Osho says, “Beauty is the god of the poet, of the painter, of all creative artists.”
Beloved Osho, Is there any definition of the ultimate experience other than Satyam Shivam Sundram – Truth Godliness and Beauty?
The experience of the ultimate, Maneesha, is always the same. But the expression can be different. The expression depends on the mystic; the experience does not depend on him.
The first definition I gave you is the definition by the poetic, aesthetic, sensitive individual, for whom satya can come – the truth can come – only as beauty. And truth and beauty create the ultimate peak of godliness. The poet cannot imagine that beauty will not be a part of the ultimate unity. His eyes are receptive to beauty. Truth comes to him and is transformed, in his expression, as beauty. Beauty is the god of the poet, of the painter, of all creative artists.
So the first definition was the definition from the artistic soul. Most of the mystics have been poets – not ordinary poets, concerned with the mundane, but poets of the sacred. This sensitivity of the poet is essential to arrive at the definition of the ultimate experience as “Truth, Godliness and Beauty.”
But there are other mystics also, who are not poetic… because to be a poet takes a certain talent. Everybody can be a mystic, because the mystic is our very being, the unfolding of the mystic rose within us. But not everybody can be a poet. Poetry is a talent, though it comes very close to mysticism. So either the poet becomes the mystic – then comes the definition satyam-shivam-sundram – or the mystic suddenly finds himself filled with tremendous beauty and starts singing and dancing out of his spontaneity. He may not be linguistically right; that is not his concern…
Meera, Kabir, Farid – they were not poets from the very beginning. They became poets when the experience happened. Perhaps a talent that was dormant in them became suddenly active as they opened their hearts to the universe. Everything opened. An immense poetry – which no poet can write, because the poems are not compositions; they are their heartbeats, they are their very life – started flowing through them.
But there are other people who have attained to the ultimate: for example, Gautam Buddha or Socrates or Pythagoras or Lao Tzu. They are not poets. They don’t have that talent of being a poet, either in the beginning or at the end of their experience. Their definition is bound to be different.
The experience, remember, is always the same. But the expression will depend on the individual.
The second most important definition, which is in the same category as satyam-shivam-sundram, is sat-chit-anand. Sat means truth; chit means consciousness; anand means bliss. Certainly, in any definition, truth is going to be the essential part that cannot be dropped. It is the experience of ultimate truth – just as in the first definition, in the second definition sat remains the most prominent. But two new things come in: consciousness and blissfulness.
The first definition, although beautiful – tremendously beautiful – will not become the experience of many, because the talent to be a poet is rare. The second definition is going to be the experience of many more.
Meditation brings you to the final peak of consciousness – that is chit, exactly in the middle. On one side is truth; on another side is bliss. As meditation flowers, you find that on one hand truth has revealed to you all its mysteries and on the other blissfulness is showering all its treasures on you.
It is as significant a definition as the first, but you can see the difference: there is no place for sundram, beauty; the person has no sensitivity towards beauty. But the person is absolutely alert and conscious of great blissfulness overflowing in him and a feeling, an indubitable feeling, that he has arrived home. That is his truth.
In Sanskrit, unlike English, words can be joined together. Sanskrit has an approach… and perhaps the approach has come from the enlightened ones. So many people have become enlightened in this land. They have left their impact on Sanskrit, the language. They will not say Sat-Chit-Anand the way I have explained it to you. I have cut one word into three, just to explain it to you, because in English there cannot be one word for all three. You cannot join truth, consciousness, blissfulness into a single word. The Sanskrit word is sachchidanand. All three words are joined. Sat is there, chit is there, anand is there – but they are not separate, and there is no gap: sachchidanand.
It is significant to remember that the experience is one orgasmic, organic, unitary experience. It does not come in parts as sat, as chit, as anand. It comes into existence in a totality, and that totality is sachchidanand. To denote, to emphasize the unity – that neither can sat exist without chit, nor can chit exist without anand – they have used a joined word: sachchidanand.
It is not only a question of language. Deep down it is an experience that they all come together. In fact there is no way to create demarcations, that this is truth and this is consciousness and this is bliss. Suddenly they are all within you. In other words, truth is consciousness and bliss; or vice versa, bliss is consciousness and truth.
The division I made was just to make you understand. Now I want you to be aware that in experience itself there is no division. It has the fragrance of blissfulness, it has the light of consciousness, it has the revelation of truth – all simultaneously and together. They are not steps to each other. It is not possible to drop one of them and experience the other two. They are an intrinsic unity, an organic unity.
This is also a very beautiful definition, and it is applicable to more mystics than the first definition.
Gautam Buddha would never have defined the ultimate experience in terms of beauty. Beauty somehow carries a sense of our ordinary life. You may say it is a much higher beauty, but still something remains in it. The moment you say “beauty,” you come down to the body, you come down to the flowers, you come down to the sunset. But the beauty the mystics are talking about is not the beauty of these tiny experiences. It is the beauty of the whole, of which we have no idea… of which we have not even dreamed.
But the second definition that I am giving to you today is absolutely a unity. Nothing of it at all connects with our unconsciousness and its world – neither truth, nor consciousness, nor bliss. In a way it is purer. In a way it simply makes it clear that you have gone beyond the mundane and entered into the sacred. The whole vision has changed. Not even a trace from the mundane is left. It can be said to be a more authentic definition than the first, and more mystics have defined their experience with the second definition.
Naturally – most probably – you will come to the second definition if you ever come to experience the ultimate. Very few of you may experience beauty – that is a minority definition. But I respect minorities, so I have taken it first.
This is the majority definition: more logical, more perfect, but less sensitive, less human. The first was more human; at least there was a connecting link between our ordinary world and the extraordinary experience. In this definition all bridges are broken. You are no more part of the ordinary. You have simply transported your consciousness to the extraordinary which is not visible to the eyes, which is not tangible: you cannot hear it, you cannot see it, you cannot taste it.
But in the first definition the word sundram, beauty, gives a sense that your eyes are capable of seeing it; perhaps your hands can feel it, perhaps your ears can hear the beautiful music in it. The word ‘beauty’ functions almost as a bridge. In the second definition there is no bridge, but a quantum leap. You simply jump from the mind to no-mind.
Only no-mind can be aware of truth; only no-mind can be filled with consciousness; only no-mind can be showered with thousands of flowers of bliss. Nothing relates to your ordinary world. In this way it is purer.
Both have their own pros and cons, and I want you to be aware of them. But remember: don’t choose the definition. First choose the experience, then the definition will come on its own accord. If you choose the definition first, it may not fit your individuality and the definition itself may become a hindrance.
Go deeper into meditation. Experience is the thing that matters. Then how you express it is dependent on you. Most probably you will define it as sachchidanand: truth, consciousness, bliss. It is more universal, because very few people are poets.
I am reminded of Rabindranath Tagore. He absolutely insisted that there is only one definition of the ultimate experience, and that is satyam-shivam-sundram. He could not conceive of the ultimate experience not having beauty in it. He could drop anything but beauty. His poetic soul was even ready to say that you can drop truth, you can drop godliness, but please save beauty.
It was Rabindranath who insisted that the only definition that is exactly right is “truth, godliness, beauty.” If something has to be dropped from the definition, you can drop truth, you can drop godliness, but beauty you cannot drop.
Beauty is the sky for the poet, for the painter, for the musician – and how is it possible that the ultimate truth should be ugly? It has to be the most beautiful experience. But the definition will be applicable to only a very few people. The second definition will be applicable to a vast majority of people.
There is one difference more that has to be remembered. The first definition is outgoing – truth is at the center of being, then godliness surrounds it, and then another circle of beauty. But that beauty is not beyond the beauty of the trees and the flowers and human faces. Everything that is beautiful in the world is a joining link with the ultimate.
Rabindranath was the first man in history who said beauty is truth. Nobody has ever said that. There have been people who have said truth is beauty, but nobody who dared to say that beauty is truth, putting beauty on the highest peak. That will be possible only to those who can feel the sensitivity of the beautiful. It is not for all.
But the second definition is not so outgoing. It does not go out at all. Truth, consciousness, bliss – all are inside you. None of these three experiences takes you out.
In psychological terminology, the first definition can be said to be of the outgoing consciousness, expanding consciousness – just as when you throw a pebble into a silent lake, and waves start moving towards the farther shores. The first definition is expanding, outgoing. Psychologists have a special word for it; they call it ‘extrovert’. And certainly the poet is an extrovert, because he sees the beauty of the trees and the beauty of the stars and the beauty of the birds singing. He is an extrovert.
The second definition is ‘introvert’. It concentrates on your very being – because it is enough, there is no need to go out.
Truth, consciousness, blissfulness.
In still other words, it can be said that the first definition is that of the bodhisattvas and the second definition is of those who are the arhatas, and I have explained to you these two kinds of enlightened people. The arhatas simply become pillars of silence, joy, truth, but they never share it. They never bother to initiate anyone, they never guide anyone. And the bodhisattvas, the moment they have attained, start spreading like ripples all around to the farther shores of humanity. They want to reach to everyone.
But nothing can be done about it: you cannot change it; your individuality already contains an inbuilt program for whether you will turn into a bodhisattva or into an arhata – you cannot decide it. You will have to pass beyond the mind, and then only will you realize who you are, a bodhisattva or an arhata.
Sachchidanand is absolutely inner, introvert – your interior subjectivity. It has nothing to do with anyone else. It is another thing that somebody may get attracted to you, it is another thing that many may get magnetically pulled towards you, but the arhata himself does not make a single move to transform anybody or to give him a hand to pull him out of his ditch. If somebody is interested, he can come. But the arhata does not take the responsibility of being anybody’s master. If you insist, he will say something to you, but as telegraphically as possible.
The bodhisattva functions totally differently: sharing is his joy and he wants this very world to become more beautiful. He wants to contribute to the world in some way, so when he leaves the world, he leaves it a little more beautiful compared to the world he had come to seventy or eighty years before.
But the arhata is simply unconcerned with anyone. He is just a pillar of consciousness. If somebody can learn something from his lifestyle, that’s another thing. But he is not a master. He is only a mystic.
This second definition has to sink deep in you, because most of you will find this definition finally. Remember this beautiful word sachchidanand.
Osho, Sat Chit Anand, Ch 1, Q 1 (excerpt)