We started with the discussion of "love" and we are moving to vedAnta.  Though I try my best to make the concepts understandable, I would request people to read only with relaxed mind and with no rush.  There is a Vedic word called samAdhAna, which loosely translates as "rationalization", spiritually or otherwise. Each of us has a samAdhAna through which we operate life.  As we age and gain experience, our samAdhAna in the conceptual understanding changes and so, the process remains dynamic.  This dynamic process of inquiry into the spiritual knowledge has been called vedAnta. Like all knowledge, it's open-ended, and presents a snapshot at any given time.  The theory of vedAnta has lived through the twentyfive hundred years of its life and it seems to contain the full cosmology, hence interesting to me. What I write is my understanding (samadhAna) through the studies I have made, hence I beg forgiveness if I speak different than what what you might have understood.   As I said in my first essay in this series, our teachers are S'ankara, Kabir and Tulasidas.  Presently we are graced by the presence of Sai to enable us to enter into this discussion.

As we said last time, Chit is the active element in Brahman.  Chit creates and knows the future.  It designs objects in conformity with its conceived rules and creates new rules.  All our science is a product of this Chit.  Laws exist because of Chit and laws break because of ChitChit possibly has many other universes unknown to us,  Chit is unknowable,  it is the creator.  Though it's neuter, some anthropomorphic mythology gives it a label brahmA.  Such mythology is possibly created by "men", to create a feeling that the creator is a "Father".  Chit is genderless. The iconography of brahmA has four faces, in four directions.  It knows all directions.   Because we can't relate to it and it is beyond all comprehension, we don't make temples for it.  We cannot "see" it, nor can we "feel" it.  We however deduce that it exists because we have the rationalization of our own existence, we perceive the physicality of our universe, our "knowledge" of a consistent set of laws seem to run the universe.   Chit is a deduction and may be meditated upon.

What Chit creates, becomes SatSat is the manifested universe.  It also contains all other universes that Chit might have created.  Sat is vast, complex and difficult. It's not unknowable, but our normal tools of brain functions may not be enough to measure the largeness of Sat. Hence its full grasp remains beyond our reach in spite of our good efforts.  More we come to know, more is there to be found. So the expansiveness of Sat is described by words like anAdi, one that has no beginning (or whose beginning can't be found), and Ananta, one that has no end (or whose end can't be found).  These words are produced out of samAdhAna, as I had hinted before.  We do not know where the universe began and where it is going to end.  We live in our localized shell and everything beyond that shell and sometimes including it, we give the anthropomorphic name Vishnu.  Vishnu is a male figure, but Sat is genderless.  In mythology concepts, Vishnu goes into contemplative sleep most of the time to mediate on Chit to comprehend the new objects and the rules Chit may be making.  Again in mythology, the running of the universe is given to Vishnu's consorts who apply the rules already prescribed for them by Chit. Occasionally Vishnu "wakes up" when something in the universe becomes too unruly.  Vishnu restores the laws, doesn't make them. It's not clear if the lawlessness is a flaw in the design or a part of the design.

Our intellect is incapable of addressing such questions.  We accept what's given. The methods that Chit engineers to teach are totally incomprehensible. But we can live a good life in Sat,  we just need to discover the laws that can maintain Sat.  The important law that vedAnta discovers is that we respect Sat completely.  What that means is we respect all manifested objects as us without distinction.  So the saying: "Sat" is one!  Sat is an intellectual inquiry.

Then we come to Ananda, the third attribute of Brahman and the most interesting and the most difficult.   In the vedAnta theory, Brahman remains happy with its creation and remains in a state of perpetual bliss and this we call Ananda. It has bliss since we can't attach any other emotion.  It justifies its own actions and by necessity has no regrets.  The universes come and go, Brahman believes that its design works.  Like a good engineer, it observes the play of his craft and possibly knows what errors he might have made.  In stead of accusing any one,  (whom to accuse any way?), Brahman reconstructs and continues with its process of design and sustenance.  When we make this attribute anthropomorphic, we get into real confusion since we don't know of any object who can be perpetually blissful.  Life's legends and experience suggest that the grief and sorrow in life are possibly created through the mind and body and hence the concept of  "S'iva".  The latter can reach a state beyond his mind and is endowed with the power of an eternal life.  S'iva's joyful attitude in life is misperceived by people as "intoxication" and some even attribute S'iva to "destruction," the most distorted attribute used in popular literature.  S'iva is bliss, it's carefree, it's tensionless, it knows all rules and discovers all remedies. It's the best in limbs, the arts, the speech, and the dance.  It's the flawless in character, in conduct and is always pure.  In mythology, the anthromorphic S'iva drinks all poison there is and digests!  When we make him a male figure, he is the best husband and is the ideal father.  Ananda is neuter and is worshiped  as a combination of manifested male and female symbols.  The worship is a part of the current samAdhAna and the other route to find Ananda is through meditation and yoga.   The most important part is that Ananda is both physical  and mental. It's not an inquiry, it's a state.

Out of the three attributes of Brahman, Ananda is the only one that's attainable. Unlike grace or blessings, it needs discipline in living and conduct.  Grace or blessings make life happy, Ananda is joy.  It has no material manifestation, it's internal. We can only feel it, we can't express it.  Ananda bypasses Sat and can take us to the real unknown quantity Chit through disciplined life and meditation, so the phrase "chidAnanda", and that's S'iva.  In order to invoke such discipline in life we celebrate S'ivarAtri and perform other austerities.