Athato Brahma jignyasaa ! ......

“ Athato Brahma Jigyaasaa!

It is first line of Brahma Sutras. Actually It is the first line of a notes I had with me. That line sent me in search of the original line. And one look at the original line in Brahma Sutras , it is clear that it is an ocean and it is the beginning of an intense elaboration. The three words of the sentence above were followed by three thousand words of elaboration!!!

Even if we did not know the depths of philosophy , the simple Sanskrit translation is “ Now the great desire to know !” It is also “ Now the desire to know ” about the “ Brahma “. Brahma sutras are like a series of aphorisms or a brief statements of principle or truth . Actually it is a series of a terse statements of truth inviting discussion or commentary !

The notes referred above are simpler. You can develop a sense of detachment if you realize that ups and downs are part of life and you move on . Detachment does not mean you ignore your surroundings or your family or your obligations ! . It does not require you to move to forest so to say!

Detachment is also letting go of the attitude of ‘ this is mine ‘ or ‘ this is not' . The attitude of “this is mine” this is not and accordingly associating ones likes and dislikes , ‘I care ‘ or ‘I do not care' is the root cause of all conflict . The passion about things that are mine are to be tempered with a reality that it could be some body else's too . So handle those that are ours without passion but with determination of doing it right . As for those we see as ‘not ours' , if they are to be handled ,we handle them also with a passion as though it is our own and ultimately handling them the way we are supposed to handle our own , that too without passion.

To be without passion yet doing it with passion is what it is all about.

While we started with the first line of Brahmasutras, all this is ceratinly not an elaboration on the first Brahma Sutra. For that one is recommneded to go to the authentic texts referenced below.

Om tat sat



Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Shankaracharya ; Translatedby Swami Gambhirananda; Published by Advaitashrama.


The Vedas

Vedas are about many things but essentially Vedas are about the Supreme Being. It is borne out by the statement of Lord Krishna in Gita –

vaidaischa sarvai ahameva vaidyah “ I am the person who is to be known by Vedas”.

The Vedas are called anaadi - that is without beginning – meaning there by that there was nothing before! Vedas are vast storehouse of Knowledge . What is stated in Vedas is that they are verily endless . Ananta vai Vedaah – endless are Vedas !.

Vedas are also called apourusheyas – meaning there by not by a man . Pourusheya means work of a man – So Vedas are said to be not the work of a human being !

Vedas are also called Sruti , since they were handed down in an oral tradition from teacher to disciple. It is later that Vedavyasa classified them into four vedas

Vedas contain many Suktas or words of wisdom . More and more people are familiar with this aspect . It is true , in that now we are aware of and chant various Suktas like Sri Suktam, Purusha Suktam etc .

Vedas contain Mantras.

Mananaat traayate iti mantrah ; by repeatedly repeating which ( mananaath) one is saved ( traayate) that is known as mantrah.

There is a method of chanting Vedas. This is emphasized by saying how it should not be done !

Geetee seeghree sirah kampee thatha likhita paathakah| Anarthajnah alpakanthascha shadaite paathakaadhamah ||

Geetee one who sings in a sing song fashion – seeghree one who sings in a quick tempo , sirah kampeeone who nods his head needlessly , alpakanthascha one who sings in a feeble voice – likhita paathakah one who reads from a written text – anarthajnah- one who does not understand the meaning - these six are paathakaadhamahpoor readers !! Adhama actually means lowest class of person etc…!

Vedas must be chanted with grandeur so that the sound can be properly heard. Properly chanted Vedic recital produces vibrations in the pulse of the one chanting as well as the one listening too! If you like it there is nothing like it !

No other religious text emphasizes the well being of animals and plants as much as the Vedas. Sam no astu dvipade , sam chatushpade – not only two legged but four legged too should prosper.

om tat Sat


Mahavakyaas !!
Each Veda has many Mahavakyaas or great sayings or aphorisms with great meanings. Four of them from the four Vedas are very thought provoking and made an imprint on the folklore of Vedas. So much so that common people touching the periphery of the Vedantic philosophy also get to hear these lines . These Mahavakyas are in reality great sayings used for initiation of the learned into the final stages of realization.

These four great sayings are simple , thought provoking and powerful. It is said these Mahavakyas themselves are powerful enough if one continuously chants and meditates on them the non-duality of Jeevaatma and Paramaatma will be experienced.

These four Mahavakyas are from four Upanishads in the four Vedas.
The Aitareeya Upanishad in Rigveda contains the first one.
Prajnanam (hi) Brahma. - Experience alone is Brahman.

The second Mahavakya is from Brihadarnyaka Upanishad of Shukla Yahurveda. It states:
Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahman

The Third Mahavakya is from Chandogya Upanishad of Sama Veda. It goes as follows:
Tat tvam asi ( tatvamasi) - That thou art !

The fourth Mahavakya is from Mandukya Upanishad in Adharva Veda .The line from Mandukya Upanishad says:
Ayam atma Brahma – This Soul is Brahman !

Each of these statements is a powerful statement of experience, which emanated out of experience of seers. A historically more recent realization comes through Buddha’s sayings. Buddha did penance and after realizing the truth the ultimate statements made by him seems so simple and self evident yet staggering . Thus some of the greatest statements have simplicity at the core making us wonder is that all ? . The reality of the simple statements dawns only when one goes through the experience cycle.
Ultimately experience alone can convince one of Brahman . Thus the Statement Prajnanam (hi) Brahma is an unexceptional Statement. Once one experiences Brahman the realization that Brahman is no other than the soul within you and that is Aham Brahmasmi ! That Brahman in me resides in you too and hence Tatvam asi – “you are that” follows . The Brahman that is in me, that is in you and that is in every being is really the soul present in every being which is saying Ayam Atma Brahma !