Sunday, April 27, 2014
"Aham Bramhasmi:...I am Bramhan"
This is a very common term we come across in almost all Spiritual texts but what does it actually mean, how is it achieved and what does it translate into? If we are actually Bramhan why do we not behave like Him….We know that Bramhan is everything, the support of all that exists, creation, maintenance and dissolution (Srishti, Sthiti and pralaya) all originate from Him. Bramhan is tranquil bliss and at the same time He is intense action…..when in action we perceive Him as Ishwar while in His creation mode we call Him Brahma , Vishnu, when He is sustaining and Mahesh when He is in the dissolution mode. So what did our sages mean when they boldly declared ‘I am Bramhan”? It is true that we and all individual souls are extensions of Bramhan and we have the same attributes. After all when the One decided to become many He actually became part of us and resides inside us just like fragrance resides in a flower, unseen, but felt. The only difference between Bramhan and us is that Bramhan is pure Consciousness. We too are the same but we are conditioned by our name, form and nature (naam, rupa and prakriti)…. (Sri Bimal Mohanty) while pure consciousness remains hidden inside us…present but elusive. Even though we are essentially the same as Bramhan we have been accumulating layers and layers of coverings as a result of karmic influences accumulating from the multiple lives we have lived …..just like the peels of an onion, because of which we have become separate from Him. We have become enveloped by maya which prevents us from realizing our true nature….that of pure bliss. As seen from the yogic perspective pure Spirit, in its downward descent gets covered by enshrouding sheaths or koshas, the first being Vigyan Mai Kosha, concerned with knowledge (gyan) and enlightenment (vigyan), followed by the Manomai Kosha as a result of which the soul becomes inclined towards the mind and gets mind ridden. This is then followed by the Pranmai Kosha and the soul then vibrates with the ten types of pranas. Finally the soul takes on yet another covering called the Annamai Kosha which is present on the inner side of the physical body and is responsible for its existence. The integral part of the soul (which is the individualized form of Consciousness or Spirit) or Atma, however, exists as the Anandmai Kosha which is actually the first covering and is also known as the Bliss Sheath. Our aim, therefore is to transcend the various layers and to merge with the pure consciousness present inside us…..for the individualized consciousness or soul to merge with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit or Bramhan. How do we do that? As mentioned in our Scriptures the way to realize Bramhan is to connect with the word AUM, which is the name given to Bramhan. As we are aware the “A” of AUM is related to our base consciousness associated to the physical and gross things of the world around us. This is the stage in which we are physically awake or Jagrat to the physical world around us or the Vishwa, hence also called the Vaisvaanara stage based on our physical senses, mind, intellect and ahankar. The jagrat stage is ruled by our Conscious mind. Since we live in this world we are aware of this ‘vishwa’ and nothing else. The real self remains hidden in this stage. The wise know this is night but the ignorant call it day. Since our senses, mind (manas), intellect (vivek) and ahankar are all impediments to our spiritual evolution, we need to do away with them in order to connect to Bramhan because that is the only way we can get away from this world and in doing so we enter what is called the Dream stage where the five senses become dormant and only the mind, intellect and ego remain. This stage is symbolized by the “U” of AUM. This stage is also called the Taijasa stage and related to our subconscious intelligence. Both the above stages give us happiness, but happiness which is evanescent and impermanent. In order to reach the pure soul, mind, intellect and ahankar also must be done away with and when that happens we enter into the deep sleep or Sushupti stage. In this stage only the Self remains and is characterised by awareness and knowledge of Bramhan but is still unsustainable as we can still go back to the jagrat stage from here since we have not yet severed our karmic chains. We, therefore, still need to go a step further where even our karmic shackles have left us and this stage is called the Turia stage or Avastha and has been considered to be the final stage of union with Bramhan and one realizes that ‘O God! I am the same essence as Thou art” . This stage is also called the ‘Fourth State’ since it is beyond the three states of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. In this stage one becomes a witness which is also why it is called the Fourth as the Self, is a witness ….beyond the three other states……which it can witness Most yoga systems have taken this to be the final stage of self realization.…. but in reality it is still just “a half way house on the spiritual journey” (Sant Kripal Singhji)…..it is the culminating point in the process of self analysis without which one cannot proceed God ward and enter the Kingdom of God The reality, therefore, is that this Turia Stage is a stage in which one has reached a stage of Self Analysis…. a stage of equanimity where the mind becomes still (‘sthir’) with the opening of the “Daswan Dwar” but this is NOT the final stage as it is the point where one gets a knowledge of Bramhan but what is needed is merger with Him and for that the atma needs to progress much further for its union with Paramatama….and this is possible through the continued connection with Aum or Shabd. …..which is the only way to the real stage of Aham Bramhasmi. Aum or Shabd is the primordial sound which existed in its secret or hidden form even before creation…. when nothing existed but the shabd existed in itself, without any name or sound, was unseen, unapproachable, beyond intelligence, unexplainable, and indescribable and became known as Shabd after it became apparent (Sant Kripal Singhji in his book ‘Naam or Word”). Mere chanting of Aum is not likely to lead to spiritual progression unless and until one connects and appreciates the sound and/or light current internally. Brahman has two “forms”, ‘Shabd Brahman” and “Par Brahman”. Only the one who has a complete experience of Shabd can merge completely with Par Brahman since it is this Shabd which is the link between man and Paramatama. This Shabd is the creator of this entire Universe and exists everywhere but also responsible for its destruction….When I write about Shabd I also mean ‘Aum”. Aum, is , therefore much more powerful than most believe since continued connection with it can actually take the atma right up to merger with Bramhan…much beyond the Turia Avastha as believed so far. The Rig Veda states “Prajapati vai idam agref aseet’ Tasya vag dvitya aseet, Vag vai parmam Brahma”…meaning “In the beginning was Prajapati, the Bramhan, with whom was the Word and the word was verily the Supreme Bramhan”. This is very similar to what St John said “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was God”. Here Word is the same as Shabd or Aum. The Sam Veda too mentions “Bramhan is at once Shabd and Ashabd both, And Bramhan alone vibrates in space” (Sant Kripal Singhji) Sants (saints) have described that it is this continued connection with Aum or Shabd, along with spiritual evolution, is associated with the hearing of ten types of sounds varying from the sounds of thunder, the sound of waves, ringing of bells, sound of a waterfall, buzzing of bees, chirping of birds, sound of a whistle, flute, or conch shell (Sant Kripal Singhji). The Nad Bindu Upanishad says something similar ….’First the murmuring sounds resembling those of the waves of the ocean, the fall of rain and then running rivulets, after which the bhervi will be heard, intermingled with sounds of bell and conch” . All these sounds are also associated with beautiful Divine light of different hues. During this entire process the atma progresses very subtly through the five Khands on its way to union with Him. According to our sages this spiritual progression leads to a feeling of one getting enveloped in the Divine light, associated with a sense lightness, and fullness, and a sense of expansion…..so much so that one takes on gigantic proportions, enveloping and becoming part of everything around them…..merging with everything surrounding them…merging with people, plants, trees, flowers…..a feeling of being inside them yet without…..associated with freedom from illusion, which Guru Nanak Devji has described as “Bhooto Anda Bharam ka….)….here Bharam is illusion which has been enveloping the atma till now…..the atma breaks out of this cage of illusion and expands on and on till it merges completely with the scintillating Divine Light of Bramhan…..this is the real ‘Aham Bramhasmi”…the Atma and Paramatama become One…. Let us all connect with Shabd/Aum and realize our dream of merging completely with Him…”Aham Bramhasmi)…. (This is dedicated to fellow blogger, Ms Simrat Kaur to whom i am thankful…. for her persistent queries which finally culminated in the form of this blog) Acknowledgement: 1 My Guruji 2“Naam Or Word” and ‘The Crown Of Life A Study In Yoga” by Sant Kripal Singhji 3 The Spiritual Approach to Life” by Sri Bimal Mohanty 4 The Internet