The Self as Spirit ("Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”John 10:34)

“What is missed by Christians and Jews is that while Jesus only claimed Himself to be the Son of God, the Jewish scriptures confirmed that humans were indeed gods. So why should the Jews threaten Him for being lesser i.e., just the Son? Jesus was in fact mocking both their ignorance of scripture, and arrogance of righteousness and judgment.”

The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation 
The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation

Dear All,

Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and children of the most High? Why do so many Christians think it's evil to believe we become like God... that we eventually can become gods? But the Bible is littered with the promise and surety that humans are inherently divine and of the nature of spirit:

1.To become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, being glorified together (Romans 8:14-18)
2. As sons (and daughters) of God, to inherit all things that the Father has (Revelation 21:7)
3.To become one with Christ, as Christ is one with the Father (John 17:20-23)
4.To sit with Christ on His throne (Rev. 3:21)
5.To receive a glorified, immortal body like the body that Christ has (Philip. 3:21)
6.To partake of the divine nature and be given all things pertaining to life and godliness, receiving glory (2 Peter 1:3-4)
7.To be made - in some way - like Christ when He returns (1 John 3:2)
8.To be made kings and priests unto God and his Father (Rev. 1:6)
9. As spirit children of God, to become partakers of his holiness (Heb. 12:9-10)
10.To be exalted by God (1 Peter 5:6)
11.To become perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48)

In fact Jesus clearly states, when rejected by the Jews for claiming Himself as the Son of God, that all humans are gods:

"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”John 10:34)

What is missed by Christians and Jews is that while Jesus only claimed Himself to be the Son of God, the Jewish scriptures confirmed that humans were indeed gods. So why should the Jews threaten Him for being lesser i.e., just the Son? Jesus was in fact mocking both their ignorance of scripture, and arrogance of righteousness and judgment:

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken;
36 say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
39 Therefore they sought again to take him; but he escaped out of their hand,
40 and went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; Joh. 1.28 and there he abode.
41 And many resorted unto him and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
42 And many believed on him there.

So what can we make out of Jesus' claim that"Ye are gods"? What has it got to do with second birth (Kundalini awakening)? What is their relationship with Shri Mataji's Self-realization? What is the Self actually, and how is it realized? To answer these questions i have quoted Brian Hodgkinson:

Brian Hodgkinson, The Essence of Vedanta” width=
Brian Hodgkinson,
The Essence of Vedanta
The Self as Spirit

"Vedanta accepts this logical introduction to the enquiry into the self. Self as subject should never be confused with any object. Anything that the self observes cannot be self. Can anything positive then be said of it? The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad has a great deal to say about the self. For example:

'This Self is nearer than all else, dearer than son, dearer than wealth, dearer than anything. If a man call anything dearer than Self, say that he will lose what is dear, of certainty he will lose it; for Self is God. Therefore one should worship Self as Love. Who worships Self his love shall never perish ... This Self is the Lord of all beings; as spokes are knit together in the hub, all things, all gods, all men, all lives, are bodies, are knit together in that Self.”

(pp. 121, 135)

'He wanted every form, for He wanted to show Himself; as a magician He appears in many forms, He masters hundreds of thousands of powers. He is those powers; those millions of powers. He is Spirit; without antecedent, without precedent, without inside, without outside; omnipresent, omniscient. Self is Spirit. That is revelation.'

(p. 136)

The connection between these two passages lies in the assertion that self is spirit. Self is dear, self is to be worshipped, self is love, because it is spirit. What can be observed is material. Things in space, including human bodies, are material, made of gross elements; things in the mind are subtle, made of finer material and observable as imagined objects or thoughts, feelings and emotions; but the witness of them all, of all materiality, is of a different order. It is spirit. To know that spirit is revelation. To know that spirit is not to know an object; it is to realize that one is spirit.”

Brian Hodgkinson, The Essence of Vedanta,
Arcturus Publishing Ltd., Canada, pg. 42-3

All the Holy Scriptures - Torah, Bible, Qur'n, Upanishads, Vedas, Puranas, Granth Sahib - uphold the Self as Spirit, the essence and presence of the Divine in humans. That is why Jesus answered them in the temple,” Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?.” Self-realization is a slow process of confirming the same divinity i.e., the Divine within humans. No external images, rituals or contacts whatsoever are needed for this inner journey to realize and meditate in the Kingdom of God within.

So why do many Christians think it's evil to believe we become like God... that we eventually can become gods? That is definitely not the case. Humans only realize the Divine - the Self as Spirit within. They only realize their own divine nature i.e., the essence and presence of the Divine within. That does not mean they become God Almighty. Even Shri Mataji has said that Self-realization does not mean you become gods. Christians (Jews and Muslims) are just ignorant of the true teachings and deep, subtle esoteric truths of Jesus that, when understood properly, is not self-deification. Realizing the presence and essence of Self as Spirit/God/Divine within and meditating on it is not self-deification. Asking others to meditate on you is.

regards to all,


The Self as Spirit ("Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”John 10:34)

Dear Jagbir and All,

i can tell you why Christians think it's evil to even think they can 'become like God'. It is because ministers have told them that Lucifer, the fallen angel, aspired to become like God, and fell, becoming anti-God. Due to that infamy, it has been drummed into Christians, never to assume to 'want to be God-like' because that is an ambition that is too high for mere mortals. Christians are warned by ministers never to go there, as they will be in mortal danger of their soul, for if it was too high an ambition for the highest angel of God (namely Lucifer)... it is definitely too high an ambition for mere Christian mortals! The ministers say that it is all about the pride that leads to a fall.

Of course, this whole scenario is as a result of an external shallow and crude understanding of real spirituality, which can only be"gnostic“Which means"to go within"one's inner temple, which Christ also talked about. But most ministers do not encourage the rank and file to"go within“And neither do they. That is why they can never understand the"gnostic concept"that Christ referred to, when He said: “You are gods.”

Add to that the fact that Christian Rulers (priestly and kingly) have taken away the teaching of re-incarnation, which early Christians naturally believed, as people did, in those days! How can a person become 'God-like' or 'like God' in one incarnation. It might surprise you Jagbir, but Christians believe this is their only lifetime. It is beyond any individual to become 'like God' or 'God-like' in only one lifetime. So the whole 'sway' of Christian indoctrination goes against Christ's actual teaching that: “You are gods"!

For one thing, in order to evolve to become 'gods' or 'like god' a person needs to be able to reincarnate. Christian ministers have in theory, taken away the ability to re-incarnate, so how can a person become 'God-like' or 'like God' in one single incarnation. It is just impossible, which reinforces the belief that Christ made a mistake when He said: “You are gods.” Christians just don't believe this statement of Christ, because it is incomprehensible to them, because of their Christian indoctrination, that is"not of Christ", but of man!!!

Yet, it is alright for Christians to say they want to become 'Christ-like' or 'like Christ'. According to ministers, that does not smack of pride, like it does, if a Christian says they want to become 'God-like' or 'like God'. However, Christian Ministers teach that“In practice", Christ Jesus is God the Father, that Christ Jesus is God the Holy Spirit, and He is also God the Son. So how can it also"not"be pride to say that one wants to be 'Christ-like', if Christ is God?!

There is so much that is unnecessarily illogical in traditional Christianity, because of wrong Christian doctrines, that have replaced the Absolute Truth that Christ gave! That is also why many Christians have left the Christian Churches. It is because present day highly intelligent spiritual seekers of the Truth, do not tolerate idiocy and unintelligible mental concepts, of leaders, who have no idea of what the Kingdom of God“within“Is!!! That is also why, when these same 'ex-Christians' understand the logic that is inherent in the Absolute Truth, that they will come to the arms of their Loving Spiritual Mother, who is the Holy Spirit within, who will not lead them astray, as the doctrines of men have done, who have just wanted power, prestige and easy money, from others!!!


> Dear Jagbir (and All),
> This would be a great article to put in"Editor's Choice“At HSS
> (Holy Spirit Shekinah), if you agree Jagbir. i meant to mention in
> my last post, that you have cut through all the scholarly studies,
> in your enlightened explanation, that simply explains the Truth, so
> Christians can also understand it!!!
> regards to all,
> violet

i also think so and will do just that Violet. Thanks.

Without question narrow-minded religious masses will remain ignorant of their own scriptures. Due to centuries of false religious indoctrination and scriptural misinterpretation under priestly domination many today remain blind, deaf and dumb to the esoteric nature, the true gnosis, of their religions. Even quoting and explaining their revered scriptures will fail to awaken them from centuries of collective spiritual coma. The _only_ way left is Self- realization through Kundalini awakening and daily meditation on the Self, and sustaining that Self-realization for the rest of your life.

It is obvious that one cannot understand the parables and esoteric truths without cross-examining the teachings of the founders of various religions and synthesizing the holy scriptures. Shri Mataji's Divine Message and Self-realization is collectively based on all messengers and their religions. The Divine Mother has made it clear that they all have to be unconditionally accepted.

To overcome millennia of false religious teachings, misinterpretation and indoctrination detailed explanations and relevant articles explaining Shri Mataji's teachings-all grounded in the holy scriptures -have to be made available to future seekers. It will take many years to accomplish this.

The Truth must have the power to silence all who read it. Religious fanatics have always opposed anything that went against their indoctrination, all the more when their religion are turned on its ears. That they too are silenced is indeed a sure sign that it is the Truth. As this century progresses their religious regimes will succumb to Shri Mataji's declaration:

“The Truth which is absolute has to express itself in these Modern Times. And even if it is not accepted it will never die. On the contrary, if it is not accepted, it will expose all falsehood and destroy it.”

It will also take many years to accomplish this i.e., exposing the falsehood of the religious regimes. It does not matter if the Truth is accepted or not since the end result is the assured destruction of falsehood. Every article is part and parcel of the Truth that the Adi Shakti within has revealed, or Her incarnation without has spoken. In the end the Divine Feminine will triumph. Whether it takes 10 years or 10 decades does not matter. Future generations will gratefully continue where we left.

Jai Shri Ganapathy,


The Great Adi Shakti Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
“But do you have your self-esteem? If you have then where should be your attention? It should be on your Self. Where is your Self now? It is God Almighty; it's part of that Great Primordial Being. Your attention should be on that.

After realization your attention should be in your heart, on your spirit which is the part of God Almighty. If your attention is on your spirit you will be amazed how your attention will act.”

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
23 June 1980

The Great Adi Shakti Shri Mataji
The Spirit-Paraclete
“The Self is the Spirit. This Spirit resides in the heart of every human being and is in a witness-like state. The Spirit is the projection of God Almighty, while the Kundalini is the projection of the power of God, of His desire which is the Primordial Mother, or you can call it Adi Shakti, Holy Ghost or Athena. So the Kundalini is the projection of the Holy Ghost, while the Spirit is the projection of God Almighty. The All-pervading Power of love is the power of the Primordial Mother, which creates and evolves, and does all the living work.”- Shri Mataji Nirmal Devi

Question: How does one discard all the suffocating rules and manmade rituals (of the present Sahaja Yoga organization) never initiated by Shri Mataji and seek her (Holy Spirit/Adi Shakti) only in the Sahastrara (Kingdom of God)?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: Despite being years in Sahaja Yoga I do not agree with what our leaders are doing. I am thinking of leaving my collective. Can you suggest something that will help me continue on my own?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I am a Muslim who absolutely am against worshipping of any idol or image. How then is Sahaja Yoga and Shri Mataji compatible with Islam?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: We are devout Christians who are very uncomfortable with Hindu rituals, and see the same in Sahaja Yoga. Is there any way we can do without such rituals?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: You loudly claim on your website that all religions and holy scriptures preach the same message. I don't see such evidence. What have you got to say?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I do not want to meditate on anything non-Christian but agree that the Holy Spirit is feminine. How do I only worship the Holy Spirit but not the Adi Shakti?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: My parents and husband are against worshipping Shri Mataji. How can I solve this serious family problem but still continue to practice Sahaja Yoga without their knowledge?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I completely agree with your belief that if you have to take a single step in any direction to seek the Divine you are going the wrong way. How and why did you reach this incredible conclusion only now despite spending so many years meditating, checking the scriptures and listening to Shri Mataji's speeches?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: How can we spread Shri Mataji's message successfully? So many have failed all these years and Sahaja Yoga is very slow. Most of the seekers have never heard of Shri Mataji. Other than Her Divine Message what can we teach new seekers that will attract them?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I do not want to follow any religious organization or yoga teacher but still am interested in spirituality. You think that is possible?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: My mother-in-law is totally against Shri Mataji and regards Her as just another false guru. But I know Shri Mataji is the Adi Shakti and want to continue. However, i do not want to antagonize my mother-in-law. Any suggestions?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I am a Sikh. I am completely against any Hindu ritual or worshipping of their idols and gods. Sikhism is completely against such practices. But Sahaja Yoga is also so full of such rituals and gods. What have you got to say, being a Sikh yourself?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I am getting somewhat ridiculed for my own spiritual experiences regarding the crown chakra and the divine feminine. People think I'm weird by emphasizing that the Devi is the true nature of brahman and it is creating doubt about my path (despite my own experiences). Should I continue with my meditations and ignore them or try to explain to them? What do you suggest?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: There is so much information about yoga and meditation. I am so confused and do not know which path to take. What then is the truth? How do I attain it?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I have been in Sahaja Yoga for years but still do not know what is Self-realization. Can you tell me in detail what you understand by it?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I have been a SY for many years and some of us find shoe-beating and some rituals quite absurd. You also are against them. How then can we solve our subtle system problems without such treatments?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I am a Muslim living in Pakistan who want to practice Sahaja Yoga. But there are no centers here. How can I continue?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: What will happen after Shri Mataji passes away? Will She still be in the photograph? Where will the vibrations come from then?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I have just started meditating on Shri Mataji in the Sahasrara but find it very difficult. Is there a better way?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I do not want to join Sahaja Yoga but believe in a number of Shri Mataji's teachings. Can you help me?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I am an established SYogini who am concerned at the way the organization is heading. However, I still want to spread Shri Mataji's teachings. What do you suggest I tell others?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: I want to practice meditation but find it impossible to stop the thoughts. I value you opinion. If you don't mind my asking, but how do you do it?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: What is the shortest and surest route to realize God?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: Some religions claim that humans are divine in nature and that liberation is from within. Can you tell me how all this is realized in such a hectic and materialistic world?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: As a SY I am concerned that after Shri Mataji takes Mahasamadhi there will great grief and sense of loss. How can I cope with this eventuality and continue my faith and devotion? Do I continue to meditate on Her photo even though She is not physically present anymore?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: Jagbir, you are already telling us to discard Shri Mataji's photo and meditate on Her is the Sahasrara. A number of SYs have been offended by this and have left. What makes you so sure you are right?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: What is the most profound and deepest enlightenment you have discovered after all these years, based on the teachings of Shri Mataji? She also claims that all religions teach the same truth about the spirit. How is that so given all the religious differences and centuries-old rivalry?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: Hi, man-made religions, sects and denominations are wide spread. So much misdeeds and divisions are committed and blood is shed in the name of God and religion. Is there a way to make humans realize that they are all worshipping the One and same Creator, no matter how different religious organizations have made God to be?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Question: It seems that religions are all preaching about a God that is to be found only in their organizations. Why then is it that the Divine can only be realized through one's own experience? What and where is God then?

Answer: Silence on Spirit (Brahman)

Vensus A. George, Authentic human destiny: the paths of Shankara and Heidegger

In the last chapter, we looked into the phenomenal state of man, as considered by Shankara. This chapter attempts to study the noumenal state of man. According to Shankara, man's ultimate destiny does not consist in being caught up in the phenomenal existence; rather, man is called to live at a depth at which he must experience the source of the universe within himself. The task of man is not to search for his ultimate destiny outside, but to move into himself and discovering the ultimate in the cave of his heart. It is not a new knowledge, but a realization of what one really is. Paraa vidhyaa, therefore, is nothing else but a self-realization in which one experiences Brahman (Brahmaanubhava) as one's own indwelling spirit (Aatman). This chapter deals with the goal, nature and characteristics of para vidhya.


The goal of para vidhya is Brahman, the ultimate universal spirit behind the universe and Aatman, the ultimate principle in the individual. Only when one has true knowledge about both Brahman and Aatman, can one begin to experience the oneness between these two. In this section, we will clarify these two notions, in preparation for the analysis of the nature of para vidhya.

2.1.1. BRAHMAN

The word 'Brahman'[1] is derived from the Sanskrit root 'brih' which literally means ato gush forth', ato grow', ato be great', and ato increase'. The suffix 'man' added to the root 'brih' signifies the absence of limitation. Thus, the term 'Brahman' etymologically means that which is absolutely the greatest.[2] So 'Brahman' denotes"that first ... reality from which the entire universe of our experience has sprung up.”[3] In the words of the Vedaanta-Suutras,” Brahman is that omniscient, omnipotent cause from which proceeds the origin of the world.”[4] Thus, the term 'Brahman' signifies the absolute and ultimate reality which is the substratum and the foundation of the world we know, and on which everything depends for its existence. Brahman is self-sufficient and does not depend on anything else for its existence. Hence it must be spiritual entity, since matter is not self-sufficient, limited and subject to change. George Thibault, in his introduction to the Vedaanta-Suutraas, says that whatever exists is in reality one, and this one universal being is called Brahman. This being is absolutely homogeneous in nature; it is pure Being, Intelligence and Thought. Intelligence or thought is not predicated of Brahman as its attribute, but constitutes its substance. Brahman is not a thinking being, but thought itself. It is absolutely destitute of qualities and whatever qualities or attributes are conceivable can only be denied of it.[5] Thus, Brahman is without qualities (nirguna), beyond the order of our empirical and worldly experience. We cannot grasp Brahman with our empirical experiences, since the being of Brahman is necessary for anything to exist, and even for the possibility of empirical experience. In other words, Brahman is a priori and cannot be grasped by a posteriori or limited experience.

Because of our inability to grasp the true nature of Brahman, whatever positive description is developed about Brahman will remain in the level of phenomenal experience, and Brahman is beyond all phenomena. That is why we find contrary characteristics attributed to Brahman. In Brhadaaranyaka Upanishad, we read that Brahman is"light and not light, desire and absence of desire, anger and absence of anger, righteousness and absence of righteousness.”[6] Kaatha Upanishad speaks of Brahman as"smaller than the small, greater than the great, sitting yet moving, lying and yet going everywhere.”[7] Brahman is light and not light, in the sense that it is only because there is Brahman that there is light and darkness. Again there exist small and the greater only because Brahman exists.

At the same time the word 'existence' cannot be attributed to Brahman and to the empirical world in the same way, for Brahman's existence is different in nature. The existence of Brahman is opposed to all empirical existence, so that in comparison with this it can just as well be considered as non-existence. Brahman is the being of all beings.[8] The nature of Brahman is so transcendent, that it cannot be compared with anything in the world we know. At the same time, Brahman is present in all its manifestations, for without the Being of Brahman nothing can exist. Yet the empirical experience of Brahman is not possible. Thus, Brahman is that unalterable and absolute Being which remains identical with itself in all its manifestations. It is the basis and ground of all experience, and is different from the space-time-cause world. Brahman has nothing similar to it, nothing different from it, and no internal differentiation, for all these are empirical distinctions. It is non-empirical, non-objective, wholly other, but it is not non-being.[9]

Shankara repeatedly speaks of, and strongly defends, the absolute, unchangeable, attributeless nature of Brahman, alluding to many texts in the scripture which points to the nirgunaa Brahman.[10] Commenting on the Upanishadic text,” as a lump of salt is without interior or exterior, entire and purely saline taste, even so is the self (Brahman) without exterior or interior, entire and pure intelligence only,[11] Shankara points to the oneness of Brahman. In the lump of salt there is nothing other than salt, so too Brahman is nothing other than itself. It is the absolute being without a second.[12] Shankara also uses the example of the sun reflecting in water and appearing as many, in order to bring home the same truth. He says that just as the reflection of the sun in water increases with the increase of water, and decreases with its reduction, it moves when the water moves, and it differs as the water differs, so is the self. The sun seem to conform to the characteristics of water, but in reality the sun never has these increasing or decreasing qualities. So also Brahman, which from the highest point of view always retains its sameness, seems to conform to such characteristics as increase and decrease of the limiting adjunct owing to its entry into such an adjunct as a body.[13]

For Shankara, therefore, Brahman is a principle of utter simplicity. There is no duality in Brahman, for no qualities are found in his concept of Brahman. It is also simple in the sense that it is not subject to inner contradictions, which would make it changeable and transitory. Though Shankara uses logic and arguments to understand the nature of Brahman and to speak of Brahman, still for him in its reality Brahman is not a metaphysical postulate that can be proved logically, but must be experienced in silence.[14] Thus, Brahman is one: It is not a 'He', a personal being; nor is it an 'It', an impersonal concept. It is that state which comes about when all subject-object distinctions are obliterated. Ultimately, Brahman is a name for the experience of the timeless plenitude of Being.[15]

2.1.2. AATMAN

The term 'Aatman' comes from the Sanskrit root 'an' which etymologically means 'to breathe'. It is often rendered as 'soul' or 'self', and signifies the most fundamental being of the individual. There is no one who can deny the existence of the self for it is the basis of all individual actions. Everyone is conscious of the existence of his self and never thinks that he is not.[16] To doubt the existence of the self would be a contradiction in terms because then one would doubt the existence of the very doubter who engages in the doubt. The doubter of the self is often compared by Advaitins to a person who searches for the necklace while wearing it; or to a person who wears the spectacles on his face and at the same time looks for them elsewhere. Without the existence of the self, it is impossible for us to entertain the idea even of its being capable of refutation. For the knowledge of the self is not established through the so-called means of right knowledge, but it is self-established.[17] Thus, the very existence of understanding and its functions presuppose an intelligence known as the self which is different from them, which is self-established and which they subserve. [18] The very possibility of knowledge and the means of knowledge (pramaanas) have relevance if there exists the self which is the source of all knowledge. Therefore, Aatman is beyond all doubt,” for it is the essential nature of him who denies it.”[19] Therefore, Shankara believed that it was the nature of the self and not its reality, which is to be proved.”The self must seek itself in order to find what it is, not that it is.”[20]

Having established the existence of the self, we can turn now to the discussion of the nature of the Aatman. Aatman is the deathless, birthless, eternal and real substance in every individual soul. It is the unchanging reality behind the changing body, sense organs, mind and ego. It is the spirit, which is pure consciousness and in unaffected by time, space and causality. It is limitless and without a second. [21] Vedantins speak of three states of consciousness, namely the waking state (vishwa), the dream state (taijasa), and the state of dreamless sleep (pragna). The basic underlying principle which witnesses all these three states of one's existence is the pure consciousness (chaitanyam), the self. It is because of the presence of this ultimate substratum, that the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect function properly. At the same time it is not identified with these, nor affected by the changes that take place in the body, in the other sense or intellectual functions. Thus, the "unrelated witness of the experiences of the three stages, which include a man's diverse activities.”[22]

Shankara gives a number of illustrations to clarify the nature of the self, especially in its role of being a witness (saakshin) to all activities of body, mind, senses, and intellect. Firstly, Shankara gives the analogy of a king's court. In the court, the king sits in his high throne as the observer of the activities of his ministers, councilors and all the others present. But because of his majesty as the king, he is unique and different from all. So too the self which is pure consciousness dwells in the body as a witness to the functions of the body, mind and other faculties, while at the same time it is different from them by its natural light. Thus, the witness is the absolute consciousness, the unchanging intelligence that underlies the finer and grosser bodies. It is neither Iishvara nor jiva, but it is Aatman which is untouched by the distinction of Iishvara and jiva. [23]

To those who come with the objection that the self is not only a mere observer or witness, but also participates in the activities of the body, Shankara replies using the analogy of the moon and the clouds. The movement of the clouds on a moonlight night suggests that the moon is moving, whereas in fact it is the clouds that move. Likewise, the activities of the mind and senses create the illusion that the self is active. [24] To the one who would say that activity belongs to the senses or other faculties and considers them the self, Shankara gives the following illustrations. Just as the iron filings become active at the presence of the magnet, so also it is the presence of the self that makes the body, the senses and all the other faculties active. It is fire which makes the iron ball red-hot. So also neither can the mind, the intellect or the body combined make the self. It is the self which is the source of all their activities. Just as a man who works with the help of the light that in inherent in the sun does so without ever affecting the sun, so too the mind, the body, the intellect, and the senses, engage in their respective activities with the help of the self, but without exerting any influence on the self. [25] All these illustrations point to the basic and absolute nature of the Aatman. The following Upanishadic statement bear witness to this reality.”That the imperishable is the unseen seer, the unheard hearer, the unthought thinker, the ununderstood understander. Other than It, there is naught that hears, other than It, there is naught that thinks; other than It, there is naught that understands. [26]

The terms 'Brahman' and 'Aatman', both basically denote one and the same underlying principle: the former stands for the underlying and unchanging principle of the universe; while the latter refers to the unchanging reality in the individuals. Both of these terms are used in the Upanishads and by the interpreters as synonyms they do interchange these two terms in the same sentence. Commenting on the Upanishadic statement: “Who is an Aatman? What is Brahman?”, [27] Shankara remarks: “By Brahman, the limitations implied in the Aatman are removed, and by the Aatman the conception of Brahman as a divinity to be worshipped is condemned.”[28] These two terms fundamentally refer to one and the same reality, which is the ground of everything. In other words, these two terms stand for two different descriptions of the same ultimate reality, from the point of view of the universe and the individual. The ultimate reality represented by these two terms is the goal of paraa vidhya or Brahmaanubhava.


We have analyzed the goal of paraa vidhya, in the preceding section. Here, we must attempt to clarify the nature of paraa vidhya, in which the Brahman-realization is attained by the seeker. We elaborate the nature of paraa vidhya, by looking into its meaning and clarifying the identity between Brahman and Aatman.

2.2.1. MEANING

Paraa Vidhya or Brahmaanubhava is the ultimate and monumental state of man. The term 'Bramaanubhava' is a compound word, which consists of two Sanskrit words, viz. 'Brahman' (absolute reality) and 'anubhava' (intuitive experience or knowledge). The term 'anubhava' means not a mere theoretical or intellectual knowledge, but the knowledge obtained through an integral experience. Anubhava is not the immediacy of an uninterrupted sensation, where the existence and the content of what is apprehended are separated. It is related to artistic insight rather than to animal instinct; it is an immediate knowledge.[29] Thus, literally the term 'Brahmaanubhava' means the integral and intuitive experience of the absolute reality. When we speak of the intuitive experience of Brahman, from the Advaitic point of view there arise many basic questions as to the nature of Brahmaanubhava. How is it possible to have an experience if there is no subject to experience and no object to be experienced? Besides, if there is no duality in an experience, can it be described? If Brahmaanubhava is an experience, and if it has no duality in itself as an experience, then what is the nature of the experience involved in Brahmaanubhava? These questions stem from the fact that the Advaita philosophy of Shankara does not permit the possibility of duality in this fundamental experience.

Possession of intellectual knowledge about the nature of Brahman and that of Brahmaanubhava is the first step towards the attainment of Brahmaanubhava. Obtaining intellectual knowledge by the study of the Scriptures, especially by understanding the meaning and the import of the Vedantic statements like athat art Thou', is necessary for Brahmaanubhava. In knowing the nature of Brahman intellectually, one can work towards the attainment of Brahmaanubhava. When we speak of the attainment of Brahmaanubhava, we use the term attainment' (labdha) in a figurative sense (upacara). [30] In an empirical experience we attain some new knowledge, i.e., knowledge which had not been previously existed as far as we were concerned. In Brahmaanubhava, however, we do not attain anything new, but only realize what we are, i.e., our true nature, the identity with Brahman. According to Shankara, we are Brahman, and Brahmaanubhava is that experience by which we recognize our own real nature.

Many texts in Shankara's works point to the fact that the attainment of Brahmaanubhava consists in the recognition and the realization that one's real and true nature is Brahman.”The state of being Brahman is the same as the realization of the self.”[31]"Perfect knowledge ... is the realization of the Aatman as one with Brahman.”[32]“When a man knows the Aatman, and sees it inwardly and outwardly as the ground of all things animate and inanimate he has indeed reached liberation.”[33]"No man who knows Brahman to be different from himself is a knower of truth.”[34]"My self is pure consciousness, free from all distinctions and sufferings.”[35] Thus, Brahmaanubhava which is the experience of identity with Brahman, is an attainment only from the point of view of the aspirant or the seeker of truth. From the absolute of paramaartha point of view there is no attainment of Brahman.


From what has been said about the nature of Brahmaanubhava, so far, there arises the question, how, at all, can we know or have any kind of knowledge about this experience called Brahmaanubhava? No empirical means of knowledge (pramaana) can help us in this regard, except scriptural knowledge. Though scriptural knowledge is limited to the level of duality, still it provides knowledge about the reality of Brahman and enables us to have an intellectual understanding of Brahman.

Shankara holds the authority of the scriptural testimony in our intellectual understanding of Brahman. Nothing else on earth, except the scriptures, can reveal to us the nature of Brahman and of Brahmaanubhava. In this regard Shankara is very clear; he does not substitute any pramaana than the scriptural testimony, for the attainment of the intellectual knowledge about Brahman. He does make use of other pramaanas, but only to elucidate, clarify and demonstrate what he accepts on the basis of scriptural authority about Brahman and Brahmaanubhava. He says,” The fact of everything having its self in Brahman cannot be grasped [intellectually], without the aid of scriptural passage"That art Thou'.[36]

The word 'upanishad' (scripture) derives its meaning from its capacity to lead to the truth those who, having been thoroughly dissatisfied with the things seen and unseen, seek liberation from ignorance, which is the source of bondage and suffering. The Upanishads are capable of accomplishing all these, for in them the highest end of life is embodied.[37]

Authentic human destiny: the paths of Shankara and Heidegger
Vensus A. George, Council for Research in Values & (August 1998), pp. 47-54

NOTES [1] The word 'Brahman' appears for the first time in the Rig Veda as related various sacred utterances, which were believed to have magical powers. So, initially it meant 'spell' or 'prayer', which can be used for the attainment of one's wishes and desires. In the Brahmanas, it began to signify that which stands behind God as their ground and basis. Finally, in the Upanishads, this terms came to stand for the unitary principle of all beings, the knowledge of which frees one from finitude. Cf. Eliot Deutsch, p. 9.
[2] Cf. BSB, I, i, 1, pp. 11-12.
[3] Ramkant A Sinari, p. 67.
[4] Swami Virswarananda (trans.), Brahma-Suutra (Mayavata, Almor, Himalayas: Advaita Ashrama, (1948), I, i, 2, p. 26 (hereafter: BSB, Virsawarananda).
[5] George Thibaut (trans.), Brahma-Sutras, vol. XXIV, Introduction, pp. xxiv-xxv (hereafter: BSB, Thibaut).
[6] S. Radhakrishnan (ed.), The Principal Upanishads (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1953), p. 272.
[7] Ibid., p. 617.
[8] Cf. Paul Deussen, The System of Vedanta, trans. Charles Johnson (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co., 1912), pp. 211-212. Cf. also BUB, II, i, 20.
[9] S. Radhakrishnan and C. A. Moore (eds.), A Source Book in Indian Philosophy, 5th printing (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 507. [10] In interpreting the Upanishadic text, Shankara is of the opinion that one must accept only those texts which speak of Brahman without qualities and forms. "But other texts speaking of Brahman with form", he says,” have the injunctions about meditation as their main objectives. So long as they do not lead to some contradictions, their apparent meaning should be accepted. But, when they involve contradictions, the principle to be followed for deciding one or the other is that those that have the formless Brahman as their main purport are more authoritative than the others which have not that as their main purpose. It is according to this that one is driven to the conclusion that Brahman is formless and not its opposite.” Cf. BSB, III, ii, 14, p. 612.
[11]"Brihadaaranayaka Upanishad", IV, v, 13, R. E. Hume, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, 2nd revised ed. (New York: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 147 (hereafter: BU., Hume).
[12] Cf. BSB, III, ii, 16, pp. 615-617.
[13] CF. ibid., III, ii, 18-20, pp. 615-617.
[14] Baskali asked Bhava three times about the nature of Brahman. The latter remained silent all three times, but finally he replied,” I have already spoken, but you cannot comprehend that the self is silence.” ibid., III, ii, 17, p. 614.
[15] Cf. Eliot Detsch, p. 9.
[16] Cf. BSB, I, i, 1, p. 12.
[17] Cf. ibid., II, iii, 7, p. 455.
[18] Cf. ibid., p. 456.
[19] Ibid., p. 457.
[20] Organ Troy Wilson, The Self in Indian Philosophy (London: Mounton & Co., 1964), p. 104.
[21] Cf. AB, p. 118.
[22] Ibid., p. 133.
[23] Cf. ibid., p. 136, Cf. Mahendranath Sircar, The System of Vedaantic Thought and Culture, pp. 156-157.
[24] Cf. ibid., pp. 136-137.
[25] Cf. ibid., pp. 137-138.
[26] BU., III, viii, 1, Hume, p. 118.
[27]“Chaanduukhya Upanishad", V, ix, 1, Hume, p. 234 (hereafter: Ch. U., Hume).
[28] Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanishads (New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1996), pp. 86-87.
[29] Radhakrishnan S., Indian Philosophy, vol. II, p. 513.
[30] BUB, VI, v, 6, pp. 500-501.
[31] Shankara, Gaudapaadakaarika Bhaasya and Maanduukya Upanishad Bhaasya, trans. Swami Nihilananda (Mysore: Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, 1955), IV, 85 (hereafter: GKB).
[32] VC, p. 65.
[33] Ibid., p. 89.
[34] Shankara, Upadeshasaahasrii, trans. Swami Jagadaananda, 6th ed. (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1979), II, xvi, 70, p. 189 (hereafter: UI).
[35] BSB, IV, i, 2, p. 815.
[36] Ibid., I, i, 2, p. 815.
[37] Cf. A. Ramamuarthi, p. 116.

“Self-realization involves an identity-experience, wherein one realizes his oneness with the ultimate Brahman"

Vensus A. George, Self-realization
"4.1.2. Incommunicability of Self-realization

The self-realization involves an identity-experience, wherein one realizes his oneness with the ultimate Brahman. Therefore, self- realization is of the nature of Brahman, i.e., without subject-object duality, eternal and uncaused, immediate and direct, besides being incomprehensible, indescribable and trans-empirical. Brahmaanubhava is not available to the empirical experience, as the scope of the former goes far beyond that of the latter. The words and languages we use refer to the phenomenal world and relative realities. As Brahman is beyond the phenomenal, Brhamaamubhava cannot be described in ordinary language. Therefore, one can speak of self-realization only by way of negation, by denying the qualities of the empirical experience superimposed on it. For instance, the qualities that are attributed to Brahman, such as reality (satyam), knowledge (jnaanam) and infinitude (aanandam) are not positive descriptions of Brahman, but are mere negations of qualities superimposed on Brahman, such as unreality, ignorance and finitude. Thus, all statements we make about Brahman, Brahmaamubhava and Brahmajnaani are mere approximations in the light of the phenomenal knowledge. Such a philosophical position makes self-realization, for all practical purposes, incommunicable. Since, Brahmaanbhava is unknowable and indescribable, it cannot be communicated by the Brahmajnaani to any one in the realm of phenomenal existence. Since Brahman-experience cannot be passed on to the other in any form of communication, it would always remain the subjective experience of the Brahmajnaani. Any attempt to communicate it, using phenomenal language, would be nothing else but a mere phenomenal approximation of the transcendental experience. Such approximations would never take one to the core of self-realization, as it is incommunicable.

4.1.3. Insignificance of the Other's Role in Brahmaajijnaasa

Shankarite path to self-realization, viz., the movement from ignorance to knowledge, is a way that is basically walked by the aspirant alone. The only involvement of the other, on the aspirant's effort to attain the goal of Brahmaanubhava, is the Guru. He is a detached guide, who helps the student to understand the true import of the Vedaantic statements, especially at the hearing (sravana) state of Brahmaajijnaasa. The relationship that exists between the aspirant and the Guru is that of a teacher and a student. In this relationship, the aspirant is totally obedient to the Guru, does personal service to him, looks after the daily chores in the ashram and listens to the teachings of the Guru by sitting at his feet. It is not a one to one, I ' Thou relationship, in which one enters into the life of the other as an equal partner. Other than the teacher, the aspirant does not have any significant relationship with any other person. This is clear from what the aspirant does in the three stages of Brahmaajijnaasa, viz., sravana, manaana and nididhyaasana. In these three stages of Brahmaajijnaasa the aspirant firstly, hears the instructions of the teacher personally. Secondly he reflects on the content of the Guru's teachings in solitude, so as to remove the apparent contradictions and to be intellectually convinced of the true import of the scriptural aphorisms. Thirdly, he meditates in silence on the truths he achieved through hearing and reflection. The various stages of Brahmaajijnaasa in the jnaana path are so centered on the individual seeker and his personal effort the presence of the other in the process is seen as an interference that would distract him from the goal of self-realization. So the seeker is basically all alone through out the process of Brahmaajijnaasa. Even after the seeker has attained self-realization, he does not need to have any relationship with the other or to a community of others, because all such relationships would be irrelevant and unreal to the Brahmajnaani. Thus, Shankara's path to self-realization does not give any significance to the I-Thou relationship that is genuine and inter- subjective communion of hearts between human persons...

From what has been said, it is clear that Shankara by his doctrine of Brahmaanubhava and the self's absolute oneness with Brahman, does not speak of a dissolution of the world. At the attainment of Brahmaanubhava, the external world is not destroyed or annihilated. But, the Brahmajnaani views the world no longer from the phenomenal point of view. He sees everything in terms of oneness, which is characteristic of Brahmaanubhava. Thus, from the point of view of the liberated man the phenomenal world is real in the relative sense, because the state he is in, i.e., his absolute identity with Brahman is that which is really real. As long as one tries to understand Shankara's Advaita philosophy purely from the phenomenal point of view, he will always meet with contradictions, for what is absolutely true is the transcendental and trans-empirical.

4.2.2. Advaita Vedaanta as Pantheism

Many consider Advaita Vedaanta to be pantheistic, because self- realization consists in the identity of the self and Brahman. Those who hold this view cite the mahaavaakya athat art Thou' in their support.9 In interpreting the above mentioned Vedaantic aphorism, we say that it cannot be interpreted in the direct meaning of athat' and 'Thou', viz., Iishvara and jiiva, since such a union between the supreme Lord and the limited soul is not possible. It its implied meaning athat' refers to Brahman and athou' refers to Aatman. Brahman is the absolute and eternal reality in the universe and Aatman is the pure consciousness, the eternal reality behind the individual self. Brahman and Aatman are eternally identical. In Brahmaanubhava, as we know, there is not experiencer and the experienced. What really happens in Brahmaanubhava is that the self, removed of all ignorance and its effects, realizes its eternal identity with Brahman. Thus, Brahmaanubhava cannot be considered as involving an identity between supreme Lord and the soul. Besides, the terms, 'union' and 'identity', are used figuratively because there is not new identity reached in Brahmaanubhava, but only the existing eternal identity between Brahman and Aatman is realized. Again there is no notion of God (as a theist would understand) in Shankara's thought. He does not consider Brahman as a deity to be worshipped or to be devoted to, but as the absolute ontological reality behind all the phenomena, which is identical with the self, the pure consciousness. So, for Shankara Brahman is not to be worshipped, but to be realized. If Brahman is viewed as a deity to be worshipped, and such a deity is seen as being identical with everything in the universe, then we have a pantheistic world-view. Since Shankara does not consider Brahman as deity who is identical with the universe, it seems clear that in Shankara's Advaita there is no trace of pantheism. Advaita goes beyond the distinction of theism, atheism and pantheism, as the question of God is not at all an issue in Advaita Vedaanta. Therefore, Shankarite thought does not involve any form of 'isms' that views the absolute reality in terms of Godhead. But rather it is a mystical philosophy that aims at making everyone aware of his true ontological nature, i.e., Brahman and move towards attaining it.”

Vensus A. George, Self-realization (Brahmaanubhava)
Council for Research in Values & (January 2001), pp. 23-31

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