The Upanishads cannot help being repetitive while discussing

the nature of Brahman and the atma. They also reiterate

that the ultimate purpose of human existence is to attain the

higher knowledge by which the life of sorrow is crossed. The

quest is so subtle and mystic to the inquiring mind that it has

been pursued with renewed interest tirelessly generation after

generation, pointed out Sri Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a


In the Svetasvatara Upanishad, there is reference to ‘the

Indescribable, the Vast, the One, the Self the Seer of which

sees neither death, nor disease nor sorrow.’ How to grasp

this essence? In symbolic vein, the atma within each one is

explained as being ‘subtler than the subtle, greater than the

greatest, and hidden in the heart of all creatures.’ The atma

resides in the body, but also moves around everywhere with

innumerable forms. His hands and feet, eyes, heads,

mouths, ears are everywhere and He pervades everything in

the universe. Though Formless, Brahman brings forth innumerable

forms into creation. None can fathom why this is

done. He then draws them back into Himself.

The Self in each and every being in creation coexists


Brahman like two beautiful birds, inseparable companions,

living in the same tree. While one of them experiences the

world of creation, and is subject to the joys and miseries of

the world, the other is representative of Brahman, the master

of Maya, who remains the unseen, immobile and calm

observer. He is so subtle that though He is the source of all

scriptures, and one may be well versed in the scriptures, unless

the truth is internalised and felt in the heart, He cannot

be grasped. He is grasped only through transcendental experience.