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Prajnanam Brahma - Brahman Is Pure Consciousness - Mahavakyas In Upanishad

Prajnanam Brahma - Brahman Is Pure Consciousness – is from the Aitareya Upanishad, Rig Veda. It is the only one of the four Mahavakyas that does not speak directly of the oneness of Brahman and the Self, but rather explains the nature of Brahman as pure consciousness.

The section that contains these words begins with the question: ‘What is that Self, which we worship?’ And as part of the reply, we find that this Self, or absolute Reality, is identified with all the gods, all the elements, all creatures.

All this is guided by consciousness, prajnanam, is ordered by consciousness. The ground of the universe is consciousness. Consciousness is Brahman (3.1.3).

This is our first hint that pure consciousness is something more than we may think it is, for it forms the source and ground of the entire universe.

It is the guiding force behind the creation of all living beings and dwells within all sentient beings as the inner guide and controller. Thus, we can say that Brahman, in addition to being pure consciousness, is also, when conditioned by the attributes of intelligence and the power of projection, one and the same as ishvara, the creator.

Source – Excerpt from the article ‘The Significance of the Mahavakyas by Swami Atmajnanananda in Prabuddha Bharata January 2020 page 60 - 61.

There are four Mahavakyas Based On The Upanishads

The first three dealing with the ultimate oneness of the individual Self, or jivatman, and the supreme Reality or Brahman, while the fourth one dealing with the nature of Brahman as pure consciousness.
  1. Aham brahmasmi; I am Brahman of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajur Veda.
  2. Tat tvam asi; Thou art That of the Chandogya Upanishad, Sama Veda.
  3. Ayam atma brahma; This Self is Brahman of Mandukya Upanishad, Atharva Veda.
  4. Prajnanam brahma; Brahman is pure consciousness of Aitareya Upanishad, Rig Veda.
Mahavakyas in Upanishads prove in minimal words that all that is animate and inanimate in the universe we know and in the universes we do not know is nothing but Brahman (Supreme Truth or Pure consciousness). Brahman of Sanatana Dharma is not the God of monolithic religions because he does not sit somewhere hidden with a remote control  determining the life of human beings.