Question 227: What is Truth? What do the realised experience?

dahlia with ladybug
The young Rama continues to ply the sage with questions. How do we reflect on truth and untruth? How do the realised experience this world of name and form, light and dark, all this duality – even as they are realised…

sat: real

asat: unreal

atmavichar: contemplation of atma

avichar: non-contemplation; immersion in maya, illusion

avidya San. f. ignorance, especially in a spiritual sense arising from the illusion of maya, the veil of separateness. The darkness of ignorance veils our perception, so that we see a snake in a rope and are deluded by our senses into believing the world is real; we are unaware of the true Reality that underlies and sustains it.

Brahm-roop: the nature of Brahmam

advaita San. n. ‘having no duality’, ‘one without a second’; unity, non-dualism – the philosophy which sees creator and created as one, not two. Advaita contends that only brahman has any actual existence and considers the empirical world as illusion. In the words of its propagator, Adi-shankara: ‘Brahman permeates everything as butter permeates milk. Brahman is other than the universe. Nothing exists that is not brahman’. ‘All is Self. Self is all.’


Question 227: Sir, how to reflect on Truth and untruth (Sat and asat) ?

Answer: Ramji, a seeker must first enquire ‘what am I in this body of flesh, blood and bones and what is true and untrue in it’. After deep enquiry in this manner, what is realised as non-existent is unreal and what does not cease to exist is Truth (Sat). Ramji, when a seeker undertakes the practice of atma-tattva with contemplation, and is detached from the unreal body and other objects, his ignorance is certainly destroyed.

Ramji, the tendency that is directed outward is ignorance (avidya), because this tendency assumes Atma as something distinct, but the tendency that is directed inward towards Atma is vidya. Nothing is realised without practice, and practice always triumphs. Ignorance, too, is an outcome of practice. Therefore, abandoning ignorance, you practise spiritual discipline (atmavidya), and thus you will attain liberation.

Question 228: Sir, kindly tell me about the faith in which the wise men are established without sorrow.

Answer: Ramji, listen now about the faith of the wise men and how they maintain equanimity in their dealings and interactions.

Cognising the phenomenal expanse of the universe as Brahmam, the wise ones live as the nature of Brahmam (brahmroop). They always believe that he who gives is Brahmam, he who accepts is Brahmam, the foe is Brahmam, the friend is Brahmam, and in this manner Brahmam only is established in itself. The malefactor is Brahmam and the benefactor is Brahmam. Persons having such a faith are neither pleased nor displeased with any joy or sorrow, and such individuals are always established in the even (non-dual) attitude. They interact in the world as liberated beings. In essence, it is Brahmam everywhere in every manner and every form. There is nothing but Brahmam.


The Sruthis declare “Ekam eva Adwithiyam Brahma” (Brahmam is One Only, without a second). That is to say, there is nothing besides Brahmam. Under all conditions, at all times, everywhere, Brahmam alone is. In the beginning, there was just Sath and nothing else, says the Chhandogya. The Mandukya names it as Santham, Sivam, Adwaitham. Only the evolved or the manifested can appear as two. That which is seen is different, one from the other and all from the seer. Moreover, the seen is the product of the seer’s likes and dislikes, his imagination and feelings, his impulses and tendencies. When the lamp is brought in, the “snake” disappears and the rope alone remains and is understood as such. When the world is examined in the light of Brahma Jnana, the illusory picture which attracted and repelled, the picture of Duality disappears.

It is the “two” that causes fear. If one is oneself the listener, the seer, the doer, the enjoyer, how can fear arise? Consider your condition when asleep! The external world is then absent; you are alone with yourself. The state is “One, without a second”. Contemplation of that One and worship of that One leading to the realistion of secondlessness gives you that experience. Like the other, He is Immanent; like the vital air, He is the Chith, the secret of all consciousness, activity, movement.

Sath, Chith, Ananda, Paripurna, Nithya – Brahmam is described by these five attributes. Through an understanding of these, Brahmam can be grasped. Sath is unaffected by Time: Chith illumines and reveals itself as well as all else; Ananda creates the utmost desirability; Paripurna knows no defect or diminution or decline, or defeat. Nithyam is that which is unaffected by the limitations of space, time and objectivisation.

In the light of this Brahmajnana (knowledge of Brahmam), the World is a Mirage, temporary, unreal, negatived by knowledge. The World is but another name for “things seen, heard, etc.,”. But “You, the Jivi, the seer are Sath Chith Ananda Brahmam” – remember. Get fixed in that assurance; meditate on the Om which is its best Symbol. Become aware from this moment that you are the Atma. When the fog of ignorance vanishes, the Atma in each will shine in its native splendour. Then, you know that you were pursuing a mirage in the desert sands, that you were taking as “real”, objects that had a beginning and therefore had an end. Brahmanubhava Upanishad


coil of rope


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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