Question 218: The Many and the One

The Many and the OneThe human condition we are born into – Brahman itself – clothed with illusion and our selected karmas has us see, feel and reacting to many phenomena. We are e-motion, energy set into motion when we tumble out of the womb. How is it that we see all this varigated universe with all its life-forms when there is only One? This is the question the young Rama presents.


Atma-tattva reality of the Spirit; the primordial element; the consciousness that is the primeval element of existence;

patala: Hell; one of the seven regions of the underworld; the abode of serpents and demons.

prana: breath that is inhaled and exhaled; vital force, life-breath;

vasana: tendencies or desires

vairagya: detachment

chitta: individual consciousness

brikuti spot between the eyebrows


Question 218: Sir, how can the variegated experiential universe be the form of Brahman? How is the non—dual cognition attained?

Answer: Ramji, detachment and spiritual discipline (Atma-abhyas) lead to the non-dual cognition and removal of the illusory cognition. When the illusory cognition is removed, vasana (tendencies, desires), too, is removed and the state of blessedness that is free from the duality of time, space and matter is attained. This is the state of Brahman. It manifests itself as a universe with names and forms, and is cognised as such due to ignorance, but in reality it is Brahman.

Ramji, when you continuously practise the Atma-tattva (seeking the essential nature of Atma) and realise Brahman as such, your cognition of the variegated universe will stop. On attaining to that state you will not perceive consciousness as consciousness, ignorance as ignorance, mind as mind and body as body. At that stage; you will realise very well that the variegated universe is cognised in Brahman because of the illusion that is just an ideation, and is non-existent.

Ramji, the entire universe that is cognised between the heaven and the netherworld (patala), and also between an atom and Lord Shiva, is an aspect of Brahman (in the form of Brahman, brahmaswaroop) and nothing exists but Brahman. As long as there is cognition of a universe due to the illusory ideation, Brahman is cognised diversely. As long as there is ego and attachment in a body, many illusions of the consciousness are experienced. But when as a result of spiritual discipline a person attains to the supreme state, his ignorance is lost and the illusions of chitta vanish. The universe is cognised as real as long as the body-ego is not annihilated. But when one becomes thorough in the discipline of Brahman (Brahm-abhyas), then the ideations of the individual consciousness merge and Brahman is cognised truly.


Correct vision (Sad-darsan) makes man see the One in the Many. It reveals Unity in Diversity, and confers supreme delight, for, he becomes aware of the One Immanent in the multiplicity, the Supreme Truth, the Absolute supreme principle (parathathwa). Liberation (Moksha) is the realisation of this Awareness, this achievement of Brahma-hood. Each and every living being has to attain this consummation, this goal, the Brahmam. That is its true destination. Some day or other, the urge to win release from the shackles of grief and joy and the bonds of “I” and “Mine”, will awaken and emerge. The path that is taken then inevitably leads to liberation. Seeking that path is the sign of the intelligent person.

Instead of this search, when man considers the objective world as all-important, and feels drawn towards its charm, his life is barren and of no consequence. Nature is the embodiment of matter (Padaartha Swaroopa). One must be drawn to the Person who designed the Principle that underlies Nature, the embodying process. What benefit can a destitute gain if he seeks another destitute? How can a bound person be released from bonds by another who is also bound? When the person who is bound relies on the one who is not bound, he can get rid of his bonds and move about freely. The person who is deep in grief must seek refuge in one who is floating on Bliss, filled with joy. Bondage plunges one in sorrow all the while; the Lord is total Bliss personified. Therefore, one can be completely cured of grief only by resorting to the inexhaustible spring of delight, the Lord. And what exactly is Moksha? Moksha is release from grief, absence of grief (Duhkha Vimukthi; Duhkha Nivritti), and attainment of Bliss. Paramatma, the Supreme Self, the Sovereign Lord, is the Embodiment of Indivisible Sweetness (rasa), the Treasure house of Bliss (Ananda Nilaya). Hence, those who seek and secure His grace gain Eternity Itself.

The Eternity thus gained has no place for the sense perceptions of sound, touch, form, taste and smell. It has neither beginning nor end. Man must gradually and steadily endeavour to acquire that victory. He must proceed progressively from the gross to the subtle, from the subtle to the causal, and from the causal level he must finally merge in the Prime Cause. Sutra Vahini, 38


The One and the Many


Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat


“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”


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