Advaita philosophy and concept of Aham Brahmasmi – I am God

Before I go to the post, I would like to do the Tag given to me by Su. He has given me 5 words : Song, Infinity, Angel, Peace, God and I am supposed to draw something on Paint/GIMP related to each word and put it here. So, here goes.

musictagangelinfinity1peace1god2

In the above picture that I have made on ‘God’, notice one thing – It is made of so many rectangles arranged together in a pattern. We can either look at it as the rectangles arranged in pattern or look at it as the word ‘God’. Depending on how we look at it, it becomes that – either a combination of rectangles or the word.

There is one saying in Tamil – “Kalla kanda Naaya Kanom; Naaya kanda Kalla Kanom” (Though it has been over used literally as a comic phrase and hence popularized in the movies) meaning – “If we see the stone, we don’t see the dog. If we see the dog, we don’t see the stone”. That is, if there is a stone stature carved in the shape of a dog, we can either look at it as a stone or as a dog. (We can also look at it as a stone and a dog, but this discussion is on a more basic level).

Kamal Hassan came close to using this concept in the first song of Dasavatharam (Tamil version) – “Kallai mattum kandal, Kadavul theriyathu. Kadavul mattum kandal, kalladi theriyathu” (Meaning, if you look at it as a Stone, you don’t see God. If you look at it as God, you don’t feel the pain of even stone-pelting).

Same goes with the Gold bangle. You can see it as Gold or you can see it as a bangle, on the basic level. Depending upon how you see it, it is. I would like to quote one dialogue from the movie Matrix (Part I) which came very close to interpretation of this concept:

“What is Real? How do you define Real? If you are talking about your Senses, what you feel, taste, smell or see, then all you are talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain” – Morpheus in Matrix

Anyways, that is about the interpretation. (One of the interpretations of this philosophy is that the world is an illusion). But how is the concept in itself defined? I will have to quote from Wikipedia on that:

“Advaita refers to the identity of Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman – Don’t confuse this with the Hindu upper caste). Advaita is about realizing the Self (Atman) as the Whole (Brahman) itself which is apparently manifested eternally and simultaneously into animate or inanimate”

“Brahma Satyam Jagat mithya,

Jivo brahmaiva naparah”

“Brahman (Whole) is the only truth, the world is an illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between the Brahman and individual self (Atman)”

Advaita is not about any worship of any kind of deity; not even a singular all powerful supreme being/Ishwara/God. Brahman is at best, described as that infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, incorporeal, impersonal, transcendent reality that is the divine ground of all beings.

George Feuerstein summarizes the Advaita philosophy as follows : The manifold universe is, in truth, a single reality. There is only one great being, which the sages call Brahman, in which all the countless forms of existence reside. That great being is utter consciousness, and it is the very essence, or Self (Atman) of all beings.

In short, there is only one Brahman – Supreme being and everything else (You, me, stone, world, universe etc) is a form of this supreme being.

“Aham Brahmasmi” meaning “I am God” is the result of realization of this concept. The movie – Naan Kadavul (Tamil) treats this concept in the literal sense. There is much more to being a God than just possessing the power to destroy for a cause.

In fact, power doesn’t really matter to a person when realizes that he is the Brahman (Whole) and hence he is already infinitely powerful!

I will end this article by two quotes. One from the renowned Scientist Albert Einstein and the other from Vedas.

“The fact that a man produces a concept ‘I’ besides the totality of this mental and emotional experiences or perceptions, does not prove that there must be any specific existence (Reality) behind such a concept” – Albert Einstien.

Om purnam adah, purnam idam, purnat purnam udacyate,

Purnasya purnam adaya, purnam evavasisyate.

That is full; this is full; This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, fullness is all that remains (Rough translation)

“Such deep understanding of the nature and such is the brevity and beauty of the expression that one almost misses the subtlety of the logic. One has to understand all the structural and functional aspects of the universe to be able to write these four lines” is what Sunil Thakur, who has done a scientific analysis of the concept of “Aham Brahmasmi” has to say. You can read his full analysis in this link:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/10075060/Aham-Brahmasmi-I-am-the-God

(It takes around half an hour to read, but worth your time).

I will also give you the link to a song from the Tamil movie (‘Naan Kadavul’) which sets in with the theme of this article (This is a full length Sanskrit song with excellent music from Illayaraja). I don’t understand what is being said in that song, but listen to it for the music.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwlW0GxSw_A&hl=en&fs=1]

Source:  http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/

And http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta

Destination Infinity

PS: This post is not about religion. It is about philosophy.

45 thoughts on “Advaita philosophy and concept of Aham Brahmasmi – I am God

  1. PS: This post is not about religion. It is about philosophy. @ LOL

    Isn't this the essential of what Buddha taught. Religion has 3 parts Symbols (gods, goddesses, texts, idols, animals, stars etc), rituals and spirituality. Our problem is that we r stuck in the first 2 and forgotten about the 3 aspect. Which is somewhat like Sticking on to the banana skin n forgetting about the banana. Anyways.

    BTW, I used to carry that as my signature on my personal email id: Aham Brahamma, before I understood the real meaning.

    Yet, again a great post.

    1. I think you are right about being struck in first two…. The first two are only the means to reach the third!! I still think it is cool to put it as a signature (I have that matrix quote which I have put up here, as a signature!)

      Destination Infinity

      1. Ha ha yet another matrix, fan, I couldn't like the last one. Also, my enthusiasm went don't when I saw the real source and came to know it was heavily plagiarized, I know what you are thinking, you're welcome ;)

  2. :) well put about Advaitha…I consider myself as an Advaithist so to speak :) Most of my poems are based on this thought of oneness ..if you read my earlier poems,they would be more "raw" to speak,unlike my recent ones….I would love to write a long comment on this,but thanks to my wonderful exams,I am slightly stuck…
    http://visheshunni.wordpress.com/2006/11/11/advai

    Forgive the poor grammar,style etc etc( ya Thats how much I have changed :P ) but i think you will get the essence of what I mean…And if you have time,go through my earlier poems :)

    1. I will definitely go through the earlier poems which are short :-) But I never thought that you had the concept of advaita in mind while writing the poems. Your's were as abstract as it could get!

      Destination Infinity

  3. Aham Brahmasmi is the only way to relate the natural and the (so-called) super-natural. Every being has its place because of the very fact that it is existing and that the world acknowledges it. If the being takes pride in its existence and works towards the betterment of its self at its own cost only, there would be no need for wars, Gods, or diversification of any form.

  4. It's like saying microcosm and macrocosm are not two but one and the same thing. say the equation is {0 – 0 = 0; 0 + 0 = 0; 0 x 0 = 0}

    The message is perpetuation. Whatever operation we may like to do, the result is the same.

    Another way of putting it: the conservation is the essence. vacuum –> energy –> matter –> energy –> vacuum.

    Thanks, infinity. Your post provokes me to think better.

    Nanda http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com

    1. That is a nice perspective. I was initially not able to comprehend this concept, but later on, when I was introduced to Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, I was able to relate to it. Thanks for your comment.

      Destination Infinity

    1. I was introduced to this topic when I was in my Eleventh standard. At that time, I didn't have the patience or the inclination to know more. But when I saw that movie – Naan Kadavul, I wanted to understand the philosophy behind it! I learnt as much while doing this post.

      Destination Infinity

  5. advaitha/dwitha theories are so fascinating..and this is the reason why I would love people to debate these theories isolating them from religion and theism, and believe me they can be thought about in any way we want. BTW, one slight correction, aham brahmasmi does not mean "I am god", brahman is derived from the verb brh which means to grow, brahman is a state of mind which has grown, matured, well above the rest, a supreme being.
    Now you could call it god if you are an theist, or just a supreme being, an ideal perfection if are an atheist. Now this is what makes the theories interesting, now Sri Shankaracharya who advocated adviata always felt that, we have the potential to become that supreme human being, if we follow the right path and develop the light knowledge. However the dwaita philosophy said that the supremity is a concept which is beyond us individuals, and can be aspired but not attained.
    Sad part is that these theories have always been associated with religion, and so many of the new age youth, who think that religions across the world are just a set of blind practices choose to ignore the amazing philosophy behind these.

    1. I think advaita also says that we and God (Supreme Being) are one and the same. The onus is on us, to realize it. I mean, even if it is not true, the concept in itself is mind blowing! Matrix, uses this concept in a big way. Thanks for your clarifications.

      Destination Infinity

    2. what a lovely discussion, thank you.
      Aham Brahmasmi, is oft accurately translated: "I Am The Creative Principal!".
      not a theist statement but a mystical one.
      Perhaps one can call it a philosophical statement though it is more a declaration of the expereince of Samadhi. I am that which give rise to reality!
      Tat Atvam Asi!

      with respect and love.
      Namaste

  6. Beautiful. I am a follower of Advaita Vedanta and its heartening to see this post in a blogosphere full of self righteous but ill informed faith bashing and “why do we need religion” type of posts.

    Om poornamada ….is such a profound though and BTW is also my morning prayer. :)

    1. The advaita concept in itself is a wonderful concept. We understand neither religion nor science, and just go about bashing everything that is out of fashion! You are correct. Concepts like these need further explorations. The two lines – Pooram adah…. I have chanted this every saturday for about six years in school. But I never understood what it stood for. I was glad to read that paper, which I have linked at last. It quite shaked me!!

      Destination Infinity

  7. Beautiful. I am a follower of Advaita Vedanta and its heartening to see this post in a blogosphere full of self righteous but ill informed faith bashing and "why do we need religion" type of posts.

    Om poornamada ….is such a profound though and BTW is also my morning prayer. :)

    1. @Chrysalis-Well to be honest (and perhaps you meant my post ) that is my understanding of the world as I see today…why do we need religion?I certainly dont…philosophy as explained by DI?certainly.that I do ..everyday is a new chapter …a new day to learn…:)
      sadly the world does not follow these philosophies but another more rigid and more materialistic interpretation of religion/faith/something that I dont know what to call….

      in the meantime do have patience for mortals like me who have probably not quite progressed to the same level of understanding as you :D and dont seem likely to…
      I know squat about religion…what I do know is that people are killing each other in the name of religion…

      1. I must clarify myself . What I meant was , the people who blame everything on Religion , who believe it to be the source of all evil .Humans have been killing each other , and will do , but the fault lies with us , mostly . And I wouldn't count you as a whiner . :) You are not kind to pass judgments without an intelligent analysis . And , Aham Brahmasmi wouldn't be strictly a part of religion , I guess .

        1. :P crazy friend !!:P the comment was not for you Kislay :D I was addressing Chrysalis who quoted a post that said Why do we need religion? :) which was my post :)I still think that religion divides…yes only becasue people use it to divide …but in the end religion has become more of a weapon these days…

          Though Chrysalis too has some beautiful thoughts on Aham Brahmasmi that I loved :)
          thank you for the kind words dear friend :)
          Religion has been hijacked isnt it? :(

          Phiolosophy I love…and Hinduism , Buddhism and many more faiths are replete with it…yes I too wouldnt call them a part of religion …

    1. I was not very familiar either, I took up this topic, so that I could learn more on this…. But still I think we need to explore on such concepts. I am sure even the Chinese have extensive philosophies of their own. I would like to understand them too… Let us hope we will be able to identify some of them – thanks to the internet!!

      Destination Infinity

    1. Thanks, Kislay. I too missed yours :-) I think that there are a lot of things like these that we ought to learn, and hence I am trying my best to blog about them. I hope to learn more through blogging.

      Destination Infinity

  8. Interesting post. BTW, would you be interested in writing a post (assuming you haven't done it already) on the film Dasavatharam analyzing it in the context of religion/philosophy? I haven't seen the film but am interested in reading about it.

  9. I am really pleased to see a post related to advaita vedanta here. I have been a seeker on this path for a while and I would like to suggest you check out the nasadiya sukta which is a hymn of creation from vedas. it is perhaps the closest humans have reached to express the concept of brahman in words…though not accurate as such, it is still a good benchmark in your seeking if you wish to call it so.

    I will be a regular visitor if you are going to post more about this :)

    Svasti svasti!

    -Regards

    1. Thanks for the suggestion on ‘Nasadiya sukta’ – The hymns are quite interesting – I had a look.

      Destination Infinity

  10. Hi, this is important part of our life style to being with healthy and safe environment to survive in the world's pollution, to get this life style it is important to know about Advaita vedanta philosophy. Advaita has become more widely recognized in the West through the ever growing popularity of Ramana Maharshi, Jeff foster, Francis Lucille etc.

  11. hi

    nice to see your post about advaitham !

    Aham brahmasmi tatwa is a simple way of attaining enlightment, when we realise that we are one with that, then no come back… You may turn to act like an athiest :)

    Samadhi and enlightment are different, if you are with the advaitha tatwa it means u r enlightend ! But you have to focus on your sadhana to attain poorna samadhi !

    Those who attain Poorna samadhi will left the body within 21 days of the realisation !

    So concentrate on your saadhana

    just take a look at this
    http://mjtirur.blogspot.com/2010/11/nirvana-sathakam-aathma-shathakam-feel.html

    Aum Poornamadah Poornamidam
    Poornaath Poornam Udachyathe
    Poornasya Poornamaadaaya
    Poornameva Vasishyathe.
    -Isa Upanishad

    follow me in facebook http://www.facebook.com/mjtirur/

  12. I was very surprised to see your reference to Ayn Rand – I was thinking that I started with Ayn Rand, then after a while when it took me no where, took a U turn and walked as far as I can and reached Buddhism (now also looking at Advaitha Vedantha as a sibling philiosophy of Buddhism – correct me if I am wrong)
    Now I see you connecting Advaitha to Ayn Rand – I am all very confused! :-)
    So I cut a piece of your favorite quote from Ayn Rand and too out some pieces that were obvious and have one phrase. I just wanted to know why you think this is correct
    “A worker who wants a share of his employers wealth, is wishing facts out of existence, and destruction is the only means of their wish.
    If they pursue it, they will not achieve a market, a fortune or an immortal fame – They will merely destroy production, employment and art. ”
    What if that worker through his contribution got the employer his wealth and now only seeks a fair share of the wealth? Doesn’t the employer in this case stifle production, employment and Art by denying the creator of the wealth his fair share to wealth, just because “legally” the employer is the one who own the patents of the company or whatever!
    In other words how high can the ratio between the lowest compensated employee and the highest compensated employee be for a large corporation 1:1000, 1:10000, 1:100000 – Just curious to know your opinion – do you really believe that one man who is the leader of a large corporation be capable of doing more than several thousands of it’s employees – Just curious to know your openion.
    In my opinion, libertarian principles appear very sound on Paper. However, when it comes to practical implementation, they hit a solid rock as there is no moral guidence.
    It is just my personal belief there is such a thing called justice that is necessary to settle such disputes.
    Also, if there is no such thing called sacrifice, how do you explain the reason for giving birth, nurturing and unconditional love, a parent has for the child!

    1. Answering your last question first, when I asked about the parents unconditional love for the child, the answer that I was given was ‘Selfishness’. Think about it, maybe you’ll find some connection between the ‘unconditional love’ and ‘selfishness’.

      About the compensation part – Do you really think that compensation or the amount of money that one amasses is the way to happy living? And I think justice is already ingrained into the system – the courts and law are just a small form of ensuring it. One gets justice out of the court too…

      Destination Infinity

  13. Thanks for the Post! It gave me a miniscule understanding of “Aham Brahmasmi” What’s your thoughts on Hermes Trimegistus ” As Above, So below” which states
    “The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as…and so on, ad infinitum.” As above, so below – Hermes Trimegistus

  14. advaitha theories are so attractive ..state which Haho, mature well above the rest, the highest being.Now you call it God if you are a believer, or just a supreme being, that is an ideal perfection are the atheists. Now that’s interesting theories, which now makes Sri Shankaracharya advocated adviata have always felt that, we have the potential to become the highest human being, if we follow the right path and light the development of knowledge. But dwaita philosophy supremity is a concept that is beyond us as individuals, and can be aspired to but not part attained.Sad that these principles have always been associated with religion, and the new era of youth, which seems Kidunia is a set of practices across religions are just blind behind these wonderful philosophy choose to ignore.

  15. You need t0 realize yourself. How do i realize myself. I can do that by understanding how my 5 sense decodes this external world to my brain, for this your 5 senses has to work properly, like new born infant. This can be achieved by meditation practice, a practice of removing evil or bad or false thoughts, empty your mind, remove all your false concepts and Idea, ignore and forget the way you were looking at this world. Feel and understand this world and know how this world understands you.

    if you are able to see this real and definite world, you feel you also one entity among them. You say “Aham Brahmasmi” because they are.

    Once you say this line. You are not fit for this social life, no mother, no father, no wife, no even God, because you know who is real God, “THE BRAHMA” CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE.

  16. Wow….took 1 blog to basically make me understand the motivation for life. To grow and to perform to ones potential.

    There would not be need to 1 moral class if children understand this and that all beings – humans, animals and plants can coexist to fulfill their and perform to their potential without hurting each other. Unfotunately….we get to know only about rituals in religion and not the philosophy.

  17. Dude,all these things are very interesting and attracting to read,but how do you take all this at face value,eh?If you free a God from its mythological character, the human mind, whether in India or elsewhere, will realize that God was all in all, that there could be nothing besides God, that there could be one Infinite only, not two, the conclusion that the human soul also belonged to God was inevitable.

    All this a logical deduction how all this philosophy was developed and we revere it because its like gems from past.

    All this creation,genesis and universe is attributed to Supreme Consciousness aka Brahman but never to chance happenings. Design by intelligence goes down well with most of the people.
    Every other religion is so full of shit and if this was enough ,here you are throwing big fancy words around.
    Try reading Nomuena by Kant or other Western philosophers.They make more sense with any presumptions of Consciousness Binding Stuff

    1. Let us accept one thing, whether it is western philosophers or eastern ones, all of us have limited knowledge about God, purpose of our existence, etc. Maybe these things are hidden from us deliberately. Maybe we are like a lizard, trying to understand computer programming!

      Taking our such profound ignorance into consideration, the idea/concept of certain possibilities (which we can think of, using our small brains) is interesting, especially because these concepts have survived many centuries. There should be some merit for it to survive for such a long time. Perhaps these philosophies are the closest we have come to realizing the universe, and infinity.

      At the end of the day, most philosophies will fail the test of logic/facts. They are assumptions, but beautiful ones. They may not be the truth in themselves, but might lead us towards the truth. But what if they are true?

      Destination Infinity

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