Wednesday, 11 September 2013

the four Mahavakyas


Practical  steps  to spirituality- section  6 part   35

The  four  Mahavakyas 

              All  the  Upanishadic  statements   that  proclaim  the  identity  between  Atman  and  Brahman   are  called  Mahavakyas  .. One  Mahavakya  from  each  Veda  is  taken  to  represent  all  the  Mahavakyas   in that  particular  Veda  . Vedas  being  four   namely   Rg  , Yajur  , Sama  and  Atharva  , there  are  four  Mahavakyas  . And  they  are  :1.  Prajnanam  brahma  , Consciousness  is  Brahman   in  the  Aitreya  Upanishad  from  the  Rg  Veda.   2. Aham brahmasmi  - I  am  Brahman  in  the  Brhadaranyaka  Upanishad  from  the  Yajur  Veda  .  3.  Tat  tvam  asi  -  That  thou   art   in  the  Chandyogya   Upanishad   from  the  Sama  Veda  and  4.  Ayamatma  brahma  -  this  Self  is  Brahman   in  the  Mandukya  Upanishad  from  Atharvana  Veda 

             All  the  Mahavakyas  are  inter connected which  can  be  explained  thus  :   The  disciple  approaches  the  Guru  and   wants   to  be  taught   about  the  nature  of the  Ultimate  Truth. . The  Guru  first  defines  the  Truth  to  the  student   as  Prajnanam  brahma  .and  this  is  a  statement  of  definition  . The  student  reflects  on  this  teaching    and  comes  to  understand  that  the  Consciousness  , the  subject  , which  is  experienced  as  the  'I'  is  what  is  being  talked  about. ,  but  he  still  has  doubts  whether  the  Ultimate  Truth  is  different  from  him  . So  he  goes  back  to  the  Guru   who  gives  him  the  next  Mahavakya  , Tat  tvam  Asi  ,  which  clearly  declares  that  he  ,the  seeker  himself  is  the  sought. . This  is  a  statement  of  instruction. . 

      The  student  now  sits  in  meditation   and  his  doubts  are  removed   and  he  is  certain  that  he  is  not  the  mind,  body,  intellect  and  other  conditions   and  he  comes  to   directly  experience  the  Self  as  Brahman. . Aham  brahmasmi   and  this  is  a  statement  of  experience  .  Now  that  he  has  experienced  his  real  nature  , the  Guru  advises  him  to  ever  revel  and  abide  in  this  knowledge  . . Ayam  Atma  brahma  is  the  nature  of  this  abidance  and  the  student  never  loses  sight  of  this  knowledge  even  when  he  transacts  with  the  world   and  this  is  a  statement  of  constant  practice. 

          The  spiritual  sadhana  of  the  student  starts  with  sravana  (  listening  )   and  then   with  reflecting  (  manana  )  on the  Truth   and  follows  this  up  with  contemplation  (  nidhidhyasana  )   and  then  comes  to  directly  experience (  samadhi)   and  thereafter  abides   in  this  knowledge  (  nishta  )  

to  be  continued...... 


  1. Aham Brahmasmi is the Anubhava vakyam and that should be the last in order ?

  2. A vedantani or any enthuthiast day & night will keep on saying I am bhraman, self is bhraman...but let me tell you the fact never changes - you have to practise hard to make you mind pure ...because mind is the one which changes on reflecting on or about bhraman....& gains purity ....till the time the karma remain you keep on taking purity of mind & chintan on bhraman is the way ...but in this age where we are every now & then troubled by various situations I really doubt that one can reflect on bhraman.....but anyways good post keep it up...