Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sat-Chit-Ananda - a calculus of bliss
Being complete; Being the whole; is what is contained in the expression
Ananda; it is non-different from the term anantam in that sense; and so
sat-chit-ananda and satyam-jnanam-anantam are corollary expressions, which are
pointers to the One, Non-dual, Brahman.
Use of terms such as happiness, or bliss, or ecstasy conjures up a concept of
an experience, mystic, and indescribable and perhaps conditioned by our own
current concepts of what is bliss or ecstasy, and by default these are always in
the construct of a subject-object relationship. Its very hard for us to think of
ourselves as being the very "stuff" that constitutes ananda!
The only sorrow in the world is our own sense of limitation, of want. We crave
what is pleasant and we ascribe the joy experienced as a result thereof to be a
quality of that thing or situation.
Only upon enquiry do we realize the futility of this approach and the depths
of our delusional thinking.
Lord Yama congratulates Nachiketas with these immortal words in their famous
dialogue contained in the Katha Upanishad
Yama said: The good is one thing; the pleasant, another. Both of these,
serving different needs, bind a man. It goes well with him who, of the two,
takes the good; but he who chooses the pleasant misses the end.
2 Both the good and the pleasant present themselves to a man. The calm
soul examines them well and discriminates. Yea, he prefers the good to the
pleasant; but the fool chooses the pleasant out of greed and avarice.
3 O Nachiketas, after pondering well the pleasures that are or seem to be
delightful, you have renounced them all. You have not taken the road abounding
in wealth, where many men sink.
Later in the same Upanishad Lord Yama tells Nachiketas the true route to
ananda, which is beyond sukha and dukha - joy and sorrow,
11 The fulfillment of desires, the foundation of the universe, the rewards
of sacrifices, the shore where there is no fear, that which adorable and great,
the wide abode and the goal all this you have seen; and being wise, you have
with firm resolve discarded everything.
12 The wise man who, by means of concentration on the Self, realizes that
ancient, effulgent One, who is hard to be seen, unmanifest, hidden and who
dwells in the buddhi and rests in the body he, indeed, leaves joy and sorrow far
13 The mortal who has heard this and comprehended it well, who has
separated that Atman, the very soul of dharma, from all physical objects and has
realized the subtle essence, rejoices because he has obtained that which is the
source of joy. The Abode of Brahman, I believe, is open for Nachiketas.
After all joy and sorrow stem are two sides of the same coin
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled
with your tears. And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only
that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in
truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, Joy is greater than sorrow, and others say, Nay, sorrow is
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember
that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. (Gibran)
Let us examine the issue a little more closely. Our innate nature is of
fullness. The I-sense or ahankara is born out of a beginning-less sense of
limitation, from which stems a irrepressible notion of want or "desire" Every
want or need reflects an innate sense of fullness which I am unable to abide in a satisfied need creates a very temporally limited joy in the mind because
this wanting I is temporarily resolved. But as my self-nature is not realized,
another want almost instantaneously fills up the vacuum so created. And so the
cycle goes on more desires and more futile works to fulfill those desires and
so on and on and on over millions of cycles of births and deaths punarapi
jananam punarapi maranam punarapi jananii jathare shayanam An eternal hide and
seek with sorrow and joy peeping through and unfortunately as it turns out
more sorrow than joy for the most part. And we are never content with anything
less than poornatvam because poornam is who
What then is the real ananda?
What is happiness?
The Taittriya Up gives us an eternally true calculus of happiness
Yuva syat sadhu yuvadhyayakah asistho drdhistho balisthah, tasyeyam prthivi
sarva vittasya purna syat, sa eko manusa anandah te ye satam manusa anandah, sa
eko manusya-gandharvanam anandah, srotriyasya cakamahatasya;
Now this is an inquiry regarding the Bliss.
Suppose there is a young man a noble young man versed, the best of rulers,
firm in body and strong and possesses the whole world, full of wealth, is his:
that is one measure of human bliss.
So we paint the picture of the ultimate in human happiness someone who is
Not only young, but also wise how? By being a follower of dharma, by
enjoying a conflict-free mind.
Not only that, enjoys great health and vigor. And very wealthy in fact so
wealthy, that forget being on the Forbes list of richest people, he IS the list he owns the entire earth!
How can such a person exist but Ma Shruti says let us just suppose that such
be a one then his measure of happiness can be taken as one solitary unit! (Put
this in perspective with our petty pursuance of a few dollars and pounds, a few
hundred extra-square feet of living space!)
Next the shruti goes on to talk about more evolved beings, with inner
equipments more refined and hence more capable of finer and more lasting
enjoyments such as gandharvas, pitrs, and devas, including the King or Lord of
the devas Indra, as well as the Guru of the devas Brhaspati. Even a higher
quotient of bliss is enjoyed by Lord Prajapati.
Te ye satam manusya gandharvanam anandah sa eko deva-gandharvanam anandah,
Te ye satam deva-gandharvanam anandah sa ekah pitrnam cira-loka-lokanam
anandah, srotriyasya cakamahatasya;
Te ye satam pitrnam cira-loka-lokanam anandah, sa eka ajanajanam devanam
anandah, srotriyasya cakamahatasya;
Te ye satam ajanajanam devanam anandah. sa ekah karmadevanam devanam anandah
ye karmana devan apiyanti, srotriyasya cakamahasya;
Te ye satam karma-devanam devanam anandah, sa eko devanam anandah, srotriyssya
Te ye satam devanam anandah, sa eka Indrasyanandah, srotiyssya cakamahatasya;
Te ye satam Indrasyanandah, sa eko Brhaspater anandah, srotriyasya
Te ye satam Brhaspater anandah, sa ekah Prajapater anandah, srotriyasya
This human bliss, multiplied on hundred times, is one measure of the bliss of
the human gandharvas, as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free from
This bliss of the human gandharvas, multiplied one hundred times, is one
measure of the bliss of the celestial gandharvas, as also of a man versed in the
Vedas and free from desires.
This bliss of the celestial gandharvas, multiplied one hundred times, is one
measure of the bliss of the Manes, who dwell in the long enduring world, as also
of a man versed in the Vedas and free from desires.
This bliss of the Manes who dwell in the long enduring world, multiplied on
hundred times, is one measure of the bliss of the gods born in the Ajana heaven,
as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free from desires.
The bliss of the gods born in the Ajana heaven, multiplied one hundred times,
is one measure of the bliss of the sacrificial gods who have attained to
divinity by means of sacrifices, as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free
The bliss of the sacrificial gods, multiplied one hundred times, is one
measure of the bliss of the gods, as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free
The bliss of the gods, multiplied one hundred times, is one measure of the
bliss of Indra, as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free from desires.
The bliss of Indra, multiplied one hundred times, is one measure of the bliss
of Brihaspati, as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free from desires.
The bliss of Brihaspati, multiplied one hundred times, is one measure of the
bliss of Prajapati, as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free from desires.
Te ye satam Prajapater anandah, sa eko Brahmana anandah, srotriyasya
The bliss of Prajapati, multiplied one hundred times, is one measure of the
bliss of Hiranyagarbha (Virat), as also of a man versed in the Vedas and free
Beyond Hiranyagarbha or the Virat there is nothing why? Because there is no
further desire for hiranyagarbha It verily Is Everything It is the Whole.
While everyone upto Prajapati including the devas,Indra,etc may have a
wish-list of sorts the Virat, or Ishwara, represents the Entirety and there
being nothing other than the Entirety there is nothing for Him to covet or seek
What a stupendous gradation in an experiential happiness? Just to give a
perspective to where we stand? Where does it begin and Where does it end? And
yet repeated over and over again, is the key to this entire section
akamahatasya free from wants free from desires. In other words vairagya.
We think of vairagya as something that involves giving up giving up money.
Giving up family, giving up on comforts and conveniences we hold so dear to us.
But truly is vairagya the key to happiness. Vairagya is a mature outlook to what
all these things are worth and signify. From True vairagya is born tyaga and
tyaga is the only gateway to eternity - as the Kaivalya Up asserts and boldly
Na karmana na prajaya dhanena Tyagenaike amrtatvam anasuh
One can achieve immortality in association with the Lord, not by ones own
pious deeds, nor by the pious deeds of ones sons, nor by the accumulation of
wealth, but only by renunciation of all enjoyment for oneself and offering
everything to the Supreme Lord.
So if there is a man, lets say sitting under a tree or by the riverbanks, with
true and abiding dispassion, born out of a understanding of His nature, and who
wants nothing, who is not lacking in anything, then his happiness is of the
nature of Brahman; He is happy out of HimSelf; He verily is the source of Joy to
everyone in the world. His Happiness is Ishwara's there being no separation,
as furthermore the Upanisad clarifies
Sa yascayam puruse, yas casavaditye sa ekah, sa ya evamvit asmallokat pretya,
etam annamayam Atmanam upasamkramati, etam pranamayam Atmanan upasamkramati,
etam anandamayam Atmanam upasamkramati
Tadapi esa sloko bhavati
He who is here in man and he who is in yonder sun both are one! He who knows
this, after dying to this world, attains the self which consists of food,
attains the self which consist of the vital breath, attains the self which
consists of the mind, attains the self which consists of intellect, attains the
self which consists of bliss.
He has realized himself to be the Self. His notional separation from the Whole
has ended. He abides in Being. He is Being and hence Ananda, there is no
question of him being happy or unhappy. Why again? Because there is no fear of
any sort, including the Ultimate fear of all fears the fear of mortality.
Whence can there be happiness where lurks fear?
The enlightened man is not afraid of anything after realising that Bliss of
Brahman, failing to reach which, words turn back along with the mind.
So coming back to the question of Ananda. It is not an attribute or a quality
of Brahman it does not mean Brahman is blissful. Brahman is One Non-dual
Entirety, the Whole, Poornamadam Poornamidam and hence alone Anantam that
has to be conveyed to the seeker and it is beautifully conveyed by the term
Ananda. Everyone and everything is held dear not for their sake but for the sake
of resolving the notional wanting self ever so temporarily so that a glimpse of
the Self seeps through. And because it is Anantam it transcends time and space
and hence alone is changeless hence Satyam. Only That which is the Entirety
can be the changless and can serve as the substratum or satta for this changing
manifest Universe we call srshti, and hence alone is srshti mithya, lacking in
anything substantive or satyam other than the substratum the vastu. And moreover
it is of the nature of knowledge or consciousness. Not in the sense of knowing
something or being conscious of something
but in being the very illumining principle which enlightens and enlivens.
Thus are the words satyam jnanam anantam or sat chit ananda words which point
to the indescribable, the One nonDual vastu.
Shri Gurubhyo namah