Paramatma - the ultimate essence of the universe
Swetaswetaropanishad refers to the Paramatma as the ultimate essence of the universe. It describes the same as the imperishable Divine within that is well beyond the cycle of birth and death. The power in its possession offers the vital breath or energy to all living beings and others in the world.
Many people, because of ignorance and darkness in them, do not understand the importance of the Paramatma and they consider the body, its sense organs and others as the ultimate and devote all their attention to the material interest and comfort, and consumption-pleasure. They utilize their power and brain in pleasing the sense organs. Lost or addicted to such act, they never pay attention to the presence of any superpower cosmic presence such as Paramatma.
The world is on the move, inconsistent, subject to destruction, and change. However, the power that makes it dynamic, inconsistent, destructible and changeable is stable, unchangeable, and undestructible. The power is Paramatma which is described in varied ways as the source of non-dual reality.
Adi Shankaracharya, a famous Vedic Scholar and writer of various reviews and commentaries on the Upanishads, introduces the Paramatma as the ultimate essence of the universe; its non-dual reality is its speciality; it is the source of light, spring of eternal pleasure, the power behind all living Jeevatma and non-living and it remains omnipresent in all sentients.
Among the features of the Great Soul referred to by Shankaracharya in his commentaries, the Paramatma is true, conscious, bliss and origin and also anadi –nothing beyond it. It is independent, all pervading, nirguna which means it is devoid of satwa, raja and tama.
Swetaswetaropanishad also talks of ways to understand and realize the existence of the Paramatma as different and all powerful beyond the Jeevatma. Various ways of Pranayam and Dhyan – meditation- are mentioned in this regard. The word Om has been described as the boat that could navigate people out of ignorance and darkness of materialistic world. It has been explained as a route to realization of the ultimate Divine existence.
The Upanishad considers the nature as an illusion created by the Great creator. The power behind the nature is linked with the Divine presence. The moment there is delink the nature cannot be functional. Understanding this reality is very difficult but through various ways of meditation and Samadhi the nondual reality could be understood. Once the knowledge is acquired there is no need to learn any thing.
By Shirish B. Pradhan
(See corporatenepal.com for Nepali version)