Throughout time, many people have known and written about Real Being. The truth of Being transcends time and culture. It is essential: that which is ontologically real in both Self and cosmos.
One of the great sources for knowledge of Real Being is the Vedas. The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts from India, some of the oldest spiritual teaching still in practice today, dating back over 3500 years.
The Vedas were written by visionary Sages, called Rishi, capable of profound states of meditation.
The Sages would enter deep states of meditation, enabling them to realize the true nature of Being, which they often called the One (ekam) or the cosmic person (Purusha).
Vedanta means the “end” or the “goal” of the Vedas, and refers to the ancient spiritual teachings of the Upanishads. The teachings of Vedanta that are simultaneously direct and dialectical. There is a logic of the Self (atman), that if understood, takes us directly into pure subjective awareness of Real Being.
In the Upanishads, Real Being is Brahman. Enlightenment entails realization of the eternal, everlasting, unchanging ground of Being, known as Brahman.
In the 8th Century AD, the philosopher Adi Shankara offered a commentary of several of the Upanishads that is quite helpful for our understanding of Real Being. In a commentary on the Katha Upanishad, Shankara discusses the meaning of the Upanishads. He says,”the word Upanishad is formed by adding the upa (near) and the ni (with certainty) to the root sad, meaning, to shatter or kill, to attain, to loosen.”
The knowledge offered in the Upanishads ‘loosens’ or ‘shatters’ the seed of illusion. The knowledge is obtained by those who meditate on the nature of the innermost Self (Atman). Understanding the true nature of the Self leads to a release from the bondage of illusion:”Knowing that, one becomes freed from the jaws of death”.
The Upanishads teach of the Unity of the Real Being (Brahman) and the innermost Self (Atman). The fruit of this knowledge is release from the bondage of illusion.
Brahman as the supreme Being (and supreme God) is goal of human existence. The word Brahman is from the root bṛh- “to swell, expand, grow, enlarge”. Brahman, as that which swells, expands, grows, enlarges, is the ground of being. All things are conditional upon Brahman. Brahman gives rise to, underlies, and pervades all of existence. The world of name and form emerge from and return to Brahman.
It is only the individual being that can contemplate and realize the Supreme Being. Thus, There are two movements or moments within psychic life. In the first moment, we transcend Real Being, echolocating our self within transitory existence. In the Upanishads, the transitory existence is called Samsara. In the second moment, we realize Real Being as it exists beyond transitory existence. This is called enlightenment, or moksha.
Both of these moments entail Self-realization. Psychological development is a moment of toward the wholeness and integration of the personality (of the individual self). Enlightenment is a movement beyond the personal altogether. It is in this moment that we come to know and live Real Being. This blog addresses both these movements.
Brahman is known through meditation on the qualities of Real Being (Brahman). Spiritual practices involve meditation on sacred symbols and mantras.
Archetypal forms express the core patterns and motifs encountered on the path to enlightenment. Spiritual symbols encourage the spiritual seeker to contemplate and participate in the unformed, unmodified, immeasurable aspect of Real Being (Brahman).
For example take the spiritual symbolism of the heart. The heart is a paradigmatic sacred symbol. The Upanishads say that spiritual seekers should seek the lotus of the heart. In the lotus of the heart there is a cave. In the cave there is a space; and this space opens to reveal the limitless and supreme Truth of Brahman.
Or take the symbolism of the Sun, as spiritual light. Isa Upanishad tells us that the one subtle forms of Brahman is the eternal light, likened to an inner sun. One meditates upon the symbol of light as Self-effulgence and Self-illumination, as subtle form of one’s own Self-becoming.
The absolute truth of Real Being (Brahman) extends beyond path all-together. Brahman as the ground of Being and of the Self, it is not objectifiable, and can never be known as an object. The Spiritual Path aims toward an object which can never be an object of consciousness, and therefore must be known through the bliss and truth of the Self. Bliss emerges as one experiences the qualities of Real Being (Brahman).
Those that seek an experience of Real Being (Brahman) are guided by spiritual qualities. The love and bliss of the heart– as well the light of the inner sun– offer qualities and images which guide awareness toward Real Being. Realization of Real Being as the spiritual heart or inner sun is Sat-Chit-Ananda (love, bliss, limitlessness). Such a realization takes us beyond symbolism, as the truth and bliss of being.
Carl Jung spoke of the archetypes as contained in a collective unconscious. Jung believed the collective unconscious to be inherited, and to present itself in myth, dreams, and imagination. The Upanishads are not limited to an inherited model, but instead recognizes the archetypes as representations of the infinite and eternal Truth– of Real Being! This truth emerges in symbolic form from within the Innermost Self, and yet offers an opening to truth which extends beyond the human dimension, into the transpersonal dimensions of Being– as Brahman.
Blessings on your journey!