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The Self As Brahman Essay

1304 words - 5 pages

Ordinary human existence is a finite experience marked by episodes of pleasure, but these moments of satisfaction are punctuated by periods of pain and change. It is not possible to reach fulfillment from a life within these boundaries, as an attachment to a changing world represents a connection that is tied to non-permanence. In cases of this tie to an erratic, unpredictable reality, we are undercut by the flux of the world, and ultimately made vulnerable by this change, and we cannot experience ultimate fulfillment. To break this free from this cycle of change, we must realize the self as Brahman. It is through this realization that we can achieve unification with the ultimate reality and we can reach fulfillment.
Brahman is the imperishable Self. The nature of Brahman lies within us and within all, but it also lies beyond our understanding. It is “not this, it is not that [this] (neti, neti). It is unseizable, for it cannot be seized; indestructible, for it cannot be destroyed; unattached, for it does not attach itself; is unbound, does not tremble, is not injured…” (Radhakrishnan 88-89). These passages from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad lead us toward an understanding of Brahman as all that we are, and everything, but also highlights the indescribable nature of the absolute being which is Brahman. Brahman is the source of existence, but it does not exist. Brahman is all, yet nothing. It is impossible for us to describe any singular feature of Brahman because Brahman is not within our relative understanding of what reality is. Brahman is the Self, it is, “in the space within the heart…” (Radhakrishnan 88). Brahman is within and without, “he is your Self (atman), which is in all things…” (Radhakrishnan 83). Brahman is of many forms, yet is entirely formless, it is, “the formed and the formless, the mortal and the immortal, the stationary and the moving, the actual and the yon” (Radhakrishnan 79). Brahman is an undifferentiated, universal consciousness that is in all things, of all things, and the root of all. The extent of Brahman is so beyond measurement and description that it is incomprehensible to us. It is the source of life, which lives in each person, but yet it does not exist. Brahman is the true nature of the self. It is a unified reality and absolute being that cannot be described.
In realization of the self as Brahman and Atman, the distinction between what is self and what is not-self falls away. This realization is our connection with the ultimate reality and it allows us to recognize our role in oneness as, and with, Brahman. Through this we gain the imperishable qualities of this ultimate being, and we break free of a cycle of pain and pleasure, becoming invulnerable and satisfied. By opening our eyes to the true nature of Brahman, we are able to open our eyes to the true nature of ourselves. Without Brahman, what we know of satisfaction is only in contrast to pain and suffering. We recognize pleasure only through our connection...

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