I’ll be concluding this series with this part for now. Advaita is a very abstract concept, it is very theoretical people say. Yes, it is true in some sense, but through my blogs, I’ve tried to make Advaita as relevant as possible – from the different perspectives mentioned in Part-1 to this last one.
I started this series because many of our lifestyles already comprise pieces of evidence that can lead to absolute reality, but we are constantly failing to notice it.
The word AUM for example directly signifies the three states. And the fourth part of the word AUM is silence, and that is the Turyam, or Brahman, or The Self.
Guru Saakshaath Parabrahma
We have been reciting that shloka since we were kids, but never ever have we paused to reflect and wonder what is the Parabrahma. And that shloka clearly shows that Parabrahma is different than the lord Brahma because Guru Brahma is already mentioned in the beginning. Why would anyone mention a god twice when there are other two gods who are equally or even more significant (Again, that’s stupid to compare the significance of gods, it’s just following the assumption).
Thvam Prathyaksham Brahmaasi
The mantras in Atharva Sheersha are something in regular practice in many Brahmin families. And yet, nobody wants to know what is GuNathrayaatheetha, Avasthaathrayaatheetha,
Dehathrayaatheetha, Kaalathrayaathetha, etc. Why is Lord Ganapathi described with these attributes? Why is he revered as Thvam Prathyaksham Brahmaasi?
Now let’s see what is “Brahman”.
We know other words by which it is called, The Self, Parabrahman, Turyam, etc. However, describing or explaining it is impossible. So, the Upanishads, and various Vedic texts, mantras, etc try only to point us towards it by Nethi-Nethi (not-not, a way to describe something by not describing it, or saying what it is not) or through phrases like GuNathrayaatheetha – one beyond the three Gunas (Rajasik, Tamasic, and Sathvik), Avasthaathrayaatheetha – one beyond the three states (Awake, Dream & Sleep), Dehathrayaatheetha (gross, subtle & causal), Kaalathrayaathetha – beyond past, present and future, and Shakthithrayaathmaka – beyond the states of energy (creation, protection, and destruction).
But the word ‘beyond’ here does not suggest or should not be confused and understood that Brahman does not exist in the above-mentioned. It is indeed in everything and everyone. Ex: even though ‘it’ is called Avasthaathrayaathetha, ‘the self’ is present in all three states. But, it is not those states. It is the fourth, we call it, Turyam. But essentially, it is in everything and it is everything.
See, I’m not an expert in Vedic scriptures nor have I read it all in the first place. But I can say that I am not that stupid to discard works of great personalities like Sri Shankaracharya, Buddha, or Sri Krishna himself. Or in fact, the rishis like Atharvana, Angirasa, Bharadwaja, etc, who are held almost as significant to gods. Or the Upanishads themselves. Or the lord of Death- Yama who gave away the absolute truth to Nachiketa through the third boon.
When Shankaracharya said “Aham Brahmasmi”, it is at that state, where he did not see another, at that state where one realizes singularity that he made that statement. And ignorant people comment about such a great personality that Shankaracharya is arrogant to claim he is God. As we busted that myth in the part 2 itself, he is not claiming to be Brahma – the god, but he was claiming what everyone & everything is.
In fact, there are a lot of similarities between Buddhism and Advaita because essentially they are trying to talk about the absolute reality. The difference is that Advaita calls ‘it’ the Brahman, but Buddha calls it nothingness. And it makes complete sense why the great Buddha called it so. Because when he was in that state? What else could he see other than himself? Nothing. Whether it is Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the Buddha, or Sri Krishna (I am you, I am everywhere.. Lines from Bhagavadgeetha), all of them are trying to convey the same absolute truth – singularity. Confusing that for monotheism is again a delusion arising from the assumption that Krishna, Shankaracharya, or the Buddha are talking merely from a bodily-associated point of view.
In the last blog, we talked about delusions. And while speaking of optical illusions, we wondered about the possibility of the whole world being an illusion. Reasoning for a while can you get you there.
Imagine this world to be a highly complex light-modulating machine. And you’re at different places, apart from the center where there is a light source. Now, the only thing that is the absolute truth is the light at the center. But due to so many multiple reflections, that source is too much distorted. The only thing you’re seeing is various distorted versions of the same light, but you are unaware that is the case.
Or you can imagine this world to be a crumbled paper. It’s the same paper everywhere, but different levels and varieties of folds, bends, and crumbled-ness throughout.
Of course, these models are again abstract. But it opens to you the possibility that everything might be one after all.
Advaita/ the path of Knowledge at its best activates your dormant Viveka and ultimately makes you realize the singular nature of reality. At its worst, it at least leaves you with the ability to stay open-minded, unlike belief systems, and the ability to find solutions through reasoning and intuition rather than being in delusion even though it is creating suffering and pain, assuming there is no way.
And through this blog series, that is all I aspire to convey. Whether you get realized/liberated or not, at the least, be open to possibilities. Be open to the possibility that you and the universe are not two but one. Just because you don’t see it does not mean it doesn’t exist. Constantly seek the truth, like a bug. If you are suffering, that means you’re not seeing something. Let that be your way of handling all life’s suffering – Ignorance is the cause of all suffering. And with that mindset, irrespective of your spiritual interest, you’ll live a fulfilled life!
Sanath Kumar Naibhi