[Advaita-l] The Origin of 'Ekoham Bahusyaam' and Its Relation to the Upanishads

jaldhar at braincells.com jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Mar 30 00:37:18 EDT 2021

On Fri, 19 Mar 2021, Cameron D. McIntosh via Advaita-l wrote:

>   I’ve not been able to find aśhloka with the exact wording “ एकोहं
>   बहुस्याम्” However, there are plenty of references to “ekoham
>   bahusyām” online, with several fromSwāmī Śivānanda of Ṛṣikeś and his
>   students (Śivānanda, founder of the Divine Life Society, was a
>   friend of my second guru).
> *
>   I’ve provisionally concluded that the statement is a mahāvākya, and
>   that the wording of a mahāvākya is not necessarily the same asthe
>   scriptures from which it is derived.

That's not what mahavakya means.  By definition it is a statement (vakya) 
from a shastra not a summary or epigram etc.

> *
>   So far, I’ve found four Upaniṣad ślokas which treat the subject
>   matterof “ekoham bahusyām”:
> /Chāndogy//a U//paniṣad/6.2.1and 6.2.3
> /Taittirīy//a U//paniṣa//d/2.6
> /Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad/1.4.2 and 1.4.3
> /Aitareya Upaniṣad/1.1

There are two principal theories on how the world-appearance arose.  The 
vivArtavAda states that it is due to a distortion of Brahman through the 
lense of mAyA.  The PariNAmavAda states that Brahman directly wields mAyA 
as a creative force that results in the world appearance.  Both theories 
can find support in shAstra and Vedantic tradition but the latter is more 
associated with theistic varieties of Hinduism and with e.g. saMkhyA/yoga. 
It makes sense that Swami Shivananda who taught a very Vedantized Yoga (or 
Yoga-ized Vedanta if you will) would favor formulations like eko'ham 
bahusyAm that suggest pariNAmavAda.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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