Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Atmatvopasanadhikaranam: Topic 2 (Sutra 3)

He who meditates on the Supreme Brahman must comprehend It as identical with himself.

Atmeti tupagacchanti grahayanti cha IV.1.3 (480)

But (the Sruti texts) acknowledge (Brahman) as the Self (of the meditator) and also teach other (to realise It as such).

Atmeti: as the Self; Tu: but; Upagacchanti: acknowledge, approach, realise; Grahayanti: teach, make others comprehend, instruct; Cha: also.

This Sutra prescribes the process of meditation.

A doubt arises whether Brahman is to be comprehended by the Jiva or the individual soul as identical with it or separate from it.

The opponent maintains that Brahman is to be comprehended as different from the individual soul owing to their essential difference, because the individual soul is subject to pain, sorrow and misery, while the other is not.

The present Sutra refutes the view that Brahman is to be comprehended as identical with one's self. The individual is essentially Brahman only. The Jivahood is due to the limiting adjunct, the internal organ or Antahkarana. The Jivahood is illusory. The Jiva is in reality an embodiment of bliss. It experiences pain and misery on account of the limiting adjunct, Antahkarana.

The Jabalas acknowledge it "I am indeed Thou, O Lord, and Thou art indeed myself." Other scriptural texts also say the same thing, "I am Brahman: Aham Brahma Asmi" (Bri. Up. I.4.10). "Thy self is this which is within all" (Bri. Up. III.4.1). "He is thy self, the ruler within, the immortal" (Bri. Up. III.7.3). "That is the True, that is the Self, That thou art" (Chh. Up. VI.8.7). The texts are to be taken in their primary and not secondary sense as in "The mind is Brahman" (Chh. Up. III.18.1), where the text presents the mind as a symbol for meditation.

Therefore we have to meditate on Brahman as the Self.

You cannot say that these mean only a feeling or emotion of oneness, just as we regard an idol as Vishnu.

In the latter case we have only a single statement. But in the Jabala Sruti we have a double affirmation, i.e., the identity of Brahman with the individual soul with Brahman. The seeming difference between Jiva and Brahman is unreal. There is Jivahood or Samsaritva for the individual soul till realisation is attained.

Hence we must fix our minds on Brahman as being the Self.