The Mother Divine
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By N .R. Srinivasan

“Do not underestimate your potential great abilities—in both material and spiritual fields. They Reside within you; tap them! We get strength from the Self within” says Swami Chidananda of FOWAI Forum, drawing our attention to the statement from Kenopanishad mantra 2-4 that reads as follows:
Aatmanaavindateveeryam—Through the Self one obtains the real strength.
Pratibhoditammatamamritatvam hi vindate | 
Aatmanaavindateveeryam vidyayaavindateamritam 
|| 2-4 ||

He who realizes the existence of Brahman behind every activity of his being—whether sensing, perceiving, or thinking—he alone gains immortality. Through knowledge of Brahman (vidya or spiritual knowledge) comes the power. Through knowledge of Brahman comes victory over death.

[Pratibhoditam—when it is intuited in and through every modification of the mind-thought, speech and action. Brahman which is amritam is characterized by its own unique qualities like Sathyam, Jnaanam, Amalam Anantam, Aanandam and others that I had explained in Brahman, Knowledge of Brahman. Viditam—when Brahman is meditated upon as having these unique characteristics it will also make the meditator attain these characteristics which is merging with Brahman. Veeryam—strength that is required for the fulfilments of meditation. In Vedanta, vidya is spiritual knowledge. It is also referred as Apara vidya while secular knowledge is Para vidya.]

The Vedas say that people worship Aditya as Brahman (Aadityamarchayati.-MNU). Those rays by which Aditya gives heat, by those same rays the Parjanya rains, by Parjanya herbs and trees grow, from herbs and trees food is produced, by the food Praana is nourished, by Praana bodily strength or Bala or Veerya is obtained. It is therefore obvious that it is Brahman or the Self that builds strength in us though his creative power:


The Absolute Truth presides in us as the Aatman or Self. This can be well understood when we realize the Self is the witness of three states of our consciousness. A witness is one who is standing apart from the incident and who witnesses and views the incident without taking part in it in any sense. The experiences gained in the waking-state are contradicted in our experiences of the dream-state and both these (real and unreal) are negated in our deep-sleep state.

Yet it is strange that the same individual can remember his experiences in his waking state as well as in the dream-state and also can realize that he knows nothing during the condition of deep-sleep and says that he slept like a log of wood. From this it is clear that there is an unchanged entity in us that experiences all our waking-life, dream world and deep-sleep bliss. The waking-state ego, Mr. So-and-so entity is not there in the dream-world. But on waking up from the dream, he remembers that he had dreamt. That factor in us in consultation with which we have this continuity of awareness and personality, through the different fields of consciousness, is the all-witnessing Aatman or Self.

Thought is a disturbance in the mental faculty, a ripple in the mental pool. As the thoughts rise, dance and die down, it is Consciousness that illumines the birth, existence, activities and the final end of all thoughts. Thus at each thought-disturbance there must be a flicker of Consciousness and this Consciousness is intuitively realized as separate from the thoughts that it illumines. One who realizes this becomes immortal—changeless. The change is in the thought-flow: the illumining Light of Consciousness as witness merely looks on the changing thought process.

To identify with the witness is to end the thraldom of the ego. Death and limitation, sorrow and despair, success and failure, pleasure and pain, love and hate and several other poisonous weeds of life that embitter life, all belong to the ego. To the all-witnessing Truth, samsara is foreign. To it light, power, wisdom is the bliss-content of the samsara. In this identification with the Self lies the secret of knowing the Aatman as beyond the “Known” and the “Unknown”.

Vedas say “OM antascharatibhooteshu” and “OM tad Brahma”Om moves within the cave of the heart of all living beings and that Om is Brahman. The mantra in Kenopanishad says “Aatmanavindateveeryam”- Through this Self or Brahman one obtains the real strength. Great strength comes when you are in Brahmacharya. When Brahmacharya is established in you, you see that you are more than the body. You see yourself as the consciousness. Brahman means infinity if you analyse the meaning of the word in Sanskrit. Charya means moving in infinity. That is turning inwards. This is what the above mantra points out which is brought to our specific attention by Swami Chidananda.

The Indian concept of Brahmacharya and the Western concept celibacy are not exactly the same. Celibacy means a state of being unmarried and sexually abstinent. But Brahmacharya is stricter, it not only includes one's physical activities, but also his/her thoughts and words. According toSwami Vivekananda's description: "Chastity in thought, word, and deed, always, and in all conditions, is what is called Brahmacharya." Brahmacharya gives energy and gigantic will-power. Without chastity there can be no spiritual strength. Continence gives wonderful control over mankind. The spiritual leaders of men have been very continent, and this is what gave them power. Therefore the Yogi must be continent. Complete continence gives great intellectual and spiritual power. The Brahmachârin must be sexually pure in thought, word, and deed.

Patanjali stresses continence of the body, speech and mind (Om ityaatmaanamunjeeta). Yoga is not meant only for celibates. If one practices Yoga, one has to practice high principles of Brahmacharya in one’s daily living whether one is bachelor, married and living the life of a householder.

When one practices principles of Brahmacharya, he develops a fund of vital energy, a steadfast mind and a powerful intellect. We must use our physical strength for doing the work of the Lord (Ishvara) which is the service to society called Seva, and mental strength for the spread of culture and the intellectual strength for the growth of spiritual life. Swami Chidananda says "tap this energy".

Patanjali’s Yogashastra explains Yama as follows: Yama are moral commandments. They are universal in nature for all times to come and are beyond religion, creed, country, age and time. They are universal ethical disciplines. Patanjali mentions five universal disciplines: Ahimsa (Non-violence); Satya (Truth); Aasteya (Non-stealing); Brahmacharya (Celibacy or Continence) and Aparigraha (Non-coveting). I draw your particular attention to Brahmacharya here that I had explained elaborately in my discourse “Ashtanga yoga of Pataanjali”.

Brahmacharya in Sanskrit language means the life of celibacy, study of scriptures and self-restraint. It is abstention from passions and lust. It implies restraining one’s senses from sense pursuits or indulgence in sexual pleasures. It applies equally to married as well as unmarried or single parent, male or female. Please refer to the sutra in Patanjali’s Yoga shastra: “Brahmacharya pratishthaayaamveeryalabhaha'' (II Sutra 38).--On being established in celibacy vigour is gained."

It is this vigour (veerya)that Kenopanishad brings to our focus. Thus Swamiji has presented to us the teachings of the Upanishads, benefits of Yogashastra and wisdom of Vedas in a capsule form through the mantraAatmanaavindateveeryam” from Kenopanishad. The Shrutis declare: “Naayamatma balaheenenalabhyah—This Aatman is not attainable by a weak man.” “Jahisatrummahabahokaamarupamduraasadam—Kill this powerful enemy, passion, by the observance of Brahmacharya” (Chap. III-43).

If you need to need to know more about Brahmacharya based on quotes, please go through the article : “The Concept of Brahmacharya– Its True Meaning, Nature & Implication” as well as Sri Ravi Shankar’s “Reflections on Brahmacharya” promoted in Patanjali’s Yogasutra.

Chandogya Upanishad describes in Book 8-5 the activities and lifestyle that is Brahmacharya: Now Brahmacharya is, in reality, a sacrifice (yajnya) for only by means of Brahmacharya does the knower attain that world (of Brahman). And what people call Ishti (worship) is really Brahmacharya, for only worshipping by means of Brahmacharya does one attain the Aatman (the liberated Self). Now, what people call the Sattrayana (sacrificial session) is really Brahmacharya, for only by means of Brahmacharya does one obtain one's salvation from Sat (Being). And what people call the Mauna (vow of silence) is really Brahmacharya for only through Brahmacharya does one understand the Aatman and then meditate. Now, what people call a Anasakayana (vow of fasting) is really Brahmacharya, for this Aatman never perishes which one attains by means of Brahmacharya. And what people call the Aranyayana (life of a hermit) is really Brahmacharya, for the world of Brahman belongs to those who by means of Brahmacharya attain the seas Ara and Nya in the world of Brahman. For them there is free movement at will in all the worlds. Brahmcharya is thus glorified as the best sadhana to attain Brahman.
— Chandogya Upanishad,VIII.5.1 – VIII.5.4

A hymn in another early Upanishad, the Mundaka Upanishad in Book 3, Chapter 1 similarly states: Satyenalabhyastapasaaaatmaasamagjnaanenabrahmacharyenanityam.

Through continuous pursuit of Satya (truthfulness), Tapas (perseverance, austerity), Samyajñāna (correct knowledge), and Brahmacharya, one attains Aatman (the Self, soul).
A similar thought is reflected in the following Veda mantra from MN Upanishad:

Vedanta-vijnaana-vinischitaarthaahsanyaasa-yogaatyatayahsuddhasatvaah |
Te brahmaloke tu paraantakaaleparaamritaatparimuchyanti sarve ||(also Mu.Up. 3-2-6)

The recluses or sanyasins who are endowed with the decisive knowledge (of taatva, hita and purushartha) that is derived from the Upanishads, whose minds are purified on account of the performance of Sanyasa Yoga ( Brahmacharya ) surrender at the feet of the Lord, become freed from all bonds, by attaining Paramaatman in the abode of Paramaatman, after the fall of their final body.

[Yoga here is taken by Saayana, the well- known commentator, in Patanjali’s sense, and he stresses its necessity for the purity of mind which mainly consists in turning away from objects that stimulate one’s desires.]

Please also refer to the following shloka from the BhagawadGita:
Kaayenamanasaabuddhyaakevalairindryairapi |
yoginah karma kurvantisangamtyaktvaaatmasuddhaye|| (5-11)
By giving up all attachments, the karma-yogi performs actions though the medium of the body, mind, intelligence and senses, simply for the purpose of self-purification. [That is Brahmacharya. Even today, some of the Mathadhipatis lead a family life but mostly practice Brahmacharya as in Yatiraja Math tradition.]

According to science, every physical thing in this universe amounts to energy, including a particle of sand. As the movement of energy creates particular patterns in its fluctuations, it will manifest as water, skin, or stone. But the bottom line is that we’re all made of vibrant, moving energies. Our sages say turn inwards to visualize Brahman by Brahmacharya. Brahma means infinity, charya means moving in infinity. Swami Chidananda says tap them for your benefit quoting the mantra from Kenopanishad. Tapping means use them properly, which also calls for conservation, avoiding waste, and directing them to right channel.

This is why one of the five ethical principles of Yoga is Brahmacharya – mastery and conservation of our energies. Translated literally as “walking the path of God” or “celibacy”, Brahmacharya was a practice that the ancient ascetic yogis took on as commitment to their spiritual path. Much like modern day monks and nuns who take their vows of chastity, the yogi was expected to devote all of his energy to seeking union through the austerities of meditation, breath-work, chanting, study, and other yogic techniques. Sexual excitation can use a lot of our vital energy and potentially deplete it if its excessive or expended without integrity, so this practice was essential for one who is focused on renunciation. This may not be possible for all others living in the material world more so in USA. By moderation, we can enjoy life materially that USA offers and also spiritually advance and that is what Swami Chidananda means when he says tap them properly. He does not want you turn into a sanyasi at once, but practice Brahmacharya as far as possible, especially when you are focused on spiritual thinking.

“Established in Brahmacharya”, Yoga Guru Iyengar asserts, “one develops a fund of vitality and energy, a courageous mind, and a powerful intellect… Brahmacharya is the battery that sparks the torch of wisdom.” We are, essentially, energy itself. An abundant resource of empowerment, strength, and penetrating insight lies within, waiting for us to master it. As we practice Brahmacharya, that torch of wisdom continues to brighten within us!

MN Upanishad further says that the Balam we get from Brahman should be further utilized to know Him and then join Him to attain the same status with Him and enjoy perennial joy moving away from the shackles of samsara:

Chittamchittena Smriti(ga(m) smrityaaSmaara(ga)m smaarenaVijnyaanamvujnyanenaaAatmanam
bhootaanaampraanairmanomanasaschavijnyaanamvijnyaanaataanando brahma yonih ||”

By Tapas (brahmacharya), faith or shraddha springs, by faith mental power of grasping rises, by mental power maneesha or knowledge generated from shravana, and by maneesha rises reflection, by reflection comes calmness, by calmness there is devotion in the form of love towards the Supreme, by love towards the Supreme comes God remembrance, through remembrance rises continuous remembrance, by continuous remembrance arises knowledge in the form of vivid perception, by knowledge of vivid perception one knows Brahman and thus Brahman, the blissful-cause of the universe, is attained. Thus the Self gets back to its source (Salokataamaapnot; saayujamaapnoti) called Mukti.