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Brahman Exists

by Swami Sivananda

Salutations to that non-dual Brahman which is the causeless cause, which is the source for this world and the activities of the sense-organs, mind and Prana! Salutations to the Indweller of our hearts, who is cognised by means of the Vedic method of Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana by men of purified intellect whose faith in the Sastras as well as in the spiritual preceptor is great and whose devotion to them is as great as to the Lord!

It is suggested that Brahman does not exist for the following reasons: Whatever exists is capable of being perceived through the medium of the senses by its peculiar attributes, as a pot, etc. Whatever that does not exist is not so apprehended, for instance, the horn of a hare, sky-lotus, etc. Brahman cannot be apprehended as it cannot be apprehended by its peculiar attributes; it does not exist. This argument is unsound and untenable, because Brahman is the cause of ether, etc. It cannot be said that Brahman does not exist: for ether etc., of which the cause is Brahman is perceived by the senses. It has been observed in the world that from which anything proceeds exists; for instance, clay, seed, etc., which are the material cause of pot, tree etc. Therefore Brahman exists because it is the cause of ether, etc. Nor do we in the world perceive by our senses anything born out of nothing. If name, form, etc., be the product of nothing, they could not be perceived by the senses. But they are perceived as such. Therefore Brahman exists. The Sruti also declares, How can existence be born of non-existence? How could something be perceived out of nothing? It also stands to reason that something could not he produced out of nothing. It therefore stands to reason to say that there is Brahman.

You have great love for your hair on the head. You daily comb it nicely and apply hair oil but you throw the same hair if it falls in a cup of milk. You dislike to touch it. In loving the hair, you love your own Self only. The hair appears to be beautiful and attractive because of its association with the body of the Jiva and with the Chaitanya or consciousness that is at the back of this body. If you see a silk saree in a shop, it is not attractive, but when it is on the body of a lady it is very attractive and beautiful, because it is connected now with the Chaitanya. This gives the clue that the Atman exists and that the Atman is an embodiment of beauty.

The great king cannot be seen by the ordinary persons or the agricultural peasants. But they are seen daily by the Dewan, the Tahsildar and other officials. Through this they know that there is a king who is the supreme Ruler of the state. Even so, the Supreme Self who is the source for everything, who is the Inner Ruler of all beings cannot be seen. And you can infer His existence by looking at the sun, the moon, the stars, and other marvellous objects of this universe which bespeak of His supreme glory and ineffable splendour.

In order to point out that Brahman exists, even as the source of our physical activity, breathing, etc., and sensual pleasure, the Sruti proceeds to show that Brahman is the cause of both.

Brahman also exists on account of this. For what reason? Because of the breathing and other kinds of activities that are seen. There is breathing in and out in this body by the help of Prana and Apana. The functions of the vital airs and the senses are carried on by the body and the senses combined. This conjunction in mutual dependence for the benefit of one single entity is not possible without an independent intelligent being, for we have not seen it otherwise. For instance, sand, lime, bricks do not combine together without an intelligent being who is outside them all, who is to occupy the house as its Lord.

The combination of different elements must necessarily be for an entity quite different from all composing elements. As for instance, a house built by different composing materials is meant for the dwelling of man or any other living being quite different from the materials of composition; so the body which is composed of different materials must necessarily be meant for the purpose of one quite different from the composing elements. This is one of the arguments adopted by the Sankhya school to prove the existence of Purusha, the pure principle of intelligence who is dwelling in, yet quite different from, the body which is composed of the different modifications of Prakriti or matter.

The Atman is signified here as a monarch residing in the palace of this body and for whose purpose the different functionaries, the senses, are performing their respective duties.

The Sruti declares that Brahman, who is an embodiment of bliss and joy (Rasa), who is the very core of our being, is the source of our life and the activities of our senses. Without Brahman, the eye cannot see, the ears cannot hear, the Pranas cannot perform their respective functions. The end and aim of existence or the goal of life is to attain eternal bliss of Brahman. Man wants lasting happiness. On account of ignorance, he seeks it in external objects. He fails in this direction. Then he employs discrimination, searches within, turns his mind inwards and finds the undying bliss in his own Self or Atman through meditation. The path in which a sensualist treads is only a zigzag route towards the abode of supreme bliss. Every movement of life is towards the Satchidananda Brahman only.

If this Ananda (bliss) does not exist in the supreme ether in the cave of the heart, who indeed in the world can breathe? Therefore Brahman exists.

Even as the cause of fear in the ignorant man and of fearlessness in the wise man Brahman exists. One can become fearless by attaching himself to something which exists. It is not reasonable that freedom from fear can be attained by something which did not exist. Cessation of fear cannot certainly arise from resorting to a non-existent being.

When the knower of the Self is centred in his own Self, when he rests in his own Satchidananda Svarupa, he sees, hears and tastes nothing else. You can be afraid of another, but you cannot be afraid of your own Self. How can there be fear for one who beholds his own Self everywhere? Therefore Brahman alone is the cause of the fearlessness of the knower. When there are various causes of fear in this world, the Knowers or Jivanmuktas are fearless. This itself clearly indicates that Brahman who frees the Knower from all sorts of fear does exist. If Brahman does not exist, the Brahmins cannot attain fearlessness. Therefore as these Brahmins are found to be fearless, the cause of their fearlessness does exist.

May you all realise the all-blissful Brahman who is free from all fear, cares and anxieties! May you all attain the goal of life, the summum bonum of existence by Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana after equipping yourself with the four means of liberation, viz., Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-Sampat and Mumukshutva!

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