What are the things that characterize human life? What is the wish of all men and women?

There are three things that characterize human, three objects for which all men and women strive and which have shaped the course of human civilization:

1) Knowledge, in the sense of an answer to the questions “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?”

2) Immortality, eternal existence.

3) Happiness, a state in which all needs and wants are satisfied.

All human attempts and accomplishments have a motivation in one or more of the above. To make it short, the three ideals of human life constitute a three-fold structure, a trinity: Existence-Knowledge-Bliss.

The intensity by which man strives for the attainment of these goals is suggestive: Man is running after the very things he has never fully tasted, things not even possible to attain! How can man long for something he has never had? Or has he not?! He chases these as if they were taken away from him, as if he knows them very well and knows that they belong to him, for he never ceases the chase even after thousands of failures. Without all three of them, existence-knowledge-bliss, man is still lacking something; he is not yet fully satisfied. He must have Existence-Knowledge-Bliss together and at once.

What is ironic is that Advaita Vedanta of Hinduism, one of the oldest metaphysical systems, is found on a principle known as the Supreme Identity. It states that the true Self of man is one and the same as the essence of the ultimate reality called Brahman: Man is essentially divine. The supreme reality is indivisible, unmanifest, impersonal, infinite, and absolute; it has no attributes and cannot be defined. However, the seers, those mystics who have directly perceived it, say that this Brahman, the ultimate truth which is the essence of man, is of the nature of Satchidananda. Satchidananda, the best and the only word in Hinduism that characterizes the divine essence which is man’s original state, is a Sanskrit compound that means exactly this: Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. 

It is important to understand that Advaita Vedanta in particular, and Hinduism in general, is not a religion in the limited sense of the word used in the West as faith-based dogma. It is neither some speculative philosophy developed based on prejudice. Advaita Vedanta is a scientific-metaphysical system founded upon empirical evidence and direct perception of the philosophers; its methods and findings enjoy a mathematical precision and an intellectual intuition still too lofty and abstract for the western scientist to grasp and digest. The penetrating intelligence of its philosophers was never seen before and not seen ever after. The goals that western sciences and philosophies never attained as regard the answers to human existential questions, was directly perceived and known by the Indian philosophers of more than 2000 years ago. What all men and women of all ages have sought is known by the Advaitist to be already in man’s possession, all answers dwelling in man’s own heart. All answers are expressed in one phrase:

Satchidananda: Existence-Knowledge-Bliss