In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the concept of Sat Chit Ananda, which can be translated as Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. This episode explores what exactly is the truth, what denotes itself as consciousness and what is bliss? If you thought you knew what bliss was, this episode may change your mind.
As discussed in the podcast, here is the YouTube link to Jeff Lieberman's Tedx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0--_R6xThs
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Rahul N Singh 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the bearded mystic podcast. And I'm your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to listen or watch this episode of the podcast. Today, we're going to be discussing the concept of Sat Chit Ananda, which can be loosely translated as truth, consciousness bliss. And we'll go into what these three words mean in more depth.
What is Sat? We know that Sat means truth, but the truth of what? Is it the truth of our existence? Is it the truth of this microphone? Is it the truth of the physical universe is? Is the truth the laws of the universe or the laws of nature? What exactly is the truth? Well, really, as much as we can know about the universe, if we think about it, we can only understand the universe, according to the apparatus we have, which is our being, our mind, our thoughts, our perception, therefore, we're limited to the elements of the body. There's certain things that we cannot hear that we cannot see that even other living creatures can see and hear that we can't. Even though we can say that human beings can try or they can attempt to know everything in existence and how the universe is, I would say we can only know as much as we think we are. If we believe we are this body and this mind, that's the limitation that we are going to have. And then we have to understand that that is the limitation. But we're going to look at the truth of our existence. And what is our existence?
In Advaita Vedanta, there is the concept of neti neti, this is from the Upanishads Actually, this very concept neti neti means not this, not this or not this not that. What neti neti does, is it's a process where we one by one, analyze and inquire into its existence. For example, if I wanted to look into the existence of this microphone. Now, what was this microphone, before it took this form? It was probably a bunch of materials put together, some wires put together, they were modified to have distinct parts to it. Before that, it's probably part of the earth in terms of raw material. Now, what was the earth from? Let's say we follow the Big Bang Theory, it (the earth) came from the Big Bang. So it's a product of the universe. Okay, so where did the universe come from? We don't know what there was, before the Big Bang? it was probably absolute nothingness. So then what is our existence? In Vedanta, they say that the truth of existence is prior to consciousness. Actually, this is very interesting. Prior to our consciousness, there was this Brahman, yeah, we've been discussing Brahman in the last few episodes, it's a word we can keep with. That is the truth of our existence, according to the breakdown given by the scriptures of the East, especially in the Upanishads. And if you look at, even though the texts like Ashtavakra Gita, this is really emphasized, from what we gather from that is that our existence is simply emptiness. When I say emptiness, I don't mean like in a nihilistic way, emptiness as in that there's no content there. Yeah, there's nothing tangible. There's no form, there's no element, it's completely devoid of everything that you can think of, it's devoid of thought, devoid of emotion. And what's interesting is that, if you followed what I've just said, you will be able to understand what I'm talking about. Now, if you haven't experienced what I've just said, is very difficult to understand this concept and is very challenging. Trust me, I know, because I've been there before. People have said this to me so many times in my life, and I never got it. I just could not get my brain to wrap around it. But eventually, with time and with studying it a bit more and being more intense in my studying. I managed to understand the concept through Neti, Neti, through self inquiry, whether even 'Who am I?' through that inquiry, and now we can just look at our own self. Forget about the microphone. Just look at your own self, and analyze from where did you begin? When was our beginning? There is no answer. And it's actually in the no answer is the truth. And I know it sounds like come talking in riddles or in hyperbole, but it's, it's really that simple.
Now, let me take a step back, if I look into what this body is made of, and there's actually a TED talk by Jeff Lieberman on this, and I do suggest that you watch this and I must put it in the show notes, the link to that video is still up on YouTube. In there, he talks about how if you put him in body under a microscope, you'll see basically, that we're cells and if you put the cells under a microscope, you'll see electrons neutrons, and also see if you keep going down eventually to the atom. Now we go into like quarks and all that. If you had to put a microscope when it is a quark , while they're be just formless emptiness, dancing around. Even our body is formless, our body is emptiness, it's energy, just dancing. This is really hard to grasp sometimes, because when we say that when nothing or no-thing in the Buddhist terminology, it's very tough to comprehend, or very tough to accept even because we feel we are something. Right, like I mentioned the transactional reality we are feeling things as real. Now, neti neti gets us to the point where we break everything down, until we reach to consciousness, pure consciousness and this is what we can talk about.
Now, what is consciousness in Advaita Vedanta, consciousness means pure consciousness, not the consciousness as I am the body and the mind not that consciousness but the consciousness prior to everything, means Brahman, that is Brahman. When we get to that point of Neti, Neti, and we break everything down to pure consciousness, that is Brahman. Like I said, if you've been sincere in our inquiry, only the existence of Brahman should remain. This has to be something you have to really live. Like you have to experience it yourself. Nobody can take you there with words. I do believe for majority of us, a teacher is able to guide us there and they are able to guide us very effectively to this point of realization. How many teachers are willing to do that is another topic altogether? Once you understand that, there is only Brahman. Okay, there's only pure consciousness. We understand that this ultimate reality is limitless. is formless is infinite, it's shapeless, it's colorless, it's boundless, no beginning, no end, timeless. And yet, everything that we see as this manifestation is contained within this. This is the truth of the relative existence, and Brahman and consciousness, pure consciousness. Now, once we know that consciousness is the truth of our existence, sat and chit. What does this lead to? This leads to ananda, which is bliss.
Now what is bliss? Is the elation that goes beyond the comprehension of happiness. In the last episode, I've mentioned how my spiritual teacher mentioned that bliss is true happiness beyond the senses, it's beyond our comprehension. It's that type of elation, where we cannot word it, we cannot describe it, we cannot even give the other the experience of it, they can feel it in terms of separate to them, but they cannot feel it as their own. Even when you describe it, and they may feel something. This bliss is an uncreated eternal state. A lot of times in especially, I can talk from the Indian culture, say you go to a wedding, yeah, you get some nice food. And you'll find that some, some of us from the Indian community will say, 'anand aa gaya.'. After they've eaten the food, they feel blissful. I felt bliss after eating that food. Tomorrow, they may feel something else. But it in that moment, they feel bliss.
Is it really bliss? Will they have that feeling of that food, that it gave them that bliss from eating that food, would that carry on into the next day? Will that carry on in five years in 10 years? Will it continue after death? This is the question. And that's with anything. Sometimes even a spiritual experience could be actually just happiness, joy or elation and we may mistakenly call it bliss. When we do this, what happens? Okay, this must've happened to some of us where you've had an amazing meditation, it's been one of the best meditations you've ever had. You definitely feel like you've touched bliss. Yeah, I've definitely felt bliss. And then tomorrow appears, and you sit down for meditation and nothing's happening, the ego saying, 'Don't you want that experience again?' And you go back into the thought, Oh yeah, I want that experience again, I want to feel bliss again, then was that experience in meditation bliss?
When you understand what sat is, and chit, you come to a point, which is called Samadhi, which is super consciousness state, or is termed as a Turiya state, the fourth state. This fourth state is beyond waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, it is beyond those states. Ananda is in that fourth state. It's in Samadhi, is the fourth state and Samadhi is something that you can always go into. What normally happens is, we go through what is termed as satoris, which is awakening experiences. But we sometimes mistakenly, we interpret it as enlightenment, but really, we've just gone through an awakening, and we should be able to recognize this. We have to be very honest in our spirituality to recognize when it is an awakening that, okay, this was a fleeting experience, but I'm getting close to the goal. I've got to keep continuing. I've still go deeper into my practice I've got to be more sincere in my practice. What tends to happen is we've had one experience of awakening, and we suddenly termed it as enlightenment, because we've never experienced such a thing before. Right, is natural. I mean, I don't actually condemn anyone for feeling that way. To be honest, because it seems to be the only natural response to something that you've experienced for the first time. We have to understand that this feeling of blissfulness has to remain, only then is it Samadhi. Samadhi is that direct realization of this uncreated eternal state of bliss, and it's always there, it never disappears. Awakening, it will go, maybe it touched bliss, but you didn't enter the state. It's like you're at the beach, you just allowed the waves to touch your feet, but you didn't go walking into the ocean, and go knee deep. It is like that, we just allow the wave of bliss to touch us. And then we allow it to recede back. Instead, what we should do is keep going forward. We stop making the effort, we then become a little insincere, and say, we've achieved everything. That isn't the state of bliss. Bliss is something you have to go into, and then remain firm in, remain stable in.
I would say that bliss and grace are interrelated and interdependent. To get to that state of bliss requires grace. To get to such a higher state of being requires a certain level of, I don't know, I don't want to say it's an influence because that means there's something external, or even there's a duality there isn't. It's like grace leads you there. I really feel that in the spiritual journey, you will find when you look back, you'd be like, how did that happen? That was grace. And I find bliss and grace are interdependent and interrelated. They work with each other. You could say they conspire together to get you to that state of Samadhi. Yeah, it could be. Who knows? You just have to find out this satchitananda then once we've become stabilized in ananda, in bliss, we find that this is all one and not different aspects. So sat is't different, chit isn't different and ananda isn't separate. They are all one, they're is a symbiotic relationship. And that is what the mystic is. This is what the mystic experiences. It's super deep for me. Majority of times I find it so difficult to comprehend.
I've written a poem for this podcast. I hope you like it, do tell me if you like these poems, because I then know better to have these in my podcasts now. And the thing about poetry is that it appears from nowhere for me. I never planned to write a poem. It always comes from a place beyond me. I'm never able to explain it. Let's start with this poem yeah.
I have travelled uncharted lands within my mind, Wondered who I am and when did I begin? When did I start identifying with this body? When did I become attached to my own name? When did the attachment become a problem? When did it start disturbing the peace within? What can I do know to get out of this trap within traps? The boat I travelled on led me to an Island, Upon my arrival, the Mystic held his open arms, Such love was alien to me, Yet I hadn’t seen another human in weeks, maybe months, I let my mind go of its preconceived notions, And hugged the Mystic and felt an embrace like no other before, It took me to a place within my mind, A place I had been to yet was searching for once again. With a smile, this Mystic seemed to have taken my worries away, I really couldn’t identify myself in His divine presence. He guided me to his dwelling where the busy-ness of a family resided, Freshened up and fed with delicious food, I sat in front of the fire, The Mystic sat opposite me and the fire in the absolute center, He began to speak and with just the syllable ‘Aum’, I was transported to the embrace I experienced on my arrival, Gone was my body, no where to be seen or felt, Gone was my mind, my identity, my knowledge, my memories, All vanished as if being burned in a fire of absolute knowledge, It felt like lifetimes of burdens was burning away and behind the smoke, It was veiled, my true existence was waiting as the air picked up, Slowly but surely, the smoke cleared up and I stood right in front Of what I always was. I encountered it and yet, language failed to express This lack of duality. With consciousness as pure as purity can be, I came across bliss, this boundless experience of joy burst forth, Lost was I in this expanding sense of bliss, As the words ‘Aum’ was uttered again, The Mystic stood up and smiled again, I lost what I thought was everything and gained what no-thing really was, The Mystic approached me and with a whisper directed in my ear, This is who you are, Sat chit ananda, this is who you are.
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