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Q & A: Tattwamasi – Meaning: You are Absolute (God), What is OM?
In my meditation one day I asked Shree Swami Samarth - Why should I pray you? Who are you exactly? What is your real form (swaroop)? …and I heard the answer in the meditation - “Tattwamasi”. But I did not recognize what is it? So, naturally I searched on the internet and I got it is the Brahmavakya (or Mahavakya).

After that I learned many things about this sentence but I do not have any experience. I came to knew that every where on this earth- every sound is OM (AUM), I heard OM (AUM) in Truck horn, in small baby’s cry, in Railway horn, in cinema background, everything is made from OM (AUM), but only I know this, I cannot experience this. What is meant by “Sakshatkar”?

Lata (Name changed), India

Tattwamasi or Tat Twam Asi: That thou art – You are the Absolute

I am going to try to explain the meaning of “Tattwamasi” or 'Tat Twam Asi'.

Before you read this I must say “This is one of the most difficult subjects of all”. Shri Swami Samarth told you the “Brahmavakya” (Mahavakya) from Upanishad in one word. Yogis struggle several lives to get (experience) the real meaning of 'Tat Twam Asi'. Only the liberated souls can fully understand the true meaning of this Mahavakya - 'Tat Twam Asi'.

These four mahavakyas (great utterances) from Upanishad are:

"Prajnanam brahma" (Consciousness is the Absolute)
"Aham brahma asmi" (I am the Absolute)
"Tat twam asi" (That thou art)
"Ayam atma brahma" (The Self is the Absolute)

Everything below is just the words and nothing more. They may carry some meaning but they can not give even 1% of experience of Tattwamasi. It is only the Sadhana (spiritual practice) of several lives that takes sadhak to the state of liberation – which is Tattwamasi.

All bonds with the “attachment to the physical body” have to dissolve before the sadhak is connected to the “Self” where the meaning of 'Tat Twam Asi' reveals itself. Neither Guru nor God can take anyone to state of 'Tat Twam Asi'. It is the individual sadhak who walks there….after efforts of several lives.

So here goes the purely theoretical discussion of 'Tat Twam Asi' which in true sense is meaningless in presence of our strong “Attachment” to our “Body” that continually generates “Desires”. 'Tat Twam Asi' will revel itself when an individual Jiva identifies itself with “Atman” that is disconnected to the “Body”

Believe me – everything below is meaningless because they are just the words for the ignorant. Only one in millions has broken the bonds of “Avidya” and is capable of understanding the meaning of these words. For all others they are merely the ‘boring words’.

Meaning of Tattwamasi

Tat Twam Asi, is one of the Mahavakyas (Grand Pronouncements) in Vedantic Sanatana Dharma. The meaning of this saying is that the Self - in its original, pure, primordial state - is wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena or the universe in limited sense.

Here are some the wordy (verbose) meanings of 'Tat Twam Asi' – “That thou art” or “You are that” meaning “You are the Brahman” or “You are the Divine”, “You are the Absolute”.

This is same as “Soham” or “Aham Brahmasmi” – “I am that” or “I am the Brahma”.

This also means the Jiva (human for example) and Brahman (God) are identical, so that there is no difference between the Atman of Jiva and Brahman. By knowing the SELF (tvam or through self realization) we will be able to recognize the entire Universe (Tat) because of the fact that the Universe cannot exist without the presence of Brahman (Self).

4 Mahavakyas from Upanishad

'Tat Twam Asi' is one of the four Mahavakyas given in an Upanishad. Mahavakya means the transcendental phrase or a great saying which establishes identity or oneness of the individual soul with Brahman. There are altogether four Mahavakyas in the Upanishads. Each Veda contains one Mahavakya. The four Mahavakyas are:

Prajnanam Brahma (Consciousness is the Brahman or consciousness is the Absolute): This is contained in the Aitareya Upanishad of the Rigveda. This is the Svarupa-Bodha-Vakya that explains the nature of Brahman or the Self.

Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman or I am the Absolute): This is contained in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of the Yajur Veda. This is the Anusandhana-Vakya or sentence for enquiry.

Tat Twam Asi (That Thou Art): This is contained in the Chhandogya Upanishad of Sama Veda. This is Upadesha Vakya uttered by the Guru to disciple.

Ayam Atma Brahma (This Atman is Brahman or the Self is the Absolute): This is contained in the Mandukya Upanishad of the Atharva Veda. This is the Anubhava-Bodha-Vakya that gives expression to the inner intuitive experience of the innermost Self by the aspirant through meditation or Nididhyasana.

You are infinite, eternal, unchanging, all-pervading existence – The “Atman”

The reality is - Real nature of Jiva is is Sat-Chit-Ananda. “Self” is (you are) Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute and Bliss Absolute. You are identical with Brahman. You are the creator of this universe. You are the Lord of Nature. The whole world is your creation. Desire, weakness, pain, anger, inability, etc., are all Upadhi-Dharmas. They are all wrong Samskaras, due to Ajnana or Avidya.

You are infinite, eternal, unchanging, all-pervading existence – The “Atman”.
You are Anandamaya (Blissful).
You are Sat-Chit-Anandamaya.
You are Chidananda.
You are Chinmaya.
You are gyanamaya.
You are Tejomaya.
You are Satyam.
You are Kaivalya.
You are Nitya, Suddha, Siddha, Buddha, Mukta.
You are Nirvana.
You are omnipotent and omnipresent Brahman.
You are the source of all things.
You are the source of Vedas.
You are the source of all knowledge.
You are the Supreme.
You are Purushottama.
You are Brahma, you are Vishnu, you are Mahesha.

The one who removes the veil of ignorance (Avarana), which is hiding the real Svarupa “Self” by destroying egoism, the sense of duality and the sense of separateness, will shine in his own Glory. He will rest in Sat-Chit-Ananda (the blissful) state. "Tat Twam Asi".

What is OM or AUM?

The Lord (Ishvara) of raja, yoga is a special purusa (person) who is not affected by the five afflictions and the fruit of actions and desires. His name or symbol is Om. He is indicated by the mono-syllable Om. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

I hope this helps.

Thank you.
Mahendra Joshi

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Q & A: Tattwamasi – Meaning: You are Absolute (God), What is OM? Topics: Religion, Faith and Vedas, Scriptures

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