Faith

Mahavakya explained

Proficiency in worldly knowledge is no doubt a great merit, but does not have any bearing when it comes to realising esoteric truths, is the basic teaching in the sastras. In the Gita, Arjuna talks as if he knows all the truths and puts forth his decision to abandon the fight. Krishna listens patiently and then finally imparts His advice when Arjuna humbly submits himself as a student willing to follow His advice. When a spiritual aspirant imbibes this spirit of humility and places absolute faith in the teacher, the way is set for realisation, pointed out Sri R. Rajagopala Sarma in a discourse.

The Mahavakya ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ ‘That Thou Art’ that succinctly contains the truth of the oneness of the jiva and Brahman is introduced and explained exhaustively in the Chandogya Upanishad and finally it is asserted as the only truth by way of conclusion. In this section, Uddalaka Aruni, a realised seer, asks his son Svetaketu to study the Vedas under a preceptor to attain knowledge of Brahman. Svetaketu returns after 12 years of study and his attitude and demeanour reflect a sense of pride in his achievement. Sensing this, the father asks him if he has learnt that ‘ultimate knowledge’ by which all else is known and there is nothing further to be known. The son is baffled by this tricky question and asks his father to teach him this truth. The father begins his instruction by giving common examples from this world of experience.

By knowing the basic material all else is known. By knowing Brahman as the material and instrumental cause of this universe all else is automatically known. The instruction draws from the world of human experience to establish the veracity of the Mahavakya that can be perceived only through the eye of the sastras.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 3:30:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/mahavakya-explained/article31828039.ece

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