Facets of a Diamond - Blog

“No Not-Brahman”


Photograph by John Diamond, M.D.

The mantra, “Tat Twam Asi” (“Thou art That”), is the central dictum of the Upanishads. It defines the relationship between Thou, the atman (soul in every being), and That, the transcendent brahman (Absolute), which pervades the whole universe.*

This always seems to me to be a less than ideal affirmation. The atman, the Soul is Brahman – yes, of course. But what of the rest, the not-Thou, the not-atman, the not-Soul of every being?

If Brahman is the whole universe, then Brahman must also be the whole being – not just the atman of him – all of him.

Brahman cannot be thought to be the whole universe, but not a person’s whole body, his whole self.

There can be no not-Brahman, no not-God.

Whitman declared that “every atom belongs to me as good belongs to you.”  Let’s go further: Every atom belongs only to Brahman – is Brahman.


* Richard Waterstone, India (London: Macmillian, 1995), p. 124.