By Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti
The Mahavakyas are “The Great Sayings” of the Upanishads, as characterized by the Advaita … In later Sanskrit usage, the term mahāvākya came to mean “discourse”, and specifically, discourse on a philosophically lofty topic. One of the four Mahavakyas is Tatvamasi. Tat Tvam Asi means- Tat means You. Tvam means GOD, and Asi means are. Meaning, ‘you are god.’ (meaning- you are the part of god).
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18) OṀ TATTVAMASIBHŨMYAI NAMAH:
ॐ तत्त्वमसितत्त्वभूम्यै नमः
(Tattvamasi: You are that, equating the Self with Brahman)
You happened to be the one you were looking for all along’ is the meaning of tattvamasi. Tattvamasi is described in Chāndogyopaniṣhad and Sāmavedasaṃhitam. Even though it sounds so simple, lifelong learning from the Vedas and Upaniṣhads may not be enough to understand the deeper spiritual meaning of this statement. It is a mahāvākyam (great declaration). Just like looking for your spectacles everywhere not realizing that they have been on your fore-head all along, the God you are looking for happens to be yourself.
Tat means- that (the Parabrahman you are looking for), tvam means-you and, asi means-are (or happen to be). We all know that Nobel Prize recipient and physicist Albert Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 changed the world for good and it’s just three alphabets and one number. Similarly this mahāvākyam carries life changing spiritual meaning in terms of self knowledge that leads to liberation from saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death). This statement reveals that the eternal soul (ātman) which is self- manifested and self-effulgent, which is Brahman, happens to be none other than your-self. It is the root cause of everything.
Separate from the three bodies (gross, subtle and causal); apart from the five sheaths of the body (panchakośās); and the witness of the three states (alert, sleep and dream states); Ātman (Self) is Satchidānanda (existence, awareness and bliss), which is Brahman. It is present in all three spheres of time-past, present and future. And the Vedas and Upanishads unequivocally declare that you are that (tattvamasi).
The land from which ancient rishis declared- ‘you are that‘ is Taṫṫvamasi Bhūmi’.