Indian Philosophy - Jagat, Brahman & Atman
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Indian Philosophy - Jagat, Brahman & Atman

Indian Philosophy begins with the Individual search for Self and then relates it to the Creation (Universe). Thereafter it connects the Self and the Creation with the Creator

 Jagat, Brahman & Atman

The following Sanskrit words appear repeatedly in most Indian Scriptures:

  1. Jagat - The Universe, The Creation
  2. Brahman - The Creator, The Cosmic Soul
  3. Atman - Indivisual Soul, The Divinity in each Indivisual

JAGAT (Universe)

The word 'Jagat', in Sanskrit means ever-changing.

Verse: ‘Drushya Manasya sarvastha Jagat

Decipher: 'Everything that is seen or perceived is the Universe, which is ever-changing'

In larger sense of the term, it means not only the objects perceived through the sense-organs, but also all that is apprehended by the mind and intellect.

  • Through the sense organs, the Names and Form are perceived at the physical level - Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste and Vision.
  • With the mind, we perceive various emotions and feelings.
  • The intellect comprehends various thoughts, ideas and abstract concepts.

The Universe (Jagat), as we know, is made up of all these perceptions.The word 'Jagat' means ever-changing. No experience in the world is permanent. Everything in the world is constantly changing; including our own perceptions, emotions and thoughts.

Ideals change, Ideas change, thoughts change and the perceived world changes. This realm of the change is called 'Jagat'. Rishis said, 'Jagati iti Jagat' - That which is ever-changing is Jagat.

No individual sees all the things in the world. The total universe is the totality of perceptions, emotions and thoughts of all the creatures. And this Totality is called 'Jagat'.

BRAHMAN (Creator)

The essence of the entire visible world is denoted by the word 'Brahman'. That Brahman is the nature of the self-shining Self.

The ‘Tatva’ or ‘Reality’ behind this entire Universe is denoted by the word ‘Brahman’. In other words, the changeless factor in the midst of all changes is Brahman.

It is the presence of this changeless factor, that makes all experiences possible. In its absence, no experience is ever possible.

It is the 'Nitya Vastu' in the midst of the changing phenomenon, the one factor of consciousness in the midst of inert, insentient matter.

Seek it within yourself. That is meditation.

It is the consciousness that illumines the revelry of childhood, vivacity of the youth, the disappointments of the middle-age and tragedies of the old age. The one constant factor among all these changes is the 'Light of Consciousness'. That alone, logically, could be 'ME'.

This common fulcrum, that is constant in every one, in every experience, at all times and conditions, in all places and periods, is denoted by the word 'Brahman'.

Some important terms, commonly used in our texts:

Brahma Vidya:

Probing the mystery of Nature, the sages contacted the sub-stratum wherein all mysteries got themselves explained. The knowledge of the sub-stratum is 'Brahma Vidya'.

Yog Shastra:

'Brahma-Vidya' is what touches and transforms life. It is intensely practical. When applied to life, it is called 'Yog Shastra'.

Sanatana Dharma:

Spiritual laws when applied to life, is called 'Sanatana Dharma'. Geeta is treated as the 'Manual' of Sanatana Dharma.

ATMAN - The Self

In a dialogue between Prajapati and Indra, we find development of the concept of self. The concept of self is developed through various states of Consciousness-

  • Waking state
  • Dreaming State
  • Deep-Sleep state
  • The Absolute self

The Eye, the Body, the Mental States, the Presentation continuum and the Stream of Consciousness-are all mere instruments and objects of the self.

The Self is the ground of Waking, Dream and Deep-Sleep states and yet it transcends them all.

The Self is Universal, Immanent (Pervading the Universe) as well as Transcendent.

It (the Self) is the ultimate subject which can never become an object and which is to be pre-supposed by all Knowledge.

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