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Saccidānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानन्द; also Sat-cit-ānanda[1]) is an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate unchanging reality, called Brahman,[2][3][note 1] in certain branches of Hindu philosophy, especially Vedanta. It represents "existence, consciousness, and bliss"[5][7] or "truth, consciousness, bliss".[8]



Saccidānanda (सच्चिदानन्द; pre-sandhi form sat-cit-ānanda) is a compounded Sanskrit word consisting of "sat", "cit", and "ānanda", 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] In Sanskrit, sat means "being, existence", "real, actual", "true, good, right", or "that which really is, existence, essence, true being, really existent, good, true".[10][note 2]
  • cit (चित्):[12] means "consciousness" or "spirit".[13][14][15]
  • ānanda (आनन्द):[16] means "happiness, joy, bliss", "pure happiness, one of three attributes of Atman or Brahman in the Vedanta philosophy".[16] Loctefeld and other scholars translate ananda as "bliss".[13][14]

Satcitananda is therefore translated as "truth consciousness bliss",[8][17][18] "reality consciousness bliss",[19][20] or "Existence Consciousness Bliss".[7]



The term is contextually related to "the ultimate reality" in various schools of Hindu traditions.[9] In theistic traditions, satcitananda is the same as God such as Vishnu,[21] Shiva[22] or Goddess in Shakti traditions.[23] In monist traditions, satcitananda is considered directly inseparable from nirguna (attributeless) Brahman or the "universal ground of all beings", wherein the Brahman is identical with Atman, the true individual self.[24][3] A Jiva is instructed to identify themselves with the Atman, which is the Brahman in a being, thus the purpose of human birth is to realize "I am Brahman" (Aham Brahmasmi) through Prajna which leads to the state of "ultimate consciousness" referred as sat-chit-ananda and subsequently Moksha, however as long as a being identifies with Maya which is finite, material and tangible, they will continue to gather Karma and remain in Saṃsāra.[25] Satcitananda 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][3][26]

Textual references


The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (c. 800–600 BCE) is among the earliest Hindu texts which links and then discusses Atman (Self), Brahman (ultimate reality), awareness, joy and bliss such as in sections 2.4, 3.9 and 4.3.[27][28][29] The Chandogya Upanishad (c. 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".[30][31] 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.[32]

An early mention of the compound word satcitananda is in verse 3.11 of Tejobindu Upanishad,[33] composed before the 4th-century CE.[34][35] The context of satcitananda is explained in the Upanishad as follows:[36]

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)[36][37]

Vedanta philosophy


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.[7]

Satcitananda is an epithet for Brahman, considered indescribable, unitary, ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism.[2][38][39]

Vaishnava philosophy


Tulsidas identifies Rama as Satcitananda.[40]

See also



  1. ^ Brahman is "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world",[4] which "cannot be exactly defined", but is being-consciousness-bliss[5] and the highest reality.[6]
  2. ^ Another translation is offered by Sugirtharajah, who suggests a "palpable force of virtue and truth".[11]


  1. ^ "Sat-cit-ananda definition and meaning". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  2. ^ 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".
  3. ^ a b c Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 388.
  4. ^ Puligandla 1997, p. 222.
  5. ^ a b Raju 2013, p. 228.
  6. ^ Potter 2008, p. 6-7.
  7. ^ a b c Werner 2004, p. 88.
  8. ^ a b Gurajada Suryanarayana Murty (2002), Paratattvaganṇitadarśanam, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120818217, page 303
  9. ^ a b c d e James Lochtefeld (2002), "Satchidananda" 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. ^ 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 James Lochtefeld (2002), "Ananda" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, page 35
  14. ^ a b Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.
  15. ^ van Buitenen, J. A. B. (1979). ""Ānanda", or All Desires Fulfilled". History of Religions. 19 (1): 28. ISSN 0018-2710. JSTOR 1062420.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ Jean Holm and John Bowker (1998), Hinduism, in Picturing God, Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 978-1855671010, page 71
  19. ^ Julian Woods (2001), Destiny and Human Initiative in the Mahabharata, State University of New York, ISBN 978-0791449820, page 201
  20. ^ Adrian Hastings et al (2000), The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198600244, page 324
  21. ^ Klaus Klostermair (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, 3rd Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470817, page 246
  22. ^ Hilko Wiardo Schomerus and Humphrey Palmer (2000), Śaiva Siddhānta, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815698, page 44
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Sinha, Lalita (7 March 2019). "Way of the Warrior: Battling Issues of Interlok with the Sword of Wisdom". Malay Literature. 22 (2). Wawasan Open University: 198–230. doi:10.37052/ml.24(2)no3. ISSN 2682-8030. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  26. ^ Christopher Key Chapple (2010), The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth–Anniversary Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1438428420, page xviii
  27. ^ Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 433-437, 464-475, 484-493
  28. ^ Anantanand Rambachan (2006), The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791468517, pages 40-43
  29. ^ Mariasusai Dhavamony (2002), Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives, Rodopi, ISBN 978-9042015104, pages 68-70
  30. ^ Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 110-117
  31. ^ Klaus Witz (1998), The Supreme Wisdom of the Upaniṣads: An Introduction, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815735, pages 227-228
  32. ^ Dhavamony, Mariasusai (2002). Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives. Rodopi. pp. 68–70. ISBN 9789042015104.
  33. ^ Hattangadi, Sunder (2015). "Tejobindu Upanishad" (PDF) (in Sanskrit). p. 8. Retrieved 12 January 2016.; Quote: नित्यशुद्धचिदानन्दसत्तामात्रोऽहमव्ययः । नित्यबुद्धविशुद्धैकसच्चिदानन्दमस्म्यहम् ॥
  34. ^ Mircea Eliade (1970), Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691017646, pages 128-129
  35. ^ Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, p. 96, ISBN 978-0521438780
  36. ^ a b Ayyangar, TR Srinivasa (1938). The Yoga Upanishads. The Adyar Library. pp. 42–43.
  37. ^ Hattangadi, Sunder (2015). "Tejobindu Upanishad" (PDF) (in Sanskrit). pp. 7–8. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  38. ^ Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 593, 578, 604. ISBN 9780823931798.
  39. ^ Eliot Deutsch (1980), Advaita Vedanta : A Philosophical Reconstruction, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0824802714, Chapter 1
  40. ^ MacFie 2004, p. 26.