What a wise person (Jñāni) knows directly – can be summarized in below Ādi Śaṅkarācārya’s words.
Which is why there is NO GAIN for a jñāni to argue or defend themselves – when challenged by criticism of an ignorant Jīva (person who identifies “I” with Body-Mind complex):
brahma satyaṁ jagan-mithyā jivo brahmaiva nāparaḥ
anena vedyaṁ sacchāstram-iti vedānta-ḍiṇḍimaḥ
What it means is…
“Brahman is the Truth.”
Brahman means “Non-changing Consciousness / Awareness / Existence“. They are all synonyms in context of Brahman (the Supreme Reality).
Irony is everyone is looking for the Supreme Reality, yet everyone already IS the Supreme Reality, including you – whether acknowledged or denied.
Just like whether Gravity’s presence/existence is known or unknown – it’s still in operation – and doesn’t care about your knowledge of it.
In fact, the only reason why you can comfortably argue Gravity’s presence – is because it’s safely keeping you on the ground. Good luck contemplating existential questions while flying off into the sky. 🙂
Similarly, Brahman is known to you – whether you acknowledge or deny it’s presence/existence.
How is it known? It’s known in your experience as self-evident “I”.
Now you say “Prove it to me!“…
You can’t deny your EXISTENCE. You can’t deny that you are AWARE. Doesn’t matter what you’re aware of (thought, emotion, doubt, peace).
Point is, you are still AWARE.
The “AWARENESS” is Brahman.
Therefore Chāndogya Upaniṣad, states mahāvākya “Tat Tvam Asi“. Meaning “THAT Thou Art“. (That you are)
Meaning, you can’t NOT be Brahman. Because Brahman is “AWARENESS”.
And when are you not AWARE?
Deep sleep? (Most common response)
What is your experience of Sleep? You’ll either say (a) Nothing, or (b) Blissful.
How do you know it’s nothing/blissful?
If Awareness wasn’t present in Deep Sleep, you wouldn’t even know what I’m talking about. You’d say “I don’t sleep! I only dream!“.
And when you say “I’m going to sleep“, do you mean “I’m going to dream“? No!
In fact you wouldn’t go to bed, if you knew all there will be is state of Dream.
You go to bed gladly because there is knowledge about that state of Nothingness-bliss.
Which obviously means there is AWARENESS OF Nothingness-bliss.
Thus, AWARENESS (Brahman) is present even in Deep Sleep.
(For detailed explanation of this, see Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad videos).
“The universe is false.”
“False” does NOT mean “Illusion” or non-existent, as often used by dualists as bases of attack against Advaita Vedānta’s methodology.
False just means: Changing. We call this Mithyā.
Important point to know is the truth of Mithyā – is the unchanging Reality called Satya (Brahman). Thus Mithyā enjoys it’s dependence on Satya. While Satya is independent of Mithyā. Meaning, Satya-Mithyā are never apart. They are not two (Advaita).
(See below Wave, Ocean, H2O analogy to see relationship between Satya-Mithyā. Although you need to find a Vedānta teacher for full explanation of this. Because revealing Truth has many facets and can’t be effectively passed through text alone. You need to hear it directly. I recommend my favorite teacher, Neema, at www.DiscoverVedanta.com)
Coming back to principle of changing…
Where is the little 5 year old “you” NOW? Gone! (Mithyā)
It was real back then. But now you probably don’t even relate to that 5 year old child.
So was the child real? Yes and no.
Yes, while the child was a child.
No, as the child died (changed) to give way to the adult.
But what remained throughout the child AND adult experience? Awareness. YOU.
That’s because of Satyam – being unchanging, unceasing Awareness.
“The jīva (individual self) is, indeed, Brahman, not another.”
Simple analogy we often use in Vedānta…
Jīva (person) is wave of Ocean.
Ocean is Īśvara (God).
H2O is Brahman.
What permeates both Wave (Jīva) and Ocean (Īśvara)? H2O (Brahman).
Meaning there is only H2O (Brahman).
“LINE 2: By this should be known the Truth of the scripture. Thus is the drum-beat of Vedānta.”
When Truth, as revealed in FIRST line, is comprehended – then knowledge of Scripture (Śruti) becomes known and comprehensible. Instead of mysterious and contradictory.
But to get to stage of comprehension, you need to be taught by a teacher/guru. Else Scriptures will only become an intellectual exercise, lacking depth of their INTENDED meaning.
Line 1 is the essence of Advaita Vedānta’s message.