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Satchitananda (IAST: Satcitānanda) or Sacchidananda representing "existence, consciousness, and bliss"[1][2] or "truth, consciousness, bliss",[3] is an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism called Brahman.[4][5][note 1]


Satchitananda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानन्द) is a compounded Sanskrit word consisting of "sat", "cit" and "ananda", all three considered as inseparable from the nature of ultimate reality called Brahman in Hinduism.[9] The different forms of spelling is driven by euphonic (sandhi) rules of Sanskrit, useful in different contexts.[9]

  • sat (सत्):[10] The term can have meanings, such as that "which never changes", the "Truth", or the "Absolute Being".[web 1][note 2] According to Monier Monier-Williams, sat means "being, existing", "living, lasting, enduring", "real, actual", "true, good, right", "beautiful, wise, venerable, honest", or "that which really is, existence, essence, true being, really existent, good, true".[10]
  • cit (चित्):[12] translates to "consciousness"[web 1] and also "to perceive, fix mind on", "to understand, comprehend, know", "to form an idea in the mind, be conscious of, think, reflect upon".[12]
  • ānanda (आनन्द):[13] The term means "bliss".[web 1] According to Monier Monier-Williams, it means "happiness, joy, enjoyment, sensual pleasure", "pure happiness, one of three attributes of Atman or Brahman in the Vedanta philosophy".[13]

Satchitananda is therefore translated as "Truth Consciousness Bliss",[3][14][15] "Reality Consciousness Bliss",[16][17] "Existence Consciousness Bliss",[2] "Absolute Consciousness Bliss",[web 1] or "Consisting of existence and thought and joy".[web 2]


The term is contextually related to "the ultimate reality" in various schools of Hindu traditions.[9] In theistic traditions, sacchidananda is same as God such as Vishnu,[18] Shiva[19] or Goddess in Shakti traditions.[20] In monist traditions, sacchidananda is considered directly inseparable from nirguna (attributeless) Brahman or the "universal wholeness of existence", wherein the Brahman is identical with Atman, the true individual self.[21][5] Satchitananda or Brahman is held to be the source of all reality, source of all conscious thought, and source of all perfection-bliss.[9] It is the ultimate, the complete, the destination of spiritual pursuit in Hinduism.[9][5][22]

Textual references[edit]

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (c. 800–600 BCE) is among the earliest Hindu texts which links and then discusses Atman (soul), Brahman (ultimate reality), awareness, joy and bliss such as in sections 2.4, 3.9 and 4.3.[23][24][25] The Chandogya Upanishad (~800-600 BCE), in section 3.14 to 3.18, discusses Atman and Brahman, these being identical to "that which shines and glows both inside and outside", "dear", "pure knowing, awareness", "one's innermost being", "highest light", "luminous".[26][27] Other 1st-millennium BCE texts, such as the Taittiriya Upanishad in section 2.1, as well as minor Upanishads, discuss Atman and Brahman in saccidananda-related terminology.[28]

An early mention of the compound word sacchidananda is in verse 3.11 of Tejobindu Upanishad,[29] composed before the 4th-century CE.[30][31] The context of sacchidananda is explained in the Upanishad as follows:[32]

The realization of Atman.

(...) I am of the nature of consciousness.
I am made of consciousness and bliss.
I am nondual, pure in form, absolute knowledge, absolute love.
I am changeless, devoid of desire or anger, I am detached.
I am One Essence, unlimitedness, utter consciousness.
I am boundless Bliss, existence and transcendent Bliss.
I am the Atman, that revels in itself.
I am the Sacchidananda that is eternal, enlightened and pure.

— Tejobindu Upanishad, 3.1-3.12 (Abridged)[32][33]

Vedanta philosophy[edit]

Main article: Vedanta

The Vedantic philosophy understands saccidānanda as a synonym of the three fundamental attributes of Brahman. In Advaita Vedanta, states Werner, it is the sublimely blissful experience of the boundless, pure consciousness and represents the unity of spiritual essence of ultimate reality.[34]

Saccidānanda is an epithet for Brahman, considered indescribable, unitary, ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism.[4], [35][36]

Vaishnava philosophy[edit]

Main article: Vaishnavism

Tulsidas considers Rama as Satcitananda.[37][need quotation to verify]

Sri Aurobindo[edit]

Main article: Sri Aurobindo

In Sri Aurobindo's evolutionary vision of the soul and the Universe, of which saccidānanda is the principal term, even though the soul is incarnate in maya and subject to space, matter and time, it maintains an ongoing and eternal oneness with saccidānanda or divinity. This incarnating aspect or dimension of the human being, the spirit-soul, or the 'psychic being' or chaitya purusha, is the staple essence that reincarnates from life to life. This essence is of the energetic quality of saccidānanda.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brahman is "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world",[6] which "cannot be exactly defined",[7] but is being-consciousness-bliss.[1] and the highest reality.[8]
  2. ^ Another translation is offered by Sugirtharajah, who suggests a "palpable force of virtue and truth".[11]


  1. ^ a b Raju 2013, p. 228.
  2. ^ a b werner 2004, p. 88.
  3. ^ a b Gurajada Suryanarayana Murty (2002), Paratattvaganṇitadarśanam, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120818217, page 303
  4. ^ a b Devadutta Kali (2005), Devimahatmyam: In Praise of the Goddess, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120829534, page 365, Quote: "Saccidananda, being-consciousness-bliss, a threefold epithet attempting to describe the unitary, indescribable Brahman".
  5. ^ a b c Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 388.
  6. ^ Puligandla 1997, p. 222.
  7. ^ Sinari 2000, p. 384.
  8. ^ Potter 2008, p. 6-7.
  9. ^ a b c d e James Lochtefeld (2002), "Sacchidananda" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, page 578
  10. ^ a b Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Sat, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages, Oxford University Press (Reprinted: Motilal Banarsidass), ISBN 978-8120831056, page 1134
  11. ^ Sugirtharajah 2004, p. 115.
  12. ^ a b Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Cit, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages, Oxford University Press (Reprinted: Motilal Banarsidass), ISBN 978-8120831056, page 395
  13. ^ a b Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Ananda, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages, Oxford University Press (Reprinted: Motilal Banarsidass), ISBN 978-8120831056, page 139
  14. ^ Vasant Merchant (2000), Savitri: A Legend & a Symbol-Sri Aurobindo's Modern Epic, International Journal of Humanities and Peace, vol. 16, no. 1, pages 29-34
  15. ^ Jean Holm and John Bowker (1998), Hinduism, in Picturing God, Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 978-1855671010, page 71
  16. ^ Julian Woods (2001), Destiny and Human Initiative in the Mahabharata, State University of New York, ISBN 978-0791449820, page 201
  17. ^ Adrian Hastings et al (2000), The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198600244, page 324
  18. ^ Klaus Klostermair (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, 3rd Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470817, page 246
  19. ^ Hilko Wiardo Schomerus and Humphrey Palmer (2000), Śaiva Siddhānta, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815698, page 44
  20. ^ Sherma, Rita (1998), Lance E. Nelson, ed., Purifying the Earthly Body of God: Religion and Ecology in Hindu India, State University of New York Press, p. 116, ISBN 978-0791439241 
  21. ^ Holdrege, Barbara (2004). Mittal, S; Thursby, G, eds. The Hindu World. Routledge. pp. 241–242. ISBN 0415215277. Shankara philosophical system is based on a monistic ontology in which brahman, the universal wholeness of existence, is alone declared to be real. In its essential nature as nirguna (without attributes), brahman is pure being (Sat), consciousness (Cit), and bliss (Ananda) and is completely formless, distinctionless, nonchanging, and unbounded. As saguna (with attributes), brahman assumes the form of Ishvara, the lord, [...] Moksha is attained through knowledge (jñåna, vidyå) alone, for when knowledge dawns the individual self awakens to its true nature as Atman, the universal Self, which is identical with Brahman. 
  22. ^ Christopher Key Chapple (2010), The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth–Anniversary Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1438428420, page xviii
  23. ^ Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 433-437, 464-475, 484-493
  24. ^ Anantanand Rambachan (2006), The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791468517, pages 40-43
  25. ^ Mariasusai Dhavamony (2002), Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives, Rodopi, ISBN 978-9042015104, pages 68-70
  26. ^ Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 110-117
  27. ^ Klaus Witz (1998), The Supreme Wisdom of the Upaniṣads: An Introduction, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815735, pages 227-228
  28. ^ Dhavamony, Mariasusai (2002). Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives. Rodopi. pp. 68–70. ISBN 9789042015104. 
  29. ^ Hattangadi, Sunder (2015). "तेजोबिन्दु (Tejobindu Upanishad)" (PDF) (in Sanskrit). p. 8. Retrieved 12 January 2016. ; Quote: नित्यशुद्धचिदानन्दसत्तामात्रोऽहमव्ययः । नित्यबुद्धविशुद्धैकसच्चिदानन्दमस्म्यहम् ॥
  30. ^ Mircea Eliade (1970), Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691017646, pages 128-129
  31. ^ Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, p. 96, ISBN 978-0521438780 
  32. ^ a b Ayyangar, TR Srinivasa (1938). The Yoga Upanishads. The Adyar Library. pp. 42–43. 
  33. ^ Hattangadi, Sunder (2015). "तेजोबिन्दु (Tejobindu Upanishad)" (PDF) (in Sanskrit). pp. 7–8. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  34. ^ Werner 2004, p. 88.
  35. ^ Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 593, 578, 604. ISBN 9780823931798. 
  36. ^ Eliot Deutsch (1980), Advaita Vedanta : A Philosophical Reconstruction, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0824802714, Chapter 1
  37. ^ MacFie 2004, p. 26.


  • MacFie, J.M. (2004), The Ramayan of Tulsidas or the Bible of Northern India, Kessinger Publishing 
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (1989), Knowledge and the Sacred, New York: State University of New York Press 
  • Potter, Karl H. (2008), The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Advaita Vedānta Up to Śaṃkara and His Pupils, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited 
  • Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta, Bhagavad-Gita As It Is (Complete Ediiton), New York: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 
  • Puligandla, Ramakrishna (1997), Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy, New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd. 
  • Raju, P. T. (2013), The Philosophical Traditions of India, Routledge, p. 228, ISBN 9781135029425, retrieved 8 June 2015 
  • Constance, Jones; Ryan, James D. (2006), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Infobase Publishing, p. 388, ISBN 9780816075645 
  • Sugirtharajah, Sharada (2004), Imagining Hinduism: A Postcolonial Perspective, Routledge, p. 115, ISBN 9781134517206 
  • Werner, Karel (2005), A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism, Routledge, ISBN 9781135797539 


  1. ^ a b c d Maharishi's Teaching, Meaning of the word "Satcitananda" (Sat Chit Ananda)
  2. ^ "saccidānanda". Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 

External links[edit]