If we wish to have a direct experience of the essence of the Vedas and the Upanishads—that the one supreme consciousness is none other than you and me—then the answer is meditation.The essence of the Vivekachoodamani by Sri Adi Sankaracharya lies in the verses that come in the middle of the text, which can be chanted or even sung in beautiful music. The refrain of each verse is, “You are that essence, the Brahman, thus meditate.”
That supreme Brahman cannot be described or experienced by speech. However, it is not that it cannot be comprehended at all. It is understood by the one who has a pure mind and an intuitive perception. That Brahman is pure. It is a mass of consciousness. It is an object, i.e. the very subject—I, that has no beginning.
This pure light of consciousness is untouched by the six altering frequencies or waves of hunger, thirst, hatred for objects that give us sorrow and attraction for those that give us joy, old age and death. It is untouched by these six waves. It is that which is constantly being contemplated upon by the yogi or a master of sense organs and emotions.
It is not apprehended by any of the five sense organs of perception—eyes cannot see it, ears cannot hear it, skin cannot feel it, tongue cannot taste it and nose cannot smell it. The intellect that can discern and detect even the most subtle of differences cannot grasp the intellect. It is finer than the finest objects of the world. It cannot be negated or simply wished away.The most important line at the end of the verse is the refrain, “That Brahman is You.”
The Brahman does not go through any changes such as birth, growth, change, dissolution, disease and destruction. It is an inexhaustible source. It is the only cause for the creation of the world and its destruction. That Brahman is You.
That Brahman is free of all distinctions. It is never nonexistent. It has always been, it always is and it always will be. It is like a quiet and deep ocean without a wave or a ripple. It is ever free. It is not divided or compartmentalised. That Brahman You are and so you meditate upon it.
It is the only one thing that exists. It is the existence of all the objects that exist. Being one, it is however the cause of everything else. The presence of the Brahman is cause for refuting any other single cause for any happening in this universe. However, it does not have a cause. It is different from all the modifications of cause and effect. That Brahman ThouArt, thus you meditate.
(The writer is Sevika, Chinmaya Mission, Coimbatore and can be contacted at sharanya.chaitanya@chinmayamission)