From ancient days India has been known to other nations for her wealth and wisdom. Whoever came, they were not only interested to settle, but also wanted to share her wisdom, the spiritual knowledge.
The philosophy behind this knowledge surpassed the time and space limitations, leading towards the Infinity.
Who, Where and How?
From time immemorial man asked himself,
- Who am I?
- Who gave life to us?
- Where is all the Creation – the Sun, the Moon, the planets, this whole world, and worldly beings- coming from?
- How is all this constantly vibrating and changing?
- With whose inspiration and guidance is all this keeping balance – managing unity as a whole, yet in its own way, each one is unique?
In India, ancient spiritual seekers meditated year after year to seek answers to questions like these. Gradually deeper meanings were revealed to them. As the time passed, their knowledge grew deeper. What was developed then, even now seems amazing to the interested mind?
Ancient scriptures of India such as the Vedas and the Upanishads, as they were revealed to the Rishis, has two aspects – one is time-bound, and the other is timeless, one is temporary and the other is eternal.
One is material and the other is spiritual. But they all direct us towards the Supreme AbsoluteTruth, the Highest Knowledge and Realization, the most Sacred and Secret Mystery.
Rishis – the greatest contributors of humanity
Who were these Rishis? Rishis were spiritually enlightened and inspired saints and poets. Their spiritual wisdom surpassed all time and space limitations and became Universal. They found out the Supreme Truth – the Absolute Peace, Bliss
What is Brahman?
Brahman is the One and Only Truth. There is nothing beyond It and there is nothing other than It. It is the Highest Knowledge. It is the Eternal Infinity beyond Time and Space. It manifests Himself in the whole Universe yet It is the mystery hidden within us. It reveals Itself to us when we meditate on It.
It is the source of our power, our joy, our peace, our knowledge, our intelligence. Upanishads say although It is beyond the reach of our senses, It is attainable. Man can become a knower of Brahman in this very life while he is living, yet those who experience Brahman cannot describe their experience. In one word, Brahman is Silence.
तदेषाऽभ्युक्ता। सत्यं ज्ञानमन्तंब्रह्म।
यो वेद निहितं गुहायां परमे व्योमन्।
सोऽश्नुते सर्वान् कामान् सहब्रह्मणा विपश्चितेति। ।।2.1.1।।
brahmavidapnoti param |Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1.1
tad esha abhyukta |
satyam jnyanam anantam brahmam |
yo vedanihitam guhayam parame vyoman |
so’ ashnute sarvan kaman saha brahmanavipashchiteti|
Whoever has the knowledge of Brahman, reaches the Highest Realization because Brahman is the Greatest. Following has been said:
Brahman is the Absolute Truth, the Supreme knowledge, the Eternal Infinity. He, who realizes Brahman as spacious and open as the limitless sky, yet as small as to hide in our hearts secretly, attain all.
All his desires get fulfilled because Brahman is the source of all, and he attains the ultimate Peace, Bliss, and Joy. If Brahman is the Highest Spiritual Knowledge, the Upanishads are the gateways to obtain this knowledge.
The meaning of the term Upanishad
Some scholars think of the term Upanishad as derived from the root “Sad” to sit down and break it as
But other scholars think the root “Sad” here can have multiple meanings and so the term “Upanishad” can mean all of the following:
- Abolish -eliminates sufferings caused by ego and spiritual ignorance by revealing Divine Knowledge.
- Uplift – elevates us spiritually, causes the Knowledge of Brahman to come near us.
- Protect –protects secrecy and readiness, this knowledge was given only to those who were ready and eager to receive it.
The knowledge of The Upanishads – the learning process:
Brahman is One Consciousness pervading everywhere. Our goal is to realize that Consciousness in ourselves as well as in others. Our goal is reached when we can feel the Oneness of Brahman in all. This knowledge is not ordinary learning.
There are two steps to this: one is to know and the other is to be. These should come simultaneously.
‘देवो भूत्वा देवं यजेत‘
devo bhutva devam yajet
Transform yourself to be Godlike and then worship God.
From Knowing to Being by Doing:
Our source of this knowledge is not from outside – it is from inside. It is not complete until and unless we purify our inner selves by removing ego and body identity, and by surrendering to the Supreme. This is where we need Sadhana – the Kriya practice.
This inner transformation of knowledge from just knowing into being is not easy. There are obstructions. Usually, we feel that we are limited entity separated from others because we identify ourselves with the body.
Our ego steps in and we think of ourselves as ‘
We have to remove the veil of Ignorance – that is the part of our doing. By removing our ego and impurities, and by transforming ourselves to be Divine we can be one with the Supreme.
Ancient India shows this “doing part” by introducing the path of Yoga and Meditation. Kriya Yoga is one of the efficient ways to practice this.
The Bhagavad Gita has in it the essence of all the Vedas, the Upanishads, and any scriptures and philosophy that accept the Vedas as authority. It reveals the Supreme knowledge and the Highest Truth for all humanity and shows how to achieve it.
तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया |
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानंज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिन: || 34||
tad viddhipraṇipātena paripraśhnena sevayāThe Bhagavad Gita
upadekṣhyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśhinaḥ
To receive this knowledge, approach the teacher humbly with the utmost respect, question him repeatedly, and serve him. Then the knowledgeable Guru will teach you and you will get the most of it.
Om Tat Sat Om