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Thread: Aham Brahmasmi

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    Aham Brahmasmi


    Namaste,

    “Om pUrNamadah pUrNamidaM pUrNAt pUrNamudacyate
    PUrNasya pUrNamAdAya pUrNamEvAvashiSyate”


    Om ! That (Brahman) is Infinite/Whole/Complete, and this (universe) is Infinite/Whole/Complete. The Infinite/Whole/Complete proceeds from the Infinite/Whole/Complete . (Then) taking the infinitude of the Infinite/Whole/Complete (universe), It remains as the Infinite/Whole/Complete (Brahman) alone.

    I intend to dedicate this thread to posting of excerpts of Advaita Teachings in various scriptures (BG, Upanishads, any other Hindu or scriptures of other religions) & also as taught by Advaita teachers. I don't claim to be the expert here, I expect to expand my horizon of understanding through thread.

    What can be a better way to start this thread than the Mahavakyas ? :

    1. Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya, Jivo Brahmaiva naparah.

    ==> Brhaman is real, the world is unreal. Jivatma is Brahman alone & none else.

    2. Ekam Evadvitiyam Brahma

    ==> Brahman is one without a second

    3. Prajnanam Brahma

    ==> Consciousness is Brahman

    4. Tat Tvam Asi

    ==> That (Brahman) thou art !

    5. Ayam Atma Brahma

    ==> This Self is Brahman

    6. Aham Brahmasmi

    ==> I am Brahman

    7. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma

    ==> This all is Brahman

    ---------------------------------------------
    That said, What exactly is this Brahman ?

    The following text tries to explain this term :


    The word brahman comes from the root brha or brhi, which means knowledge, expansion, and all-pervasiveness. It is that existence which alone exists, and in which there is the appearance of the entire universe. This is a Sanskrit word that denotes that oneness, the non-dual reality, the substratum underneath all of the many names and forms of the universe.

    Brahman is not a name of God. These contemplations neither promote nor oppose any particular religious concept of God. Brahman is often described as indescribable. For convenience sake, it is said that brahman is the nature of existence, consciousness, and bliss, though admitting that these words, too, are inadequate.

    The real meaning comes only in direct experience resulting from contemplation and yoga meditation.
    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 17 November 2009 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Font Size increased for better readablity
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  2. #2
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namaste,

    What is this SELF ?

    The SELF is called so because it is none else but our own Self i.e. what projects the ( feeling of) “I” in me. Then how come it can be One only ? I have my Self, you have your Self & every being has apparently a different Self. Then how can it be stated that Self is just One ?

    There are two words used in Scriptures in such discussions :

    a) JIvAtmA = This JIvAtmA or the Jiva is the ( apparent) individual self in me, you & everyone which sees this world different from itself. It sees ” many” in this world & not “One”. This is also called the deluded “self” (normally written with lower letters to distinguish from the universal Self).

    b) Atma  This is the One Universal Self which within its first two states of waking & dreaming appears as many “self”s. This Self is the essence of all & is One without a second. Therefore, JIvAtmA has no independent existence … in fact, it has no real existence at all … there is Only One Self.

    What are the Waking & Dreaming States ?

    Let’s take the help of MAndukya Upanishad to understand these terms & their relationship with Self.

    One of the MahavAkyas (great statements) comes from this Upanishad. It proclaims :

    Ayam Atma Brahma : This Self is Brahman.

    This Upanishad says that Self comprises of 4 quarters/states :
    i) The waking state : The first quarter (pada) is called Vaisvanara, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, who is conscious of external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths, and who is the experiencer of gross objects.

    The words, “conscious of external objects” indicate that Self in this state is not conscious of itself. It is experience of gross objects with 7 limbs & 19 mouths. This state is when we are alive & awake in this world. The Self is not only unaware of its True Nature in this state but also perceives unreal as real because it sees duality where there is none.
    ii) The dream state : The second quarter (pada) is Taijasa, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, who is conscious of internal objects, who is endowed with seven limbs and nineteen mouths, and who is the experiencer of subtle objects.
    There are no gross objects to experience in dream state. Let us note that the impressions of waking experiences are reproduced in the form of dream objects. From the empirical standpoint there is a causal relationship between the waking state and the dream state. This state is experienced in our dreams when we are alive & we are in this state when we die.

    What are the other two states ?

    The third state of Self is Deep Sleep state. This is called Prajna. There are two verses in this Upanishad which describe this state.

    That is the state of deep sleep wherein one asleep neither desires any object nor sees any dream. The third quarter is Prajna, whose sphere is deep sleep, unified, who is, verily, a mass of consciousness, who is full of bliss and experiences bliss, and who is the door leading to the knowledge of dreaming and waking.

    Let’s try to understand various terms used in this verse :

    “No dream” --- it means it doesn’t see the unreality.
    "Unified" (ekibhUtah) - undifferentiated
    “Mass of Consciousness” ---- It is not conscious of the waking & the dreaming states. It is Consciousness itself.
    “Door leading to the knowledge of dreaming & waking” --- It is the causal state of the first two states.
    “neither desires any object” ---- No desire to enjoy any gross or subtle object. So, the seeker must not have any desires left for arriving at this state.
    “Full of bliss” ---- This state is full of bliss.

    The next verse further describes this state as :

    He is the Lord of all. He is the knower of all. He is the inner controller. He is the source of all; for from Him all beings originate and in Him they finally disappear.”

    So, all beings in both the waking state & the dreaming state originate from & disappear into this state. This is God-state off the Self. He is omniscient & omnipotent (lord of all).

    The Fourth State :

    It is not considered a separate state. It is the untainted canvas on which the first three states originate & disappear. This state is the cessation of all sounds & activities of the three states. The Mandukya Upanishad describes this state in following verse :’

    Turiya is not that which is conscious of the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness nor is It unconsciousness. It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable, and indescribable. The essence of the Consciousness manifesting as the self (in the three states), It (Turiya) is the cessation of all phenomena; It is all peace, all bliss, and non-dual. This is what is known as the Fourth (Turiya). This is Atman (Self), and this has to be realised.

    So, it is nothing which we have known so far in the first three states. So, this state is not describable at all because all descriptions arise from our experiences in the first three states. Yet, it is the essence of consciousness which manifests itself as self in the three states. This is all peace, all bliss & non-dual. This has to be known.
    Last edited by devotee; 17 November 2009 at 08:23 AM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  3. #3

    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    This is what I can ad
    You can view the 4 main Mahavakyas as the 4 stages.

    Prajnanam Brahma (Consciousness is Brahman) / Salokya (Presence of God)
    Experiencing your own consciousness as the base of the world, the unity in diversity. At this stage the material nature of the world fades away. This is the first stage…

    Ayam Atma Brahma (This Self is Brahman) / Samipya (Nearness to God)
    Experiencing the divine in your own center, or finding the “inner Guru”.

    Tat Tvam Asi (That you are) / Sarupya (Same as God)
    Being same as God, knowing you are same. But there are still some Vasanas or Ahamkara left so there is reflection of Jivahood.

    Aham Brahma Asmi (I am Brahman) / Sayujya (Merging with Godhead)
    This would be the total loss of reflections in the mind (of Jivahood) and thus “I” (Aham) is no other than Brahman.

    All in all, in Aham Brahma Asmi “I” is Brahman, in the others it’s something else, like consciousness, this or that.

    Recommended link:
    http://www.eaisai.com/baba/docs/mahavakya.html
    There is a Guru in each of us. It is the Atma principle. It is the Eternal Witness functioning as Conscience in everyone. With this Conscience as guide, let all actions be done. (sss20-15)

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté devotee (et.al)

    Thank you for your posts on this subject - I look forward to reading your insights and the conversations that ( I hope ) will follow.

    Do you think there is a significance from where each mahāvākya came from i.e. ṛg ved, sāma ved, etc. ?

    praṇām
    Last edited by yajvan; 17 November 2009 at 07:48 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  5. #5

    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Very good topic devoteeji

    But as you know Krsn says..gyane parisamapyate , so I shall request you to continue this up to the end of knowledge i.e. to your name , or to the tail of devotion .

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namasate Ekanta,

    I had, so far, not seen these main Mahavakyas in this manner. But that is really beautiful.

    Thanks.

    .....................

    Namaste Yajvan ji,

    I think you are indicating towards something hidden which can be of great help.

    I do feel that it is no coincidence that the four MahavAkyas are from four different Vedas, One from each Veda :

    i) Prajanam Brahma - "Consciousness is Brahman" :

    This comes in Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda.

    ii) Ayam Atma Brahma - This Self (Atman) is Brahman :

    This has been taken from Mandukya Upanishad 1.2 of the Atharva Veda.

    iii) Tat Tvam Asi - "That Thou Art" :

    This has been taken from Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda.

    iv) Aham Brahmasmi - "I AM Brahman" :

    This has been taken from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda.

    I think you may tell us the signification of association of these Mahavakyas with the respective Vedas.

    ...................................

    Namaste Gupta ji,

    Certainly ! Let's move on this path together to discover what is hidden !


    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    namaste everyone.

    Thanks to Devotee for starting this thread that can enlighten us and clarify doubts when there is active participation of members who know; and thanks to Ekanta for giving the relation of the four mahAvAkyas to the four pAdas--quarters, of mokSha.

    Let us try to study the mahAvAkyas relating one to the other in context:

    • MAtA amRtAnandamayI enlightens us here as to the purport of the two terms satyam and mithya in the mahAvAkya "brahma satyam jagan mithya": http://archives.amritapuri.org/matru...v09reality.php

    • Sarabhanga has given in this thread in HDF the Sanskrit quotes of the mahAvAkyas and their meanings:
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...vakya#post4365

    • Atanu has given SvAmi KRShNAnanda's explanation of the mahAvAkyas in this post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...7&postcount=31

    • Here is shrI AtmAnanda's explanation of the stages of realization through the four mahAvAkyas that Atanu quoted in the above post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...9&postcount=32

    Based on the explanation of AtmAnanda and the post of Ekanta, how can we proceed to relate the other three mahAvAkyas? Is it possible to arrange them all in a ladder of graduating steps to Self-Realization? Surely, the vAkyas give us different layers of meaning, without reference to the context of their utterances in the upanishads. Can we relate them as parts to a whole?
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namaste,

    Saidevo ji has provided very useful links in his post above. I am still awaiting Yajvan ji to throw some light on significance of association of the MahAvAkyas with their respective Vedas & may be more as has been pointed out by Saidevo ji in his post.

    In the mean time, I will proceed with inputs from my understanding in the next post.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namaste all,

    Now we shall see how "One" can manifest as "Many".

    Though we have discussed many things & defined several terms, these questions are still unanswered :

    How come this Self can be One only ? I have my Self, you have your Self & every being has apparently a different Self. Then how can it be stated that Self is just One ? Can One appear as many ? And I don’t find it just “appearance” … it is as true as I am ?

    Gaupdapada explained this with the example of infinite Space covering all & the space inside vessels. Let’s see what this says & whether it is logical :

    There can be no doubt that Infinite Space is just One. However, when we see inside a vessel, the space within the vessel looks separated from the Infinite Space around. If there are many vessels, the space inside one vessels looks different in size, shape, location etc. from spaces in the other vessels & also quite different from the space outside (i.e. each space enclosed by a separate vessel has apparently its own unique identity). The outside space appears completely different as that is Infinite & the space inside the vessel appears finite. Now, can we say that there are many space(s) or different space(s) ? No. Because the difference among the different space(s) in the different vessels & the Infinite Space around is due to the vessels. Once the Vessels are broken, the illusion of separateness of spaces goes. It is the same One & Only One space. Now, let’s go back to the space in the vessel again. Was the space in the vessel a product of the Infinite Space ? No. Was this space inside the vessel created by the outer space ? No. There was no creation ... never. The Space was always one only & no differentiation can be in quality of the space within the Vessels & the Outside Infinite Space. The Vessel is the illusion which has to be removed to realize that there was no difference at all to begin with.

    Objection : That is well explained but to explain the model of Self, you brought vessel in the above example & because vessel is materially different from space, the illusion came into being. But it is stated that there is none but Brahman alone … so how come this different material fits in there i.e. what happens if vessel is not of different material ?

    Answer : To understand the answer to the above objection, let’s assume that the space is replaced with water & the vessels are replaced with vessels made of Ice. In that case, though materially there is no difference between the water inside the vessels, the Vessels themselves & the Infinite Water covering all … the arrangement does again create the illusion of separateness & duality. What is the difference here ? Science tells us that it is due to difference in the vibrations of molecules of Water & the Ice. That vibration creates the illusion of duality (i.e. the ice is different from water) here otherwise there simply no difference & no duality.

    The difference between individual apparent self & the One Self is only that much. Due to varying vibrations (which produces sound & activity ) in different states of Self, duality apparently comes into being. Once all vibrations die out (& thus leads to cessation of all sounds & activities), the total peace only prevails … the untainted Turiya only remains.

    -------------------------------------------------
    I am tempted to give another example here too which I gave somewhere in one of my posts in this forum :

    We can see this phenomenon of “One” appearing as “Many” when we are dreaming. Let’s take an example again :

    I am dreaming that I, along with one of my friends, am going to a village fair where there are thousands of people. I sees that my friend brushes with a man due to heavy rush. That man gets angry with my friend. My friend & that man start fighting. I try to stop them & during that fight that man stabs me !

    Now, let’s analyse the above dream. There is actually one “I” who is dreaming the dream, the “I” of the dreamer. The same “I” creates another “I” of the dream which goes to the village fair with his friend. The friend, the angry man & thousands of men in the fair have their own “I” in the dream & they all act on their own. The “I” of the angry man even acts against the wishes of the mother “I” & stabs it ! Now, where from these “I” have come ? We cannot say that it is simply a story written by our mind which is being played out in the dream. If that is true then the dreaming “I” should have known what is going to happen next in the dream (& would never have written something to get stabbed itself !) & who is going to behave in what way in the dream. But that doesn’t happen.

    So, in the above dream, the dreamer “I” is creating so many “I”s where there is only One. It is also creating a whole world in the dream & that world is acting as if it had a free will ! This is illusion, the powerful Maya of the Self.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Above, I have also added something from my understanding. Any positive inputs are welcome.

    There can be next objection : Yes, with the above examples, it is clear that “One” can create the illusion of “Many”. But how can we be sure that it is really so ?

    We shall take up this issue in the next post.




    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 18 November 2009 at 09:57 AM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté devotee (et.al)

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste,

    Saidevo ji has provided very useful links in his post above. I am still awaiting Yajvan ji to throw some light on significance of association of the MahAvAkyas with their respective Vedas & may be more as has been pointed out by Saidevo ji in his post.
    I wrote
    Do you think there is a significance from where each mahāvākya came from i.e. ṛg ved, sāma ved, etc. ?

    The significance of each mahāvākya is that of essence. The mahāvākya is the rasa¹ of that veda that is being offered/studied/read. By being aware of this rasa one gets the overall appreciation ( flavor) of what is being offered macroscopically by that veda.
    Just as you potentially hold a 100 ft. tree in your hands by holding the seed, you hold all of the veda in seed form in each mahāvākya.

    Its as if you are talking to your child and you tell them an overall truth ( or a story that offers truth) - we first give them a full picture, very simply, of the total story that will be offered.

    If you listen to some of the great teachers they are excellent at doing this e.g. a vision is offered, then the dive into the knowledge , then end with that vision at the end, to enclose the thought or idea.

    These mahāvākya-s do the same.

    praṇām


    words
    rasa रस- taste, flavor; yet this rasa is also defined as the best or finest or prime part of anything i.e. essence.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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