The universal truth

That there is a higher power that is responsible for the origin and sustenance of this universe is a fact that is accepted by all religions, though the explanations may vary.
Indian philosophy also speaks about this in the Vedas and especially in the concluding portions, the Upanishads.

This unseen supreme power is called Brahman, which is recognised as the highest reality or truth. Realising this fact is said to be the goal of human life. Since it would be difficult for the human mind to visualize an invisible, abstract form, various physical forms have been given to this higher power, along with different names and attributes.

 But the fundamental truth that the highest power is only one remains. One among many explanations of this is Adi Shankaracharya’s treatise Vivekachudamani.

The portion of the text dealing with this subject commences with the unequivocal statement that Brahman, the highest reality, also called the Atman is itself Lord Brahma, is itself Lord Vishnu, is itself Lord Indra, is itself Lord Shiva and is itself the Universe.

There is nothing else apart from Brahman. Thus is established the fact that it is this supreme Brahman that manifests itself as sentient and insentient objects of this universe. In order to reinforce his point, Shankara says thus. “It is itself inside, itself outside, itself in front, itself behind, itself in the south, itself in the north, it is above, it is below”.

This shows the omnipresence of this power. It is everywhere and in everything. Water may exist as a river, as a pool, as the ocean or as a bubble. But it is essentially water. Similarly, everything from the physical body to the inner intellect is Brahman, the unitary and pure existence. Shankara goes on to say that this entire universe as cognized through speech and mind is this Brahman only.

There is nothing other than this. The beautiful  Chandogya Upanishad statement is quoted here that all names and modifications are but a play of words. It may be called a chain, a bangle, a ring or a bracelet.  But it is basically gold. It may be called a pot, a jug or a lamp, but they are all basically clay. Similarly, this world of names and forms is but a manifestation of the formless, undifferentiated, pure existence that is called Brahman.

Now Shankara makes an important statement. How does one recognize this power within? This universe has evolved out of the five primordial elements of sky, wind, fire, water and earth in that order. When this process is reversed by the process of involution in sequence, what remains at the end is Brahman, the unseen creator.

Similarly, when the mind traces a backward path,  one reaches the source of the self, the ‘I’. A breathtakingly identical explanation has been given by Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi, who says that if one cogitates on this fact, it will induce a current of tranquility that will help him in his day to day life. 

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