Merging with the Infinite

In Vedanta philosophy, the ultimate reality is often referred to as Satchitananda. This Sanskrit term is wonderfully illustrative, as it describes three inseparable and interrelated attributes of Brahman, or God, in the context of Hinduism: (1) Sat, or the underlying Essence of all things; (2) Chit, or Consciousness; and (3) Ananda, or Bliss. The ultimate reality is the Essence of everything and is composed of Consciousness and Bliss.

Our encounter with the ultimate reality must be subjective, personal, and immediate. Everything else is speculation and is based on second-hand accounts, however helpful they may be.

Through our own determined pursuit of enlightenment, we can merge with the Infinite. Satchitananda not only describes the nature of the ultimate reality; it describes our subjective experience of it. In the deepest states of inner contemplation, our mind and emotions are stilled; our sense of individuality, or ego, comes to a halt. In this limitless space we may encounter the ultimate reality, which is within us. When we experience the ultimate reality, we are at first conscious of it. But later, if our practice session goes deep enough, we lose this awareness. This is because we merge with it. Thus, Sat (the Essence of reality) and Chit (our Consciousness of this Essence) are united into one, and we experience this same oneness during deep meditation.

Beyond this is the third component, Ananda. There are different theories that account for the arising of Ananda, or bliss. According to Vedanta theory, the spiritual Self or Atman is covered by five koshas, or sheaths. The innermost kosha is the Amandamaya kosha, or sheath of bliss. During deep contemplation, the aspirant’s inner being gravitates to the sheath of bliss, which is situated in closest proximity to the Atman—their spiritual Self. (The Atman is said to be one with Brahman.) And so, because of this adjacency, the devotee is bathed in streams of pure bliss that emanate from their radiant spiritual Self. Once they merge with the ultimate reality, they become one with this bliss. Other Eastern theories attribute this bliss to the awakening of the Kundalini, or profound inner spiritual energy.

It is possible to contact the ultimate reality and to be transformed by such contact. Our goal in life is to merge with the Infinite. By repeated contact with the Infinite, we shed our finite qualities and realize our true infinite nature.