The Inherent Bliss of Existence and Consciousness

There is a remarkable chapter in the Taittiriya Upanishad which is sometimes called “the calculus of bliss” because it relates an ascending series of levels of bliss depending on the plane of consciousness occupied by the experiencer. Human bliss is the starting point for this recitation, and the Upanishad goes through 11 enhanced stages, each one “a hundred and a hundredfold” of the measure of the bliss of the prior level. (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, Chapter 8, pp. 272-273)

The final stage is “one bliss of the Eternal Spirit.” The bliss of the Eternal Spirit is of course inherent in all creation, and when the seeker becomes unified with the Spirit, he also experiences this universal and all-permeating level of bliss. Therefore the Upanishad relates: “And this is the bliss of the Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire not toucheth.”

Sat, Chit and Ananda are not three separate concepts. They are aspects, broken out into human terms, of an all-encompassing experience of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss, all unified in one experience. The entire universe is thus permeated with bliss, the inherent delight of existence.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “To possess self is to possess self-bliss; not to possess self is to be in more or less obscure search of the delight of existence. Chit eternally possesses its self-bliss; and since Chit is the universal conscious-stuff of being, conscious universal being is also in possession of conscious self-bliss, master of the universal delight of existence. The Divine whether it manifests in All-Quality or in No-Quality, in Personality or Impersonality, in the One absorbing the Many or in the One manifesting its essential multiplicity, is always in possession of self-bliss and all-bliss because it is always Sachchidananda.”

The individual seeker partakes of this experience: “For us also to know and possess our true Self in the essential and the universal is to discover the essential and the universal delight of existence, self-bliss and all-bliss. For the universal is only the pouring out of the essential existence, consciousness and delight; and wherever and in whatever form that manifests as existence, there the essential consciousness must be and therefore there must be an essential delight.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 12, The Realisation of Sachchidananda, pg. 373