|Gita Study |
(1) Read me First About The Source or God Part 1
(2) About God or Brahman, Part 2: Brahman and
One who says that I know Brahman does not know; one who knows the Truth says
that I do not know. Brahman is the unknown to a person of true knowledge,
it is known only to the ignorant ---Ken Upanishad 2.01-03
An attempt by: Ramananda Prasad
In Sanskrit the meaning of a
word is based on the verbal root from which the word is derived. The word “Brahman” (also spelled as
“Brahma”) is a noun derived from the verbal root “Briha” which means to become
big. Thus the noun Brahman derived from
the verbal root “Briha” means “bigness”.
In English, however, the word Brahman is not translated as bigness, but
as Absolute Reality. Let us first
examine the meaning of Absolute Reality.
Absolute means ultimate, independent, existing all by itself or complete
by itself, and reality means nature, quality, or substance of objects. Thus
Absolute Reality means ultimate nature of objects, called Brahman in
Sanskrit. This word also means the
substance that exists independent of all other substances and from which all
other substances are derived. That from
which the origin, sustenance, and dissolution of this universe are derived is
called the Absolute (BS 1.01.02, TaU 3.01.01). Thus the Absolute Reality, the
substance from which everything is derived, must be “Big” or limitless, because
everything else is either derived from it or is included in it. Because it is absolute, there is nothing
else other than the Absolute Reality,
the substratum of everything. Thus Brahman is all encompassing substance ---
the root cause of everything, known or unknown, seen or perceived, feelings or
emotions, thoughts or things.
Everything is included in the “Bigness” of Brahman. Nothing is left out --- including God.
Brahman is indestructible,
dimensionless, beginningless, and limitless. It cannot be measured, seen, or
described by a human being that is limited in everyway. Brahman is ever present and beyond time and
space. Actually time and space are included in Brahman. It is the ever present
reality of all objects and is also called “Sat” or permanent in Sanskrit. It is
also present in the form of consciousness (Chit) or awareness in all living
beings that cannot be seen or felt. Brahman in the form of awareness is not
present in non-living objects, but Sat is present in both living and non-living
objects. Brahman is also limitless (Ananta). Thus Brahman is referred as
Sat-Chit-Ananta, or Sacchidananta from point of view of all objects, living or
Everything, perceivable or non-perceivable,
in the cosmos is nothing but an apparent transformation of Brahman. It is the
cause of all causes. Thus there is Brahman and Brahman only and nothing else.
Brahman has apparently assumed different forms like water assumes different
forms such as ice, vapor, ocean, waves, ripples, etc. The entire creation is
born in time and space, and the time and space abides in Brahman. Thus Brahman
is the absolute reality of everything including me, you, the animals, plants,
minerals, our thoughts, knowledge, ignorance, happiness, suffering, etc. Thus
there is nothing other than Brahman.
Brahman is often described as
formless, because its transcendental or subtle form cannot be perceived by our
senses. It can take any form. All forms are nothing but an apparent change of
Brahman from one form to another. Thus it cannot be formless in a real sense.
Everything has a form --- visible or invisible to human eyes. The process or the forces (Shakti) that
cause this apparent change or creation is called Lord, the creator. The product
of the change is called creation that includes both living and non-living
Brahman itself is actionless
awareness, and without Maya, the power of nature, it cannot create the world of
objects, emotions and thoughts. This Maya, the efficient cause of creation is
not separate from Brahman. Similarly, both the material of creation or the
material cause of the creation is also in Brahman. Thus the Brahman is not only
the entire creation, but also both the material and efficient cause of the
creation. It is the creator as well as the creation, all in one. One who
understands Brahman in this way can say: I am the limitless Brahman, called
Atma, that dwells in the body-mind complex; and not this body-mind complex
which is limited. With the dawn of the knowledge of Brahman, one gets rid of
want, unhappiness and limitations and attains full maturity and bliss called Nirvana.
The purity of mind that comes from selfless service, KarmaYoga, is required to
gain the knowledge of Brahman or the Self-knowledge. "Truly, there is no purifier in
this world like the true knowledge of the Supreme Being. One discovers this knowledge
within, naturally, in course of time when one's mind is cleansed of selfishness
by KarmaYoga. (See also Gita 4.31, 5.06, and 18.78). (Gita 4.38)"
(3) About God, Part 3: Read a detailed explanation of Om PurnaMadah, PurnaMidam, ..., A profound Upanishadic verse.
(4) About God, Part 4:
The following is contributed by:
Philippe De Coster, DD
President, Gita Society of Belgium
I do like your new article based on Ken Upanishad 2.01-03, as it clearly explains
the name Brahman, the Eternal Truth, the real Self, the highest experience and
the only Universal Reality or Omnipresent Reality which is the Truth of all life
and existence whether visible or invisible. Brahman is the Alpha and Omega as
described in the Apocalypse (Revelation) of the Bible, the beginning and the end,
the no beginning and no end, or the eternal ageless of beginning, end and beginning
again. Brahman is the One besides Whom there is nothing else existent. Like stated
in the second part of the Bible by Paul, “in Brahman we live, move and have our being”.
There is no experience or conception by which we can limit it. When Deepak Chopra
referred to “Intelligent Principle”, he really meant in technological words “Brahman”.
For the advanced Gîtâ yogi this may sound rather “cool”, devoid of any
“Divine Sentimentality”, but “Intelligent Principle” may appeal to many people
today as it did to me when I was 25, but only as a stepping on to further approach on
the Brahman’s Path. The more one reads the Gîtâ, going pair with pondering, meditation
and adjusted living in selflessness (see the Ten Commandments of Hinduism), and the
more the Timeless enters Time, the Spaceless into Space, and the Causality in the
cause and effect. As for us Gîtâ yogis, the Intelligent Principle or Collective
Consciousness Force (the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung) enter the world of living
entities through the Supreme Lord Krishna, the Divine Sentimentality among us, the
recompense for our efforts, the peace within ourselves, the light that shines within
in all its brightness, as through His Presence the “living soul” enters the deeper
reality behind things seen. (The Lord Krishna eases our way.) The Gîtâ is the right
approach for the whole wide world today. Creation is the body of Brahman, and the
Physical Body of the Spirit (Brahman, Atma). In meditation where the yogi is brought
to a higher dimension (being in the world, but not of the materialistic world),
the human body and spirit in one oneness (infused) with Brahman, become the
expression of the deeper reality. As Deepak Chopra said, “spirituality is awareness
of awareness”. And, we have to become aware of our awareness, in other words,
“Know Thyself”.Science and spirituality go pair, but from spirituality we can expect
liberation and realisation.
OM TAT SAT
Canyon Heights Drive
WHAT IS A
sentence that reveals the identity between jiva, the individual, and Ishvara,
the Lord, is considered a Mahavakya(s), the great saying(s).
a compound of words mahat, meaning "great", and vakya, the form of
the root vac, "to speak". Mahavakya compound means "that which
is great and which is a sentence", a major sentence that is great because
of its important subject content.
"Tat Tvam Asi", That thou are (ChU 6.08.07 in Samaveda)
Mahavakya "tat tvam asi", the immediate meaning of the word tvam is
"you", the jiva I take myself to be. The meaning of the word tat is
"that", Ishvara. That I, the jiva, am separate from Ishvara is
experientially true. As a created being, I find myself bound and limited, and
Ishvara is the creator of the whole cosmos. To say that this limited jiva is
that omniscient Ishvara leads to confusion. The immediate meaning of
Mahavakya tattvamasi "that thou art" appears to be contradictory,
implying that it is not an ordinary sentence.
understanding of the implied meaning, contradiction is negated and commonality
is proved. Creating the proper context, the rishis and gurus wield the words
with grace to reveal the common factor between tvam and tat, jiva and Ishvara,
which is Brahman. Brahman viewed as total creation is Ishvara; viewed as
individual, Brahman is jiva. In the implied meaning of tvam and tat, there is
no difference-Brahman is the truth of both. The verb of being reveals this
identity: That Ishvara thou art.
is a great equation. If one can see that all that is created-in spite of
differences-is ONE Brahman, then all the differences are resolved.
" Ayam Atma Brahma" (MaU 02 in Atharvaveda)
Editor's notes: ==================
word refers to this "I" the Awareness. A simple word like
"speaker" means the one who speaks and also the thinker is one who
thinks. Similarly "Awarer" reveals an "I", an individual
with reference to a function. What is the function here? I am aware of
something, hence I am called an "Awarer". The awarer is aware of all
objects around him or her. If the objects are removed, the content of
"awarer" will remain. When objects come, I become an awarer. When
objects are gone, I am the content of the awarer "Awareness". In
awareness all objects and thought exist. Even when thoughts are gone, awareness
The space is
in awareness. The space is, awareness is. Space is not-as we are not aware of
space in our sleep, where there is no space-awareness is. Similarly time is,
awareness is, time is not, awareness is. Does awareness have form? The
awareness has no form. All forms are objects of awareness. Awareness itself has
no form. Awareness is formless, it is spatially limitless. Space is, awareness
is. Therefore star is, awareness is. The limitless awareness is, space is.
Space is, the limitless awareness is. Now between limitless awareness and the
space, what is the distance? And also, between space and stars what is the
distance? There is no distance. Between space and the moon, what is the
distance? There is no distance. The moon is in awareness because I am aware of
the moon. Between awareness, you and the moon in awareness, what is the
distance? There is no distance. Between I the awareness and the moon in
awareness, if there is any distance what should it be? Space. And where is the
space? In awareness. Between awareness and space there is no distance.
Therefore, in awareness is the space, in the space is the moon, in space is the
sun, in space are the stars, in space are all the planets. The whole physical
universe is in the awareness. Therefore between awareness and any object in the
world, what is the distance? There is no distance between awareness and this
body is in space. In the awareness is space, in space is this body, in space
all bodies exist. All the bodies exist in space and space itself is in
awareness. And therefore, between awareness and this body or any other body
that exist, there is no distance. Therefore where am I? There is no location
for I. Awareness is not located. The body is located in space and space itself
is located in awareness. And where is awareness located? The question does not
arise. The awareness is not located any where. In awareness is located space.
With reference to space we say 'here' and 'there', and so on. And therefore in
awareness is space, in space is this body and everything else. So where is
awareness? Where the Akasha ( space) is. Where Akasha shines, there the
awareness is. Awareness is not located in space. In awareness is space.
Therefore awareness is called all pervasive.
There is only
one limitless awareness. There is no second limitless awareness. Therefore
awareness is rightly called Brahman. Aham Atma Brahma. Atma, the self is
not subject to time, nor does it have a beginning or an end. It exists at all
time and is referred to as Sat in Vedanta; and the same awareness is also
called the Cit, consciousness.
article is based on Swami Dayananda Saraswati's ( Arsha Vidya Pitham,
Saylorsburg, PA) book "Who am I?"
The other two sentences says basically the same:
(3) Consciousness is Brahma (AiU 3.03 in Rigveda)
(4) I am Brahma (BrU 1.04.10 in Yajurveda)
After many births, the enlightened one resorts to Me by
realizing that everything is, indeed, My manifestation.
Such a great soul is very rare. (Gita7.19)
That which is One has become all these (RV 8.58.02).
The entire creation and every order of reality are
nothing but another form of divinity.
The basic teachings of the Upanishads are summed up in six great sayings (Mahavakyas).
These are :
"I am Brahman" (Aham Brahmasmi). This states the identity of the inmost consciousness of the individual with that of the supreme Divine. The ultimate truth of Vedic knowledge is not that some great savior is God or the Lord or that such and such a God or name and form of God is the supreme. It is not the worship of a person, book, image or idea. It is not even the worship of God. The Upanishads say that whatever we worship as truth apart from ourselves destroys us. They teach that our own Self is the true Divinity, that it is the presence of the absolute within our heart and all the universe.
"The Self is Brahman" (Ayam Atma Brahma). This also states the identity of the soul with the Absolute but in a more objective and less direct manner. Not only is our Self the Divine. It is the same Self in all beings that is the same Absolute truth.
"That thou art" (Tat tvam asi). Whatever we see or think about we are that. Not only is the I That, the You is also That. We are that ultimate I and Thou in all. The consciousness in the other is also the Divine.
"Intelligence is Brahman" (Prajnanam Brahma). Our discernment of truth is the truth itself. It indicates that the Divine intelligence is present within us and has the power to return us to the Divine. Our inmost intelligence is that supreme intelligence through which we can merge into the Absolute.
"The Universe is Brahman" (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma). The entire universe is the Divine, which includes our self. The Divine is not only the consciousness principle in you and I, it is also the being principle in all things. It is the ultimate object as well as the inmost subject in all beings. It is one and all and all in one.
"He am I" (So'ham). This shows the identity of the self with the Divine Lord inherent within the natural movement of our breath. "So" is the natural sound of inhalation, "ham" of exhalation.
These are statements of the identity of the individual consciousness with the Absolute or Divine reality. They all derive from and merge into Om (AUM), the Divine Word of "I am all".