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WHAT ARE SEVEN MAHAVAKAYAS OF HINDUISM? The basic teachings of the Upanishads are summed up in seven Great Contemplations/Sayings (MAHAVAKAYAS).These are :------------- Sanskrit--------------------------------------------------: English: 1. Brahma satyam jagan mithya------ Brahman is real; the world is unreal 2. Ekam evadvitiyam brahma--------- Brahman is one, without a second 3. Prajnanam brahman----------------- Brahman is the supreme knowledge 4. Tat tvam asi -----------------------------That is what you are 5. Ayam atma brahma-------------------- Atman and brahman are the same 6. Aham brahmasmi----------------------- I am brahman 7. Sarvam khalvidam brahma------------- All of this is brahman WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ' BRAHMAN'------- 1-ROOT OF THE BRAHMAN'---The word brahman comes from the root brha or brhi, which means knowledge, expansion, and all-pervasiveness. It is that existence which alone exists, and in which there is the appearance of the entire universe. 2-NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE-- Brahman means the absolute reality, that which is eternal, and not subject to death, decay, or decomposition. In English, we speak of omnipresence or oneness. This is the principle of the word brahman. 3-NOT A PROPER NAME-- Brahman is not a proper name, but a Sanskrit word that denotes that oneness, the non-dual reality, the substratum underneath all of the many names and forms of the universe. Brahman is somewhat like the difference between the word ocean, and the specific ocean called Pacific Ocean. The word brahman is like ocean, not Pacific Ocean. Brahman is not a name of God. These contemplations neither promote nor oppose any particular religious concept of God. 4-IMMANANCE & TRANSCENDENCE(supremacy )---- One may also choose to think of brahman in theological terms, though that is not necessary. Within that perspective, the scholars speak of two principles: immanence and transcendence. Immanence(of God-- permanently pervading and sustaining the universe) is described as the divinity existing in, and extending into all parts of the created world. In that sense, the Mahavakyas can be read as suggesting there is no object that does not contain, or is not part of that creation. 5-INDESCRIBABLE---It's really indescribable, as it is beyond form. However one chooses to hold the word brahman, it is very useful to remember that brahman is often described as indescribable. For convenience sake, it is said that brahman is the nature of existence, consciousness, and bliss, though admitting that these words, too, are inadequate. Seek direct experience: --The real meaning comes only in direct experience resulting from contemplation and yoga meditation. SEVEN MAHAVAKAYAS OF HINDUISM-------- 1 - BRAHMA SATYAM JAGAT MITHYA------ Brahman is real; the world is unreal (The absolute is real; the world is unreal or only relatively real) 1-1-Brahman is real: The way in which brahman is real is like saying that the clay in a pot is real, or the gold in a bracelet is real (metaphorically speaking). The idea is that first there was clay and gold, and when those changed form, there now appears to be a pot and a bracelet. 1-2-The world is unreal: However, when the pot is broken, or the bracelet is melted, there is once again only clay and gold. It is in that sense that the pot and the bracelet are not real; they come and go from manifestation. They are not as real as are the clay and the gold. (Remember that these are metaphors, and that obviously, we could also say that clay and gold also come and go, such as when planets are born and die from the nuclear fire of suns. Also, note that using the English words real and unreal for the Sanskrit words satyam and mithya, are not perfect, but they are the best we have to work with.) 1-3-Something is more real than the temporary: In saying that the world is unreal, it means to say that literally everything we experience in the external world is, like the pot and the bracelet, in a process of coming, being, and going (so too with all of the objects of the subtle realm). If the Mahavakya stopped there, this might appear to be a negative, or depressing comment. But it does not stop there. It makes the added comment that this absolute reality is, in a sense, more real than the temporary appearances. 1-4-Two points: Thus, the Mahavakya does two major things:----- Reminder of the temporary:-- First, it serves as a reminder of the temporary nature of the worldly objects. Reminder of the eternal:-- Second, it serves as a reminder that there is an eternal nature, that is not subject to change. An invitation to know: In these reminders there is an invitation to come to know, in direct experience, the existence, consciousness, and bliss that is this eternal essence of our being. 1-5-Don't stop living in the world: When practicing contemplation with this, and the other Mahavakyas, it is important to not allow the reflection that the world is unreal to stop you from doing your actions in the external world. To think that the world is unreal, and therefore we need not do anything is a grave mistake. The realization of the unreality of the world and the reality of the essence behind the world brings freedom, not bondage or lethargy. . 2- EKAM ADWAITYAM BRAHMA---- Brahman is one, without a second (There is one absolute reality, without any secondary parts) 2-1-No object is truly independent: As our attention goes from object to object, image to image, we keep finding that those objects and images are only relatively real (as discussed above). Gradually, we come to see that no object exists independently from brahman, the whole. Hence, it is said there is one, without a second. Wherever we look, whatever we think or feel, try as we will, we can find no second object or part. Everything is seen as a manifestation of something else. 2-2-The objects are made of the same stuff: To speak of one, without a second, is like thinking of thousands of pots or bracelets made from clay or gold. As you look at each of the pots and bracelets, one at a time, you conclude that this pot, and this bracelet is not separate from the whole field of clay and gold. Suddenly you come to the insight that there is not a single pot that is separate from clay, and there is not a single bracelet separate from gold. In other words, you see that there is one field, without a second object, or simply stated, there is one, without a second. 2-3-Once again, this can also be viewed in a theological way, wherein immanence (versus transcendence) means the divinity existing in, and extending into all parts all parts of the created world. Thus, there is no object that does not contain, or is not part of that creation. 3 -- PRAJNANAM BRAHMAN------ Brahman is the supreme knowledge (Knowing the absolute reality is the supreme knowledge) (from Aitareya Upanishad of Rig Veda) 3-1-Prajnanam Brahma "Intelligence is Brahman" -- Our discernment of truth is the truth itself. It indicates that the Divine intelligence is present within us and has the power to return us to the Divine. Our inmost intelligence is that supreme intelligence through which we can merge into the Absolute. Knowledge out of which other knowledge arises: There are many types of knowledge one can attain. However, they all stem from, or are a part of, a higher knowledge. There is one exception, and that is the absolute knowledge, which is the highest. It is called absolute because it is not stemming from something else. Supreme knowledge is the ground out of which the diversity of knowledge and experience grows. The plant, though appearing separate, is made of the stuff of the ground. 3-2-Many metaphors for higher knowledge: It is just about impossible to write words describing this notion of supreme knowledge, which is part of the reason that there are so many different descriptions given by many people. Thus, we use metaphor after metaphor trying to capture and communicate the essence of the meaning. This Mahavakya is saying that as you climb the ladder of knowledge, this higher knowledge is to be found at the level of brahman, the oneness of universal consciousness. 3-3-Reflect on lower knowledge to find the higher: Reflecting on lower knowledge might give some idea. The knowledge of how to ride a bicycle is a form of knowledge, but it is based on the higher knowledge of how to move your body. The knowledge of complex mathematics is based on the higher, more foundational, prerequisite knowledge that allows the thinking process itself. When you see a person that you recognize as your friend, there was first an ability to see and conceptualize, which is a higher knowledge. 3-4-Find the foundation: Intuitively, you come to see that there is consciousness, or whatever term you would like to use, that is higher, more foundational, or prerequisite to the lower knowledge in all of its other forms. The highest rung of the ladder is called supreme knowledge, prajna, and this is said to be one and the same with brahman, the oneness. 3-5-Knowing is not mere intellectualizing: It is extremely important to note here, that this is not a process of intellectualizing. Knowledge refers to knowing or awareness, not just a linear, cognitive thinking process. The knowledge here, is more like the knowledge of recognizing an object as a tree, than the process of adding up a list of numbers. There is simply no more straightforward way of saying it, than to say it is a matter of knowing the tree. 3-6-Knowing applies to both head and heart people: Also, it is not that some people are intellectual, or head people, while others are emotional, or heart people. While these differences between people might be real, this Mahavakya is talking about a universal principle that applies to all people. The practices themselves are applicable to all people, whether inclined towards the head or the heart, though different people will quite naturally have different experiences leading to the same ultimate realizations. 4-AHAM BRAHMASMI----- Aham Brahmasmi-"I am Brahman" - This states the identity of the inmost consciousness of the individual with that of the supreme Divine. The ultimate truth of Vedic knowledge is not that some great savior is God or the Lord or that such and such a God or name and form of God is the supreme. It is not the worship of a person, book, image or idea. It is not even the worship of God. The Upanishads say that whatever we worship as truth apart from ourselves destroys us. They teach that our own Self is the true Divinity, that it is the presence of the absolute within our heart and all the universe.So'ham--- "He am I" -- This shows the identity of the self with the Divine Lord inherent within the natural movement of our breath. "So" is the natural sound of inhalation, "ham" of exhalation. These are statements of the identity of the individual consciousness with the Absolute or Divine reality. It is one and all and all in one. They all derive from and merge into Om (AUM), the Divine Word of "I am all". 5-AYAM ATMA BRAHMA--- -Ayam Atma Brahma-"The Self is Brahman" -- This also states the identity of the soul with the Absolute but in a more objective and less direct manner. Not only is our Self the Divine. It is the same Self in all beings that is the same Absolute truth. 6-Tat tvam asi--"That thou art" - Whatever we see or think about we are that. Not only is the I That, the You is also That. We are that ultimate I and Thou in all. The consciousness in the other is also the Divine. 7-SARVAM KHALVIDAM BRAHMA--- 7-1-Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma-"The Universe is Brahman" - The entire universe is the Divine, which includes our self. The Divine is not only the consciousness principle in you and I, it is also the being principle in all things. It is the ultimate object as well as the inmost subject in all beings. 7-2-The Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma Mahavakya is the last stage of man's realisation towards absolute reality. However, this realisation comes in stages. First, there is cognitive understanding of the meaning and then the intuition rolls down, thus revealing deeper meanings. Gradually, one comes to understand and gradually experience the deeper aspects of the other Mahavakyas. This Mahavakyas offer a gradual realisation through its chronological order. The meanings of the Mahavakyas are as follows - 1-Brahman is real; the world is unreal. 2-Brahman is one, without a second. 3- Brahman is the supreme knowledge. 4-That is what you are. 5-Atman and Brahman are the same 6- I am Brahman 7-3-As a person comes to experience the truth of the individual Mahavakyas; it seems that they come together in the form of a song that exclaims in joy, "All of this is Brahman!" The Mahavakyas initiates a process that comes from person-to-person listening , followed by deep reflection, observation, and meditation. Finally, it is as if the one doing the practice travels upwards to unite directly with experience, even though there was never any division in the first place. One should allow his awareness to try to encompass, at one time, the entire real and unreal universe, the objects and people in the world, as well as his own body and mind. One should hold these together, as one whole, and reflect on the particular words, "All of this is Brahman! All of this is one!" This Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma Mahavakya builds on the other practices, and expands in its experience. 7-4-Finally, the mind is set-aside in an explosion of awareness and eventually, the depth of meditation and the aspirant achieves contemplation or Mantra Siddhi. The truth of the Mahavakyas comes forward and is seen to have been there all along, ever still, waiting to be discovered in direct experience. The last stage of realisation is the Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma Mahavakya. The entire universe is Divine which also includes our self. The Divine is also the being principle in all things. It is the ultimate as well as the inmost subject in all beings. It is all in one and one and all....... THE KEY POINT-------- 1--THESE SEVEN SENTENCES ARE FOLLOWED IN SYSTEMATIC ORDER BUT REALIZED IN NIRBEEJ SAMADHI.....AS SOON AS YOU COME BACK (BECOME CONSCIOUS)......YOU HAVE THAT MEMORIES ,,,PEACE & BLISS,,,WHICH IS REFLECTED BY YOUR FACE.. 2-WE CAN REALIZE ,,,OBSERVE,,& FOLLOW THESE MAHAVAKAYAS UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF A MENTOR-----BECAUSE THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF FOUR VEDAS,,,,,,,THE HIGHEST TARGET TO REACH......SHIVOHAM......