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Brahma and I PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

brahm|’rpa[a= brahma havir brahm|gnau brahma[| hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavya= brahmakarma sam|dhin|

Eternal Being (Brahma) is the oblation. Brahma is the clarified butter. The oblation is poured by Brahma into the fire of Brahma. Brahma shall be real¬ized by one who considers everything as (a manifestation or) an act of Brahma. (Also see 9.16) (4.24)


Brahma is the only cosmic energy
That pervades the entire existence.
In yagya methodology
Brahma (e.g. butter) is offered to Brahma (e.g. fire)
Brahma is the flame
The process is Brahma
All the doings is Brahma
And all the results is also Brahma
(Once centered in Brahma
This knowing is revealed). ||4:24||

How do we try to comprehend what Krishna is saying here in these shlokas? Is Krishna a Brahmavadi or is he not? That is not the real concern. It is not a question of beliefs or a logical thinking. Krishna is describing the ultimate truth as it is. We all have seen light bulbs in our house. One day two light bulbs were talking to each other. One light bulb was only 15 watts while the other one was 100 watts. The 100 watts light bulb was a little more knowledgeable than the 25 watts guy. The 100 watts bulb says to the other bulb, “It is all electricity. Electricity cools the house and it also heats the house. Electricity heats the cookers and cools the refrigerator. Electricity is what makes the sprinklers irrigate the lawn and it also is used to ignite a fire. It is all electricity.”

Bulbs do not talk to each other, but if they did the little guy will be wondering what that all meant. The bigger brighter bulb knows the truth as it is. Krishna knows the truth of existence. The fact that electricity is the underlying force does not change the fact that we heat the house when it is cold and we cool the house when it is hot.

When the light bulbs talk of electrical or sound energy they are talking about physical energy. When Krishna talks about life energy he is adding several other dimensions to the equation. There is physical element there and in addition there are elements of mun (sounds llike bun, the wishing mind), buddhi (the intellectual mind) and ahankar (ego, the empire of I). The last element is the one we talked about in our last two columns. The light bulb is busy is looking at itself. It is proud of its own light. It may be only 25 watts, but the bulb is proud that it supplies light to the room. The bulb is not interested in knowing what lies beyond. It has no interest or knowledge that if there was no electricity, it would not exist. Everyday, the light bulb lights when it is dark.

We all live anyway. We are proud of what we have. We all build, sustain and train our progeny how to continue the empire of I. Why should I know what sustains us and the whole existence? It is not our concern. We may laugh at the light bulb when it thinks that it lights itself and it has its own existence. But the light bulb (if it got some consciousness) would be laughing at us wondering why we can’t see the obvious.

What sustains us all? What is that all pervading force? Is there a theory of everything? Krishna tells us that truth. We talked about our existence which consists of physical elements and the three others (mun, buddhi and ahankar). These three differentiate us from a stone or piece of wood. There is yet another force or factor that is in my view the most important constituent for our existence. That is Consciousness (chetana). Purists would argue that even the stone has a small percentage of consciousness in it. We may be more conscious than them but it is a matter of degree. Krishna is talking of super-consciousness in some respects. This is a state in which Brahma is obvious. Electricity is obvious to us and Brahma is obvious to Krishna.

In that stage we can see that only Brahma exists. We are all individual light bulbs and we can shine because of the energy of Brahma. Bulbs have a time limit and so do we. We all have a time limit. The similarity ends there. Light bulbs always remain light bulbs. There is no scope of progress for them. We can change our platform. We can gain energy and become a 100 watts light bulb from 25 watts. We can think, we can gain wisdom and we can realize events beyond what we think are possible. We do not know our limits. Arjun was talking like a pundit in the first chapter. Suddenly, he must be realizing how little he knew. We all have to see that clearly and then and then only can we open ourselves to what Krishna is talking about.

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