life’s journey, this peaceful condition is most welcome. However, after a certain time of peaceful enjoyment, we will get this feedback: ‘Somebody, please hit me in the head so I can feel that I am still alive!’

In fact, this state of peace is simply a state in which excitement has been neutralized. It is not lastingly satisfying. So, let’s hop on the train again and head to the last stop – our final destination!

Fifth station: BLISS — EVER NEW JOY!

Wow! Look around. There are only a few people left on the train now. These are those who truly desire a deeper life, a higher life, a life of the soul. The train will take us on to the last and most wonderful station. It is called BLISS — EVER NEW JOY.

Last stop! Everybody off!

We discover something absolutely amazing: Everyone here has found true and lasting joy by contacting God in deep meditation and related techniques given by the Enlightened Ones.

One woman ecstatically explained her experience: ‘Imagine that for ten days you were not permitted to sleep but were forced to stay awake, and then allowed to fall asleep. The joy you feel at that moment, multiply it a million times, and it would still not describe the joy that I am speaking about.’

Another person says: ‘Here you find a joy you will never part with, even if the whole world is offered to you in exchange. Money, sex, wine—nothing can match that supreme joy.” Another person adds: “It is an ever-burning radiance in your own soul.’  Another person blissfully testifies: ‘This ever-new joy remains with your soul throughout eternity.’

Alas, most people in the world have traveled only to the first four stations. They know only these first four states of mind that are the domains of the ego. They do not know that fifth state, which is of the soul.

The train of life takes us to the last and highest station only by practicing daily silence. In fact, that bliss and ever-new joy can only be attained by perceiving God in inner stillness.

Sunrise Island, Pixabay - Blue sky and ocean with sun glistening over an island in the distance.

In truth, all of us do remember that fifth, supreme station, that state of bliss. How is this so? Because there was a time when we were perfect. It is for this long-lost perfection that we yearn because we are all children of God.

The train of life will eventually take us all home. It will take us to that last and glorious station of ever new joy.

This brings us back to Herman Melville’s quote:

Life is a voyage that’s homeward bound.

That home is Bliss. We get there quicker with meditation. The journey will be even faster if we apply effective meditation techniques.

The train of life will take you to the station of true and ever new Joy known as Bliss. The promise is this: if you can retain that state all of the time, no matter what happens in life, you will stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds.

Isn’t that a spectacular goal? Isn’t that a marvelous station and destination to reach? When you arrive at last at the station of Bliss — Ever New Joy, you will truly be HOME!


  1. This ability really spoke to me—what a great, creative way to simply explain these great truths. Thank you

  2. This is exactly on point. I will forward this to my contact list and hope for the best returns.
    I’m 86 now and can understand the different train station stops easily since I have been there and done that

    Jayadev you have written a home run out of the park, well done, my brother.

    G. Hutchby, D.C., (Doctor of Chiropractic), retired USAF Captain.

  3. Jayadev, this is beautiful! Explains our journey through life perfectly.

  4. wonderful “trip” home. may we all take the train to the Bliss station. Thank you Jaydev

  5. Thank you so much for sharing all of these great thoughts in such a wonderful, spontaneous way. It flies me off an amazing Soul Journey_from Duality to Oneness.


  6. Thank You Jayadev! You shared the journey and destinations so beautifully, driving home the point so powerfully.
    A joyful ride and read.


  7. Beautifully crafted the real meaning of our existence in this life, our sorrow, joy, happiness and peace .

  8. Dear Jayadev

    Is there Bliss during meditation when you lose your senses to the meditation?

    1. blank

      Dear Khemraj, When you “lose your senses” in meditation, meaning withdraw from the senses, it is not yet bliss. When you go very deep into the spine, into the chakras, into the spiritual eye, there is bliss. It is a matter of how deep you are able to go. You may meditate on these words by Yogananda: “When your consciousness withdraws still more deeply, into superconsciousness, then you are centered in bliss, in the spine. In that bliss-state you are aware in the causal body, the soul.” (Essence of Self-Realization). The true bliss, however, is not even the causal body (in yoga called ananda-maya-kosha, or bliss permeated sheath), but the soul within, which is a spark of Sat-chid-ananda (ever existent, ever conscious, ever new bliss). Many greetings, Jayadev

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *