Understanding Brahman Realization – A Vedic Perspective
Sarah Beckett, Contributor
Most of the yoga teachings that are presented today are taking people toward the Brahman effulgence. This is the impersonal aspect of the Supreme. It’s like the sun rays or the impersonal aspect of the sun, and so the Brahman effulgence is an impersonal destination. It’s like merging into the light and we often hear about this. “I merged into the light,” or, “I merged into Brahman.”
Kundalini yoga, for instance, is very popular today amongst some people. This is designed to take the practitioner up, from the kundalini serpent, ride that serpent, and up through the sushumna, then go through the different chakras, dung-dung-dung, gateways, come to the top of the head, leave the brahma rudra, go, and if everything is in place, you know, there’s devotion there, the Supreme Lord allows this to happen.
You, as the spirit soul, now, you have left your coverings and you can merge into this ocean of light. This is the goal. This is what people think is perfection, and they describe it like this. That now we are in our little individual identities, we consider ourselves an individual. I identify myself in this way but really that’s just an illusion and when we reach perfection we all go and merge into the ocean of light. They use the example of taking a drop of water from the ocean. That’s us now, in our individual… There’s this individual drop and you can even put a name on it. Ralph. Here’s Ralph, the little drop from the ocean.
Now Ralph does his kundalini and everything else and he gets dropped back into the ocean and merges with the totality of the ocean. Where’s Ralph? He’s gone. No Ralph. Where’s Ralph? Can’t find Ralph. He’s merged. There’s no more Ralph. This is their understanding of perfection but the flaw is the soul is eternal. It’s not the drop of water. We’re not drops of water. We’re eternal, individual spirit souls. We never merge and lose our identity.
When, through our different yoga process, whatever it may be, merge into this ocean of light we can lose our awareness of our individuality and this is what happens. So we are no longer aware that we’re an individual but we still are. So it’s like a state of spiritual unconsciousness. We’re merged in this ocean of light, we’re not aware of our self as an individual or others as individuals, nothing. We’re just like, unconscious. But we are still the same person. Because the soul is active by nature, and if you look, wherever you find the soul you’ll find activity.
See, right here in this tree. Oh this tree is not acting, look it’s just standing there. But certainly we have learned in our biology and botany classes etc. there’s sap going up and down, there’s nutrition drawn from the soil, there’s photosynthesis taking place in the leaves. Growth is taking place, etc. etc. Why? Because there’s an active principle, there’s a person inside that body. Dead trees don’t do that. If that tree dies then all that activity stops because the active principle, the spirit soul, has gone.
So the soul is active by nature. Always. That’s why we’re always active, you see. And the soul also needs love. This is a requirement for the soul. That’s why are all seeking it. There’s so many things involved in our life but the one thing above all things is that we intuitively understand, we really, really, really need is love. We all need it because it’s the nature of the soul is to love.
Now in this merged condition, in this Brahman realization, we don’t have the facility for activity because we’re in this unconscious state. We’ll describe it like that. And we have no conception of our individuality or other individualities so there’s no love. Love requires an exchange between two people. There’s no people. There are people but no awareness of the people. So therefore, ultimately because of this lack of what we need and our desire to have this, the activity and the love, we come out of our merged condition and we haven’t qualified to enter into the other region of the spiritual world. The Vaikuntha world it is called. So we come back down into our material dimension and again take on a material body, identifying again ourselves as an individual and that we are back in it, in the realm of karma and rebirth and on and on it goes.
So it’s up, merge, down and then sometimes up and down and sometimes these yogis, they go up and down and up and down so we call them yoyo yogis. (Laughter) And if they do this three times they consider themselves avatars. They’ve gone and come and gone and come so you know technically in this realm of understanding they consider, okay three times, I’m an avatar. No, you just got kicked out man. You just fell out. So you can go back up and come down. Back up, come down. You see it’s really not the ultimate destination.
When you go into this Brahman you leave behind the problems of this world that we are so confronted with daily. The problems from our body and the mind, you leave your body. There’s no body so that doesn’t give you problems. Other living entities, no other living entities, no awareness, there’s nobody here. I’m not here either. I just ceased. No hassles. No natural phenomena, no matter up there. Nothing going on up there. So it’s such a relief that people think it couldn’t get better than this.
If you removed all your problems, all, all from the body, mind, other living entities, natural phenomenon, no birth, no fear of death, no diseases – all these things you’d think, man phew, this is heaven. It couldn’t get better than this. It can get better than this.
This is just negation of the negative. This is just getting rid of all the negative stuff but there’s no positive pleasure for the soul in these conditions. So when they come back down they know they came from somewhere. Maybe they have some understanding of what the relief was like and they just laud it as, “Man this is it!” It’s not it. It’s not it. That’s why they came back. So that is the destination.
About the Author
Sarah Beckett is a writer and yogini.