Philosophers and mystics of all times were asked one of the main questions: “Who is God, and how do you learn his nature? Vedic philosophy, in some way, answers this question. So Brahman – the single nature of the whole universe, the higher consciousness – has three qualities, which in Sanskrit sound like “Sat,” “Chit,” and “Ananda.”
In Sanskrit, these terms mean “Eternity, Knowledge, Bliss,” respectively. This concept allows us to meditate on Brahman’s qualities and thus see before us a quite specific meditative image.
According to Upanishads, an individual soul – “Jiva” or “Atman” – is identical to Brahman’s qualities – the higher consciousness. This allows us to understand that our true “Self” also has three original qualities – eternity, knowledge, and bliss. And everything else is a veil of ignorance that hides from a person the knowledge about who he is.
Eternity is the first of the qualities that the individual soul has. The soul has an eternal nature outside of time and space and is therefore not subject to destruction. The death of the material body does not entail the death of the soul. It is said in Bhagavad Gita: “As a man, taking off his old clothes, puts on new ones, so the soul enters the new material bodies, leaving the old and useless.
Also, the soul has the quality of invulnerability and cannot be destroyed. This is also stated in the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita (verse 23-24): “He who has realized himself as an eternal soul gets rid of material attachments and the fear of death, which is present in the consciousness of every living being from the beginning of time. Awareness that our true “Self” is not subject to either death or destruction allows us to find freedom from attachments and fears.
Knowledge is the second quality that an individual soul possesses. Since the individual soul is united with and identical to the supreme consciousness, it has all the perfect knowledge about the nature of all things and phenomena of the universe. That is why many spiritual teachers say that the knowledge of the truth, or rather its awareness, is much easier than it seems. In Buddhism, there is a concept about the presence of the so-called “nature of Buddha” in every living being; that is, every living being has the opportunity to become a Buddha.
It is about the fact that all knowledge is already inside of us. To reach the condition of Buddha, you do not need to acquire anything; on the contrary, you need to get rid of everything superfluous, namely – from the veil of ignorance, which hides the “nature of Buddha.” Thus, in Buddhism, it is believed that only the so-called “Klesh” – the darkening of consciousness – prevents every living being from revealing his “Buddha nature.”
Bliss is the third quality that the individual soul has. Happiness and suffering are very subjective concepts. One of the brightest examples is the weather. The same weather can cause suffering to one person and bring joy to another—some people like sunny weather, others like rainy weather. And the paradox is that a person decides for himself: what he will suffer from and what to experience a pleasure.
Our mind divides things and phenomena into pleasant and unpleasant. Then the mind tends to the pleasant phenomena and repels the unpleasant ones. This process generates affection and disgust. The desire to get pleasant and avoid unpleasant things and, in turn, leads to suffering. Awareness of this duality’s illusiveness, the understanding that all events and phenomena are neutral, and only we give them this or that emotional and sensual coloring, allows us to remain calm in happiness and grief.
Possessing the ability to distinguish between the main and the secondary, a person acquires a state of bliss when his or her senses are under control. This is also stated in Bhagavad Gita: “He who, like a turtle pulling his head and limbs into the shell, can divert his feelings from objects of sensual perception, has a stable, spiritual mind.
When the senses are under control and are not involved in dividing objects and phenomena into pleasant and unpleasant, the very cause of suffering disappears. When the mind is no longer disturbed by objects of pleasure and suffering, it finds peace, described as bliss independent of external conditions. The Buddha also spoke about it: “There is no happiness equal to calmness.
The anxiety of the mind caused by the division of the world into black and white; the involvement in this illusion of duality leads to suffering.
Three Brahman qualities
Thus, Sat-Chit-Ananda is three qualities of Brahman and three qualities of each individual soul. These qualities are already present in every living being but temporarily hidden by a veil of delusions. The task of everyone who follows the path of self-knowledge is to realize this fact of knowing oneself as an eternal soul, possessing all the perfect knowledge and staying in constant bliss, independent of external conditions.