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The Self in All Brahman, The Lord of LoveThe One Becomes ManyControl, Compassion, Generosity

Upanishads/The Self in All

Meditation and Reading taken from The Upanishads, translated by Eknath Easwaran
All other text is by Cynthia Stewart

For a historical introduction to this sacred text, see Leader Resource 1 - Historical Introduction -
Today's Themes

The identification of the Self (or Atman) with the essence of reality (Brahman, also called the “Lord of Love” in today’s reading) is at the mystical heart of much Hindu thought, and certainly of the Upanishads. Human and other beings are stuck on the endless wheel of birth, death and rebirth because they choose to believe that they are individual, separate beings rather than manifestations of the one Uncreated Reality. We experience this world as separation because our minds are clouded, but when we are able to turn away from this illusion, we can see the truth that lies beyond: that all of reality is an inseparable unity. Our perceptions and experiences that make us think otherwise are aspects of maya, the illusion of duality and separation that binds us to the phenomenal world through the process of karma. (Maya is mentioned in today’s reading.)

Constantly the Upanishads call us to discard the images that we have created of ourselves and our world and to recognize the truth: that the Self, the cosmos, and even our creations and illusions are all one with Brahman.

Call To Worship

I call on you now to remember your Self –
Your true Self –

Not the “I” that hammers ceaselessly in your head,
Not the fears and triumphs and doubts and surrenders that tell of your life.

I call the true Self, the true You,
Who is ever perfect, above sin, and beyond death.

I call that Self, your true Self, which is also my Self and the Self of every person,
Knowing that is already, and always, here.

Meditation

The ignorant think the Self can be known
By the intellect, but the illumined
Know that he is beyond the duality
Of the knower and the known.

The Self is realized in a higher state
Of consciousness when you have broken through
The wrong identification that you are
The body, subject to birth and death…

Realize the Self, the shining goal of life!...
See the Self in all, and go beyond death.

          Kena Upanishad 2.3-5
          (Eknath Easwaran translation)

Reading

On this ever-revolving wheel of being
The individual…goes round and round
Through life after life, believing itself
To be a separate creature, until
It sees its identity with the Lord of Love
And attains immortality in the indivisible whole…

Conscious spirit and unconscious matter
Both have existed since the dawn of time,
With maya appearing to connect them,
Misrepresenting joy as outside us.

All is change in the world of the senses,
But changeless is the supreme Lord of Love.
Meditate on him, be absorbed in him,
Wake up from this dream of separateness.

Know God and all fetters will fall away.
No longer identifying yourself
With the body, go beyond birth and death….
                    Realize
The Self in the depths of meditation –
The Lord of Love, supreme Reality,
Who is the goal of all knowledge.

This is the highest mystical teaching.

          Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 1.6, 1.9-11, 1.16
          (Eknath Easwaran translation)

Benediction

Go in peace.
Go in wisdom.
Go in knowledge of the Self.
Go in fullness of the divine.
Go in mindfulness of our connection.
Go in understanding that all of these are One.

OM shanti shanti shanti