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If we take a look at the religious history of the world. We can see that the things that were so courageously said and done by the ancient Indian Rishis, were neither understood nor done by any other people. For thousands of years, Indians have understood that there is only one truth, although there are many ways to attain it. The Rigved, the most ancient book says that there is only one God , but He is addressed by different names. The Christians call Him ‘God’ the Jews call him ‘Jehovah’ the Muslims worship Him as ‘Allah’ , Buddhists , Parsis, Ahur Mazdas and Hindus call Him ‘Ishwar’ or ‘Brahma’. All this relative knowledge ends at experiencing the oneness of the individual soul with the Ultimate Truth, which is the Supreme One or Brahma. This is the limitless ocean of� knowledge. All the rivers, after flowing distances of thousands of miles, merge with the ocean. Just as similarly, all the streams of relative knowledge travel through various kinds of names and forms and ultimately, merge into the limitless Ultimate one, who is the source of divine, eternal joy, and find completeness. Everything around us is really the Brahma’. This is the principle of the Upanishads. All the different Gods are nothing but various forms of the Brahma. Brahma is in the form of knowledge. This knowledge is the Star of all stars, the Light of all lights, the Beauty of all the beauty, the Holy of the holies, and it resides in all our hearts. This knowledge is eternal. No weapons can destroy it, no fire can burn it, this is the experience of the great Rishis. No one can even imagine the solace it provides to the mind. This wealth is far more valuable that all the wealth of� the world put together. An artist or a poet brings out the beauty hidden in an ordinary thing, and provides a fresh way of looking at it. Similarly, the experiences of the Rishis give us a fresh outlook for looking at the mundane things of life. Had we not known about these experience, all the people would still be in darkness regarding the true nature of the Supreme one. If we take a look at the Upanishads from this viewpoint, we will know the extent of the benefits we have received. No other benefit in the world is as great as this.

It is generally understood that the Vedant philosophy is relation to the Veds like the Rigved. But the word “Ved” in Vedant denotes not only books but its meaning knowledge. It is derived from the Dhatu or verb ‘Vid; , which means ‘to know’. The English word “Wisdom” is also derived from ‘Vid’. Thus , the meaning of the word ‘Vedant’ is maximum or ultimate knowledge’. It denotes what is knowledge and how it is attained.

Vedant expostulates one God. The bird Chatak drinks only the water that comes down from the rains during the Swati constellation. The Swan eats nothing but the pearls. A Pativrata lady looks at no other man except her husband. Just as similarly, the Vedant does not consider any subject other than the Brahma worth discussing. In the Vedant, there is a great mysterious truth described, as to how the Supreme Soul and the individual soul are one. In reality, the nature of the soul is extremely complicated and difficult to understand. The same thing has been described in the Bhagwat Geeta. In such circumstances, the Shrutis have done a great favour to the lesser mortals by describing the nature of the soul.

Normally , the words pran, Jeev or Atma are used to denote the same meaning soul. When we say that the Pranpanchhi of a person has left him, we are saying that he is dead. When we describe the pain one is suffering as it is as if his Jeev might leave him , we are saying the same thing. Thus though we use the words Pran , Jeev , Atma , Jaan etc. to mean the same things, in reality, they are not synonymous. The same three words are used in the Upanishads as well, but not as synonyms. The word “Pran” is used� to denote the life energy, as well as the gas that flows in and out of the body of the living beings with each breathing action. But in Vedant, this word is used mainly to denote the life energy. Thus ‘Pran’denotes existence of life. It is said in Pravrun 2/6 that everything exists in Pran , just� as spokes exist in a charior wheel. The voice, mind, eyes, ears of all the living beings are wholly dependent on ‘Pran’. They cannot live for even mone moment without “Pran”.

But “Pran” itelf is not� independent. ‘Atma’ is its foundation. It cannot remain indepenent without ‘Atma’ , as ‘Atma’ is its maker, controller and everything, it is said in Prashna 3/3 that Pran is born out of Atma, just as a shadow is produced by human body. Pran enters the body because the mind orders so. Thus Pran is like a shadow; it is unreal. In reality, the shadow is created by the One who is the Pran of all Prans.

The Atma is eternal , perpetual and a form of real, eternal joy. It resides within the body of each living being; however, because of the other virtues of the living being, it becomes enshrouded by ignorance, just as the clear skies get enshrouded by thick dark clouds during the rains. In such a state , it is called Jeev, In short , when the Atma gets enshrouded by avarice, it is called Jeev , but it does not mean that in such a state, anythoughts enter into the Atma itself, It remains intact and unchanged, just like a diamond covered with dust. Thus , Atma and Jeev are not two different things. The Brahma is the real , eternal joy. Brahma is Atma. While it is enshrouded by avarice , it is Jeev , but once avarice is removed , it becomes Atma, which is the same as Brahma.

In the Mundakopanishad , this connection between the Jeev and the Brahma is explained in another way. The first Mantra of the First part of the Third Mundak says that we are two golden birds of the same feathers, i.e., friends, that cohabitate on the same tree; One of them enjoys the sweet fruits of the tree ( the results of his Karma), while the other one� just sits and watches, without touching the fruits.

Here , Jeev and the God are the two golden birds. They are friends of each other, physically residing on the same tree. The only difference between the two is that one of them (Jeev) eats and enjoys the fruits of his Karma (the fruits are sweet, but in effect, they do not allow him to leave the tree) without contemplating or thinking, whiles the other one (God) just sits there and watches. Thus , this Mantra explains the indulgence of the Jeev in its Karma, and the disinterestedness of the Brahma in it.

So far, an attempt has been made here to explain the philosophical meanings of the Jeev and the Atma, and their relationship. Now let us see that the Shrutis say about the Brahma and the Atma. Vedant disagrees with the duality concept between the two, and upholds oneness between them. Shrutis say that Atma or the soul and the Brahma are one and the same. The Brahma is the Atma of all living beings. In Bhagwat Geeta too, Shrikrishna has explained the same thing to Arjun. Vedant explains this oneness with an example: It is the eternal truth. A raging fire produces thousands of sparks which have all the attributes of the fire itself. Similarly , this eternal truth produces all the various, countless part which are exactly the same as the Brahma, and ultimately, which become one with it. Thus , Brahma and the Atma are not two separate elements. Clouds look different from the sky, although they are the sky itself In another form. Just as similarly, though because of outer differences of names and looks , every Atma looks different to the eye, it is still the same, and it is one with the source of eternal joy, the Brahma, Bubbles and waves form on the surface of the ocean, but within few seconds, they all disappear and become one with the waters. In the same way , the eternal energy gives birth to all the living beings, which merge with the eternal on death. Shrutis explain this peculiarity of the Brahma in these words: This Brahma resides within the heart of everything in the form of divine light; it is called Guhachar. All the animate beings are one with it.

Shankaracharya says, O students , understand this Brahma that is the patron of all these; it is your Atma, because there is nothing different or separate ,either true or false, tangible or intangible, greater or smaller. Shrutis instruct repeatedly to know and understand this Atma that is just another form of the Brahma. As though to completely annihilate the principle of duality of the soul and the Brahma, Shrutis say again that anyone who understands the Brahma , becomes Brahma himself. After understanding the nonduality of the Atma and the Brahma, in order to get to know the true nature of Spirit, we would have to take recourse to the Vedant once again. According to Shrutis, the Soul is in the form of blindingly luminous light. All the luminous powers in the universe are illiminated because of his luminosity. In the Bhagwat Geets, Lord Krishna says the same thing (15/12). The Mundakopanishad describes him as being extremely luminous and smaller than even an atom. He is both: the smallest and the largest of the largest, and greater than greatest. The above two descriptions may seem to be opposite of each other, but really, it is not so. The minuteness of the smallest of the smallest, as well as the largeness of the largest of the largest of anything would exist only as long as the Soul exists within it. This is how Shrutis describe him. The Mundakopanishad (3/1/7) describes him as beings Great, Luminous and Beyond Thinking. He is smaller than the smallest, the farthest from the farthest, but and the same time, extremely near within this body. In the bodies of the animate, he hides within their�� intellect that is like a cave. This Mantra too contains contradictory descriptions. The Soul is the farthest from the farthest, but at the same time, extremely near within this body. This is really so. It is extremely difficult for an ordinary man to realize about himself and his Soul. All of us know this. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagwat Geeta, hardly one persons in a thousand tries to have a daughter, and hardly on of these Yogis really understands me in a real sense of the word. In fact understanding the true nature of the Soul is not a child’s play. Even great devotees and students, who try to understand it day and night, can attain this knowledge after several rebirths, let alone a few years. Ordinary lay persons despair with the effort and leave it, admitting that they are too tired finding the true knowledge. The Soul is so far away , yet the Shrutis say that it is so near us; it is nearer than even our own bodies, In reality , it is so near us that even the smallest of the smallest thing cannot come between us the Soul. Even if nearness itself comes into our bodies and tries to get between us and the Soul, it will have to give up the effort and leave in despair. In fact we and the the Soul are one, we are not separate. So far and yet so near. Yet it is a great surprise that we keep trying to find it.

First of all, a human mind experiences some supreme power beyond the universe . Seeing and experiencing the precision of regularity in the nature, he beings to thing that whatever one might say, there has to be a governing force behind all the natural phenomena. Thinking thus, as the mind gets more and more developed, he can see that the power of the governing force is all-encompassing. Here , we can see that everything is Brahma, and nothing exists beyond Brahma. The Brahma covers everything animate and inanimate in the universe. And once we experience the divinity of it all, everything undergoes a complete change for us . We see Brahma everywhere around us. Does the Bhagwat Geeta, which describes the oneness between the Brahma and the Soul , not describe this very state of ours through its various Mantras ? Now� we experience a very big change within us. While offering flowers to an idol of God, we start questioning ourselves, how can we offer God to God ? This is because, now, for us, not only the idol or the flowers, but even the act of offering is Brahma. Now we have no problems. Problems were there until we considered all of these separate from the God.

Now, we advance a little more. We now experience that there is only the one eternal truth, and it is us, ourselves. There is nothing else in the universe other than us. We are everything – animate, inanimate visible, and invisible. Now our vision has turned more and more penetrating. Now instead of getting stuck in the exterior or outer form of a thing, it goes straight inside to its core, and sees that we are present there as well Automatically, words come out of us, “I am that Purush Who resides within the corona of the Sun” (Isha 16). Now, we have begun to understand that “Iam the Brahma Who is limitless like the skies and who is in the form of divine knowledge.” Shrutis too point towards this oneness of ours with the Brahma, and expostulating the same oneness, they say, “Just as the gas that exists in this universe changes itself according to each form, and yet remains in existence outside ; the Supreme Soul too changes itself according to each form , and yet remains in existence outside.”

This is the final stage we have to reach. Describing this , Bhagwat Geets says, “This is the ultimate stage described by all the Veds, and which is the only goal of all the penances and contemplations. This is the final station which disinterested pious persons try to reach, and desirous of reaching which, students observe bachelorhood. This is also the ultimate state of knowledge, after attaining which, one is liberated from the cycles of births and deaths.”����

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 Title : The true nature of the Supreme Spirit of in Vedant Author : Dr S.J. Diwakar

Read In Hindi

http://www.vedpradip.com/articlecontent.php?aid=439&linkid=1&catid=&subcatid=0&vedid=5

If we take a look at the religious history of the world. We can see that the things that were so courageously said and done by the ancient Indian Rishis, were neither understood nor done by any other people. For thousands of years, Indians have understood that there is only one truth, although there are many ways to attain it. The Rigved, the most ancient book says that there is only one God , but He is addressed by different names. The Christians call Him ‘God’ the Jews call him ‘Jehovah’ the Muslims worship Him as ‘Allah’ , Buddhists , Parsis, Ahur Mazdas and Hindus call Him ‘Ishwar’ or ‘Brahma’. All this relative knowledge ends at experiencing the oneness of the individual soul with the Ultimate Truth, which is the Supreme One or Brahma. This is the limitless ocean of� knowledge. All the rivers, after flowing distances of thousands of miles, merge with the ocean. Just as similarly, all the streams of relative knowledge travel through various kinds of names and forms and ultimately, merge into the limitless Ultimate one, who is the source of divine, eternal joy, and find completeness. Everything around us is really the Brahma’. This is the principle of the Upanishads. All the different Gods are nothing but various forms of the Brahma. Brahma is in the form of knowledge. This knowledge is the Star of all stars, the Light of all lights, the Beauty of all the beauty, the Holy of the holies, and it resides in all our hearts. This knowledge is eternal. No weapons can destroy it, no fire can burn it, this is the experience of the great Rishis. No one can even imagine the solace it provides to the mind. This wealth is far more valuable that all the wealth of� the world put together. An artist or a poet brings out the beauty hidden in an ordinary thing, and provides a fresh way of looking at it. Similarly, the experiences of the Rishis give us a fresh outlook for looking at the mundane things of life. Had we not known about these experience, all the people would still be in darkness regarding the true nature of the Supreme one. If we take a look at the Upanishads from this viewpoint, we will know the extent of the benefits we have received. No other benefit in the world is as great as this.

It is generally understood that the Vedant philosophy is relation to the Veds like the Rigved. But the word “Ved” in Vedant denotes not only books but its meaning knowledge. It is derived from the Dhatu or verb ‘Vid; , which means ‘to know’. The English word “Wisdom” is also derived from ‘Vid’. Thus , the meaning of the word ‘Vedant’ is maximum or ultimate knowledge’. It denotes what is knowledge and how it is attained.

Vedant expostulates one God. The bird Chatak drinks only the water that comes down from the rains during the Swati constellation. The Swan eats nothing but the pearls. A Pativrata lady looks at no other man except her husband. Just as similarly, the Vedant does not consider any subject other than the Brahma worth discussing. In the Vedant, there is a great mysterious truth described, as to how the Supreme Soul and the individual soul are one. In reality, the nature of the soul is extremely complicated and difficult to understand. The same thing has been described in the Bhagwat Geeta. In such circumstances, the Shrutis have done a great favour to the lesser mortals by describing the nature of the soul.

Normally , the words pran, Jeev or Atma are used to denote the same meaning soul. When we say that the Pranpanchhi of a person has left him, we are saying that he is dead. When we describe the pain one is suffering as it is as if his Jeev might leave him , we are saying the same thing. Thus though we use the words Pran , Jeev , Atma , Jaan etc. to mean the same things, in reality, they are not synonymous. The same three words are used in the Upanishads as well, but not as synonyms. The word “Pran” is used� to denote the life energy, as well as the gas that flows in and out of the body of the living beings with each breathing action. But in Vedant, this word is used mainly to denote the life energy. Thus ‘Pran’denotes existence of life. It is said in Pravrun 2/6 that everything exists in Pran , just� as spokes exist in a charior wheel. The voice, mind, eyes, ears of all the living beings are wholly dependent on ‘Pran’. They cannot live for even mone moment without “Pran”.

But “Pran” itelf is not� independent. ‘Atma’ is its foundation. It cannot remain indepenent without ‘Atma’ , as ‘Atma’ is its maker, controller and everything, it is said in Prashna 3/3 that Pran is born out of Atma, just as a shadow is produced by human body. Pran enters the body because the mind orders so. Thus Pran is like a shadow; it is unreal. In reality, the shadow is created by the One who is the Pran of all Prans.

The Atma is eternal , perpetual and a form of real, eternal joy. It resides within the body of each living being; however, because of the other virtues of the living being, it becomes enshrouded by ignorance, just as the clear skies get enshrouded by thick dark clouds during the rains. In such a state , it is called Jeev, In short , when the Atma gets enshrouded by avarice, it is called Jeev , but it does not mean that in such a state, anythoughts enter into the Atma itself, It remains intact and unchanged, just like a diamond covered with dust. Thus , Atma and Jeev are not two different things. The Brahma is the real , eternal joy. Brahma is Atma. While it is enshrouded by avarice , it is Jeev , but once avarice is removed , it becomes Atma, which is the same as Brahma.

In the Mundakopanishad , this connection between the Jeev and the Brahma is explained in another way. The first Mantra of the First part of the Third Mundak says that we are two golden birds of the same feathers, i.e., friends, that cohabitate on the same tree; One of them enjoys the sweet fruits of the tree ( the results of his Karma), while the other one� just sits and watches, without touching the fruits.

Here , Jeev and the God are the two golden birds. They are friends of each other, physically residing on the same tree. The only difference between the two is that one of them (Jeev) eats and enjoys the fruits of his Karma (the fruits are sweet, but in effect, they do not allow him to leave the tree) without contemplating or thinking, whiles the other one (God) just sits there and watches. Thus , this Mantra explains the indulgence of the Jeev in its Karma, and the disinterestedness of the Brahma in it.

So far, an attempt has been made here to explain the philosophical meanings of the Jeev and the Atma, and their relationship. Now let us see that the Shrutis say about the Brahma and the Atma. Vedant disagrees with the duality concept between the two, and upholds oneness between them. Shrutis say that Atma or the soul and the Brahma are one and the same. The Brahma is the Atma of all living beings. In Bhagwat Geeta too, Shrikrishna has explained the same thing to Arjun. Vedant explains this oneness with an example: It is the eternal truth. A raging fire produces thousands of sparks which have all the attributes of the fire itself. Similarly , this eternal truth produces all the various, countless part which are exactly the same as the Brahma, and ultimately, which become one with it. Thus , Brahma and the Atma are not two separate elements. Clouds look different from the sky, although they are the sky itself In another form. Just as similarly, though because of outer differences of names and looks , every Atma looks different to the eye, it is still the same, and it is one with the source of eternal joy, the Brahma, Bubbles and waves form on the surface of the ocean, but within few seconds, they all disappear and become one with the waters. In the same way , the eternal energy gives birth to all the living beings, which merge with the eternal on death. Shrutis explain this peculiarity of the Brahma in these words: This Brahma resides within the heart of everything in the form of divine light; it is called Guhachar. All the animate beings are one with it.

Shankaracharya says, O students , understand this Brahma that is the patron of all these; it is your Atma, because there is nothing different or separate ,either true or false, tangible or intangible, greater or smaller. Shrutis instruct repeatedly to know and understand this Atma that is just another form of the Brahma. As though to completely annihilate the principle of duality of the soul and the Brahma, Shrutis say again that anyone who understands the Brahma , becomes Brahma himself. After understanding the nonduality of the Atma and the Brahma, in order to get to know the true nature of Spirit, we would have to take recourse to the Vedant once again. According to Shrutis, the Soul is in the form of blindingly luminous light. All the luminous powers in the universe are illiminated because of his luminosity. In the Bhagwat Geets, Lord Krishna says the same thing (15/12). The Mundakopanishad describes him as being extremely luminous and smaller than even an atom. He is both: the smallest and the largest of the largest, and greater than greatest. The above two descriptions may seem to be opposite of each other, but really, it is not so. The minuteness of the smallest of the smallest, as well as the largeness of the largest of the largest of anything would exist only as long as the Soul exists within it. This is how Shrutis describe him. The Mundakopanishad (3/1/7) describes him as beings Great, Luminous and Beyond Thinking. He is smaller than the smallest, the farthest from the farthest, but and the same time, extremely near within this body. In the bodies of the animate, he hides within their�� intellect that is like a cave. This Mantra too contains contradictory descriptions. The Soul is the farthest from the farthest, but at the same time, extremely near within this body. This is really so. It is extremely difficult for an ordinary man to realize about himself and his Soul. All of us know this. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagwat Geeta, hardly one persons in a thousand tries to have a daughter, and hardly on of these Yogis really understands me in a real sense of the word. In fact understanding the true nature of the Soul is not a child’s play. Even great devotees and students, who try to understand it day and night, can attain this knowledge after several rebirths, let alone a few years. Ordinary lay persons despair with the effort and leave it, admitting that they are too tired finding the true knowledge. The Soul is so far away , yet the Shrutis say that it is so near us; it is nearer than even our own bodies, In reality , it is so near us that even the smallest of the smallest thing cannot come between us the Soul. Even if nearness itself comes into our bodies and tries to get between us and the Soul, it will have to give up the effort and leave in despair. In fact we and the the Soul are one, we are not separate. So far and yet so near. Yet it is a great surprise that we keep trying to find it.

First of all, a human mind experiences some supreme power beyond the universe . Seeing and experiencing the precision of regularity in the nature, he beings to thing that whatever one might say, there has to be a governing force behind all the natural phenomena. Thinking thus, as the mind gets more and more developed, he can see that the power of the governing force is all-encompassing. Here , we can see that everything is Brahma, and nothing exists beyond Brahma. The Brahma covers everything animate and inanimate in the universe. And once we experience the divinity of it all, everything undergoes a complete change for us . We see Brahma everywhere around us. Does the Bhagwat Geeta, which describes the oneness between the Brahma and the Soul , not describe this very state of ours through its various Mantras ? Now� we experience a very big change within us. While offering flowers to an idol of God, we start questioning ourselves, how can we offer God to God ? This is because, now, for us, not only the idol or the flowers, but even the act of offering is Brahma. Now we have no problems. Problems were there until we considered all of these separate from the God.

Now, we advance a little more. We now experience that there is only the one eternal truth, and it is us, ourselves. There is nothing else in the universe other than us. We are everything – animate, inanimate visible, and invisible. Now our vision has turned more and more penetrating. Now instead of getting stuck in the exterior or outer form of a thing, it goes straight inside to its core, and sees that we are present there as well Automatically, words come out of us, “I am that Purush Who resides within the corona of the Sun” (Isha 16). Now, we have begun to understand that “Iam the Brahma Who is limitless like the skies and who is in the form of divine knowledge.” Shrutis too point towards this oneness of ours with the Brahma, and expostulating the same oneness, they say, “Just as the gas that exists in this universe changes itself according to each form, and yet remains in existence outside ; the Supreme Soul too changes itself according to each form , and yet remains in existence outside.”

This is the final stage we have to reach. Describing this , Bhagwat Geets says, “This is the ultimate stage described by all the Veds, and which is the only goal of all the penances and contemplations. This is the final station which disinterested pious persons try to reach, and desirous of reaching which, students observe bachelorhood. This is also the ultimate state of knowledge, after attaining which, one is liberated from the cycles of births and deaths.”����

Tag Names : Upnishad,Eshavsya ,Eshavsya ,Mandukay
About Translator:Sou. lalita Marathe
Other articles of this author :
1 The Shastras and ancient religion of India
2 Veds and Globalization
3 Residence of Soul in Body as described in Vedas
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