Faith

The Eternal Truth

Realising the Supreme Brahman is the highest goal attainable and this requires tremendous effort (Sadana). As a preparatory step, realising the nature of the individual soul (Atma) is recommended. But both these are subtle and the Jivatma has to transcend the gross and the material to grasp the eternal truth through direct intuition, pointed out Sri V. Karunakarachariar in a lecture.

Moreover, knowing the truth of the Supreme Brahman or of Atma as expressed in the Upanishads (theoretical knowledge) is not equal to realising Him.

The Taittiriya Upanishad states that the Supreme Brahman is the essence of Truth (Satyam), Consciousness (Jnanam), and Infinity or Eternity (Anantam). Other Upanishads emphasise the Eternal (Sat), Conscious (Chit), and blissful (Ananda) aspects of the Supreme Brahman.

How can the average Jivatma, who is bound by the senses to the outside world, try to grasp such subtleties pertaining to the Supreme Brahman?

When God is hidden, it is difficult to comprehend or experience Him. Luckily for the Jivatma, the incarnations of the Supreme Brahman — when He assumes a form and manifests attributes that are recognisable (Saguna), especially extraordinary compassion and kindness towards the devout — are valuable opportunities to realise Him.

The realised sages in the forest were overjoyed to see Lord Rama in person. They revelled in His exquisite beauty and longed to linger and savour this divine experience.

The attractiveness of the Lord's form and qualities is extolled merely to show how a Jivatma can direct his thoughts towards God, meditate upon Him and strive to gain salvation.

The Archa form of the Lord in temples is tangible and facilitates the Jivatma to engage in meditation. The Azhwars have shown how to remain one with God in one's thoughts. The Nayika-Nayaki Bhava is explicit in the hymns of Nammazhwar as Parankusha Nayaki and Tirumangai Azhwar as Parakala Nayaki, and this is symbolic of the Jivatma longing for permanent union with the Paramatma. From this state of mind, God realisation is almost certain.

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Printable version | May 4, 2021 6:03:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/the-eternal-truth/article2120967.ece

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