The supreme being – my own inner essence

As long as the ‘little I’ is active, the ‘real I’ will not manifest itself.
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 21:47 IST

The Isavasya Upanishad declares that the face of the Supreme Truth is covered by a golden disc and the student says, “O Controller of everything, remove this golden disc that covers your face, so that I, who loves the Truth, may perceive It.” 

This golden disc that hides the Truth is the glamour and glitter of the world. Most of us are carried away by this shining golden disc.

This prayer says “I can do nothing about this disc except plead with You to remove it, so that I can come face to face with You as the attributeless Supreme Truth’. 

It is noteworthy that even at the highest level of intellectual speculation, prayer still has importance. 

After praying for the golden disc to be removed, the devotee says, “Please gather up your light so that I may see your radiant form.” The word form is being used because for most people, a form is necessary to relate to.

To understand and have a relationship with an attributeless nothing is impossible for most people. That is why the system of worship through images was established.

From the form, one can go into the formless. Lest people mistake the meaning of the prayer, and think that it talks about wanting to see the Supreme Being in form alone, the rishi adds, “That which I seek to see, to whom I pray, is no different from my own Inner Being.” 

This prayer not only asks the Being to be seen, it also says, ”that Essence, that great Being, whom I, the lover of ‘Truth’ would like to see in its wondrous form – Soham Asmi! ‘That’, is not different from my own Inner Essence. That means, I exist because of it. If that is not, then I am not.’

Now while this is the teaching in the Upanishad, which is a highly speculative and philosophical text, the Bhakta, in his simplicity, comes to the same point. The Vedantin, after going through the Vedantic texts and meditating on it, comes to the understanding that the Supreme Being transcends the limitations of the intellect. 

In the case of the Bhakta, it begins with faith; while in the case of Jnana it begins with doubt; but in the end, the conclusion is that realisation comes about when the mind has become absolutely still. As long as the ‘little I’ is active, the ‘real I’ will not manifest itself.  When’this’ becomes quiet then ‘That’ manifests itself as one’s own Supreme Self. This is the teaching of the Upanishad.

(Published 26 February 2024, 21:47 IST)

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