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Living the Yoga Life: Brahman

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Satchidananda–Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute–is the fundamental term for Brahman, as it defines Brahman as nearly as is possible for human language. Sat is the Real (or Reality); Chit is Consciousness; and Ananda is Bliss. The totality of Reality, Consciousness, and Bliss is Brahman, and since Brahman is the essence of our being, those three aspects also comprise our true Self. The Supreme Reality is personal in response to those who are drawing near to It. For It is both immanent and transcendent in nature. As we relate to It, so It relates to us.

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Brahman is the Sole Substance of all things–all the worlds and whatever is within them.

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Brahman is beyond all measuring. Infinity is not just being immeasurably big, It transcends all measure and is neither small nor large.

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Brahman, the Paramatman, is the source of all in cosmic life; and the individual Self, the jivatman, as part of Brahman is the source of its personal life sphere.

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Everything is a potential within Brahman. When these potentials manifest we have “creation,” and when they are withdrawn it is dissolution, but all the time they are nothing but Brahman. Nothing could exist if it was not eternally present within Brahman in potential form.

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All things should be known in their essence, at their point of origin, otherwise their external forms will delude us as to their true nature. It is necessary to see all things in their true nature as Brahman alone. This is why non-dual philosophers in the West have referred to Brahman as the “Ground” of our being and of all that exists. At all times Brahman and Brahman alone is the essence of all things.

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The visible and the invisible are Brahman. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We live in Brahman every moment, but usually do not realize that and think we are separated from him. We are seeing Brahman at every moment of our life, but we do not realize that, either. Only through yoga can that be changed and our awareness expanded to include his immediate presence in our lives.

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All elements or components of the universe have a single root principle in common to all: The Supreme (Para) Brahman Itself. All things have not just come from Brahman, they are Brahman in extension.

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We are like a tree. We have many “roots,” many sources of our life, including karmas, samskaras and desires from previous lives. But to the wise, only the “mother root” is of primary importance. And that is Brahman Itself which is the root of all beings–is all Being. Our life involvement must be with Brahman above all else. Further, our life’s focus and purpose must be the realization of Brahman, and thereby the realization of our Self.

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Since Brahman is absolute unity, the experience of unity is a sign we are approaching the Brahman nature. The experience of oneness which we must come to be established in is a totally interior experience. If to some degree we see oneness outside of ourselves it is not a delusion, but it is not the attainment of Brahmanirvana, either. True Brahmanhood is the awareness of unity within ourself.

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Our life and breath (for “prana” means both) are Brahman in manifestation. The fact that we live and breathe is evidence that we are ever one with that Reality: we embody It. This fact is the foundation of all dharma. Within the context of this truth all aspects of our life should be considered. We should never let the illusions of relative existence cause us to forget our true nature, nor should we ever lose the optimism it ensures. Our identity with divinity is the prime principle of true religion.

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The prevailing idea that we need only escape from physical embodiment, or pass out in some kind of “samadhi” to experience Brahman, is absolutely not true. Continually in the Bhagavad Gita we see that the illumined yogi sees Brahman right here and now. It does not require some kind of abstraction or loss of perception of material objects. This is why the Isha Upanishad opens with the words: “All this, whatever moves in this moving world, is enveloped by God [Isha].” That is, we should be seeing Brahman at all times and all other things only secondarily. We do not need to rid ourselves of the world, we need to bring the perception of Spirit into our experience as a constant factor. Only such persons are really liberated.

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The individual spirit enters into the direct knowing of itself and Brahman when its consciousness (chit) unites with its own reality: the Self. Only through meditation does this come about. Satchidananda is both an experience and the Self.

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The pinnacle of yoga is when our consciousness (chit) unites permanently with the Supreme Consciousness (Sat). When that occurs, the result is Bliss (Ananda), the bliss of Brahman (Brahmananda), the supreme bliss (Paramananda), the bliss of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (Satchidananda), the bliss of Yogananda, of Divine Union.

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All things rise from the universal consciousness, from Brahman in the form of Mulaprakriti, the primal, causal matter. All difference springs from there as the many forms or bodies make their appearance. Therefore the wise seek to center their awareness at all times in the eternal, the permanent: Brahman. When we directly perceive the indwelling Parampurusha, Brahman, in all things, then we are liberated.

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Just as Brahman is Sat (Reality/Existence), Chit (Consciousness) and Ananda (Bliss), so also is the individual person, but in him the three divine qualities are separated. When the yogi unites the three and becomes a perfect reflection of the infinite Satchidananda, then he has attained yoga: union.

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Someone asked Shankara, like Pilate to Jesus: “What is truth [satya]?” Shankara replied: “There is no such thing as truth. There is only the True [Sat].” Truth is never a string of words or an idea, however lofty. Truth is the True, the Real: Brahman. Therefore if we do not know Brahman, we are dwelling in untruth, in unreality: delusion–maya. Brahmajnana is the only shelter from the delusion of maya.

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The only cure for samsara is the Absolute: Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness. The mantra of Brahman is the consciousness expressed by Tat Twam Asi–Thou Art That. This is the So’ham Bhava, the consciousness: I Am That. That is why in the oldest upanishad, the Isha Upanishad, the sixteenth verse concludes: Yo sav asau purushah; so’ham asmi. “I am that Purusha [Spirit-Self]: I am So’ham.” In the next oldest Upanishad, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, we are told: “In the beginning this [world] was only the Self [Atman], in the shape of a person [purusha]. Looking around he saw nothing else than the Self. He first said, ‘I am Soham’” (1:4:1). Thus, Soham is the “first speaking” of the Absolute Itself: the expression of the knowledge and knowing of the Self. We, too, are Soham. (See Soham Yoga, the Yoga of the Self.)

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Soham Bhava is the inmost consciousness, the innate and eternal Self of all things. Soham Bhava is the essence of each jivatman and the Paramatman, and is the sole factor that which makes them one. So’ham asmi–I am that I am–is exactly what God told Moses was his Name (Exodus 3:14), and that is the same as his Consciousness.

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Duality is the cause of suffering. It produces suffering and maintains it in a seemingly unbreakable cycle. The only solution for it is the realization of the sole reality: Brahman which is the Self.

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When we realize the Infinite, the finite ceases to exist for us, for what we previously thought was the finite was really the Infinite, but we were blinded to the truth of It.

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The Unconditioned Consciousness that manifests as all things and in which all things rest is the Chidakasha. At the heart of all things is Consciousness, and at the heart of Consciousness is the Chidakasha that is Brahman Itself.

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It is commonly thought that shakti or prakriti is completely separate from the Self, that when liberation is attained the various bodies, which are all formed of energies (shakti), drop away and are dissolved, leaving only the pure Atman. But just as Mahashakti or Mulaprakriti is an emanation from Brahman and is Brahman in extension, so also are our bodies, which are not shed but resolved back into our Self at liberation. Sri Ramana Maharshi indicated this when he said that the mind eventually merges into the Self as the Self. When we realize that all this is part of the cosmic dream, it is not at all puzzling or contradictory.

It is the same with creation and dissolution. The creation emerges from Brahman at the beginning of a creation cycle and merges back into Brahman at the cycle’s end.

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About to Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga: Introduction

    1. Living the Yoga Life: Climbing the Ladder of Consciousness
    2. Living the Yoga Life: Sanatana Dharma, Sanatana Yoga
    3. Living the Yoga Life: The Atman/Self
    4. Living the Yoga Life: Bhakti and Jnana
    5. Living the Yoga Life: Brahman
    6. Living the Yoga Life: Ishwara
    7. Living the Yoga Life: Breath
    8. Living the Yoga Life: India and Sanatana Dharma
    9. Living the Yoga Life: The Importance of Independence
    10. Living the Yoga Life: The Intelligent Path
    11. Living the Yoga Life: The Internal Life
    12. Living the Yoga Life: Japa and Sound (Shabda)
    13. Living the Yoga Life: Japa with the Breath
    14. Living the Yoga Life: Jnana
    15. Living the Yoga Life: The Jnani
    16. Living the Yoga Life: Karma and Karma Yoga
    17. Living the Yoga Life: Kundalini
    18. Living the Yoga Life: Liberation
    19. Living the Yoga Life: It Is All Up To Us
    20. Living the Yoga Life: Madness, Divine and Worldly
    21. Living the Yoga Life: Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intelligence/Intellect)
    22. Living the Yoga Life: Buddhi Yoga
    23. Living the Yoga Life: True Masters (And Not)
    24. Living the Yoga Life: Maya
    25. Living the Yoga Life: Meditation
    26. Living the Yoga Life: Prana
    27. Living the Yoga Life: Raja Yoga
    28. Living the Yoga Life: Reincarnation
    29. Living the Yoga Life: Religion
    30. Living the Yoga Life: Samadhi
    31. Living the Yoga Life: Sadhana
    32. Living the Yoga Life: Dedication to Spiritual Life
    33. Living the Yoga Life: Self-realization
    34. Living the Yoga Life: Shivashakti
    35. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Experience
    36. Living the Yoga Life: The Spiritual Teacher
    37. Living the Yoga Life: Subtle Anatomy
    38. Living the Yoga Life: The World
    39. Living the Yoga Life: Worship
    40. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga, the Body and the World
    41. Living the Yoga Life: Dharma and Adharma
    42. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga–The Supreme Dharma
    43. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga Nidra
    44. Living the Yoga Life: The Yogi
    45. Living the Yoga Life: Some Advice to Yogis
    46. Living the Yoga Life: Qualities of a Yogi
    47. Living the Yoga Life: This and That
    48. Living the Yoga Life: Touch Not
    49. Living the Yoga Life: The Gita Speaks To The Yogi
    50. Living the Yoga Life: How It Is Done
    51. Living the Yoga Life: Use your mind
    52. Living the Yoga Life: Some things it is wise to avoid
    53. Living the Yoga Life: Things you should definitely do and have in your life
    54. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Reading
    55. Living the Yoga Life: Gorakhnath Speaks To The Yogi
    56. Living the Yoga Life: And A Final Word From Me
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