Here comes a couple of short definitions of Sat Chit Ananda from Roberto Assagioli:
“…If one were truly immersed in the universal, one would not know
it. Someone – you will know that way of saying it, of the drop of water that is dispersed in the
shining sea. And some, I believe it was Lama Govinda, rightly criticized it. In reality, it is not so, the
drop is not dispersed in the sea. And even the Hindus, who knew all about it, spoke of Sat-Chit-
Ananda. That is to say “the blissful awareness of the supreme Reality, of the Self”.
Now, there could be no bliss there if there were not someone who is blessed. This is why I always
start from the inner experience of a living subject. And insofar as it can bear the Universal, it is the
individual who experiences bliss. I believe I have now expressed it in very precise terms. It is not
possible to lose the awareness of the Self that experiences all this. Of course, it is difficult in an
article to get to the bottom of this question. Now this could be defined as the great Paradox: and
Aurobindo talks about it, and so does Radhakrishnan in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, and
so does Lama Govinda – so the Orientals are aware of this, not all, of course.”
From Experiences of the Self, Assagioli Archive Florence.
…Govinda highlighted it well: there is no contrast between individuality and universality. On the
contrary, true spiritual awareness is a wonderful synthesis of individuality and universality. And
this is expressed in the Indian formula: sat – chit – ananda: SAT means Ultimate Reality; CHIT is self-
awareness; and universal awareness gives bliss, ie ANANDA. How could there be bliss without a
in that state …”
The Self, Assagioli Archive Florence.
There is a very fine phrase, you know, Sanskrit, which brings this clearly: Sat chit ananda.
Sat is truth; the ultimate reality. The universal, the transcendent. Chit is mental awareness
of it. And the result is ananda, bliss. You cannot have bliss if you ar not aware of it.
So remember and use it for yourselves, Sat, Chit, Ananda. Blissful awareness of reality.
But awareness; self-conscious awareness. That disposes of all those fears of losing
oneself in the whole and the drop in the sea and all that. These are quite misleading
expressions. In my forthcoming book I deal much more with this, of the fusion of individual
and universal consciousness. [From Talks on the Self]
“Suffering constitutes the preponderant and characteristic element of only one phase, one
level, of the spiritual life – the phase of purification which follows the awakening of the
soul, the first revelation of our indwelling Spirit. That awakening is full of joy and exultation
and joy is the note of the state that follows purification, the state of the illumined soul. After
the “dark night of the soul”, that new period of shadow, labor and sorrow, comes the
glorious goal, the transfiguration of the soul in God, the conscious communion of the
individual with the universal Spirit. The Orientals call this Moksha and Vinmuhti (liberation,
Nirvana) and the Occidentals the Mystic Marriage and the Unified life.
In this state the soul is filled with bliss, an enduring and ineffable joy. We should not
marvel at it for bliss is the essential quality of the Supreme Spirit. Both Orientals and
Occidentals testify to this. According to the Hindus, the three essential attributes of the
Supreme Spirit are Sat, Chit, Ananda; namely, being, knowledge, bliss. Other authorities
as the Manduka Upanishad call these characteristics of Atman, the Supreme Self,
“shantam, shivam, advaita”; or peace, bliss, unity.”
Spiritual Joy, The Beacon
“…I said that the “I” is a projection, an outpost of the Self. And there is a permanent
connection between the two, through which energy can flow. When a good measure of
genuine personal self-awareness is reached, then there are streams of energy which flow
from the Transpersonal Self to the “I”. This, again, is different from the energy which
comes from the superconscious levels, for they bring no specific contents or intuitions.
218They are intimations from the Transpersonal Self and are experienced as intensification of
self-awareness. So this experience gives an acute sense of self-awareness accompanied
by a sense of bliss. Sat Chit Ananda. “Thou are that”.
For the Transpersonal Self is reality; it is of the same nature as the Universal Reality.
Therefore its energy is charged with power and bliss, without any definite content. For this
reason the ultimate reality to which it belongs has been described in terms of purity. This is
the absence of specific quality, which is arrived at through the harmonious synthesis of all
qualities (just as white light, the absence of colour, is the combination in right proportions
of all colours). It is the void in a positive sense, the “Suchness of the Void”, a void which
contains all life, to which everything belongs, and in which all is combined.
This is the true contact with the Self. All the rest is contact with the superconscious.”
From The Superconscious and the Self
“Because of the multiplicity of human nature, of the existence in us of various and often conflicting subpersonalities, joy at some level can coexist with suffering at other levels. For instance, there can be the joy of mastering an unruly subpersonality, although the subpersonality itself may experience this as painful.
Also a vivid anticipation of a future-willed achievement or satisfaction can give joy even while one feels pain. Saint Francis said, “So great is the Good that I am expecting that every pain to me is joyous.” At a less exalted level, this is true of athletes and particularly of mountainclimbers, to whom the joyous prospect of the “intended” willed achievement outweighs the physical hardships and suffering involved.
Since the outcome of successful willing is the satisfaction of one’s needs, we can see that the act of will is essentially joyous. And the realization of the self, or more exactly of being a self (whose most intrinsic function, as we have seen, is that of willing), gives a sense of freedom, of power, of mastery which is profoundly joyous.
This is true at the level of the personal self; but the realization of the Transpersonal Will, the expression of the Transpersonal Self, is so intensely joyous that it can be called blissful. Here we have the joy of the harmonious union between the personal and the Transpersonal Will; the joy of the harmony between one’s Transpersonal Will and those of others; and, highest and foremost, the bliss of the identification with the Universal Will.
The mystics of all times and places have realized and expressed the joy and bliss which are inherent in the union of the individual will with the Universal Will.
Underbill says: The enhanced will, made over to the interests of the Transcendent, receives new worlds to conquer, new strengths to match its exalted destiny. But the heart too here enters on a new order, begins to live upon high levels joy that is, the sea of delight, the stream of divine influences.
This consummation is vividly expressed in the Sanskrit saying SatChitAnanda:
“The blissful awareness of Reality.” And finally, in the triumphant affirmation:
Aham evam param Brahman: “I indeed am the Supreme Brahman.”
From The Act of Will, p. 201
Indeed in the Supreme Being’s omnipotence, wisdom and love, the sum of all perfection, cannot have any weak link in the form of unawareness, suffering or desire. The Supreme Being cannot be conceived of as being anything other than perfectly content and in a state of supreme bliss. All spiritual viewpoints are in agreement on this, both in the East and in the West. For the Indians the three essential aspects of the Spirit are Sat-Chit-Ananda: Being Awareness and Bliss.
Other texts, such as the Upanishad, refer to Atman Shivam Advaitam, or Peace, Bliss and Unity.
From Transpersonal Development, p. 257« Back to Glossary Index