[Advaita-l] [advaitin] Yet another Mahavakya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Vinodh vinodh.iitm at gmail.com
Fri Oct 22 18:17:55 EDT 2021

On Fri 22. Oct 2021 at 21:51, Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste,
> On Fri, Oct 22, 2021 at 4:34 PM Vinodh <vinodh.iitm at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Then I wonder why Sri Mani Dravid Shastri calls the Brihadaranyaka
>> Upanishad quote above a mahavakya.
> Because the mantra is स वा एष महानज आत्मा योऽयं विज्ञानमयः is essentially
> so'yam - ie conveying the identity of sah with ayam. sah (He), mahAn (the
> Great), ajah (Unborn one), which refers to Brahman, is the same as ayam
> vijnAnamayah, this conscious jIva.

Thank you for the clarification. This makes sense!🙏

>> I was guessing that perhaps a mahavakya is description by meditating on
>> which a person can realize the Truth. Perhaps by meditating on the
>> vijnanamaya jiva, i.e., the consciousness as ajaa (unborn and therefore
>> eternal) one realizes the Truth and this is why the Brihadaranyaka
>> Upanishad quote is a mahavakya?
> No meditation is necessary, knowing the truth that jIva is Brahman is
> sufficient.  A mahAvAkya does not convey a meditation, it simply reveals
> that the jIva is Brahman.

If meditation is taken to mean “upasana” (imagining one thing to be like
another for the purpose of worshipping), it is right that a mahavakya
conveys no such upasana. This is because a mahavakya is simply conveying a
fact, and is not conveying any action (meditation is also an action).

However, by “meditation” here, I mean the mananam and nididhyasanam of the
statement (that is, a thorough analysis and reflection on the statement)
that reveals that jiva is Brahman until one attains firm conviction of this
Truth. Why is this required?

By knowing a mahavakya, do we all immediately “know” the truth that jiva is
Brahman? Clearly, we all seem to “know” that jiva is Brahman because we
have heard it, but do we still not fall under the illusion of maya?

So what does it really mean to “know” the truth? Is it the same as
“knowing” the mahavakya as an object of knowledge (like we know “this is a
blue lotus”)? Clearly not, because if so, by simply “hearing” this
statement one “knows” it, but this does not seem to liberate one from the
spell of maya. Therefore one has to go beyond “knowing” the truth, wherein
there is still the difference of knower and known, to having the firm
conviction in the truth, wherein all subject-object differences disappear
completely, at which point the one knowing and the one known are no longer
seen as separate. At this point, one no longer knows the truth, but rather
one is identical with the truth.

Of course, for those whose minds have become purified through karma and
bhakti, just hearing (i.e., knowing) the mahavakya (sravanam) immediately
results in such a realization and all subject-object differences disappear.
However, for those of us who have not attained that level of purity of mind
yet, a meditation (read mananam + nididhyasanam, i.e., repeated analysis
and reflection) on the statements conveying the truth is still necessary.
In a way, this sort of meditation on the mahavakya is also just purifying
the mind until the truth of the mahavakya shines through clearly.

> Regards
> Venkatraghavan
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