by Swami Sivananda
The Highest person to be meditated upon is the Highest Brahman.
Ikshatikarmavyapadesat sah I.3.13 (76)
Because of His being mentioned as the object of sight, He (who is to be meditated upon is Brahman).
Ikshati: seeing, realising; Karma: object; Vyapadesat: because of his being mentioned; Sah: he.
An expression from the Prasnopanishad is taken up now for discussion.
The Highest Brahman is described as He is stated to be the object of Ikshana (realisation by vision). The reference is clearly to the Supreme Self as the object of Ikshana.
We read in Prasna Upanishad V-2 "O Satyakama, the syllable OM is the highest and also the other Brahman; therefore he who knows it arrives by the same means at one of the two". The text then goes on "Again he who meditates with the syllable Om of three Matras (A-U-M) on the Highest Person" Prasna Up. V-5. A doubt arises whether the object of meditation is the Highest Brahman or the lower Brahman, because in V-2 both are mentioned, and also because Brahmaloka is described as the fruit by the worship of this Highest Person.
The Sutra says: What is here taught as the object of meditation is the Highest Brahman and not Hiranyagarbha (the lower Brahman). Why? On account of its being spoken of as the object of sight – "He sees the Highest Person". This intimates that he actually realises or gets himself identified with the Highest Person. Hiranyagarbha also is unreal from the highest or transcendental view point. He is within the realm of Maya. He is associated with Maya. Therefore the Highest Person means the Highest Brahman only which is the only Reality. This very Brahman is taught at the beginning of the passage as the object of meditation.
The Sruti declares that the release from evil is the fruit of meditation "As a snake is freed from its skin, so is he freed from evil". This clearly indicates that the Supreme constitutes the object of meditation.
The attainment of Brahmaloka by the worshipper should not be considered as an inappropriate or insignificant fruit of the worship of the Highest Person, because it is a step in gradual liberation or emancipation by degrees (Krama Mukti). He who meditates on the Supreme Self by means of the syllable OM as consisting of the Matras, obtains for his first reward Brahmaloka and after that Kaivalya Moksha or oneness with Supreme Brahman.
In Prasna Upanishad we read "He arrives at this by means of the Omkara; the wise arrives at that which is at rest, free from decay, from death, from fear, the Highest". Free from decay, free from death, free from fear, the Highest can apply only to the Supreme Brahman and not to the lower Brahman.
The word Brahmaloka does not mean the Loka of Brahman but the Loka or condition which is Brahman Himself, just as we explain the compound word Nishadasthapati, not as the head-man of the Nishadas but a headman who at the same time is a Nishada. It is a Karmadharaya compound which does not mean the "world of Brahman, but that world which is Brahman."