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  AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - October 2018 
 
   
 
   

Knowledge of Brahmavidyā

by Swami Rama

Book Cover Enlilghtenment without GodThis is an excerpt from Mandukya Upanishad, Enlightenment without God by Sri Swami Rama, The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the U.S.A., 1982, pages 22 – 24.

In some of the Upanishads, the word Īśa or Īśvara, which is roughly translated as God,  is used. But the concept of God as preached by religion is not found in the Upanishads. In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. Thus, God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one's individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. The great sages of the Upanishads avoid the confusions related to conceptions of God and encourage students to be honest and sincere in their quests for Self-realization. Upanishadic philosophy provides various methods for unfolding higher levels of truth and helps students to be able to unravel the mysteries of the individual and the universe.

Knowledge of Brahmavidyā, the direct experience of Supreme Consciousness, is the common theme of all Upanishadic literature. “I am Brahman; the whole universe is Brahman; Thou art That” – such statements are foundations for all its theories, principles, and practices. All philosophical and psychological discussions are meant to make the students aware of their true nature – Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness. For a realized one, there is perennial joy in the universe, but for the ignorant there is only misery everywhere. The moment a student realizes his essential nature, the darkness of ignorance is dispelled, but before that the individual mind travels to the groove of self-created misery and thus projects the belief that there is misery everywhere. In reality, this universe is like a great poem of joy, a beautiful song, and a unique work of art. The moment one unfolds and realizes one’s human capacity and ability, one becomes aware that, “That art that – Brahman.”

Here lies the difference between a Self-realized person and a religionist. The religionist does not know and yet believes in God, but the realized person is directly aware of the self-existent Ultimate Reality of life and the universe. First, he knows the truth, and then he believes it. If God is the Ultimate Truth hidden behind many forms and names, then it should be realized, and, for realizing the Truth with mind, action, and speech, one needs to practice truth rather than being a hypocrite and a fanatic. It is not necessary to believe in God to attain self-enlightenment, but it is very necessary to know the various levels of consciousness and finally to realize the ultimate source. The manifest aspect and the unmanifest aspect of consciousness (Brahman) should be realized, for that alone can enlighten aspirants.

 

   
       

The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana    Mindfulness
Japa     Dharana     Shavasana
Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor
Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage
Yoga Nidra     Silence Retreats     Full Moon Meditation

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