(Last Updated on : 11/02/2011)
The Mahavakya, Prajnaman Brahman is translated saying that Brahman is the supreme knowledge. The saying focuses on the fact that knowing the absolute reality is the supreme knowledge. Brahman is also considered to be the knowledge out of which other knowledge arises. There are many types of knowledge one can attain. However, they all are derived from and are classified from a higher knowledge. Only the absolute knowledge is the highest and exceptional. This knowledge is called absolute because it is not stemming from something else. Supreme knowledge is the ground out of which the diversity of knowledge and experience grows. The plant that appears separate is made of the element of the soil.
Many experts describe this notion of supreme knowledge, depicted in "Prajnaman Brahman". Thus, metaphor is used to capture and communicate the essence of the meaning. This Mahavakya Prajnaman Brahman says that as one should climb the ladder of knowledge; this higher knowledge is to be found at the level of Brahman or the oneness of universal consciousness.
Reflecting on lower knowledge might give some idea. For instance, the knowledge of how to ride a bicycle is a form of knowledge, but it is based on the higher knowledge of how to move the body. The knowledge of complex mathematics is based on the higher, more initial, prerequisite knowledge that allows the thinking process itself. When one perceives a person that he recognises as his friend, there was first an ability to see and conceptualize, which much higher than knowledge. Intuitively, one comes to see that there is consciousness, or whatever term you would like to use, that is higher, more foundational, or prerequisite to the lower knowledge in all of its other forms. The highest rung of the ladder is called supreme knowledge or prajna, and this is said to be one and the same with brahman, the oneness.
Another fact revealed in the Mahavakya Prajnaman Brahman is that it is not a process of intellectualizing. Knowledge refers to knowing or awareness, not just a linear, cognitive thinking process. The knowledge attained through this Mahavakya is more like the knowledge of recognizing an object as a tree, than the process of adding up a list of numbers. There is not an easy way of explaining, than to say it is a matter of knowing the tree. There are two kinds of people who may come across this concept. Some people are intellectual, or head people, while others are emotional, or heart people. While these differences between people might be real, this Mahavakya is talking about a universal principle that is applicable to all people. The practices themselves are applicable to all people, whether inclined towards the head or the heart, though different people will quite naturally have diverse experiences that lead to the same ultimate realisations.
Prajnaman brahman or knowing the absolute reality is the supreme knowledge involves the effort to reflect on the nature of supreme knowledge, the eternal substratum of all other knowledge. The mind will present many memories, impressions, images, sensations, thoughts and emotions. All of these are some form of knowledge; however, they are not the highest knowledge.
This kind of reflection leaves a quietness in which the perception of the existence of the higher knowledge starts to evolve. The perception deepens with practice. This quietness is not one of lethargy or laziness, but rather of clarity and sincerity. The realisation of the actual meaning of Prajnaman Brahman brings a smile to the face and to the heart, as the field of knowing gradually expands towards the wisdom of this explicit Mahavakya.