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Sat In Hinduism – Existence or Being

Sat really implies an uncreated existence which is imperishable, timeless and all-pervading, and is the very ground of all other apparent being. Sat is Existence, not limited by any systems, structure or substance. It is wholeness, devoid of divisions, immanent and permanent. Advaita indicates that this beingness or sat, the unseen metaphysical principle underlying creation, is the bedrock of existence. It proclaims that this uncreated and all-pervading existence is essentially the same, both at microcosmic and macrocosmic gradations.

Pure Being is Existence. Existence includes the phenomenal and the transcendent. Advaita posits the concept of pure Being as Atman in the individual human being and Brahman as universal consciousness. The essence in a person and the essence in the Universe are one and the same – and it is ‘“Brahman” the Universe has come of “Brahman” and will also return to it.’

Agnostics are bound to assert that this sat is merely an idea in abstraction that bears no semblance to physical reality. Inferentially, sat is metaphysical and it defies any comparison or elucidation. Defending the need to exercise a persons metaphysical imaginative faculties when dwelling on experiential reality and truth, Sri Aurobindo asserts that the ‘supreme truths are neither the rigid conclusions of logical reasoning nor the affirmations of creedal statement, but fruits of the soul’s inner experience’.

According to Advaita, the substratum of existence, including human existence is Being or sat. This Being is qualitatively transcendent and immanent or phenomenal. Being is fundamentally inclusive, in terms of a person’s microcosmic existential consciousness and exclusive as the macrocosmic existential consciousness.

Sat or Pure Being is transcendent yet immanent. All forms are shadows of ‘pure Existence’, which alone endures in the past, present, and future, while the shadows perish like bubbles in the ocean.

The urge to live is the urge just to be, to exist. No one wants not-to-be, everyone wishes to exist, in some form or the other. Paradoxically, innate human nature seeks to unravel the mysteries confounding oneself and express them in verbal testimonies. The irony is that Being or sat is Reality and it cannot be grasped or expounded. ‘The only recourse to be taken is to admit the failure of intellect in determining the nature of Reality and resort to negative propositions.’

Advaita posits pure Being as depicting the absolute transcendent nature of Reality. ‘The Absolute transcends all finites, but includes everyone of them. It does not become. It is. Existence is the most universal concept which leaves nothing whatsoever outside it’ Crediting the ancient  rishis or seers for their prophetic Vedantic statements, C Rajagopalachari asserts that ‘the Hindu Rishis of yore exhorted humankind to believe that the causeless beginning was Sat i.e., being with consciousness.’

SourceExcerpts from article titled ‘Insights on Reality and Sat-Chit-Ananda - An Advaita Vedanta Perspective Chandrasekaran Veeraiah’ published in the Prabuddha Bharata January 2020 edition.