Brahman as the Highest and the Purest Reality

Breath control

by Jayaram V

Summary: The essay explains, Brahman as the highest, the purest and the ultimate reality (brihat-tattvam), who shines in all the best, brightest and sacred manifestations of creation.

Brahman is described in the Vedas as the highest deity and the ultimate recipient of all sacrificial offerings. However, he is unlike any other deity we worship. He is not directly worshipped in the Vedic ceremonies or in the domestic rituals. Yet, the Upanishads and Darshanas (philosophies) frequently mention him and debate about him. Although they refer to him as a person or a being, the truth is that in his purest and original state, Brahman is not a person or a being, but a state (yoga). He is like an infinite ocean of pure consciousness in which things manifest and unmanifest intermittently, while the ocean remains the same.

In his absolute state, Brahman is not an embodied Self or a corporeal being, but the highest, the purest and ultimate state, which is boundless and infinite and without any duality or objectivity. He represents all the greatness (brihat tattvam), brilliance, intelligence and auspiciousness found in the whole existence. He is the essence of all the best and the finest you will ever find anywhere, including yourself or others. If you can manage to remove all that in you which is not the best or the finest or the purest, what remains in the end is Brahman, the most auspicious state.

The Vedas affirm that he is the highest and the ultimate reality, who is discernible in the most silent, stable and purest parts of our consciousness. He emerges out of the chaos of our minds, when we transcend our desires, egoism, attachments and delusion. There is nothing beyond him or above him. Those who attain this state become one with him, and never fall down into lower realms.

Thus, Brahman is not found in one place, but in best of the qualities, powers, perfections, beings and objects. Just as the light shines through objects according to their purity or transparency, Brahman shines in objects according to their purity and divinity. This idea is very elaborately illustrated in the 10th chapter of the Bhagavadgita, named Vibhuti yoga, the yoga of divine manifestations.

In that, Lord Krishna clearly declares that qualities such as intelligence, knowledge, freedom from delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the senses, control of the mind, etc., arise in creation because of him only. In the last part of the chapter, he also states that any object which is endowed with beauty, prosperity and energy manifests as a part of his power only. Thus, know that Brahman represents the sum of all the divinity and sanctity in the whole existence.

Once you understand Brahman as a state, it is not difficult to foresee the logical possibilities or what the Upanishads keep repetitively affirming about liberation as attaining absorbtion, oneness or union with Brahman. The state of Brahman is present in you, as your very self or essential nature, beneath layers of impurities and grossness. Just as Brahman, it is not an entity but a state. Perhaps, it is even wrong to suggest that they are different. It is the same state of Brahman which is present in all as individual Self (Atman).

You can enter that state by removing all the impurities in yourself and reflecting the best and the highest of your nature, cultivating the divine qualities which are stated in the Bhagavadgita. By that, you will achieve union or oneness with the state of Brahman or attain Brahma Yogam, the highest, purest and most auspicious state which is also indestructible, eternal, blissful and infinite. In that state, you are immortal.

Worlds come and go. Creation rises and falls in a cyclical pattern. Things emerge and disappear in the infinite ocean of pure consciousness. What remains forever is the ocean itself, or the purest and infinite state of Brahman, which is truth (sat) in itself. This is best illustrated in the Upanishad statement, Satyameva Jayete, which means truth ultimately triumphs. While everything perishes or fails, the truth of Brahman never fails or perishes. In the end, it is the only truth which remains and triumphs.

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