“The Bliss of the Eternal from which words turn back without attaining and mind also returneth baffled, who knoweth the Bliss of the Eternal?” Thus begins Chapter 9 of the Brahmanandavalli of the Taittiriya Upanishad. The mind is unable to grasp the freedom and unlimited nature of the Ananda, which is considered to be the original creative principle behind the manifestation of the universe. “The Divine on the Ananda plane is not incapable of a world-play or self-debarred from any expression of its glories. On the contrary, as the Upanishad insists, the Ananda is the true creative principle. For all takes brith from this divine Bliss; all is pre-existent in it as an absolute truth of existence which the Vijnana brings out and subjects to voluntary limitation by the Idea and the law of the Idea. In the Ananda all law ceases and ther eis an absolute freedom without binding term or limit. It is superior to all principles and in one and the same motion the enjoyer of all principles; it is free from all gunas and the enjoyer of its own infinite gunas; it is above all forms and the builder and enjoyer of all its self-forms and figures. This unimaginable completeness is what the spirit is, the spirit transcendent and universal, and to be one in bliss with the transcendent and universal spirit is for the soul too to be that and nothing less. Necessarily, since there is on this plane the absolute and the play of absolutes, it is ineffable by any of the conceptions of our mind or by signs of the phenomenal or ideal realities of which mind-conceptions are the figures in our intelligence.”
In its search for understanding, our mind develops conceptions, symbols, figures to represent realities within the limitations of the mental framework. “The symbol, the expressive reality, may give an idea, a perception, sense, vision, contact even of the thing itself to us, but at last we get beyond it to the thing it symbolises, transcend idea, vision, contact, pierce through the ideal and pass to the real realities, the identical, the supreme, the timeless and eternal, the infinitely infinite.”
We thus pass from a mental understanding to the experience of knowledge by identity. In such a status the individual is then unified with the Absolute, both in its transcendent status and in its myriad manifested forms, which are not separate, different or divided from that reality. The universe is the real expression of the Ananda of the Infinite, and the mental awareness is a filtered and diffused version of the ultimate reality that is experienced on the plane of Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 24, Gnosis and Ananda, pp. 485-486