What Do You Mean by Brahman in Advaita Vedanta?

Brahman is the chief concern in Advaita Vedanta.

Brahman is the chief concern in Advaita Vedanta. If you go by this concept, you are Brahman. You must not misunderstand it as your name, mind, body, or you as the individual. It is beyond it; it is about the inner self you have.

You may have heard somewhere or read that Advaita speaks of oneness. It is the oneness of existence that remains without anything else. It mentions that this oneness is your true nature! However, this is not a theory and not a thing that you should understand intellectually.    

This is a concept that you can feel in your living experience. It not just transforms you but even sets you free from all psychological bondages.

In this concept, bhakti or devotion is taken as one medium to purify oneself and develop four-fold qualifications or sadhana chatushtaya. But the issue with this concept is usually this: you directly go for the theory or simply the higher teachings in Vedanta without even developing these four-fold credentials. It is the development of the four-fold qualifications that would make the most of your journey. 

Brahman is Everything 

Now, since you know that this concept revolves around everything’s oneness, you might have realized it that you are the Brahman. It is a name that is given to the power that is the most fundamental of all things. In simple words, if you are happy or sad, you can manage it, not the world. You have the power to control it all within you. It is just about you realizing your inner self.

If you are watching a movie in a theatre, you are completely involved in the movie. You watch the changing scenes, listen to music, and once the movie is over, you simply walk off. But then, do you ever pay attention to the screen on which you watch the movie? 

Here, the exciting part is. Brahman is the screen, and you are hardly paying attention to it. Different events are taking place in your life. You come across many people but do you know who you are? Once you attain self-realization, you are going to be beyond all these things. 

Ultimate Reality

Brahman is all the pervading and the ultimate reality. It is the true Advaita (without another) realizing it is Ved-anta (ultimate end of knowing). You know, Brahman is the contributory material cause of everyone and everything. Whatever is happening and who is doing it all, it is all Brahman. 

The supreme reality of Advaita Vedanta is the nondual truth of Brahman. In the atman (the individual soul) and Brahman (the final reality) are recognized absolutely. It was Adi (it means first in Sanskrit) Shankara who gave Advaita its name and vigorously tried to spread its concepts.

There is just one great being, and that is the one whom the sages call Brahman. It is the one in which all the uncountable forms of existence exist. The great being is no other than the consciousness, and it is the sole essence or Self (Atman) of every being. 

The Statements You Should Know 

The four important statements (Maha Vakyas) might serve as a brief means to what Vedanta mentions about Brahman.

  • Pragyanam Brahma: it means consciousness or awareness is Brahman
  • Ayan Atma Brahma: it means Individual awareness is just like Universal awareness 
  • TatvamAsi: it stands for Thou are That 
  • Aham Brahmasmi: it means I am Brahman

In simple words, Brahman is not like God. If you are taken Brahman as God, you are wrong. God is talked about as Iswara in the Vedic texts. Iswara (God), coupled with Maya (Delusion or Illusion), forms up this Universe.

Brahman exists at a more fundamental level. It is the underlying, ultimate awareness. It is the Knowledge that is Enlightenment. You can obtain this knowledge or awareness only through a systematic study or practicing it consistently. You can even take the guidance of a teacher who is practicing Advaita Vedanta for a long time. 

  • Takeaways
  • There is only one ultimate reality, and that is a completely logical and rational point of view. 
  • The main pillar of this concept was Adi Shankara (788-820 AD). He united the principles of Advaita.  
  • You are the Brahman, and your life is in your control completely.
  • You can experience the power of Advaita only when you enlighten yourself about your inner self. You can practice it with different mediums like meditation.

Hence, Brahman, in simple words, is the crux of Advaita Vedanta. If you are the reader of this concept, you are the Brahman, and you can free yourself from the psychological restraints.

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