Question for Advaitins: If I am Brahman, then why do I (who is already Brahman) need to find out that I am Brahman? Who is this



The second point is wrong. 'I' does not refer to Brahman. Here 'I' is the subtle body of Jiva that consists of manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara. It is this I that is searching for Brahman.

Marwari Devotee: "Who is this 'I' that says, 'O Lord, I am Thy servant'?"

Sri Ramakrishna:"This is the lingasarira or embodied soul. It consists of manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara. Lingasarira is the Atman bound by the eight fetters. Chitta is the 'I-consciousness' that says 'Aha!'"

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 30, The Master in Various Moods

Fetters are shame, hatred, fear, caste, lineage, good conduct, grief, and secretiveness.

Some Comments on the nature of Brahman

The question has been changed. The first version of the question stated that Brahman is all-knowing. Is it a correct description of Brahman? I would like to state that Brahman is Pure Consciousness in the Advaita Vedanta scheme. To interpret the Advaita Brahman as jada is completely missing the point. The concepts of 'all-knowing' or 'not all-knowing' can not possibly apply to Pure Consciousness. Such dualistic concepts can apply only to conscious beings. Narayana of Vishistadvaita Vedanta and Vishnu of Dvaita Vedanta are conscious beings and are all-knowing.

It is very difficult to say anything affirmative about Advaita Vedanta Brahman. The description 'Sat-Chid-Ananda' illustrates this point. Brahman may be said to be existence (SAT), be Pure Consciousness (CHID) and be bliss itself (ANAND). The above description is not stating that Brahman exists but what is being claimed is that Brahman is the principle of existence. Similarly Brahman is not a conscious being but consciousness itself and is not blissful but bliss itself.

It is this difficulty that has led to describing Brahman negatively. An example of Brahman described negatively is given below.

Yajnavalkya said: O Gargi, it is the supreme being that the non-yogins call gross but, in fact, that is eternal and wonderful lord; one that is not long, not red, that has no head, that has no setting, hence that has a lasting taste, that has no contact, no smell, no juice, no eyes, no ears, neither speech nor mind, no brilliance, no proof [or magnitude], no (worldly) happiness, no name, no race, no death, no age, no ailment; that is nectarine, that is expressed by the word Om, that is immortal, that has neither a predecessor nor a successor, that is endless and non-external. It eats something. It does not eat anything. ..

Linga Purana II.9.53–54

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