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Satcitananda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानन्द, IAST: Saccidānanda; also Sat-cit-ananda or Sacchidānanda) is an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate unchanging reality, called Brahman,[note 1] in certain branches of Hindu philosophy, especially Vedanta. It represents "existence, consciousness, and bliss" or "truth, consciousness, bliss".
Satcitananda (सच्चिदानन्द) is a compounded Sanskrit word consisting of "sat", "chit", and "ananda", all three considered as inseparable from the nature of ultimate reality called Brahman in Hinduism. The different forms of spelling is driven by euphonic (sandhi) rules of Sanskrit, useful in different contexts.
Satcitananda is therefore translated as "truth consciousness bliss", "reality consciousness bliss", or "Existence Consciousness Bliss".
The term is contextually related to "the ultimate reality" in various schools of Hindu traditions. In theistic traditions, satcitananda is same as God such as Vishnu, Shiva or Goddess in Shakti traditions. 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. 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. Satcitananda or Brahman is held to be the source of all reality, source of all conscious thought, and source of all perfection-bliss. It is the ultimate, the complete, the destination of spiritual pursuit in Hinduism.
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. 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". 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.
An early mention of the compound word satcitananda is in verse 3.11 of Tejobindu Upanishad, composed before the 4th-century CE. The context of satcitananda is explained in the Upanishad as follows:
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.
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.
Satcitananda is an epithet for Brahman, considered indescribable, unitary, ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism.
Main article: Vaishnavism
Tulsidas identifies Rama as Satcitananda.
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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.