Atman and Brahman

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Sun Jul 26 08:14:25 CDT 1998

On Wed, 22 Jul 1998, sadananda wrote:

> [...]
> ......................................................   "I AM" is
> independent of the concepts since concepts are in the realm of the
> intellect, I am - is the one who has the concepts.  In "I AM" there is
> neither jeeva or jagat - and Atman and Brahman are just words, fall out
> with no locus. What is real is only "I AM".  There is where my discussion
> of scriptures as a pramana for Brahman pertained. Scriptures identify -
> ayamaatmaa Brahma -  equating the apparently the two to one, which is
> beyond words and concepts, and hence beyond logic too since even the logic
> is in the realm of intellect.

Namaste. I am grateful to Shri Sadananda for his comments and bringing up
the topic of scriptures as pramAna. Let me put my understanding of this
in words.

"I AM" is the only entity that remains while in nirvikalpa samAdhi. After
coming out of this samAdhi and getting to the body level, the jeeva wonders
(particularly when the experience is a fleeting experience) whether what
was experienced is real. [This is  speculative on my part, but based
on my readings and contemplation.] The jeeva is still unsure of the
experience. During the samAdhi, there is no need of any pramANa because of
revelling in the Atman. After coming out of the samAdhi, a proof is asked by
the intellect. The natural source of the proof is the shruti and the
mahAvAkyAs in there. Thus shruti as pramANa is there only at the intellectual
level. (Shruti itself is there only at the intellectual level. In samAdhi,
there is no shruti).

Once samAdhi is established in the jeeva as a recurring experience,
ajnAnam is removed. AjnAnam, once removed, cannot come back to the
jeeva. The entity becomes an embodied jnAnam (jeevanmukta).


The following excerpt is taken from "The message of the upanishhads"
by Swami Ranganathananda and I think is relevant to the discussion.
Swami Ranganathananda is commenting on verses 9-14 of Isha upanishhad.

"The Nitya and the LIlA"

"The Atman or Brahman is the changeless Reality; It is termed Nitya,
the eternal in vedanta. The relative world when viewed in the light
of this Nitya is termed LIlA, God's cosmic play. And we then get the
equation: the Nitya and the LIlA are one. It is also expressed in
another way: Brahman (the Being) and Shakti (Its power of Becoming)
are one. Shri Ramakrishna says in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (p257):

'A man should reach the Nitya, the Absolute, by following the trail
of the LIlA, the Relative. It is like reaching the roof by the stairs.
After realizing the Absolute, he should climb down to the Relative and
live on that plane in the company of devotees, charging his mind with
the love of God. This is my final and most mature opinion'

Again on p477:

'If you accept the Nitya, you must also accept the LIlA. It is the
process of negation and affirmation. You realize the Nitya by negating
the LIlA. Then you affirm the LIlA, seeing in it the manifestation of the
Nitya. One attains this state after realizing Reality in both aspects:
Personal and Impersonal. The Personal is the embodiment of cit,
Consciousness; and the Impersonal is the Indivisible SaccidAnanda,

'Brahman alone has become everything. Therefore to the vijnAnI this world
is a "mansion of mirth.". But to the jnAnI it is a framework of illusion'"

I think I understand this excerpt. But it would be nice if someone who
has a better feel for it, put it in other words also. Particularly,
I would like to see some expansion of the last paragraph how the world
is a mansion of mirth and a framework of illusion for a vijnAnI and a

> Hari Om!
> Sadananda

Gummuluru Murthy

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