In my continued study of the Bhagavad Gita I am looking closely at sat-cit-ananda and would love some insights to this knowledge.
Firstly to define each word…
- Sat: Existence.
- Cit: Consciousness or Awareness (synonyms in Vedanta).
- Ananda: bliss or fullness or not-two or limitlessness (all mean the same, looked at from different standpoints).
Now the explanation…
Satchitananda is the compound used to indicate the nature of awareness (brahman), or the self (atman).
It is important to understand, however, that…
Sat is not the limited existence of ephemeral objective phenomena.
Cit is not the consciousness of perceptible objective phenomena.
Ananda is not the emotional bliss/happiness/enjoyment associated with the experience of objective phenomena.
Sat-chit-ananda indicates limitless conscious existence.
We know the nature of the self (atma) is conscious existence because existence is only recognized as such due to consciousness of it — and consciousness is self-evidently existent.
We know that conscious existence is limitless because all objective phenomena are only recognizable due to their existence within a “field” of conscious existence.
Even time and space (the fundamental parameters by which objects are defined) are objects whose existence is only recognizable due to their appearance within a “field” of conscious existence.
Thus that “field” of conscious existence itself must be beyond (i.e., not subject to) all limiting parameters and, thus, limitless.
This “field” of limitless conscious existence is referred to as the self (ātmā) — because it is the fundamental reality, or essential aspect, of all things.
And since there can be only ONE fundamental reality — thus the fundamental reality of the total must be the fundamental reality of the apparent individual. Since the apparent individual is a part of the total.
My mind can only reflect pure cit or know this infinite ever present source but in the end “I am that” meaning that all things are in my mind and all things exist in me.
All objective phenomena are only recognized by the mind and are only experienced by the individual as a result of the mental perception of the object.
But all objective phenomena do not exist solely within the mind of the individual.
There are three orders of reality:
1) paramarthika-satyam, which is pure awareness;
2) vyavaharika-satyam, which is the transactional reality; and
3) pratibhasika-satyam, which is the apparent individual’s experience.
Paramarthika-satyam alone is real.
It is the realm of pure, unmodified, limitless, attributeless, ever-present, all-pervasive, non-dual awareness.
The “direct path” teachings reflect this perspective exclusively.
And it is from this perspective that springs ajata-vada, the “nothing ever happened” explanation of reality.
Ajata-vada posits that since no object, event, or experience is essentially anything other than pure awareness (brahman) — then none of these phenomena have any affect on brahman.
Nor can they be said to be anything other than pure awareness.
Therefore, since all events or experiences are only definable in terms of change — and all objects are only definable in terms of their unique qualities — nothing can be said to ever have actually happened.
Vyavaharika-satyam is the transactional reality, or what we can refer to variously as the world, creation, or the manifest universe.
As an object “known” by or arising within the scope of awareness, it is only apparently real.
It is the projection of Maya, and thus is referred to as Isvara shrishti, “God’s creation,”.
Isvara is pure awareness apparently conditioned by its own deluding power of Maya (the macrocosmic superimposition that causes limitless awareness to appear to be the vast array of limited forms… that comprise the manifest universe, in both its subtle and gross aspects).
Figuratively speaking, the manifest universe is a dream appearing in the mind of God, it has greater staying power than the ephemeral dreams of apparent individuals.
Because of the “greater staying power”, is the very reason why the apparent individual (upon waking), seemingly returns to the same physical world he/she inhabited before falling asleep.
Such is simply the design of the grand game of life in the apparent reality it would seem.
Pratibhasika-satyam is the apparent individual’s subjective interpretation of his perception of the transactional reality as well as the conceptual phenomena that arise within the apparent individual’s mind.
It, too, is only an objective phenomenon appearing within pure awareness, and thus is only apparently real.
Though the apparent individual doesn’t create the physical world it inhabits, he does project his vasana-influenced interpretations of objects/events ONTO the vyavaharika-world.
In this way, the apparent individual “creates” or determines the quality and texture of his personal experience.
Hence, pratibhasika-satyam is considered jiva-shrishti, “the apparent individual’s creation.”
Acknowledging the existence of these three aspects of reality, accurately discriminating between them, knowing what is real as opposed to what is only apparent — and being able to effectively navigate between the real and the apparent within the context of living — are all parts of fully assimilated self-knowledge.
Vedanta does not deny the existence of the apparent aspects of reality (vyavaharika/pratibhasika).
It simply exposes their limitations, reveals the non-dual nature of reality and one’s true identity as limitless awareness.
Consequently eradicates suffering and affords one ultimate inner freedom, which one can enjoy even while fully participating in “worldly” affairs.
I am the knower of all experiences. I am not the objects but they exist in me and I am one with everything.
Yes, the apparent individual that you seem to be due to your association with the body-mind-sense complex is an object.
The mind is the knower of all experiences.
The self is the “knower” only in figurative terms.
The self is simply the limitless conscious existence (sat cit ananda) within which all objective phenomena appear.
It is the “light” that illumines the mind and thereby enables it to know objects.
The self, however, is not a personal entity with a particular perspective that enables it to be a knowing subject in relation to a known object.
Within the self, the mind appears as an object (i.e., a knowable phenomenon) that is able to perform the functions that we refer to as knowing (in an intellectual sense).
The mind is not a tangible object and, thus, has no form.
Instead, the mind takes the form of the objects arising within limitless-conscious-existence that fall within the range of its perception.
In this sense, the mind is one with everything appearing within its perceptive range.
The self (atman) is one with everything in the sense that it is the limitless-conscious-existence (sat chit ananda) — that is both the material and subtle substrate of all objective phenomena.
I return to this knowledge as a continued meditation as often as I can throughout the day. This allows me to be free of the jiva and free up the jiva so that I am not suffering.
When you can make the discrimination I’ve just described and have fully assimilated the knowledge, it frees you from suffering.
Though the apparent individual will still experience pain and pleasure, the suffering that results from the idea that these experiences are actually affecting one’s true nature ceases.