The Brahman of the Upanishads

Yale University; New Haven, Connecticut, USA
8 December 1971

The heart of the Upanishads is most meaningful and most fruitful because it embodies the life of the Brahman. Brahman is Reality in existence; Brahman is Reality's existence. The eternal Truth of the Brahman is in the finite, beyond the finite, in the Infinite, and beyond the ever-transcending Infinite.

In the domain of realisation, Brahman is the Sovereign Absolute. In the domain of revelation, Brahman is the omnipresent Reality. In the field of manifestation, Brahman is the immortalising Perfection.

Brahman the Creator is the Consciousness-Light; Brahman the Fulfiller is the Consciousness-Delight. Brahman is the inner Soul of all and the only Goal in all.

When we look within, Brahman is Consciousness-Force. When we look without, Brahman is Self-manifestation. When we think of Brahman with the earth-bound mind, the limited mind, the sophisticated mind, the unaspiring mind, our life becomes sheer frustration. When we meditate on Brahman in the heart, in the silent recesses of the heart, our life becomes pure illumination.

To a non-seeker, Brahman is unknowable. To a beginner-seeker, Brahman is unknown. To a Master-seeker, Brahman is knowable, Brahman is known. Further, he himself grows into the Consciousness of Brahman.

"//Sarvam khalvidam brahma//
//Indeed, all is Brahman.//
The Eternal is existence within. The Eternal is existence without."

There is no abiding happiness in the finite. It is only in the Infinite that we can hear the message of eternal Delight: Anandam Brahmaand Anantam Brahma. These are the two major aspects of Brahman. Anandam Brahma is the life of the all-illumining Delight and the all-fulfilling Delight. Anantam Brahma is the life of Infinity.

Here on earth the life of Infinity constantly grows for the fulfilment of the Absolute Brahman. That is why the Upanishadic Seers sing from the depths of their hearts about the Transcendental Delight of the Brahman:

Anandaddhyeva khalvimani bhutani jayante
Anandena jatani jivanti
Anandam prayantyabhisamvisanti

From the Transcendental Delight we came into existence;
In Delight we grow and play our respective roles; and,
At the end of our journey's close, we enter into the Supreme Delight.

Again, when the Seers saw Infinity in Brahman, they sang:

Aum
Purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate
Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate

Infinity is that. Infinity is this.
From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.
From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains.

Brahman is active. Brahman is inactive. The active Brahman inwardly does and outwardly becomes. Also, the active Brahman outwardly does and inwardly becomes. But the inactive Brahman is the total freedom of inaction and complete freedom in inaction.

Brahmam is at once the eternal Unborn and the eternal birth and growth of existence. Brahman is ignorance-night. Brahman is knowledge-light. Brahman the ignorance-night needs total transformation. Brahman the knowledge-light needs complete manifestation.

The whole universe came into existence from Brahman the Seed. When Brahman wanted to project Himself, He first projected Himself through four significant worlds: Ambhas, the highest world; Marici, the sky; Mara the mortal world, the earth; and Apa, the world beneath earth.

Then Brahman sent forth the guardians of these worlds. Next, He sent forth food for them. Then Brahman came to realise that He Himself had to take part in His Cosmic Game, so He entered into the Cosmic Lila (Game) through His own Yogic power. First He entered into the human body through the skull. The door by which Brahman entered is called the door of Delight. This door is the highest centre of consciousness. This is known as sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus. It is situated in the centre of the brain. The realisation of the Yogi enters there and becomes one with the Consciousness of the Brahman.

Brahman has many names, but His secret name is 'Aum'.

Pranavo dhanuh saro hiyatma brahma tallaksyam

Aum is the bow and Atman, the Self, is the arrow;
Brahman is the target.

Through repeated practice the arrow is fixed into the target, the Brahmic Consciousness. That is to say, through regular concentration, meditation and contemplation, the seeker enters into the Absolute Consciousness of the Brahman.

Creation is the supreme sacrifice of the Brahman. Creation is by no means a mechanical construction. Creation is a spiritual act, supremely revealing, manifesting and fulfilling the divine splendour of the Brahman. The divine Architect is beyond Creation and, at the same time, manifests Himself in and through Creation.

Brahman created out of His Being priests, warriors, tradesmen and servants. Then He created the Law. Nothing can be higher than this Law. This Law is Truth. When a man speaks the Truth, he declares the Law. When he declares the Law, he speaks the Truth. The Truth and the Law are one, inseparable.

Indian mythology has divided Time —- not earth-bound time but eternal Time —- into four divisions: satyayuga, tretayuga, dvaparayuga, and kaliyuga. According to many, we are now in the kaliyuga. Brahman in the kaliyuga is fast asleep. He is in inconscience — ignorance-mire. In the dvaparayuga, He awakes and He looks around. In the tretayuga, He stands up, about to move forward. In the satyayuga, the Golden Age, He moves fast, faster, fastest, towards His Goal. The message of the Vedas, the eternal message of the Aryan culture and civilisation, the realisation of the Indian Sages and Seers, is movement, inner progress, life's march towards the Destined Goal.

"//Caraiveti caraiveti//
Move on, move on!"