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Tat Tvam Asi
December 6, 2005 | 9:24 pm

Tat Tvam Asi is an ancient Vedic aphorism.
A direct translation means: That Thou Art

Tat Tvam Asi can mean I am what I am, or It is what it is.
To me, an affirmation that we are all the same or come from the same essence. Don't try to be separate from anything; "It is mine, you cannot have it." or "This situation is intolerable"... It is what it is, and you are not spearate from it but a part of it, whether you like it or not so get over it.
And yet you are not really OF this world only IN it. It has no real, lasting power over you. What we all are part of is more than the sum of Earthly parts. the Hindus call it Brahman.

So the story goes...
UddAlaka Aruni had a son named Swetaketu. It seems that the boy Swetaketu did not concentrate his mind on the study of Vedha. Therefore his father did not want him to grow into an "Abhasa Brahmana" - "he who is a Brahmana by birth but has failed to study and respect the Vedha". Out of compassion, he asked his son Swetaketu to undertake the study of Vedha under a scholar.

Swetaketu then went away from his house to study the Vedha under a scholar for several years as prescribed. He returned to his father's house after completing his study. Swetaketu was full of pride. He lacked humility. He thought that he has finished studying everything.

On seeing this nature of the son, his father called him and thoughtfully asked a question - "O my son! Have you studied that thing (Adesa) knowing which everything becomes known?"

Swetaketu was shocked and replied "Father! Your question seems to be illogical. Neither I know such a thing nor I was taught about such a thing. If you know please teach me that!"

On hearing this reply for the son, the father calmly told him with several examples - "Son! Have you not seen the mud in front of the potter's house! It becomes a pot in the hands of the potter. If the mud is known, then all things made of mud are known! Similarly if you know gold, things made of gold like ornaments are known. If you know iron, all things made of iron are known! Like this, if you know an entity called "Brahman" then everything (entire universe) is known!"

Then his father proceeded with the long Sath Vidya explanation, explaining the Brahman. He said (Sath Eva Sowmya Edamagre Asit) in the beginning, which is before creation of the universe, the "Sath" alone existed. It wished to become many - which is the manifold universe. It created three divinities and entered into them. From it, the entire universe composed of all sentient and insentient entities was created. Sath then entered into all such things created by him from him and became the universe.

He continued and concluded (Atma Tat Tvam Asi Swetaketo) - "O Son! Sath is the Atma (Soul). You are That!".

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