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"Aham Brahmasmi"

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  • "Aham Brahmasmi"

    "Aham Brahmasmi"

    About 400 years ago, there was a man by name Mansur in the city of Benaras. By virtue of his good samskaras (inherited tendencies) and his preceptor's teachings, he had developed firm faith in the Vedic dictum: "Aham Brahmasmi" (I am God). When people heard him always repeating this aphorism, they questioned him whether he was really God. He used to emphatically tell them thrice, "Yes, I am God." In course of time, he became the target of envy and hatred among the prominent men in Benaras, including Vedic scholars and heads of religious institutions. They went in a body to the King of Benaras and complained against

    Mansur, saying that he had no knowledge of Sanskrith or scriptures but was going about shouting, "I am God," thereby insulting eminent scholars and pandits. The King summoned Mansur to his court and asked him, "Who are you?" Promptly came the reply, "I am God." The King got him examined by medical experts and found that he was not insane. Then the King advised him to give up saying "I am God," in view of the complaints from scholars. Mansur firmly refused to obey the King's command and declared that he would sooner give up his life than forswear his unshakable faith and firm conviction in his oneness with the Divine. He questioned the King boldly, "Why do you want me to give up truth? The truth is: I am God; you are God; everyone is God."

    As he did not change his attitude despite all kinds of persuasions and threats, the King ordered that his hands should be cut off for the offence of disobeying the King. As the King's minions held Mansur tightly and raised their gleaming swords to cut off his hands, Mansur went on boldly shouting aloud: "Aham Brahmasmi" unceasingly and smilingly. After severing both his hands, the executioners went to the King and reported that Mansur was fearlessly and smilingly repeating his declaration even after his hands had been cut off and he was bleeding profusely.

    The King went to the scene of Mansur's ordeal and found that the place was reverberating with the sacred sound of "Aham Brahmasmi" coming unceasingly from the tongue of the smiling Mansur as well as from the blood flowing profusely on the ground from his hands. In a short while, Mansur fell down dead with a smiling and calm face and "Aham Brahmasmi" on his lips.

    The King was deeply moved and he prostrated at the feet of Mansur. He sent for the scholars, priests, pandits and heads of religious institutions who had complained against the saintly Mansur. On their arrival, he reprimanded them saying, "What is the use of your book learning? You could not recognise or understand the greatness of Mansur. He was a man who established unity in thought, word and deed. You don't practise what you read and teach. You are all a pack of conceited, book-worms, envious of truly great persons. Misled by your complaints, I have committed the sin of virtually murdering such a saintly person. However, he has become a martyr in upholding the highest truth of "Aham Brahmasmi." In order to teach you a lesson and to provide a source of inspiration to you and your progeny, I am building a memorial for Mansur."

  • #2
    Re: "Aham Brahmasmi"

    Dear Sri Padmanabhan,

    I wish to add a few lines about the life of the Sufi Master "Al Hallaj Mansur" about whom I think you refer to in your post.

    Al Halláj Mansur was a legendary Iranian Sufi Master who lived between 858—922 ACE and was reputedly one of the earliest Islamic Sufi Masters recorded in history. He was also the most controversial figure in the history of Islamic mysticism. His full name s Abu ‘l-Moghith al-Hosain ibn Mansur al-Hallaj and he was born C. 244 (858) near al-Baiza’ in the province of Fars in Iran in the family of Cotton carders, from which he gained the name of "Al Hallaj" (Cotton-carder). Even when he was young Al Hallaj was drawn towards spiritual life. He lived a life of a "Dervish" (itinerant mendicant) and had wandered widely,in the middle eastern desert teaching and sharing his love of God, where ever he went, first to Tostar and Baghdad, then to Mecca, and afterwards to Khuzestan, Khorasan, Transoxiana, Sistan, India and Turkestan. Eventually he returned to Baghdad, where his bold preaching of union with God caused him to be arrested on a charge of blasphemy. He would often go into trance where his only explanation of the state of mind he connected with was that it seemed he had become one with all creation, existence, and with God.

    "If you do not recognize God, at least recognize His sign, I am the creative truth —Ana al-Haqq—,
    because through the truth,I am eternal truth".
    (Kitab al-Tawasin )

    In 922, Al Halláj was convicted of blasphemy by the leaders of a local religious community and was executed through a slow tortuous process. The case against him was that he had claimed to have discovered God within himself and that he had repeatedly declared, "Ana al-haqq" which means; "I am the truth." This statement may seem innocuous to those of us today, something people at his time found offensive and, because of that. Al Hallaj was persecuted and found guilty of heresy. He met an unfortunate and brutal death.

    Al Hallaj inspired many Sufi mystics who appeared subsequently including Mohammad Jalaluddin Rumi.


    Last edited by Brahmanyan; 06-12-12, 18:24.


    • #3
      Re: "Aham Brahmasmi"

      Sri Brahmanyan Sir
      Thanks for your additional info