CHENNAI: Knowledge of objective reality is gained through the study of books that deal with subjects such as physics, chemistry, etc. But this learning cannot unravel the knowledge of the Self and the Ultimate Reality which is the essence of spiritual knowledge. This is gained from the study of the Upanishads which are a source of the mystical literature of India. For instance, a verse from the Svetasvatara Upanishad, “The faces, the hands, necks are His. He is in everybody’s heart, everywhere and all pervasive. He is God and He is the source of all that is good,” is representative of the Upanishadic Seer’s grasp of the Ultimate Truth that was experienced as a revelation when in deep meditation.

In a lecture, Swami Atmashraddhananda pointed out that the Seer also states that he who becomes knowledgeable in the understanding of the Ultimate Truth becomes immortal. This is to emphasise the truth that immortality is not something we acquire — such as one’s material possessions. All such acquisitions can be easily taken away whereas immortality is an inherent quality of all beings that was not newly acquired. In the perception of a realised person, the Self existing within his body frame is the same Self existing outside as well. Such a perception is not derived in the manner of a dissertation or a research paper culled from previous observations, but is derived as a direct, first-hand authentic experience.

The Self is eternal and is the embodiment of consciousness and bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda). We do not see this nature because of the interference of our ego. To be able to see divinity in all is the essence of Brahma Jnana. This truth is accessible only after much preparation even though it is very clear to a realised soul. When even the midday sun, though visible, is to be seen with suitable glasses, how much more difficult it would be to realise the subtle Infinite Being?

This realisation brings about a transforming effect in us and we are able to treat others with respect and dignity. The Lord is ever present, all knowing and omnipotent and bears the entire universe. This compassionate God will give us the strength to bear our individual burden or trials that come our way.