BackgroundOften the mahAvAkyas like 'aham Brahma asmi' 'tat tvam asi' are seen and interpreted in stand-alone manner. Here I attempt to read them as in the Upanishad.
Let's go through Brhadharanyaka Upanishad 1.4.1 to 1.4.17 which has the mahAvAkya 'aham brahmAsmi'.
A bit of more backgroundVedas, Upanishads, saMkhya et al are generally depicted as 'literatures' that got developed at different points of time. But that's not what my study of Rg Vedas, Upanishads and saMkhya kArika says. These, in my view, are various branches of cosmic science.
There are various branches of science even in cosmic domain. Quantum physics is micro-physics in Quantum domain. Cosmology is physics across the Universe at gravitational scale. Thermodynamics is physics of matter and biological evolution.
Rg Veda in my study are just plain quantum physics. Yajur Veda is more Cosmology. Upanishads are like books written by authors to explain quantum physics to layman. saMkhya kArika is design patterning of Universe based on thermodynamics. The fact is we have not retained (mostly) the actual scriptures. What we have is a miniscule part of original scriptures.
I am introducing it at this juncture, as I thought this understanding helps understand the Aditya Hrdayam series also much better, as I delve deeper into it.
More on this later. Let me jump directly into the slokas.
ātma iva idam agra āsīt puruṣavidhaḥ
sa anuvīkṣya na anyadāt mano apaśyat
sa aham asmī iti agre vyāharat,
tata ahaṃ nāma ābhavat
tasmād apyetarhyāmantrita aham ayam iti eva āgra
uktvā atha anyannāma prabrūte yadasya bhavati;
sa yatpūrvo'asmaat sarva asmāt sarvānpāpmana auṣat tasmāt puruṣah;
oṣati ha vai sa tam ya asmāt pūrvo bubhūṣati
ya evaṃ veda
TranslationAtma alone (iva) manifested (Asit) here (idam) before/first (agra) types/kinds of puruSa (purusa-vidhah)
That (Sa) on examination (anuviksya) not otherwise (na anyadat) saw manas(mana-apasyat)
That (sa) 'I (aham)' exists (asmi) thus (iti) before (agre) any expressions (vyAharat)
Therefore (tata) named 'aham' (aham nama) the existence/manifestation (abhavat)
From that (tasmAt) aham, apye now-a-days (etarhi) this (ayam) aham (aham) is spoken to/prayed to /addressed to (Amantrita) thus (iti) certainly (eva) before (agra) saying (uktvA) then (atha) other names (anya nAma) announced/declared (prabrute) which (yad) becomes (bhavati) of his/of self (asya)
That (sa) which (yad) from (asmat) the previous/opposite (pUrva) of all (sarva), from (asmat) all the (sarvAn) pApmAna dawns/burns/digests (auSat), from that (tasmAt) is the Purusha (purusah)
Burns/Digests (Osati) either (va) that (sa) those (tam) or (ya) from the (asmat) opposite (purva) of desiring/wishing to live/manifest (bubhusati)
which (ya) alone (evam) is knowledge/wisdom/realization (veda)
Atma existed before any kinds of Purusa. That (Atma) on examination saw nothing else than the ‘manas’. (it sees itself and hence it is the ‘manas’). Atma is the ‘manas’ as it ‘sees itself’. That ‘aham’ (the manas) exists thus before any expressions. Therefore that existence/manifestation(of Atma) is named ‘aham’.
From this only, now-a-days ‘aham’ is addressed before other names are declared which becomes of the self. Thus ‘aham’ comes to indicate the ‘self’ or ‘ourself’.
That which is the previous of all, in which everything is digested/burnt, that is Purusha. It is before the desire the manifest. This is (certainly) known.
Meaning of sloka 1.4.1
Atma- Manas- AhamAtma existed before any kinds of Purusa. That (Atma) on examination saw nothing else than the 'manas'. (it sees itself and hence it is the 'manas'). Atma is the 'manas' as it 'sees itself'. That 'aham' (the manas) exists thus before any expressions. Therefore that existence/manifestation(of Atma) is named 'aham'.
From this only, now-a-days 'aham' is addressed before other names are declared which becomes of the self. Thus 'aham' comes to indicate the 'self' or 'ourself'.
Aham means inside, inside is manas, manas is the one that exists before any expressions manifest and is same as 'Atma' in us. Since 'aham' indicates the 'Atma' in us, we use the word 'aham' as a name for ourselves before others are addressed.
PuruSaThat which is from the opposite of everything, from the digestion of everything 'pApmAna', that is Purusha. Purusha is the 'burnt'/'digested' and opposite to the 'wish/desire to live'. Purusha does not 'evolve' (it does not 'live') as it does not have the 'desire'.
puNya and pApa'puN' means accumulating. puNya is that accumulating property. Hence 'puNya' is used to denote pious activities. puNya karma are the 'karma' that 'add' to us.
"pa-apa" means driving away or reducing. pApa is the reducing property. Hence pApa is used to denote sinful activities. pApa karma are the 'karma' that reduce from us.
The entire Universal evolution can be seen as 'pApmAna' or 'sin'. How..?
pApmAna - Evolution as 'reduction' (pApa)From the 'complete' (pUrNam), the Universe evolution is continuous reduction one after another.
The primitive fundamental particles that arise first are closer to that 'Complete' than composite particles. The Composite particles are closer to that 'Complete' than elements and compounds. The elements and compounds are close to the 'Complete' than primitive living beings. The primitive living beings closer to that 'Complete' than highly intelligent beings.
Hence the evolution itself is 'pApmAna' or sinned, as it is continuous reduction process from the 'complete'. Hence 'pApmAna' are those reducing actions.
PuruSa - 'sarvAN pApmAna auSat'The puruSa is purva (earlier or opposite) of everything. It is in which everything remains 'digested' (or burnt up). All the reducing actions (sins) (pApmAna) are 'burnt' up /digested (auSat) in that 'earlier of everything'. puruSa is opposite to the 'desire to live' (bubhusat). In other words, purUsa does not evolve, as it does not 'live'. It's been there as it is from before the dawn (uSa).
That's why puruSa is translated sometimes as 'pur uSa', the previous to dawn of the Universe. It's because the 'desire to manifest' starts the reduction process of evolution or the 'dawn' (uSa) of evolution. purUsa does not live/evolve. It's been existing from befoe the dawn as it is, without evolving.
The sloka 1.4.1 talks about 'Atma', 'manas' 'aham' and purUsa. Atma is the manas, is the aham. purUsa is that which is previous/opposite to everything (we observe) (probably all the matter), does not evolve as it is without desire to 'live'.
More to come..