In Unit 15, we started with the understanding of Brahman; we reviewed the vishEShaNa , vishEShya relationship.

In Unit 16, we reviewed the lakShaNas that help us understand Brahman.

In this Unit, We will look at some of the scriptural statements describing Brahman.

Scriptural Statements on Brahman.

As much as we are unable to comprehend and understand Brahman, challenging Him is a challenge to our own existence. It is the statements of shruti that, though Brahman can not be marked, He is the substratum that supports all activities in this jagat. Knowing Him is the basis of existence. The shruti points at some of the markers that help us understand Brahman. We will review some of those markers in this Unit.

kaTha Upanishat - 3.12

" Esha sarvEShu bhUtEShu gUDhO AtmA na prakAshatE
drishyatE tvagryayA buddhyAsUkShmayA sUkShma-darshibhih"

- "The Atman, though present in all living beings, is hidden and does not shine forth. However, He reveals His presence to the subtle intellect of the discerning person." The Atman, though present in all living beings supporting the sense organs, is invisible through the power of mAyA to the ignorant jIvas. He is visible only to the jIvas with the subtlety of discernment. We may recall here Krishna's statement in gIta 7.25 - enveloped by My yOgamAyA (cosmic illusion), I am not manifest to all; this world, deluded, knows Me not, the unborn and imperishable.

kaTha Upanishat - 3.10

"indriyEbhyah parA hi arthA arthEbhyascha param manah
manasastu parA buddhih buddhEh AtmA mahAn parah"

- The outer sense organs are gross. The sense objects of sound, touch, form, taste and smell are subtler than the sense organs. The mind that processes these sense objects is subtler than the sense objects. The intellect is subtler than the mind. The Atman, referred here as mahAn (Great Atman) is subtler than the intellect. In Verse 3.11, this chain of thought is expounded further as follows - The Unmanifest is beyond (subtler than) the Great Atman, the PuruSha is beyond the Unmanifest. PuruSha is the supreme goal and there is nothing beyond Him.

kEna upanishat - 1.1 and 1.2

"kEnEShitam patati prEShitam manah
kEna prANah praTHamah pryiti yuktah
kEnEShitAm vAchamimAm vadanti
chakShuh shrOtram ka u dEvO yunakti

- The disciple asks of the teacher - by whose will does the mind proceed to its object? At whose command does the prANa, the foremost do its duty? At whose will do men utter speech? Who is the god that directs the eyes and the ears?"

"shrOtrasya shrOtram manasO manO yad
vAchO ha vAcham sa u prANasya prANah
chakSuShah cha chakShuratim uchya dhIrAh
prEtyAsmAh lOkAt amrita bhavanti"

- the teacher replies - it is the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind, the Speech of the speech, the Life of the life and the Eye of the eye. Having detached the Self (from the sense organs) and on discarding of the body (renounced the world), the wise attain to immortality.

mAndUkya upanishat - 2.11

" ubhayOrapi vaitaThyam bhEdAnAm sThAnayOh yadi
ka EtAn buDhyatE bhEdAnkO vai tEShAm vikalpakah"

- if the objects cognized in both the conditions of dream and of waking be illusory, who cognizes all these illusory objects and who again imagines them? The answer is in the next verse that the self-luminous Atman alone is the knower of the objects created through the powers of its own delusion (mAyA).

MunDaka Upanishat - 2.2.7

" yah sarvajnyah sarvavid yassyaiSha mahimA bhuvi
divyE brahmapurE hi ESha vyOmanyAtmA pratiShThitah"

- He who knows all (omniscient) and understands everything, and to whom belongs all the glory in the world, He, Atman, is placed in the space in the effulgent abode of Brahman." (He assumes the forms of the mind and leads the body and the senses. He dwells in the body, inside the heart. By the knowledge of That which shines as the blissful and immortal Atman, the wise behold Him fully in all things).

Bhagavad gIta - 13.16

" avibhaktam cha bhUtEShu vibhaktamiva cha sThitam
bhUtaBhartru cha tat jnyEyam grasiShNu prabhaviShNu cha"

- That which is to be known (jnyEyam) is undivided, yet exists in beings as divided; It is the supporter of all beings, it is destroying and also generating - creator and destroyer. (Verses 13-13 to 13.17 describe the characteristics of That to be known).

kaTha Upanishat - 5.15

"na Tatra SUryo BhAti Na Chandra tArakam
nEmA vidyuto BhAnthi Kutoyamagnihi
tamEva BhAntam anuBhAti sarvam
tasya BhAsA sarvam idam viBhAti"

- The nature of Brahman is such that the Sun, the Moon and the Stars do not have the ability to illuminate Him; so what to talk about the lightening and fire ? He alone makes others shine and His Shine helps everything else to be seen. This Pure Consciousness is described as Brahman, which is the nature of every living being."

For example if there is an object in a room, it by itself has no intrinsic ability to show itself. It needs the help of a light source like the sun light through the windows or a lamp or light bulb to be seen. Likewise, the above mantra says that even the Sun by itself has no intrinsic ability to show itself. It depends on the effulgence of the Pure Consciousness to be seen. The upanishads affirm that, that entity, which does not need the support of any other agent to be seen is Brahman.

Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).

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