MAHAAVAAKYAS (GREAT SAYINGS)
December 17, 2003
Waukegan Mandir

The mahaavaakyas (great sayings) of the Upanishads summarize the teachings of the sacred Hindu scriptures. Lord Swaminarayan states 12 in Vedaras (3 words in each of 4 sayings from the 4 Vedas):
1. Pragnyaanama Aanandama Brahma (Brahma is the highest blissful knowledge) - from the Aitareya Upanishad of the Rig Veda
2. Ahama Brahma Asmi (I am Brahma) - from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad of the Yajur Veda
3. Tata Tvama Asi (You are that) - from the Chandogya Upanishad of the Sama Veda
4. Ayama Aatma Brahma (Your soul is Brahma) - from the Mandukya Upanishad of the Atharva Veda

Other recognized mahaavaakyas include:
Sarva Khalvidama Brahma (All is really Brahma)
Ekama Evadvitiyama Brahma (Brahma is one, without a second)
Brahma Satyama Jagana Mithyaa (Brahma is real, the world is unreal)

Shankaracharya taught the mahaavaakya, "Sarva Khalvidama Brahma" (All is really Divinity). Thinking he had fully understood the saying, one disciple returned to the village repeating, "Sarva Khalvidama Brahma." Suddenly, a mad elephant came hurtling in his direction. The mahaavata (elephant rider) sitting on top of the elephant shouted for him to get out of the way, but the disciple had just learned that, "All is really Divine," and so he decided that Brahma was in the elephant as well. Thus, he faithfully remained in the path of the mad elephant. The elephant approached and swung his trunk mightily, knocking him across the road. Shaken by the fiasco, the disciple approached his guru saying that the mahaavaakya was not correct. But after hearing the whole story, the guru explained that the disciple had misinterpreted the saying. Though seeing Brahma in the elephant, the disciple had failed to see Brahma in the mahaavata when he said to get out of the way!

Further, Brahma can "talk" through the inanimate as well as the animate. For example, although a moorti (representation of God) may be made of stone or any other material, God speaks to devotees through it. Ekalavya's moorti of Dronacharya was made of sand, but it inspired him to be a greater archer than even Arjun. In today's age, even the signal in a car that tells us to wear our seatbelts should be followed!

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