Knowledge of the Absolute

Arjuna’s doubts do not end. He asks the Lord: What is Brahman? What is karma? How is the Lord to be remembered when a person leaves his mortal coil?

 Sri Krishna answers him by telling him that Brahman is pure consciousness, otherwise known as the imperishable Supreme Self. That which causes all living beings to take birth in this universe is karma and the Lord is the recipient of all offerings made in sacrificial rituals.

The Lord further adds that he who remembers him at the time of death comes to merge in Him. Such a soul does not take birth again. He is liberated from the cycle of birth and death. 

The Lord explains that Brahman has two aspects, one that is manifest and the other unmanifest. It is from the unmanifest (purusha) that the manifest (prakriti) comes into existence and upon completing its term, returns to the unmanifest.

In Vedic cosmology, the universe goes through four yugas or ages including the Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali Yuga. The cycle begins with righteousness but with each age there is a diminution of dharma by a quarter until the Age of Kali, when there is but a quarter of righteousness left. One cycle of these four ages is known as a Mahayuga and this is said to last 4,326,000 years. A thousand mahayugas constitute one day of Brahma and one night is said to constitute a similar length of time.

One day and night of Brahma, the Lord of Creation, is known as a kalpa. 360 kalpas constitute on year of Brahma and the life of Brahma is said to extend to 100 such years. The universe comes into existence with each day of Brahma and all beings dissolve at the end of each night of Brahma. The process has no end.The Lord explains that even during the dissolution of the cosmos, the unmanifest is indestructible and “that is my supreme abode”. Sri Krishna explains that He exists in all living beings and that all living beings exist in Him.

The value of scriptural knowledge is limited in the road to salvation. They are akin to signposts in the journey but once reached, they have little value. 

According to Swami Rama: “Scriptural knowledge is helpful only to a certain extent but the true yogi attains direct knowledge which helps him go beyond to the heart of the teachings of the Vedas. He is definitely superior to one who follows the scriptures and performs sacrifices according to instructions given in the scriptures. Direct knowledge alone leads to salvation.” 

Knowledge of the Absolute is gained through direct experience. The Grace of the Supreme Guru is an absolute and essential prerequisite for self-realisation.

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