When you become the Brahman
Harish C Gaur
mention four objectives of human pursuit; dharma, astha, kama and moksa, to be
taken up in the given order. Dharma is the cultivation and practice of the code
of moral conduct consistent with and as ordained by scriptures in first phase of
life (as celibate pupil in the house of the preceptor or (in a gurukul).
would include understanding and cultivation of divine traits as fearlessness,
purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and yoga, (giving of) charity,
control of desires, and senses, study of scriptures, (observance of) austerity,
up-righteousness, (practice of) ahimsa, (speaking) the truth, compassion to all
beings, modesty, forgiveness, fortitude and purity (of body and thoughts). One
should also learn to avoid non-divine traits as ostentation, arrogance,
self-conceit, anger, pride and excessive attachment to worldly possessions.
paths of treading on the path of spirituality have been elaborated. These
include; path of (disinterested) action (karma yoga), path of devotion (bhakti
yoga), path of meditation (dhyana yoga) and the path of knowledge (jnana yoga).
Hindus, Vedas are considered as source of the ultimate truth. They are 4 in
number Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. Each of these has 4
parts; the hymns (mantras in poetic metre), brahmanas (documents of ritualistic
precepts for guidance of priests and the way of conducting sacrificial duties by
householders); aranyakas are for meditation and contemplation by those who have
retired to forests and upanisads deal with philosophical aspects tending to
spiritual monism and knowledge about the self (atman, as distinct from the body)
and its relationship with the supreme reality (paramatma, referred to as brahman
in upanisads). There are 4 gospels in the form of 4 sacred verses (mahavakya) in
respect of the ultimate truth one from (upanisad part of) each veda.
starting point for first gospel is the understanding that self (atman) is not
the body (sharir). About the self, it was said by Lord Krisna in Bhagavad Gita;
it is unmanifested, unborn, immutable, indestructible, without parts, while the
body is born (when it manifests itself) undergoes modifications as childhood,
youth, old age suffers misery and ultimately meet death and becomes unmanifested
in due course. The self is not the body but provides to it the consciousness and
enables its functioning and various activities that sustain the body. When the
self deserts, body rapidly deteriorates and has to be cremated or buried as per
norm of the society.
first gospel is; the self (confined within the body) is the supreme self (brahman)
(ayam atma brahma) from Atharva veda. This is often explained by the simile of
air confined within balloons of different sizes and shapes in which it stays
until punctured, when it again becomes part of the cosmic air from which it was
withdrawn. In the same way self within different bodies of different living
beings, is the supreme self.
step, the realisation of the real nature of the self vis-a-vis the body also
provides the consciousness that sustains the body. At some time the self
discards the body, like a person discarding worn out clothes to put on new ones.
The consciousness is due to self within. This is the second gospel, "The
consciousness is (due to) brahman (prajnanam brahma) from Rigveda.
next step is the realisation when the preceptor tells the disciple, "You
are that (brahma) (tat-tvam asi). This is not easy. One has to realise that his
real self is not the body or any of the modifications (gross, subtle or causal)
nor (any of the modifications of) prana that support all activities of the body
nor the organs of perception and antahkarna. Slowly he is led to the
understanding, "You are that (brahman) which you are seeking", is from
final step is the realisation by this aspirant, "I am brahman" (aham
brahmasmi) from Yajurveda". This is the feeling of the immortal self, being
unattached to all activities. This elevates the mind to magnanimous heights as:
brahman alone is truth (brahma satyam) and the samsara is unreal (jagat mithya),
like in a dream. This is all that one has to learn or what needs to be known. It
is said, knowing brahman one becomes brahman, with this realisation one gets
freed from all miseries, attains eternal happiness and is freed from the
birth-death cycle of the samsara.