Asato Ma Sad Gamaya (Lead
me from unreal to the Real)
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
(Lead me from ignorance to knowledge)
Mrityor Ma Amirtam Gamaya
(Lead me from death to immortality)
"I am he' or " I am that" . Reversing and reading the word backwards
it becomes AHAMSAH. Deleting the first A makes it HAMSAH or HAMSA,
meaning 'I am that". In this statement I is the Individual making
the statement, and "that" is the pronoun referring
the third person, but generally connotes Brahma. Thus the statement
'Hamsa" declares the identity of the first person with the third
person and it means I the speakar is the same as that Brahma; I am
non-different from Him. This is stated in Ishavasyopanished as: "
That person who is in Sun. I am that" say a devotee.
If such a statement is
made by a narrow minded individual. It would appear egotistic tall
claim of Godhood by a mortal. Even if is said by a person totally
devoid of ego, it may sound egotistic to a listener.
Let us analyse the
pronouns "I' and "that", I is the personal pronoun, it is the
subject, making the statement ."That" is the third person singular
pronoun and forms the object. Anything and everything that is not
"I' becomes 'that". So "that" includes, he, she, it, they etc. So "I
am that" means I am he, I am she, I am it, I am you etc.
Whether it is a he, she or it , everybody refers to himself or
herself as "I". Therefore "I' is in everything and it
pervades everything. Every "that" has its own "I" ; and that "I' is
same in all, it pervades everything. All pervading entity which is
called Brahma. Hamsa (I am that) means the all pervading entity
which asserts "I', "I" in every thing that is Brahma. "I am that"
doesnot mean that God, sitting up in heavens, but the
God that resides in the heart of every living thing. Knowing this
fact, a saint views Brahma in everything and becomes compassionate
towards all living beings.
Myriad of objects,
sentient and insentient, through appearing distinctly separate,
all are pervaded by the same "I" that is Brahma. Because of
the limitation of our sense perception and ignorance we
perceive them as different from each other.
Krishna Says in Bhagavadgita :
God resides in the heart of all beings.In the from of
universal fire "I" am in the bodies of all
animals. "I" pervade everything in this world, Lord is present
equally in all objects, "I" am in the heart of all.
These and many
similar declarations appearing in all different
scriptures state emphatically that " Brahma" alone
pervades everything in the universe.
In ordinary usage,
when we say I, that is a different I. By I, You, He, in ordinary
parlance, we mean the body, the limited individual. I want, i ate,
he gave etc refer to body. In certain cases, especially wisemen, may
refer or imply the mind by I , YOU etc. But in Hamsa (I am that) the
I is entirely different. This "I" is the underlying principle which
imports consciousness to body and mind. In the presence of that
consciousness alone our body and mind become alive and capable of
saying "I". In the absence of that consciousness our body will fall
lifeless, begin to decay and look horrible. That same consciousness
is the life-giving principle in every living being from tiny insect
to the biggest animal, that alone asserts "I' ness and energises the
mind to think and body to work. The pronouns "I" and "that" in
Hamsa (I am that) connote this life giving principle, all pervading
consciousness. With that connection the sages pronounce the words
Hamsa "Soaham" and aham Brahmasmi etc; not with the limited
individual ego. They do not have the limited individual ego of the
body consciousness. They have destroyed the individual ego and
attained the oneness with the universal consciousness. "I"
(Aham) and that (Sa) of (TAT) do not mean different things,
instead connote the same consciousness of Brahma. They see Brahma in
Bhagavan Krishna says in
For a sage, a
learned Brahma, a cow, an elephant , a dog eater are all same. He
sees the same universal consciousness equally in all.
The individula "I" has
no existence in the absence of 'that' consciousness. The individual
"I" exists only because of the existence of "that". When I is
denuded of its individuality, I becomes pure and of the same nature
as that. Now identical with that, I merges with that. Now identical
with that, i merges with that. This merging or union is Hamsa
Han(han) the root from which Hamsa is derived, means
to kill or destroy. The word Hamsa also means He who destroys
the individuality and thereby the suffering of the individual and
make him merge with the universal. Such an individual overcomes or
escapes the cycle of birth and death.