Sakti or Devi is Brahman revealed in The Mother aspect (Srimata)
> More than a decade later today, October 7, 2006 it is obvious that
> both Arwinder and Kash are talking about the"Beauty of the three-
> great-cities, penetrating without and within, (that) is
> resplendent, non-dual, self-subsisting."Only the Great Primordial
> Mother Shri Lalita Devi has the power to manifest this
> unfathomable Truth as She continues to ascend and penetrate into
> human consciousness.
> i wrote this post after downloading and listening to the recitation
> of Shri Lalata Sahasranama. It is available free of charge at:
> http://www.vedamantram.com/ Enjoy this beautiful Tamil recitation
> of the splendour and glory of Her praises in Silence.
>"The supreme divinity, Lalita, is one's own blissful Self." "She
> alone is Atman. Other than Her is untruth, non-self."- Always
> remember these priceless Truths daily for the rest of your lives
> and you are assured of moksa and immortality! What else is Self-
> realization other than realizing that Lalita is one's own blissful
> Self? And once She is realized within to be one's own blissful Self
> everything else is indeed untruth, non-self.
> Jai Shri Ganapathi,
"The supreme divinity, Lalita, is one's own blissful Self."- Bhavana Upanishad 1.27
"Lalita Sahasra-nama: Brevity is the essence of most of Vedic scriptural literature. Most of the 'sUtra' literature are of this type. Take for example, Brahma-sUtra, Dharma-sUtra, Grihya-sUtra, nArada-bhakti-sUtra, shAndilya-bhakti-sUtra etc. These aphorisms are so concise and compact that commentaries on each run to pages explaining the succinct words with meanings literal, subtle and contextual. Just like them, this Lalita sahasra-nama also falls into that category. Even though the Stotra format has helped the poet- visionary to sing with poetic ecstasy, the words used are mostly technical terms of Tantra shastra, and without a rudimentary knowledge of which, the profound meaning of the names may not be intelligible at all."
"The holy Mother (Srimata.)
The Mother is usually called upon in times of sorrow; but our natural mothers are not able to remove the three kinds of pain (tapatraya.) Great men have said: "Since I have had many thousands of births, I have had many mothers; many also have been my fathers; I know not how many I am yet to have in the future; and their number is beyond my calculation. O Treasure-house of compassion! Save me, who am overpowered with fear and have no other refuge, from the vast and disastrous ocean of samsara."The greatest World-Mother is the only one who is capable of removing the endless misery (of existence.) We praise Her as The Mother so that She may be induced to show mercy to us."
R. Ananthakrishna Sastry, Sri Lalita-sahasranama
"The Goddess is the great Sakti. She is Maya, for of her the maya which produces the samsara is. As Lord of Maya she is Mahamaya. Devi is avidya because she binds, and vidya because she liberates and destroys the samsara. She is praktri and as existing before creation is the Adya Sakti. Devi is the Vacaka Sakti, the manifestation of Cit in Praktri, and the Vicya Sakti or Cit itself. The Atman should be contemplated as Devi. Sakti or Devi is thus the Brahman revealed in The Mother aspect (Srimata) as creatrix and nourisher of the worlds. Kali say of herself in Yogini Tantra: "I am the bodily form of Saccidananda and I am the brahman that has emanated from brahman."
K. K. Klostermaier, Hinduism: A Short History,
Oneworld Pub., 2000, p. 211.
"The Saktas worship the Universal Energy as Mother; it is the sweetest name they know. The Mother is the highest ideal of womanhood in India. [...]
Mother is the first manifestation of power and is considered a higher idea than father. The name of mother brings the idea of Shakti, Divine energy and omnipotence. The baby believes its mother to be all-powerful, able to do anything. The Divine Mother is the Kundalini sleeping in us; without worshipping Her, we can never know ourselves. All merciful, all-powerful, omnipresent - these are attributes of the Divine Mother. She is the sum total of the energy in the Universe.
Every manifestation of power in the universe is Mother. She is Life, She is Intelligence, She is Love. She is in the universe, yet separate from it. She is a person, and can be seen and known - as Sri Ramakrishna saw and knew Her. Established in the idea of Mother, we can do anything. She quickly answers prayers.
She can show Herself to us in any form at any moment. The Divine Mother can have form (rupa) and name (nama), or name without form; and as we worship Her in these various aspects, we can rise to Pure Being, having neither form nor name.
The sum-total of all the cells in an organism is one person. Each soul is like one cell, and the sum of them is God. And beyond that is the Absolute. The sea calm is the Absolute; the same sea in waves is the Divine Mother. She is time, space and causation. Mother is the same as Brahman and has two natures; the conditioned and the unconditioned. As the former, She is God, nature and soul. As the latter, she is unknown and unknowable. Out of the Unconditioned came the trinity, God, nature and soul - the triangle of existence.
A bit of Mother, a drop, was Krishna; another was Buddha. The worship of even one spark of Mother in our earthly mother leads to greatness. Worship Her if you want love and wisdom."
Swami Vivekananda," Inspired Talks, My Master and Other Writings",
Wednesday, July 2,1895,
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, NY, pp. 48-49.
The Indian Religion of the Goddess Shakti
"The follower of Sakthism, the worshiper of Shakti, is called Shakta. His conception of the Goddess is described in the Shakti Tantra Shastras, i.e., the holy scriptures of Sakthism, often in a very poetical way. Whereas we speak of Mother Nature only in a comparative manner, for the Shakta it is absolute reality. Nature is Her body. Her presence is personally felt by him, when he is standing on the fertile ground of the earth; he touches Her life in the blossoms of the pure lotus-flower. She animates all living creatures. His own body is a part of Her great body. Worshipping Her in all Her different forms, he will find Her light, too, within his mind and consciousness. Thus, to the Shakta the whole universe of mind and matter reveals itself in its unity; he see before him Her great body which he adores; Her sacred feet, Her heart, Her mind.
It might be useful to describe this poetical view, which is at once physical and transcendental, by means of another diagram. We may for this purpose represent matter and mind by two circles , which intersect each other.
Where they intersect, there is Shakti, so to speak, in Herself. But Her influence, Her being spreads into the whole realm of matter as well as that of mind. Nowhere is She absent, but Her presence is less distinct, is somehow veiled in those parts, which are further from the centre, where She is in Herself. Thus, for the sake of linear explanation, the mineral world—the solid matter—would have to be situated the furthest from Her, because there, as for instance in stone, she—Life Herself—is, much veiled, stone to the ordinary human view appearing to be dead. Nearer to Her is the realm of plants, where, with their growing and blossoming, She already becomes more apparent. I need hardly remind you of the well-known researches by Sir Jagadish Bhose of the University of Calcutta, who is endeavouring to make visible the actual heartbeat of plant life. Then, in due order with regard to Her would come the world of animals, which being animated have within their life—although perhaps still unconsciously—some access to Her. Lastly, within the highly developed organism of man She, for the first time, is inherent in her essential being. There She finds the possibility of being consciously awakened, so that she appears to him, who is looking and striving for her, in Her true nature as Shakti herself. The other side—the mind circle—comprises the mental faculties of man such as consciousness, will, feeling and logical perception, which, with regard to their aptitude for Her realisation, may be put in such order. The directions of development therefore go in the matter-circle from left to right—from stone, vegetable, animal to man, where Shakti will be realised; in the mind-circle, from right to left—from mere logical thinking to feeling, will-power, consciousness to man—where Shakti may be realised. Thus, as you can see from this diagram, everywhere there is Shakti. She is inherent in everything and at the same time transcends every thing; by meditation and religious ceremonies She may be realized everywhere, being inherent in the whole physical universe as it is given to us. And, moreover, above this we may touch Her in Her transcendental aspect as well. When She appears in Her true nature, then there is no more mind or matter, but only She Herself, in no sense bounded by such limitations. As such a one She may well be represented by a circle, the universe in its true aspect.
To the European it may perhaps at first sight appear to be a mere poetical presentment and but little different from the theory of vitalism of modern natural science or from ancient animism in the religious aspect. But with regard to Vitalism, even if there be similarities the essential difference seems to me, that the Vitalism of the natural sciences is based principally upon the conception of a material world which is regarded as being animated by, for instance, the"lan vitale"of Bergson. But Sakthism holds its standpoint entirely on the spiritual side. She, the great mother, exists, and what in the material world is vitalised or animated, certainly comes from Her, but is only a veiled appearance of Her, who in Her true being can be experienced spiritually. And Sakthism is also not animism, if by animism may be understood the primitive idea of everything being ghost-like, being animated by"Phi"or spirits, resulting in as many ghostly spirits as there are different things. Sakthism represents a spiritual unity, all different things being united within Her always-greater aspect.
The principal doctrine of"Sakthism", that the whole Universe of mind and matter is created by Her, the Powerful Goddess Shakti, is described in full detail, with Indian accuracy in spiritual matters, in the Cosmogony of Sakthism. It must be understood that every great Indian philosophical system has its own Cosmo-Genesis, that is, its special conception of the evolution of the world and its beginning. As a matter of fact, every conception of life and the Universe requires such a foundation to give it the necessary firm hold. For Sakthism this source, out of which the Universe as mind and matter has evolved, is the female spiritual Power, Shakti, who is the Great Mother of the Universe. In Her most concentrated form, when Her Power is just ready to expand, She is represented by a point called Bindu. This Bindu Point is mere Spirit. Everything manifested and created in this Universe has Spirit. Everything manifested and created in this Universe has Spirit as its source and essence. In the Christian Cosmo-Genesis of the Gospel of St. John it is called"logos"or"The word." By expansion the Spiritual Power Shakti becomes, going through many different stages, Mind, Life, and Matter. She—the Goddess—is contained, in all the manifestations of the universe, but She remains, so to speak, unexhausted by being the material cause of the Universe. She in Her essence remains unaffected and greater than all the created world.
In a diagrammatic way this cosmogenetic evolution can be represented like this. The active, most concentrated Point Bindu is red, the colour of activity. From this point the lines of evolution expand through the stages of mind and life towards matter, the mineral world. So the material world stands not first but last in the evolution of the Universe.
According to the general doctrine of Indian metaphysics, this whole created universe is not everlasting but will one day be dissolved. The life or appearance of the universe lasts, as it is figuratively expressed, one day of Brahma, the Almighty, that is, millions and millions of years. After that the whole expansion contracts again in the opposite direction; first, matter will be dissolved, then life and mind will disappear till it reaches the state of the beginning, the spiritual Point, Bindu, where it will find its rest; until the dawn of a new day of Brahma, when a new creation will start. This Bindu Point is the great Goddess, the universal mother—womb—yoni— the creator and receiver of the Universe, which, as Shakti, is worshipped by the followers of Sakthism.
So the whole created world has as its creative Power Shakti, the goddess, just as in this world the female element is constantly maintaining it. But She, the creative Goddess, can do nothing without Him, the God, Shiva, just as no woman can bear fruit without the co-operation of the male element. The relation of Shakti to Shiva, is of a very subtle, spiritual nature. He, Shiva is in contrast to all creation, be it mind or matter. He is the underlying pure consciousness , which is independent of, and superior to, all creation. In a very famous picture of Sakthism the goddess Shakti stands black-coloured on the white-coloured Shiva who lies inert. The symbolism is this. Shiva is white to represent a colourless form, since all colours belong to the created world, which is the domain of Shakti. He lies at absolute rest, since movement and activity belong to the created world, which is dependent on him, but not he on it, She, the Goddess, is black-coloured because, compared with the light of the spiritual world unmixed with any objective realisation, she is dark as the night; in all creation she is veiled in darkness, both her face and her raiment.
I have mentioned already that there can be found traces of Shakti in the conception of the Madonna of the Catholic Christian Church. As some of you may know, there exists in Czenstochau in Poland the famous sculpture of the so-called Black Madonna, who is much adored by the population. Why is she black? Well whatever kind of outer- influence may have taken place, the spiritual reason must be the same as in Sakthism. She, the Madonna, the creatrix femina, is dark, is spiritually veiled in darkness during the process of creation. She is the deep and creative night. Darkness, compared with the light of day, has always been regarded spiritually as the deeper element. The darkness of the body is intended to show that the personality belongs to the spiritual world as the creative background of all physical appearance. It is very remarkable, too, that near Barcelona in Spain, on Mount Serrat, a black Madonna with the Christ child on her knees is worshipped by the Catholic Church. This famous sculpture, is said to have been on this holy mountain for over a thousand years. Her throne shows an uncommon shape. She holds in her right hand a globe, representing the Universe. Thus here, too, the conception seems to be that She, the Goddess-Madonna, is the Creator and Upholder of the whole Universe. In my opinion these figures—in their spiritual meaning—show the very deep connection , which exists spiritually between East and West. And Sakthism may help to bring an understanding between East and West, the importance of which is always becoming more apparent.
One of the deepest secrets of Sakthism is the union of the highest spiritual male consciousness, Shiva, with the all-pervading female power, Shakti.As I have already mentioned, the all-powerful Shakti would not be able to create the universe out of Herself; She needs the touch of Shiva. This union of Shiva and Shakti takes place in the highest spiritual regions before anything has been created, so to speak, in the night of Brahma. Out of this union the Universe is born—Shakti evolves as mind and matter, whereas Shiva remains as the underlying background, unaltered, This highest spiritual state of union is inexpressible by words; but it is approximately circumscribed by the Sanskrit words; Sat—Chit—Ananda. Sat means Being; Chit means Consciousness, and when these are united with one another, there Ananda—Bliss—the highest spiritual bliss, is the issue. For the Shakta, as for the Hindu generally, the essence of the world is joy, bliss, ananda. Whenever truth, living truth, is approached or touched by man, then he feels that bliss of the union of Shiva and Shakti, which is the origin of all life. The highest state of consciousness or liberation (Mukthi) in Sakthism is the attainment, the spiritual realisation, of the highest, unchanging, eternal, absolute union of Shiva and Shakti within himself, into which his being is to be ultimately absorbed. The man who has realised this and transplanted himself into it is in his lifetime called Jivanmukta (liberated though living) . In this union is everything essential contained. But within space and time, within the world of separate things and forms,—in this world of limited experience in which we are living—this highest union is interrupted. Shakti, being separated from Him, is, so to speak, in Her actual body distributed among all objective experience.
There is a deep and striking picture, a story of Indian mythology, which tells how the body of Shakti has been dismembered and has fallen in pieces into this world. Wherever any part of Her holy body is supposed to be lying, there an Indian temple has been built; to a certain extent comparable to the Stupas which are erected by Buddhists for the relics of the sacred body of Gautama. Everything in the objective appearance is individual on account of its being separated from that union, and its material substance or embodiment can be measured by the interval of that separation; the further away from the union, the more its spiritual essence is veiled.
It follows consequently that in every individual being, which to a certain extent becomes conscious of itself, there must be living a tendency to become liberated from this separation, to come back to this primordial union."Back to The Mother", it may be said, is the shortest expression for the spiritual aim of the whole of Indian culture and especially of Sakthism. A deeply—felt longing prevails within the religious mind of India; a longing like that of a child for its mother. It is important to note this, since it is this longing , which gives the impulse to the means by which the aim of coming back to The Mother may be attained. These means are called the Yoga of Sakthism, i.e., Sadhaana. The principles of Yoga are almost the same in all the different Indian systems, of which they form an essential part. By urging concentration of thought upon certain important ideas, they aim at giving to these ideas more strength and clearness than they usually have.
The meditator excludes himself from all outer influences, in order to bring his mind into direct contact with the spiritual world. In the end he will eventually realise what his Scriptures have taught him, that his essence is Spirit, and his mind and body its manifestations. I may mention here that a modern"Western"Way of"Yoga"has been introduced into Europe by the spiritual system," Anthroposophy", of Dr.Rudolf Steiner. In all ages such kinds of spiritual endeavour have been practised. If man succeeds in actually realising the inner meaning of metaphysics, he becomes, as it is called," initiated", that is, he becomes a citizen of the spiritual world, just as he is a citizen of the natural world by his physical birth. The Yoga of Sakthism specializes in conceptions of the Goddess Shakti. If She appears to the Shakta, as She is in Herself, the highest realisation, the Union with The Mother is attained. Then the Shakta says: She I am, and feels himself full of the greatest spiritual bliss.
As I have already mentioned, Sakthism is an eminently practical Religion. It attempts an immediate realisation of truth by the practical methods of"Yoga"And has an abundance of rites and ceremonies. These vary according to the competency of the Shakta. The ritual has been rightly called the Art of Religion. The worshiper follows certain prescribed rules in his adoration, which give him the right direction. Every Religion knows the value of ritual—Buddhism as well as Christianity and Sakthism. I may mention here only a few special points, which distinguish the rites from all other similar cults in India.
It is well known what an important role the caste-system has always played in India. Even now the distinctions of the different castes are much observed, especially in the case of marriage. Principally the Brahmins, as the caste of priests—now there are Brahmins who are doctors of medicine, barristers, watchmen, etc., —would never mix with other castes in their ritual worship. The Shakta, however, the worshiper of Shakti, does not pay any regard to these caste distinctions. The Brahma Shakta has no objection to worshipping the Goddess even with the Shudra outcast, the Pariah. Such a non-Indian uncommon attitude shows that the rites of Sakthism may have their source from abroad; it is not yet quite certain, but it is probable that the special rites of Sakthism have come to India from China through Tibet.
This would explain, too, the other striking feature of the Shakta- worship, which is also non-Indian—that during the ritual worship of Shakti it is allowed to eat meat and to drink wine. Everyone knows how the Hindus abhor the slaughter of animals; how the adoration of the cow is an essential part of their religion, which has been again and again emphasised, especially by Gandhi himself. The Shakta, however, eats meat and drinks wine during his worship of the Goddess Shakti. He feels himself spiritually above this custom. As in his view everything is She—the Goddess—there can be made no exception with regard to the offerings to Her.
The third unique quality of the Shakti-worship is the active participation of women in the ceremonies. Ordinarily women are always kept apart in India.Everyone has heard of the Purdah system, which holds in some parts of India the women-folk life-long in their houses. But the Shakta treats them as altogether equal; even more. She, his Wife, is regarded by him as his Shakti Goddess; She, the mother of his children, represents to him the Great Mother. Such an attitude is naturally reflected in the daily life of Shakti Hindu families, where The Mother—quite contrary to Miss Mayo's statements in"Mother India"—is much venerated. There is the so-called Panchatattva Ritual—the most important ritual of Sakthism, which is still nowadays performed in Bengal. The name"Panchatattva"Is derived from the words"Pancha", five, and"Tattva", elements. The five elements of this ritual are Wine, Meat, Fish, Parched Corn and Sexual Union. Men and women meet as equal partners. They sit together—the man beside the women—in a circle, called Chakra. Following elaborate rites, they offer to the Goddess wine, meat, fish and corn. After that they take their meal, which consists these four elements; the idea being that they unite themselves with Shakti in these products and fruits. The highest presentment of the Goddess for the Shakta is the women who is sitting by his side. By uniting with her—according to the Maithuna rites—he experiences the bliss of the great union of Shiva and Shakti. Pro-creation is the individual counterpart of Cosmic Creation. It must be understood that the purpose of the physical union of the Shakta with his Shakti in this ritual is not satisfaction of his physical senses but the spiritual realisation of the highest union of the individual with the Goddess, the Cosmic-Whole. It may be mentioned that, as far as I have heard, during the ceremonies in Bengal the last mentioned Maithuna rites are not actually performed but are only indicated, as for example by bowing to the woman sitting at his side in the Chakra. Nothing is wrong or forbidden according to Sakthism, if it is done with a pure heart and spiritual feeling.
Certainly it is possible that, weak as man's nature is, abuses of this special rite have taken place—and it would be wrong to deny that they are in fact happening. But my intention here is to show its spiritual meaning and intention; which, in my opinion, cannot be affected by abuse in its interpretation; and the principle of the rite is sound, grand and spiritual.
All the rites of Sakthism, of which I have here mentioned only one, tend in such a direction as to awaken within him the spiritual and aesthetically productive forces of man. As soon as these usually slumbering forces are awakened, the Shakta knows and feels himself as being born again within the spiritual world. The Shakta says," As I am born in my physical body from my mother, so I must be spiritually born again from my spiritual mother, the Goddess Shakti."By the grace of Shakti the Shakta himself becomes Brahma. As a matter of fact, every spiritual man strives for the attainment of such a state, of being reborn in the spiritual sense. Only the expressions are different and the means and ways vary. In Sakthism it is striking to notice with what absoluteness and how independently of all other systems of religion the physical appearance and the highest spiritual realisation are combined together. If Shakti is everywhere, then she is, too, in the bodily appearance of the women and there, however veiled, in her fullest essence. So he makes use of her for the greatest spiritual aim of man, namely to be reborn by the grace of Shakti.
Now I have said that this aim of being reborn within the spiritual motherhood is known to almost every religion, and, although Buddhism in its fundamental basis at first seems to be utterly different from Sakthism, yet Northern Buddhism knows well what is meant by Shakti. Mahayana Buddhism, as it is prevalent in Tibet, by which country Sakthism too has been much influenced, has introduced into its system during its development the Goddess Tara. She represents what Shakti is for Sakthism. She is the embodiment of all that within the spiritual realisation is distinctly female; and it is a very secret saying in esoteric Northern Buddhism that man, by being reborn from Tara, will become a Buddha, that is, will attain the highest spiritual state of life to which man is destined and for which he is striving. within esoteric Christianity there is the picture of Jesus Christ lying in the stable-manger as the new-born child before the immaculate Virgin Mary. It is intended to portray not only the story of the historical birth of Jesus, but at the same time a representation of the idea that we all have to be reborn as such a Christ-child of the Virgin Mary, the Shakti of Christianity.
You see, there can be discovered, within so widely differing religious systems as Sakthism, Northern Buddhism and Christianity, the same important idea as that of being reborn by the grace of Shakti as Brahma, of being reborn by Tara as a Buddha, and of being reborn by Madonna as a Christian. As a matter of fact, the female spiritual element as it is venerated by Sakthism, being a living truth, can to a certain extent become a combining factor to embrace the great cultural outlook both of the East and the West. Humanity is one over all the earth, and Womanhood is its essential part. In Sakthism the idea of the spiritual creative force of Womanhood finds its most absolute and exclusive expression. For this reason this system is so interesting and striking for anyone who takes the trouble to go more deeply into it. Shakti, as she is pleased to reveal herself to day, is present, too, within the depths of European culture. It would take me too far a field to prove it by further details. I would only mention that Goethe concludes his great poem," Faust", with the words: "The eternal female is raising us." Certainly, Goethe had no knowledge of the system of Sakthism and of those texts, which we are now privileged to study. But by his poetical inspiration he touched by himself the truth, which we find so clearly expressed in the system of Sakthism. If one would try to express the deepest meaning which Sakthism may have for us in our days, it cannot be done better than by those words which the mystical chorus sings at the end of this great poem: Das Ewig Weibliche zieht uns hinan."The eternal female is raising us."
The Indian Religion of the Goddess Shakti
DR. HANS KOESTER
THE JOURNAL OF THE SIAM SOCIETY
Vol.23, part 1
"The supreme divinity, Lalita, is one's own blissful Self."
~Bhavana Upanishad 1.27
"This primeval power is Tripura,
The supreme sovereign, Tripura;
Goddess great with ear-rings adorned
In sphere of fire abiding."
~Tripura Tapini Upanishad 1.9
"She alone is Atman. Other than Her is untruth, non-self. Hence is She Brahman-Consciousness, free from (even) a tinge of being and non- being. She is the Science of Consciousness, non-dual Brahman Consciousness, a wave of Being-Consciousness-Bliss. The Beauty of the three-great-cities, penetrating without and within, is resplendent, non-dual, self-subsisting. What is, is pure Being; what shines is pure Consciousness; what is dear is Bliss. So here is the Maha-Tripura-Sundari who assumes all forms. You and I and all the world and all divinities and all besides are the Maha-Tripura- Sundari. The sole Truth is the thing named 'the Beautiful'. It is the non-dual, integral, supreme Brahman."
~Bahvricha Upanishad 1.5
Mahavakyas, or Great Sayings, of the Upanishads
Prepared by Jayaram Srinivasan
Prajnanam Brahma - Consciousness is Brahman
(Aitareya Upanishad 3.3, of Rg Veda)
Ayam Atma Brahma - This Self is Brahman
(Mandukya Upanishad 1.2, of Atharva Veda)
Tat Tvam Asi - Thou art that
(Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7, of Sama Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad)
Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahman
(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10, of Yajur Veda, Mahanarayana Upanishad)
Prajnanam Brahma - Consciousness is Brahman
(Aitareya Upanishad 3.3, of Rg Veda)
Other Translations: Brahman is pure consciousness; Brahman is knowing; Brahman is intelligence
In the sentence, 'Prajnanam Brahma' or Consciousness is Brahman, a definition of Reality is given. The best definition of Brahman would be to give expression to its supra-essential essence, and not to describe it with reference to accidental attributes, such as creatorship etc. That which is ultimately responsible for all our sensory activities, as seeing, hearing, etc., is Consciousness. Though Consciousness does not directly see or hear, it is impossible to have these sensory operations without it. Hence it should be considered as the final meaning of our mental and physical activities. Brahman is that which is Absolute, fills all space, is complete in itself, to which there is no second, and which is continuously present in everything, from the creator down to the lowest of matter. It, being everywhere, is also in each and every individual. This is the meaning of Prajnanam Brahma occurring in the Aitareya Upanishad.**
Ayam Atma Brahma - This Self is Brahman
(Mandukya Upanishad 1.2, of Atharva Veda)
Other Translations: Brahman is this Self; This Self is Brahma
The Mahavakya, 'Ayam Atma Brahma' or athis Self is Brahman,' occurs in the Mandukya Upanishad. 'Ayam' means athis,' and here athisness' refers to the self-luminous and non-mediate nature of the Self, which is internal to everything, from the Ahamkara or ego down to the physical body. This Self is Brahman, which is the substance out of which all things are really made. That which is everywhere, is also within us, and what is within us is everywhere. This is called 'Brahman,' because it is plenum, fills all space, expands into all existence, and is vast beyond all measure of perception or knowledge. On account of self-luminosity, non-relativity and universality, Atman and Brahman are the same. This identification of the Self with Absolute is not any act of bringing together two differing natures, but is an affirmation that absoluteness or universality includes everything, and there is nothing outside it.**
Tat Tvam Asi - Thou art that
(Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7, of Sama Veda, Kaivalya Upanishad)
Other Translations: That is how you are; That art thou
In the Chandogya Upanishad occurs the Mahavakya, atat Tvam Asi' or athat thou art.' Sage Uddalaka mentions this nine times, while instructing his disciple Svetaketu in the nature of Reality. That which is one alone without a second, without name and form, and which existed before creation, as well as after creation, as pure Existence alone, is what is referred to as Tat or That, in this sentence. The term Tvam stands for that which is in the innermost recesses of the student or the aspirant, but which is transcendent to the intellect, mind, senses, etc., and is the real 'I' of the student addressed in the teaching. The union of Tat and Tvam is by the term Asi or are. That Reality is remote is a misconception, which is removed by the instruction that it is within one's own self. The erroneous notion that the Self is limited is dispelled by the instruction that it is the same as Reality.**
Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahman.
(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10, of Yajur Veda, Mahanarayana Upanishad)
In the sentence, 'Aham Brahmasmi,' or I am Brahman, the 'I' is that which is the One Witnessing Consciousness, standing apart form even the intellect, different from the ego-principle, and shining through every act of thinking, feeling, etc. This Witness-Consciousness, being the same in all, is universal, and cannot be distinguished from Brahman, which is the Absolute. Hence the essential 'I' which is full, super-rational and resplendent, should be the same as Brahman. This is not the identification of the limited individual 'I' with Brahman, but it is the Universal Substratum of individuality that is asserted to be what it is. The copula 'am' does not signify any empirical relation between two entities, but affirms the non-duality of essence. This dictum is from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.**
** Excerpted from: Swami Krishnananda, The Philosophy of the Panchadasi," Chapter V: Discrimination of the Mahavakyas," The Divine Life Society, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, India.
AHAM BRAHMA ASMI
Aham Brahma asmi or"I am the Brahman"Is one of the corner piller of the hindu Philosophy.
A crude transilation would be"I am the world" (or I am the creator of the world"), As there is no world (My world) with out me, I am the one who creates my world, the good the bd, the relations in it, the happiness in it the sorrow in it, so I am the god of my world.
Max Muller makes it more explicit when he says: If people conceive God as a kind of Jupiter, or even as a Jehovah, then the idea can only be considered blasphemous... But after the Deity had been freed from its mythological character, the human mind, whether in India or elsewhere, had once realised the fact, that God was all in all, that there could be nothing besides God, that there could be one Infinite only, not two, the conclusion that the human soul also belonged to God was inevitable.
TAT TWAM ASI
Tat Tvam Asi, a sanskrit sentence, translating variously to"Thou art that"," That thou art", or"You are that", is one of the four Mahavakyas (Grand Pronouncements) in Hinduism. It originally occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad. It first occurs in Chandogya 6.8.7, in the dialogue between Uddalaka and his son vetaketu; it appears at the end of a section, and is repeated at the end of the subsequent sections as a refrain. It is generally taken to mean that your soul or consciousness is wholly or partially the Ultimate Reality. That is to say, even before the creation of the universe, a unitary, divine consciousness existed, and that this consciousness is identical to your deepest self.
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