Word of the Week: Ananda
by Donna McLaughlin Schwender
The word nerd in me just HAS to dedicate a weekly post to my love of linguistics. As this is my first official week of blogging, my goal is to feature a word of the week every Friday. From the viewpoint of a grammar geek such as myself, it seems like the perfect way to usher in the weekend. I hope you agree.
The term “ananda” entered my world for the first time last November while I was enjoying a free online sample of The Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge™, Creating Abundance. Perhaps it was the way Deepak Chopra uttered the words, but the moment the mantra “Sat, Chit, Ananda” left his lips, I had to stop the guided meditation audio to look up the meaning of such a glorious phrase. I immediately understood the tug on my heartstrings when I learned that the transcribed Sanskrit words mean “Existence, Consciousness, Bliss.”
The word bliss has long been a favorite of mine. The sound, the spelling, and oh-oh-oh the meaning…..simply divine. Bliss encapsulated within itself. Even its Sanskrit appearance is gorgeous.
I just knew I had to find a way to add such a word to my daily world. As anyone who knows me would agree though, I am NOT the type of person who would actually use such an overwhelmingly positive term in a spoken sentence more than once a decade. No. I’m more of a “mind talker” who finds joy in rolling the words of the world around inside my head and bathing internally in their beauty.
Call it divine intervention by the universe (or whatever you believe in), but around the same time that ananda became a part of my vocabulary, my sister asked me for a Christmas wish list. While searching for ideas on Etsy, an online marketplace overflowing with uniquely handcrafted (as well as vintage) items, I was elated to find the bracelet shown at the top of this post. It was the first item on my wish list. Thankfully, it was a wish my sister happily fulfilled.
At one end of the bracelet, there is the symbol for “om,” another marvelous mantric word. At the other end, there is a lotus flower – significant, as my husband owns a garden center that specializes in aquatic plants.
I don’t pretend to know much (if anything) about Buddhism, but supposedly, Ananda was the name of one of the Buddha’s main attendants and disciples. It remains a popular name among Buddhists and Hindus. If I ever had to change my name, I do know that I would be honored to have others call me Ananda. I would literally smile every time I heard my name uttered to the heavens.