By Shardha Batra
A human being is preoccupied with insatiable thirst that is really the survival instinct, hunger for power over others and intense love. As the individual evolves, so do his hierarchical needs. At a later stage in life, he finds himself probing his very existence.
Perhaps, human mortality and the seeming emptiness, leads us to confront existential queries: Who am I? What is the purpose of my brief earthly sojourn? What is my relationship to this formidably vast and unfathomable universe? Is there some part of me which survives death?
This inevitable quest which is hardwired into human consciousness turns us either outward into space, inspiring scientific exploration or it turns us inward into our mind as mystical musings. Both these contrary paths, when extrapolated, meet at wondrously identical intersections.
The mystic is the philosopher who silences his mind by meditation, and incubates it in the dark womb of thoughtless awareness. The intensity of his tapas, assiduous concentration, dissolves the barriers between his finite individual consciousness and infinite cosmic consciousness. The Brahmajigyasa – intense thirst for finding the true Self – of the yogi catalyses the unfolding of the deep secrets of life, death, suffering and salvation from the field of infinite potentialities, which are his inheritance from the parent source of life.
‘Veda’ in Sanskrit refers to shabda, the transcendental sound vibrations which descend into the samadhi consciousness of the seeker, conferring on him intuitive wisdom of all aspects of life, promoting him to the status of rishi, seer. Vedic mantras are the poetic articulations of rishis, inspired and impelled by such apourusheya, divine revelations.
Veda, knowledge encompassing the physical, metaphysical, psychological and cosmological aspects of life, reveals that all of existence is parented by a pure infinite consciousness named Brahmn. The cosmos is not created like a potter creates pots out of clay. It is created by shrishti, emanation of the substance of Brahmn, much like a spider weaves a web out of its own essence and withdraws it back into itself.
The universe is holographic. Every entity in the universe, from a particle of sand to a galaxy is not only born from Brahmn, but is Brahmn. By its magical power of maya, Brahmn is free to limit itself, donning the garb of finite entities which range from causal to subtle, that is, from vibrations to cosmic forces or qualities called devas, to gross, that is, galaxies, planets and beings.
‘Ekam sad, vipra bahuda vedanti’ – ultimate reality is one, but is called by different names, so say the wise. Different schools of human thought conceptualise it differently but the ultimate truth of existence is eternal, infinite and blissful.
The raison détre of this universe which the Vedas describe as teleological – having a deep meaning – is the realisation of the individual soul’s oneness with Brahmn, says the Mandukya Upanishad.
Man searches for Brahmn in vain, stumbling as far as his quicksilver mind can take him. When the consciousness of man reverentially tip toes into the temple of his own body and enters the deepest recesses of his own heart, he beholds Brahmn as his own atman. This the true sanctum sanctorum where the soul’s aspiration is the priest and breath is arti, the waving of lights. Such a realisation leads to the jivatma’s union with the Paramatma, the merging of soul with Brahmn.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.