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Thread: Aham Brahmasmi

  1. #11

    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Ok here we go Ill just throw this out and have it done [with reservation that its of course an interpretation].

    As you said Saidevo, the Mahavakyas give us different layers of meaning. Interpreted they give one meaning, non-interpreted they keep all their meanings.

    However If we look at the Ayam Atma Brahma, Tat Tvam Asi and Aham Brahma Asmi they each have 3 words. It can be interpreted as the 3 levels, body, mind, Atma (which is a common team in Upanishads etc, like Vak, Manas, Prana ). So if we put them in the scheme (mind here is the subtle body):

    Body...........Mind.........Atma
    Ayam..........Atma........Brahma
    Tvam..........Asi...........Tat
    Aham..........Asmi.........Brahma

    One of the words in each Mahavakya is the connection of heaven and earth (Purusha/Prakriti). This connection is always the mind (or subtle body /Antahkarana etc).
    In Ayam Atma Brahma [3rd person], Atma (self) is Mind/heart which connects since inside mind/heart is the indweller of the heart, Hridaya-Vasi).
    In Tat Tvam Asi [2nd person], Asi (are) is Mind which connects as a clear image of Ishvara.
    In Aham Brahma Asmi [1st person], Asmi (am) is Mind which connects. It would indicate the barriers of mind broken down. Aham is I but also the witness (saksi) or Atma.

    Prajnanam Brahma [3rd person impersonal] is not 3-fold Its non-personal (the other 3 are personal). Its about Spirit/Matter or Purusha/Prakriti. It simply says: Matter is consciousness or consciousness is matter. What is here is there, what is inside is outside etc Its also interesting to add a vers from Katha Upanishad (1, 3, 10-11):
    Beyond the senses (Indriyas) are the objects [artha]
    The objects are more subtle than the senses themselves indicating that there is no external separated from consciousness itself. The objects exist in the mind as consciousness itself... And consciousness is Brahman so objects/physical is Brahman.

    Body..........Mind..........Atma
    Prajnanam..................Brahma

    ---

    Devotee: (hope I dont answer something you intended to do later) anyway, you said:
    But how can we be sure that it is really so?
    When I began meditation 21 years ago, I thought I was going a bit mad after a few weeks time. What happened was the consciousness expanded and the barriers between my own mind and the physical world broke down. This and that exists, but at the same time its one substance and thats consciousness. Alternating between those two aspects was quite fun I remember. But my ability to Alternate has long been lost to consciousness only [and name/form]. Today I can understand it as an experience of Prajnanam Brahma. Back then I was Buddhist and thought of it in terms of emptiness/form.
    Even modern Science can prove this if I figured it out right. Where are the objects if there is no observer? The error of modern science is that they begin with the physical and take it for granted. Then begin to explain mind Without observer however there can be no physical. Without observer there is no science at all. This gets even more interesting when studying quantum physics. At that level the observer is directly affecting the outcome of the experiment. My intuition tells me this is Prajnanam Brahma right in the face of science; matter and consciousness are not separated.
    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)

  2. #12
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namaste everyone,

    Where are the objects if there is no observer? The error of modern science is that they begin with the physical and take it for granted. Then begin to explain mind Without observer however there can be no physical. Without observer there is no science at all.
    This is a very similar idea to that famous Zen koan that asks "If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Physicists and scientists have believed for years there is a physical explanation again, arguing that yes it makes a sound because it will produce sound waves regardless of ears to perceive it. However, in their usual quest for rational logic and physical proof, scientifically-minded answers completely fail to understand that the question is in fact asking about the nature of observation and subjective reality, and not the nature of sound waves in themselves. If we're allowed touch upon quantum physics for a second, you could consider the Schrodinger's Cat experiment - whereby the mere act of observation can affect the outcome of a situation by becoming an outcome itself. It's a paradox scientists will still debate about from time to time. I think it shows something very similar to the sunyata concept in Buddhism, that nothing exists inherently or intrinsically of itself in the universe.
    "Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

    ॐ गं गणपतये नमः
    Om Gam Ganapataye namah

    लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु ।
    Lokaah SamastaaH Sukhino Bhavantu

  3. #13
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Thanks to Ekanta for the new light on the four mahAvAkyas, relating them to the three states of awareness (body, mind and Atman) and to the four pronouns of I, you, this and others. I find that this view also agrees with the four stages of moKSha he related them in his earlier post, #3 of this thread.

    So, in the top-down approach, a Self-Realized guru might teach his disciple:

    • ahaM brahmAsmi--I am Brahman, tat tvam asi--you are That (too), ayam AtmA brahman--this soul (any soul) is Brahman, and prajnAnam brahma--everything (matter, energy and beings of this universe) is (nothing but) the consciousness of Brahman.

    • Therfore, sarvaM khalvidaM brahma--everything here, verily, is Brahman; and that Brahman in the ultimate state of existence, is ekam evAdvitIyam--one without a second (that is, an Absolute Unity without any divisions of two or more in it).

    But then to the disciple, the reality of this world is too concrete to dissolve into the Absolute Unity and Reality of Brahman. So Adi Shankara sums up the upanishad mahAvAkyas and asserts:

    • shlokardhena pravakshyami yadyuktam granthakotibhiH |
    brahma satyam jagan mithya jivo brahmaiva napara ||

    "With half a shloka (stanza) I will declare what has been said in thousands of volumes: Brahman is real, the world is false, the atomic individual self is only Brahman, nothing else."

    **********

    It is significant that of the seven mahAvAkyas that Devotee has given, as many as three are from the ChAndogya upanishad:

    sarvaM khalidaM brahma
    --ChAndogya upanishad 3.14.1

    ekam evAdvitIyam (brahma)
    --ChAndogya upanishad 6.2.1

    tat tvam asi
    --ChAndogya upanishad 6.8.7

    The other three are from three other upanishads:

    prajnAnam brahma
    --aitareya upanishad

    ahaM brahmAsmi
    --bRuhadAranyaka upanishad 1.4.10

    ayam AtmA brahman
    --mANDUkya upanishad 1.2

    I was nonplussed to see that the google search for Shankara's most famous quote threw up over 5,000 links, yet not one of them gave the source of his quote! After searching fervently for over an hour, I could find the source:

    shlokardhena pravakshyami yadyuktam granthakotibhiH |
    brahma satyam jagan mithya jivo brahmaiva napara ||
    --bAlabodhinI, a compendium of vedAnta in 47 stanzas, attributed to Adi Shankara.

    "With half a shloka (stanza) I will declare what has been said in thousands of volumes: Brahman is real, the world is false, the atomic individual self is only Brahman, nothing else."

    Links:
    http://www.infinityfoundation.com/ma...f_frameset.htm

    http://books.google.com/books?id=3-X...ankara&f=false
    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

  4. #14
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    -----
    I was nonplussed to see that the google search for Shankara's most famous quote threw up over 5,000 links, yet not one of them gave the source of his quote! After searching fervently for over an hour, I could find the source:

    shlokardhena pravakshyami yadyuktam granthakotibhiH |
    brahma satyam jagan mithya jivo brahmaiva napara ||
    --bAlabodhinI, a compendium of vedAnta in 47 stanzas, attributed to Adi Shankara.

    "With half a shloka (stanza) I will declare what has been said in thousands of volumes: Brahman is real, the world is false, the atomic individual self is only Brahman, nothing else."

    Links:
    http://www.infinityfoundation.com/ma...f_frameset.htm

    http://books.google.com/books?id=3-XlzLL1--AC&pg=RA1-PA526&lpg=RA1-PA526&dq=Balabodhini+sankara&source=bl&ots=g8Xln_VnUR&sig=EyT5dtDWKCLpzngb-Qug2izddNQ&hl=en&ei=cNQES5-vBaOG6AON8b3ACg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CBgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Balabodhini%20san kara&f=false
    Namaste Saideoji,

    vivekachuDAmani in the 20th verse states as below:

    brahma satyaM jaganmithyetyevaMruupo vinish{}chayaH .
    so.ayaM nityaanityavastuvivekaH samudaahR^itaH .. 20..

    Which teaches to keep up the discrimination of the real from the unreal. Further, the exact verse is found in brahmajnAnAvalee again in the 20th verse.

    brahma satya.n jaganmithyaa jiivo brahmaiva naaparaH .
    anena vedya.n sachchhaastramiti vedaantaDiNDimaH .. 20..

    The link to the pdf doc is given below: http://svbf.org/journal/vol4no1/brahma.pdf

    Shankara also begins brahma sutra bhasya with "jIvo brahmaiva, nA parah"

    ---------------------
    Shri Ramana quotes: brahma satyam jagan mithya brahma jagan.

    Om Namah Shivaya
    Last edited by atanu; 19 November 2009 at 08:55 AM.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

  5. #15
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Jivo Brahmaiva Na Parah of Sri Shankaracharya is sometimes translated : God alone is real. The world is illusory. The individual is none other than .....



    There, IMO, begins the misunderstandings and fireworks.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namaste,

    Ekanta, your explanation of the MahavAkyas is wonderful. That shows how much meaning is hidden in those small sentences which needs our contemplation to uncover the Truth.

    Saidevo ji has given very good links in his posts. During my investigation of those links I found a very good book Advaita SAdhna by Kanchi Maha Swamigal (a compilation of his discourses).

    Atanu has correctly pointed out that, "Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya" appears at other places too in addition to Balbodhini.

    These MahavAkyas need more discussion, as they are not mere statements. They are not to be given to everyone. Initiation with any one of the MahavAkyas needs some pre-qualification on the part of the disciple & can be given only by a Self-realised saint.

    If someone can throw more light on this aspect of the MahavAkyas, it would be beneficial.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  7. #17
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Namaste,

    One question asked in one of the last posts is still awaiting detail answer :

    "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 ?"

    Ekanta has already tried to prove the authenticity of the Advaita which is based on his experience. I will try to explain it in more detail as below :

    There can be no doubt that it is so :

    a) Because the Shruti (Upanishads) say so --- Sabda PramANa (The proof of Word)
    b) Because it has been experienced so, by many saints in the past – Pratyaksha PramANa (The proof by direct experience)
    c) Because logically & scientifically it can be proved that it is so --- AnumANa (The proof by inference)

    As we have seen above in the MahavAkyas, the Upanishads declare in no uncertain terms that Self is the Brahman, the One without a second. So, that is Sabda PramAna, (the proof of Word).

    There have been thousands of Rishis in the past who have realized this Truth (Non-Duality) & many Self-realised saints are still alive & many are on the way to Self-Realisation. Some of the historical figures are : Gautam Buddha, Mahaveer, Aadi Guru Shankaracharya, Sri Guru Nanak, Sri Totapuri, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Lahiri Mahashaya, Sri Yuketswara Giri, Sri Paramhansa Yogananda, Sri Ramana Maharishi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj etc. … and must say that this list cannot be even called a sample, as it is so small. As Ekanta has mentioned in his earlier post how he felt unified with the Infinity, the one without a second …. the same may be true for quite a few here on this board itself, I am sure (though, imho, it is not really being established in Advaitam but a flash of the Reality. I am not sure but I consider my experience like that alone). …. So, that is Pratyaksha PramAna or Proof by direct experience. Let’s remember that it is not accidental, anyone who follows the right path can have this experience. So, it can be repeated & same results can be obtained & thus it has a scientific validity.

    Apart from the two types of proofs given above, can we have some idea how it can be inferred logically ? Let’s see the logical analysis below :

    We perceive three different things (not counting consciousness at this moment) in this universe :

    a) The Space which encompasses everything
    b) The Matter in various forms
    c) The Energy in various forms

    ( There is consciousness too which appears different from the three above, but that we shall discuss some other time.)

    All those three appear completely different from each other. However, we know that :

    a) All matters are basically same at the atomic & sub-atomic level i.e. it is just a game of combination of same fundamental particles & fields. Science agrees that theoretically, anything can be changed into anything.
    b) The Matter & Energy are not different. The Matter can be converted into energy & vice-versa. This is as per Einstein’s famous theory on which all fission & fusion phenomena are based.
    c) All energy are basically same & can be converted into each other.
    The above is scientifically true. So, basically, there is no difference between the stone & the flowing water, our skin, flesh & bones, the fire, the electricity, wood, sound etc. etc., So, the one-ness of all matter & all energy is proved scientifically.

    Now, are the space & matter/energy different ? Let’s see :

    I see a solid wall of Iron in front of me. There is no hole, no space in the wall … apparently nothing can pass through it. I can touch it, feel it … it is solid & totally different from space which cannot be touched or felt by our sense organs. However, science tells us that the iron wall in front of me is made up of innumerable very tiny Iron molecules which are joined together by inter-molecular forces between them but the distances between the molecules is many times the size of each molecule. So, there is a lot of space in the Iron Wall due to these distances between the molecules but we don’t see those distance & resulting space within … it all appears as matter. Now, we further know that the molecules are made of iron atoms which are held together within inter-atomic forces between them & the space between any two atom is much larger than the size of the atom(s). Again that space is not visible to us & that space too looks as matter only. When we go inside the atom, we find that the atom is 99.999 % space only, except some sub-atomic particles inside. It has not been possible due to our scientific limitations to go beyond it, but we have known that 99.999 % of space in the wall in front of me, looks as solid matter & not space. Science agrees that space actually is not truly empty but filled with dark matter & dark energy, which we don’t see or feel but scientists have come up with some idea of its measure in this universe. So, that proves that space & matter & also energy are basically not different.

    So, we can say that whatever we see as matter, whatever we feel as energy & whatever we perceive as space is actually One which alone manifests itself as three different things in this manifested universe. Now, can we say that, that One is matter ? Can we say that, that One is energy ? Can we say that, that One is Space ? No ! We must give it a different name …. to be able to put it in a different category …. but is there any category left ? It is matter & yet it is not matter, it is energy & yet it is not energy, it is space & yet it is not space.

    So, that is AnumAna … proof by inference. It is not complete, as we have yet to discuss Consciousness. Is Consciousness different from matter/energy/space, or is it another form of the same Reality ? Can anyone throw some light ?

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  8. #18

    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Krsn says...
    Tasmaad ajnaanasambhootam hritstham jnaanaasinaatmanah;
    Cchittwainam samshayam yogam aatishthottishtha bhaarata.
    This is the last shloka of gita in fourth chapter named as Gyan-Karm Sanyasyoga or the chapter comprising of transcendental knowledge or in other words we can say that there is one thing which is beyond the Karm and Gyan .
    Beyond the Karm...
    Krsn says Arjun to perform duty as Vigatajwarah or without any sorrow . What happens when Arjun could not kill Jayadrath and goes to pyre , Krsn shows the illuminating sun .
    Beyond the Gyan..
    Krsn sent Uddhav to tell his Gyan to Gopies at Gokul . What happens when Uddhav salutes gopies for their love to Krsn , gyan goes waste .
    So there is one thing and that is devotion which compells Arjun to say , Karishye Vachanam Tava and this Bhakti is Transcedental knowedge and Transcedental duty.

  9. #19

    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    As Atanuji , hints...for translation , God alone is real . I find this in line as....Dwau suparna sakhayau...yaj.

  10. #20
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    Re: Aham Brahmasmi

    Quote Originally Posted by kd gupta View Post
    Krsn says...
    Tasmaad ajnaanasambhootam hritstham jnaanaasinaatmanah;
    Cchittwainam samshayam yogam aatishthottishtha bhaarata.
    This is the last shloka of gita in fourth chapter named as Gyan-Karm Sanyasyoga or the chapter comprising of transcendental knowledge or in other words we can say that there is one thing which is beyond the Karm and Gyan .
    Beyond the Karm...
    Krsn says Arjun to perform duty as Vigatajwarah or without any sorrow . What happens when Arjun could not kill Jayadrath and goes to pyre , Krsn shows the illuminating sun .
    Beyond the Gyan..
    Krsn sent Uddhav to tell his Gyan to Gopies at Gokul . What happens when Uddhav salutes gopies for their love to Krsn , gyan goes waste .
    So there is one thing and that is devotion which compells Arjun to say , Karishye Vachanam Tava and this Bhakti is Transcedental knowedge and Transcedental duty.
    Namaste Guptaji,

    5.4. Children, not the wise, speak of knowledge and the Yoga of action or the performance of action as though they are distinct and different; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both.

    Om Namah Shivaya
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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