Self and Brahman are Free from Attributes

by the Warden of Shanti Sadan

‘Words cannot describe this Consciousness Absolute; the mind is lost in Its majesty. How can I describe to thee, this Eternal One? I can only say that this immortality-giving knowledge, space-like am I.’

These sentences from the Avadhut Gita remind us of the limits of language as regards the knowledge of ultimate truth. Words can describe objects, their qualities and their relationship with other objects. But the supreme reality does not fall within this range. The mind can be lost in its majesty, but there is no finite experience on which to comment.

And yet our only approach to this realisation is through the help of words. The Upanishads are collections of words, and there are two words in particular that denote the supreme reality. One of them is Brahman, indicating reality as associated with the whole cosmos. The other is Atman, pointing to the innermost Self of human beings.

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This article is from the Winter 2022 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.