☆The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my experiences and self realization.
☆I found some link between modern science and statements of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth whatever we say.
☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
♡ Having gone through the sacred books/ancient texts translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I am trying to share the subject matter as I understood in very concise form.
You may find it boring or interesting, dull or exciting, but my intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. Please give your suggestions for the shortcomings and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.
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Part-1 is summarised in the figure below:
Introduction: In the previous blog ” What is Joy (Part-1)” , we have seen that, according to second part of the scripture ‘Taittiriya Upanishad”, second section “Brahmananda Valli ” beautifully explained what is Joy? At first the definition and one unit of Human Joy has been described. Thereafter in the successive slokas, it has been shown that each time we go to the next higher world(Loka), joy is multiplied by 100. Finally, at the top most Loka, the joy has become 100,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00 units. However, according to Taittiriya Upanishad ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” Now what is that revelation? In Sanskrit, the sentence is : —” श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ – which means a man well versed in Vedas (Scriptures) has equal Joy. So that is the essence of the sentence. This is our point of discussion here. I will try to project the subject according to Texts followed in Advaita Vedanta. Advaita (NON-DUALISM) is essentially a philosophical framework which make sense of the mysterious Universe. Traditional Advaita takes its authority from the Upanishads. Advaita Vedanta was systemized somewhere around 8th century by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. However essence of teaching originates in the Upanishads which were composed during 5000-6000 BC. No where it is mentioned about any author in the Upanishads and date of origin can not be fixed. Some scholar says Vedic period is 4000-5000 BC. Upanishads are known as Vedanta means essence of Vedas. Teachings of Vedas were transferred orally known as ” Sruti”. The principal book that attempts to explicate the actual philosophy of Upanishad is called ” Brahmasutra” . In the past 100 years, there have been a resurgence of interest in Advaita Vedanta in the West after the discovery of new field of physics known as Quantum Physics. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) toured the world to spread the message of Vedantic truth with the aim of uniting all religions.
Key words: “Brahman” ; ” Brahma sutra”; ” Advaita Vedanta” ; Upanishad;
The word “Brahman” will be used repeatedly. Meaning of Brahman is VAST. This is to be noted here that the word “Brahman” does not refer to any Cast , Creed or Sect. According to Vedanta the word ” Brahman” has been derived from the root word “brh” which means growing or expanding and suffix “man” added to it signifies absence of limitations. In Vedanta, the word Brahman is a neuter gender and hence it is referred as pronoun ” That”. It is very difficult to describe Brahman which is ultimately indefinable, indescribable and utterly beyond all human comprehension. Brahman can not be described through senses alone. Vedanta has however taught us how to realize Brahman which is “Supreme Consciousness”. In this article I will try to explain what I understood after reading different Scriptures. Hope readers will find it interesting and worth reading.
To start with our topic of discussion in part-2 here, we need to know the real meaning of the statement ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” What revelation is that? Revelation is knowing Vedas. Since knowing Vedas is beyond our scope in this space, but we can have some glimpses of famous lines from Vedas. Let us read following paragraphs quoting few lines from different Vedantic Texts
“satyam jnanam anantam brahma” : which literarily means ‘the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme.” Taittiriya 2.1.1 which is the opening sentence of Taittiriya Upanishad. (This has been explained in my earlier blog ” THE WISDOM OF THE FIVE SHEATHS (FIVE LAYERS~ Pancha Kosha)”
First of all we need to know the true meaning of “Brahman”. From Upanishads we can learn about Brahman. Five great Acharyas have explained about Brahman. One of them, founder of Advaita Vedanta, 8th century scholar, Shri Adi Shankaracharya said: ” there Exists one Absolute Brahman, who is “Sat-Chit-Ananda” and homogeneous in nature .” **** However the origin of entire Vedanta philosophy which is part of the four Vedas are believed to be composed and orally transferred, goes back to 5000 years. The oneness of Soul and GOD, the ultimate Truth is the principal essence of Vedanta philosophy. In the next paragraphs we will see what teachings we receive from Vedas.
There are four great statements (Maha Vakyas– great sayings), one each taken from four Vedas by ancient scholars. These are most famous mantras and gives the core knowledge of Veda. Traditionally these well known MahaVakyas are pointers for the aspirants seeking liberation from the cycle of births. Four MahaVakyas are as below:
1) ” prajnAnaM brahma ” which means consciousness is Brahman. This has been taken from Rig Veda ( Aitareya Upanishad): The essence is that Brahman is Supreme knowledge. The absolute reality is the essence of what you really are.
2) ” tat-tvam-asi” which means “You are that” which is from Sama Veda (ChAndogya Upanishad).
3) ” ayamAtma brahma” which means This Self is Brahman. It has been selected from Atharva Veda ( maNDukya Upanishad). Atman and Brahman are the same like the waves and the ocean are one.
4) ” aham brahmAsmi” which means “I am Brahman” has been taken from Yajur Veda (bRRihadAraNyaka Upanishad ). Who I am is that absolute reality.
Now, to understand the subject ,one has to study Vedanta . Vedanta consists of three basic Texts. Together they are referred as ” PRASTHANA TRAYA” , triple canon of Vedanta.
- Upanishads ( Shruti Prasthana):
- Bhagavad Gita( Smriti Prasthana : Quintessence of the teaching of entire Veda: “samasta-vedanta-sarasangraha-bhutam”).
- Brahma Sutra (Nyaya-Prasthana also known as uttarmimamsa sutra).
Those who wish to study the philosophy of Vedanta, may read ” The Ten Principal Upanishads” and the “Brahma Sutra” after reading the “Bhagavad Gita”. In the following paragraphs, I will write brief introduction about Brahma sutra. Rather I will emphasize on Brahma sutra because it is essential to understand the concept of Advaita Vedanta. While explaining Brahma sutra, some references of Upanishads obviously will follow.
There are four chapters in Brahma sutra. First chapter unifies Brahman. Second chapter shows no conflicts between Vedanta and other sastras (sacred texts). The third deals with practice to attain Brahman and the fourth one is result of attaining Brahman which is nothing but fruits of Self realization. The first topic of first chapter of Brahma sutra is “Jijnasadhikaranam” [ Topic-1/first chapter] which means ” The enquiry into Brahman and it’s prerequisites“. The first sentence of this chapter is ” Athato Brahmajijnasa” (Hence thereafter a deliberation on Brahman.1.1.1)
Now the Text is for whom? A little explanation is essential here. The Vedanta is for the person who is competent to understand and study sastras(Scriptures) ,has tranquil mind, with required attributes as described in Vedanta. After attainment of certain preliminary qualifications which are known as four salvations ,one can progress towards the direction of knowing Brahman. Four salvations are:
- “Nitya-anitya-vastuveveka” which means discrimination between the eternal and non eternal.
- ” IhamutrarthaphalabhogaViraga” : Indifference to the joys in this life or in in Heaven, and of the fruits of one’s action.
- ” Shatsampat” : Six fold virtues that are : i) Sama (Control of mind), ii) Dama ( Control of senses),iii) Uparati (Cessation from worldly enjoyments), iv) Titiksha ( Endurance of pleasure and pain, heat and cold), v) Sraddha (Faith), vi) Samadhana (Deep concentration).
- “Mumukshautva” (Desire for liberation).
Even without possessing the knowledge of “Karma Kanda” (Rituals, religious ceremonies), a desire for attaining the knowledge of Brahman( BrahmaGyan) will arise direct from the study of “Srutis”. Therefore, I will recall here the sentence ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” which is written in sanskrit as ” श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ means well versed in “Srutis”. Hence it implies that the enquiry of Brahman does not depend on the performance of any act but through study of Vedas. That is the essence of the section ” Ananda Valli” of Taittiriya Upanishad.
Why one should enquire Brahman? Why? Most of the religions believe that life in earth or life in heaven are attained on the basis of one’s virtuous deeds(“KARMA”) which is transient. But once you know Brahman, you will enjoy everlasting bliss and immortality. Knowledge of Brahman destroys ignorance which is the root cause of all sufferings. We will continue our study of Vedanta a little more in the following paragraphs. I admit that this will be lengthy for the readers, but it is essential part of Vedas which needs to be presented.
“Janmadyadhikaranam“: Definition of Brahman[Topic-2/First chapter of Brahma sutra]. First sentence here is ” Janmadyasya yatah” 1.1.2(2) means Brahman is that from which the origin, sustenance and dissolution of this Universe proceed. Brahman is eternally pure, wise and free. He is Omnipotent and Omniscient. One can attain knowledge of brahman through reflection on it’s attributes. Would like to refer here Taittiriya upanishad-iii-1: Conversation between Varuna and his son Bhrigu Varuni on enquiry into Brahman. Bhrigu is asking his father- ” Sir, teach me Brahman”. Varuna said ” that from whence these beings are born, that by which, when born they live, that into which they enter at their death, try to know that“. That is Brahman. Here the point to be noted is that the origin, sustenance and dissolution of the Universe are characteristic of the Universe because of changing (cyclic) in nature. They do not pertain to the eternal unchanging Brahman, yet they indicate Brahman which is the cause of this universe. Sruti has another definition of Brahman. ” Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman” means Truth, knowledge, Infinity is Brahman.
” Sastrayonitvadhikaranam” : Brahman is realisable only through the scriptures [Topic-3/First chapter of Brahma sutra]. “Sastrayonitvat”: 1.1.3(3) means the scripter is the source of right knowledge. The scriptures illumine all things like a search light. Through scripture only we get a comprehensive understanding of the nature of Brahman. Brahman is formless, colourless, attribute less. Hence it can not be grasped by the senses alone. Brahman is ONE, infinite and without second.
Hope readers have found the reason why the sentence ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” is so important which has been repeated many times in the scripture Taittiriya Upanishad. I request to my readers to give me feedback for improving the content. Please send your comments/suggestions for improvement to my email; firstname.lastname@example.org
“More on part-3 .This is the end of Part-2.”