Brahma Gyan (The Knowledge of Almighty)

Having outlined the precepts of Yoga, Devi Bhagavati was requested by the King of Himalayas to enlighten him as to how best to acquire ‘Brahma Gyan’ so that the Knowledge thus gained, albiet peripherally, be harnessed to take steps towards Her. Indeed, Brahma Gyan is not simple to acquire even to Illustrious Maharshis, Devatas and even Trinity, since its Wisdom is higher, deeper and far more mysterious and perplexing than the orbit of realisation of anybody, let alone human beings. When one refers to Brahma Gyan, it is not to be misconstrued as the knowledge of Lord Brahma of the Trinity, but the highest of all ie. the Supreme Brahman who is Devi Bhagavati Herself, whom there is indeed nothing there beyond. That particular Brahma who is eternal, imperishable, all-knowing, and all powerful is the Unique and higher than the highest or the ‘Nirguna Brahma’ who does take physical forms at Her (or His) will. It is that target that one should hit by utilising the ‘Bow’ of meditation and the ‘arrows’ of OM Mantras. It is that Mystic Brahman who is the converging point of three effective paths viz. ‘Sravana’ (Absorbing by way of hearing), ‘Manana’ (Cogitating by way of mental absorption) and ‘Dhyana’ (mental concentration by way of meditation)). It is that ‘Antaryamin Purusha’ (The Inner most Soul) that one has to seek and that is what Brahma Upasana all about. The ‘Atma’ is a bridge to ‘Paramatma’. Atma or Antaryamin is encased within physical frame which is tied up with 750,000 ‘nadis’ (Life webs) fastened to the navel as the center of wheel and this ‘Antaryamin’ resides in the heart. ‘Prajna’ or inner consciousness is a link to Maha Tatva or Prakruti on one hand and ‘Paramatma’ on the other. When human beings could maintain balance of the three qualities of Sattva, Rajasa and Tamo gunas or when the five bonds of ‘ Samsara’ or normal life are blunted if not severed, then ‘Jeeva’ is qualified for the entrance test for further stages of Enlightenment.[The five bonds are ‘Avidya’ or ignorance or lack of inclination,‘linga deha’or the raw physical form, ‘Paramachchada Prakriti’ bond or severe snapping of impulses or reactions whatsoever, ‘Kama’ bond or the pull of desires, and ‘Karma’ bond of fate]. The ‘Jnani’(The Pursuer) of Enlightenment reaches thus the threshold of the Universe and passes by ‘Sisumara’ (literally meaning the Infant Killer or the dolphin shaped sea mammal) or the constellation of North Pole (Ursa Minor) where he becomes devoid of passions far beyond ‘Gunas’, Tatvas’and Bonds and enters the Golden Sheath or the Cosmic Egg. From there lies a sheet or a continuous path of Infinite Effulgence where there are no directions of north,east, west or south; no time measurements, no space dimensions but only ‘Brahma Conscience’ or ‘Hiranmaya Kosa’. Maha Bhagavati Devi thus defined the ‘Brahma Gyan’ as the Supreme Knowledge of Herself which is neither in Heavens, nor Satyaloka, nor Vaikuntha, nor even Kailasa but in one self who transforms the self or the ‘Atman’ unto ‘Paramatman’. Finally, the destination is within oneself and no where else viz. the heart likened with the Lotus Within! In this connection, Maha Devi emphasised the role of a Guru (Spiritual Teacher) who is superior to one’s own father; for the parental combination provides birth but the Spiritual Instructor endeavors to break the cycle of births and deaths, by providing ‘Brahma Gyan’. Of course, one’s father is competent to teach Brahma Vidya, other things being equal!

In the context of imparting Brahma Gyan, Maha Devi Herself provided an anectode to Himavanta. A Muni named Dadhyam prayed to Indra for instructing him Brahma Gyan. Indra agreed on one condition that he should never impart to anybody else and that his head would be cut if the Muni did so. But Aswini Devata brothers approached the Muni after a few days and assured the Muni that his head would be pre-cut and kept safe and meanwhile a horse head would be fixed in place of the original head; from the horse head the Sage might teach Brahma Gyan to the Aswini Brothers and once Indra cut the horse head then the original head of the Sage would be replaced!

Bhakti and ‘Punya Kshetras’ (Holy Places of Pilgrimage)

Having explained Brahma Gyan, Devi Bhagavathi provided alternative routes of realising Her viz. Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Of these the Bhakti Marg is the simplest as it involves the least pain of the body and enables facile concentration on the target. However, this too could inflict bodily hurt if it aims doing adverse reactions against others in a typical Tamasic manner. If a rajasic kind of Bhakti is the objective to fulfil one’s own desires, there is nothing unnatural about it. But the pure Satvik kind of ‘Nishkama (selfless) Bhakti’ is indeed the ideal as it gives an instant equation with the Object. In fact it leads to ‘Para Bhakti’ or highest form of dispassionate Devotion which has the pure feeling of ‘Sevya’ and ‘Sevaka’ (Master and Servant) without even targetting Salvation. That kind of devotion is contented with whatever ‘Prarabdha’ has decided for the devotee and despite that there is no other feeling excepting the intoxication of pure love without strings, which is similar to ‘Jnana Yoga’. This extreme devotion, as Devi Bhagavati defines, is on the analogy of gold converted as an ornament or Bhakti in peak position tends to turn into ‘Brahmatva’ itself! Among the ways of such Supreme Bhakti, Maha Devi cited Prayers, ‘Japas’ (repetitive recitation of Devi’s various manifestations), Group chantings of Devi’s glories (Bhajans), hearing of Puranas, Mantras, Hymns and music-dance performances, observing fasts, executing ‘Vraths’ (functions related to pujas of specific manifestation of Devi and so on). One another manner of Bhakti is to visit places of Pilgrimage or ‘Thirtha Yatras’ (Holy Temples and Rivers) for ‘Darshan’ and worship.

As ‘Bharat Varsha’abounds Temples and Holy Rivers all across its length and breadth, Maha Devi mentioned a few illustrative names, but when one’s heart is clean, each and every place of the ‘Karma Bhumi’ is a holy place of worship. Kolhapura on the banks of River ‘Panchaganga’ (in Maharashtra) is Maha Lashmi’s famous Temple situated. The Deity is also known as ‘Karaveera Nivasini Ambabai’ and the City is known as Dakshina Kasi and a Shakti Peetha too. Matripura in Sahyadri mountains or Western Ghats (Mahur or Mahugadh in Maharashtra) is a Shakti Peetha, the seat of Renuka Devi and also the birth place of Dattatreya. Tuljapura is the abode of Tulja Bhavani (again in Maharashtra and a Shakti Peetha) and next to it Saptashringa with the Temples of Hingula and Jwalamukhi.The Temples of Sakambhari (Vaishno Devi and on Indrakeeladri -Vijayawada- in Andhra Pradesh), Bhramari (Hill top at Kasauni Town, near Almora, Uttrakhand), Sri Rakta Dandika (Arunachal Pradesh and Rakteswari near Kateel , Mangalore) and Durga (Varanasi and Kanaka Durga Temple at Vijayawada); Vindhyachala Vasini ( Central India), Annapurna (Benares), Bhima Devi (Vaishno Devi), Vimala Devi ( Puri), Chandrala Devi , Kausika Devi at Kausika River (Kosi River), Nilamba (on top of Nilaparvata) ; Guhya Kali (Nepal), Meenakshi (Madurai), Sundari at Vedaranya (Tamilnadu), Ekambaram (Kanchi), Bhuvaneswara near Purushottama Kshetra as Parasakti; Mahalasa in South at Mallari, Yogeswari Varat, Bagala at Vaidyanath, Manidwipa as Bhuvaneswari, Yoni Mandala Kamakhya at North East (Gauhati in Assam), Pushkara as Gayatri, Chandika in Amaresa, Pushkarekshini at Prabhasa (Gujarat), Linga Dharini at Naimisharanya, Puruhuta in Puksharaksha, Rati at Asadhi, Dandini at Chamundi, Bhuti in Bharabhuti, Nakuleswari at Nakula, Chandrika in Harischandra, Trisula in Japeswara, Sukshma in Amritakeswara, Shankari in Ujjain, Sarvani in Madhyama, Margadayani in Kedara Kshetra, Mangal at Gayakshetra, Sthanupriya at Kurukshetra, Swayambhu at Nakula, Ugra in Kankal, Mahananda at Attahasa, Bhimeswari at Bhima, Bhairavi at Bhairava, Bhavani Sankari at Vastra Padma, Rudrani in Artha Koti, Visalakshi at Avimukta, Bhadrakarni at Gokarna, Bhadra at Bhadrakarnak, Utpalakshi at Suvarnaksha, Sthanivisa at Sthanu, Kamala at Kamalalaya, Muksewari at Makota, Kali in Kalanjara, Dhvani in Sankhukarna, Sthula in Sthulakeswara, and finally Parameswari Hrilleka in the lotus hearts of Jnanis. Recitation of the above names of Devi in the presence of Brahmanas during ‘Shraddha’ days especially, ‘Pithru Devatas’ would be pleased to bless. There are certain ‘Vratas’ (vows) to be performed by men and women, stated Maha Devi to Himavanta, as She would be enormously delighted. Some illustrations are ‘Ananthatritiyaka Vrata, ‘Rasakalyani’ Vrata, ‘Ardrananda’ Vrata, to be performed on ‘Trithiya’or the Third of Hindu Calendar. On a Krishna ‘Chaturdasi’ ie. the fourth day after the moon fall, every Friday and Tuesday too, one might observe fasting till the twilight time of the evenings and perform worship to Devi Bhagavati and terminate fasting. Two Navaratras every Spring and Autumn ie in Vasanta and Dassera seasons daily fasting and worshipping by the dusk time be observed similarly.On the third day of Sukla Chaitra the ‘Dol’ Festival is of significance and ‘Sayanotsav’ of Ashadha Purnamasi too.The ‘Jagaranotsav’ of Kartik Purnamasi Masa, ‘Rathotsava’ of the third of Sukla Ashadha, the ‘Damanotsav’ every Chaitra and all the austerities of Kartika are all dear to Devi Bhagavati. In all these Vratas, puja of virgin Kumaris as though the devotees worship Devi Herself would gladden Her.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at