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Know Thyself: Supreme Brahman is infinite

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The Nama Rupa, the shapes and forms are broken up and now there is only one Ocean, which is one person, the Purusha. One person, who possesses sixteen parts, is now back to being One Person–the one who is without parts and immortal!

Now, this is from the Tao Te Ching; ‘To Tao, all under heaven will come as streams and torrents now flow into a great river or sea.’

Jalaluddin Rumi says: “Your drop may become the sea.” Rumi again says in Shams-i-Tabriz: “None has knowledge of each who enters, that he is so-and-so.” All is gone and there is only the ocean.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say that it is like the salt doll trying to find the depths of the ocean. There is no salt doll left anymore, there is just the ocean.

There was this great poet, Christina Rossetti. I can never forget Rossetti, because a wonderful teacher called Harihar Iyer, in Model High School, Trivandrum, taught me the poems of Rossetti. And, it was so good that I can never forget the way he taught. Now, in one of her poems, Rossetti says: “Lord, we are rivers running to the Thy sea, our waves and ripples all derived from Thee: a nothing we should have, a nothing be, except for Thee.”

Beautiful isn’t it? That’s Vedanta in English verse!

Anyway, the verse that follows, which talks about this is:

Ara Iva Rathanaabhau Kalaa Yasmin Pratisthitah, Tam Vedyam Purusam Veda Yatha Ma Vo Mrtyuh Parivyatha Iti

In whom the parts are well-established, as spokes in the center of the wheel, know Him as the person to be known, so that death may not afflict you.

Only thus far do I know of the Supreme Brahman. Somebody may know more about the Supreme Brahman. I don’t know more because it is immeasurable and infinite and the more you know, the more remains to be known.


Then comes the conclusion of the instructions. All the questions have been asked, a discussion has happened, a Samvada–a dialogue–has taken place. Whether the disciples have understood or not understood, we don’t know; but, verbally yes, understanding has taken place. The teacher has taught, the student has learnt. The teacher has learnt, the student has taught. Now is the conclusion.

Tan Hovaca

To the disciples, what does the great Rishi say? He doesn’t say this is the Absolute Truth that I have given you! That would have been arrogance! You can’t blame Pippalada for arrogance. So, what was said? To them, Sage Pippalada said:

Aitavad Evaham Etat Param Brahma Veda Natah Param Astiti.

He said to them: “Only thus far do I know of the Supreme Brahman. Somebody may know more about the Supreme Brahman. I don’t know more because it is immeasurable and infinite and the more you know, the more remains to be known.”

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