Truth: consciousness beyond the mind

Zorba the Buddha embodies the essence of ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ both within and around. We are all born with one dominant aspect of this mystic trinity: Satyam, the truth; Shivam, the good; and Sundram, the beauty. As we grow in our prevailing virtue the other two aspects blossom as well. At Zorba, we endeavour to provide a space for this exploration and experience.

One of the best discussions of these terms in recent times was given in a talk by Osho in 1987. An extract of the talk is given below for those who want to explore this mystic trinity further:

“… Since millennia, the mystic in every country, in every race, in every age has experienced the same reality. The philosopher thinks about reality; the mystic simply drops all thinking. In his silence, utter silence and serenity, he becomes a mirror, and the reality reflects itself. The mystic is the greatest flowering of human consciousness. His ultimate vision can be described in three beautiful words which have been used for thousands of years and there has not been any improvement on them. They are three words from the ancientmost sources: Satyam, Shivam, Sundram.


Satyam means the truth – not what you think about it, but what it is; not your idea about it, but its reality. To know this truth you have to be utterly absent. Your very presence will distort the vision, because your presence means the presence of your mind, your prejudices, your conditionings. You are nothing else but a bundle of all that has been forced upon you by the religions, by the society, by the so-called leaders of humanity.

Your absence means absence of all prejudices, all borrowed knowledge, absence of the Christian, absence of the Hindu, absence of the Mohammedan… just a pure sky, a pure being. I am using the word absence to deny all that is not you.

But don’t misunderstand me; this absence of you is your real presence. Only the prejudices are absent, the ego is absent, your knowledgeability is absent – but your being shows in its utter purity. You disappear as a personality and there remains only a pure presence. So it is absence on one side of all that is false in you, and it is presence on the other side of all that is real in you. In this state you don’t think, you simply see.


This seeing of existence is the first experience of the mystic contained in the word satyam. Satyam means the truth – not any conception about it, but truth itself.

The second word, shivam, means virtue – all that is good, all that is valuable, all that is the most precious in you, the ultimate good. The man who comes to experience the truth starts living the truth immediately. There is no other alternative. His living the truth is shivam. Shivam means truth in action, truth in your life, truth in your love, truth in your friendship, truth in your eyes, and truth in your heart. Shivam is the action of truth; truth itself is the center of the cyclone. But if you experience the truth, the cyclone around you becomes shivam. It becomes pure godliness.

A man of truth is the only proof that the world is divine. No argument can prove that the world is divine.

I am reminded of one of the greatest mystics, Ramakrishna. When asked by a logician, ”What is truth? Do you have any argument, any evidence for it?” Ramakrishna laughed hilariously.

He said, ”I am the argument, and if you cannot see in my eyes the proof and the evidence, you will not find it anywhere else. I am the only proof that existence is not dead, that existence is not only matter; that existence is not only available to science, that existence is much more than matter, that you are much more than the body, that you are much more than the mind….”

But this ”much more” cannot be proved by any logician, any scientist; only the mystic is the proof. He can also not prove it by words, but only by his way of life. The way of life of the mystic is the only possibility to come in contact with the divine which is all around you. You are living in the very ocean of the divine, but the mystic becomes your first window through which you can see the non-material, the spiritual, the beyond.

Shivam is the mystic in action – his gestures, the music in his words, the poetry of his life, the light and the depths of his eyes. Whatever he does, whether he is chopping wood or carrying water from the well, you can see that there is a subtle difference. He is total in his every act, and that totality brings the third word, sundram.

Sundram means beauty. So this is the mystic trinity: satyam, the truth; shivam, the good, the divine; and sundram, the beauty.

You have seen the beauty of the flowers, you have seen the beauty of the stars, you have seen the beauty of a bird on the wing, you have seen beauties upon beauties of sunsets and sunrises.

But the greatest beauty is to see the totality, the intensity of the mystic. That is the greatest flowering in existence of consciousness itself. It is available only to those who are humble enough to receive it, who are not living a closed life of fear, of paranoia, but who are living a life of love, with all the windows open, and are ready to go with life wherever it leads.

These receptive souls are the only real seekers in the world. These receptive souls are blessed with their experience of sundram: the beautiful rose that is opening in the heart of the mystic. These three words are so unique, so incomparable, there is nothing parallel to them.

Truth is the experience, shivam is the action that comes out of the experience, and beauty is the flowering of consciousness of the man who has experienced truth. These three are the ultimate reality for those who are on the mystical path…”