Till now, first four of the 555 aphorisms were discussed. First aphorism said that desire to know Brahman has no preconditions, whatsoever. What is required is only the mind. Second Brahma Sutra said that that the cause of creation of this universe is Brahman, from whom, birth, sustenance and death originates. Brahman is the cause and Brahman is also the effect and thus, in the whole of universe, there is nothing but Brahman. Third sūtra said that all Śāstra-s, which impart higher spiritual knowledge originate from Brahman. . It was also said that Śāstra-s here do not mean the śāstra-s of recent origin, compiled and modified to suit convenience, but mean Vedas, upanishad-s (including Brahma Sutra), etc. Fourth aphorism said Brahman can be realized only through Sacred Scriptures like upanishad-s. Brahman can be understood only through these Scriptures, as they are the source of Supreme Knowledge which says “Brahman is the subtlest of all. It is the Truth and it is the Self. You are That.” Now the fifth Brahma Sutra is being discussed.
īkṣatenārśabdam ईक्षतेनार्शब्दम् (I.i.5)
īkṣate –consideration (based upon these discussions); na – negation (negating the cause of the universe); aśabdam – not expressed in Scriptures as discussed above, such as upanishad-s, etc. This Brahma Sutra says that as the cause of the universe is not explained in upanishad-s, etc, does not mean that Brahman is not the cause of the universe. Kaṭha upanishad-s elucidate Brahman through negations and not by pointing out an object saying that “This is Brahman”. Obviously, Sacred Scriptures like upanishad-s cannot give a definitive form to Brahman, as the truth is that Brahman is formless. How do we ascertain that Brahman is formless? Because, Kaṭha upanishad (I.ii.20) says “Brahman is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest.” It further says that He can be realized only in the mind and hence, only can be experienced. It can only be experienced because It can only be realized and cannot be seen with the senses. What we see with our sensory organs is the material world. Only the material world can be seen and experienced with the help of sensory organs such as eyes, nose, ears, mouth and skin. The material world has originated from “existence” that existed prior to emergence of the material world. That “existence” was without out a second, says Chāndogya upanishad (VI.ii.2). This “existence” is called as “Sat” by upanishad-s. The sayings of upanishad-s are significantly different from Sāṁkhya philosophy, which dwells on dualism. Sāṁkhya advocates two realities, Puruṣa and Prakṛti (Self and Nature), which is totally different from the revelations of upanishad-s.
Going forward with the word “sat”, which refers to Brahman, It said, “Let Me create the worlds (Aitareya upanishad I.i.1).” Me here refers to Ātmā, says this upanishad, which means Brahman. Suppose Brahman creates the world, does this means that there is something else that exists apart from Brahman? Does this mean that the created beings are different from Brahman? If this is accepted, then Brahman cannot be omnipresent. That is why upanishad-s say that all the created beings are nothing but His own manifestations or materializations. Then what is the difference between Brahman and His creations? In fact, nothing, there is no difference at all. (What is the difference between ice, water and steam? They all contain only H2O. Only the shapes are different.) He is both the subject and the object or He is both the knower and the known. When both the subject and the object are the same, where is the question of duality? This is the important conveyance of all the upanishad-s. Unless object is different from the subject or knower is different from the known, which is to be known and by whom? When both are the same, there is no question of knowing at all. When all that exists is Brahman, where is the question of knowing Brahman as a different entity or object? That is why Scriptures say that we are not different from Brahman. If we are different from Brahman, then it tantamount to duality, as there exist another object (our shape and form – a person with a name) apart from Brahman. Based on these facts, it is said that Brahman is beyond human perception and cannot be felt or seen. He can only be realized, which is related only to the mind and not to the senses. Hence, human birth is considered as the Gift of God in order to realize Him.
The process of creation is explained in Muṇḍaka upanishad (I.i.9) “Which says Brahman is all knowing (omniscient) and whose austerity is knowledge. From that Supreme Brahman (Para-Brahman), comes Apara-Brahman and then shapes, forms, names, etc. Let us take this example. Electricity is produced, routed through various transformers, distribution boxes, cables, mains, switches and ultimately it is used to burn the lights. The electricity has not changed its nature right from the point of production to the ultimate point of consumption. Same is the nature with Brahman. He is the same throughout – creation, sustenance and dissolution. Bṛhadāraṇyaka upanishad (III.vii.14) says, “Brahman inhabits light, but is within it, whom the light does not know, whose body is light and who controls the light from within is the Self, your own immortal Self.” Again the same upanishad(III.vii.23) says, “….He is never seen; but He is the witness. He is never heard; but He is the hearer. He is never known; but He is the knower. ….Everything else but Him is mortal.” We do not need any better explanation to know about His omnipresence and omnipotence.
We now know that Brahman is beyond normal human perception and beyond normal human comprehension using sensory organs. He can be known only through human mind. Is there any precondition to realize Him through mind? No preconditions, said the first aphorism. However, Sage Patañjali in his Yoga Sūtra-s says (I.29), “By repeatedly concentrating, all obstacles can be removed.” Obstacles here refer to diversion of mind, which by nature, generates multiple thought processes, leading to desires and attachments. Here comes the difference between devotion and love for Brahman. Devotion for Brahman has to necessarily transform into love for Him. Until this transformation takes place, Brahman cannot be realized. Devotion can be explained here (based upon the context), as the mode of worshipping Him in a shape and form. But love can be explained here as perpetual contemplation and feeling, entirely pervading one’s mind. When love manifests in one’s mind, rest of the thought processes are annihilated, giving no scope for diversification of mind. There is no mental distraction in this state, as the whole mind is pervaded by Him alone. Hence, it is said that Brahman is to be explored within. A few minutes of searching Him within, helps in realising Him, rather than repeating a mantra as a matter of routine. Vivekacūḍāmaṇī (verse 258) explains this simply by saying, “You are Brahman, meditate on this in your mind.” This is the most effective of all mahāvākya-s, principle revelations of upanishad-s, which are known as “Self-affirmative” sayings. After all, what one thinks, he becomes that. There are ten verses (254 to 263) in Vivekacūḍāmaṇī that end with “brahma tattvamasi bhāvayātmani ब्रह्म तत्त्वमसि भावयात्मनि”, which mean “You are Brahman, meditate on this in your mind.” You are Brahman is the teaching. A Guru imparts this sacred knowledge to his disciple by citing various references and examples. Because of the teachings of Guru, a disciple understands what is taught and analyses his teachings. Based upon the teaching, he begins to contemplate and at the end of practice, he affirms “I am Brahman”. Beyond this point, neither the Guru needs to teach his disciple any further, nor the disciple needs to learn anything from his Guru. Taittirīya upanishad (III.i.1) also endorses this by saying, “Try to understand that Brahman is the source of everything, that everything is sustained by it and that everything finally dissolves into it. This is Brahman.”
When Brahman is within, why search for Him outside? This question is being answered throughout this Scripture and in different ways.
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