Home Articles Veda Aham Brahmasmi - The Selfish I and the Selfless I

Aham Brahmasmi – The Selfish I and the Selfless I

One of the blog readers asked me a question

A very simple question.. but for which I don’t know the answer

The question was How to attain salvation?

One of the reasons for which I have my photo in the blog.. bcos many people get mislead by my name Gurudev , thinking that I am some saint who just came down from the Himalayas with all answers :)

I personally am really not interested in the after life scenarios.. I find it more interesting to work towards making this beautiful earth a better place to live in but at the same time definitely would love to know from a scientific perspective about what death really means, if at all it means anything..

Neverthless, these are some of my thoughts about the salvation based on whatever little I know about the ancient vedas..

If you are not inclined towards a spiritual life, I dont think the lines below will be of any interest to you.. I am not a spiritually inclined person either.. but definitely have an opinion on everything in the known/unknown universe.. my college friends keep saying that I teach them things which I myself don’t know ;)

The ancient Indian vedic texts say aham brahmasmi, which means I am the God in Sanskrit.

So, how can a person claim to be God?

By replacing the selfish I in the sentence with the selfless I

The entire concept of God and life in the vedas is that life or soul or atma as we call it is a part of the higher soul or the divine soul of the universe called paramatma. Just like cells in our body are part of a higher organism called a human! If the cells in our body are selfish then they do not realize that they are a part of a higher structure called a human body and instead just work only for themselves.. whereas a selfless cell which realizes that its a part of the human body as a whole works for the betterment of the entire body!

A person who realizes this truth that we are a part of the universal divinity, attains salvation or moksha and gets united with the higher paramatma.

So if we are to claim to be God ourselves, and not just part of the God, then one has to think beyond the self, in terms of the entire universe.. become selfless by giving up selfishness

Think and work for the greater good of the entire world, for the entire society, than for just oneself or for just one’s own family..

Which is why the vedas also say that, for a person who has realized the existence of a universal soul of which he/she is a part, does not require any religious rites to be performed after death because such a person is bound to attain salvation!

And how to realize the existence of a universal soul? By identifying one’s self with the universal soul.. and acting like a universal soul.. who would always work towards making this universe of ours a better place to live always working towards resolving the problems that exist in the society.. always ensuring peace and harmony in the society.. Vedas say Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (entire earth is a family) and Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu (May all the people live happily)

Aham Brahmasmi = I have the universal responsibility

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, every time when God wanted to do something good to this world, he didn’t do it by himself/herself.. instead God created a child.. you are one such child.. identify and achieve the purpose of your being on earth.. and you can say Aham Brahmasmi

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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.


  1. I am Rangaiah again after a long pause.  I have taken time to know things by dhyana.  I now feel “Aham Brahmasmi” should mean ” I am God for me”.  It is not “I am God”.  An “idea”, gets into a mind of human and forms as a “thought” or “feeling” or “wish” or “desire”.  When the human carries out such thing viz., thought etc., , it transforms into material action.  The material action may end up miserably or to some extent successful depending upon the situation in which the action was contemplated.  Thus, in effect, if a human is God himself, he should have carried out the “idea” as such without any change in its original form.  It can never be possible, by the limitation of the human composition and dimension.  Therefore, it should be the stand “For me, I am God and I do not need external version of worship of God”.  It may be left to one to consider (1) Self  (aham brahmasmi) or (2) consider Outside Icons (deities, gurus)  or (3) consider nothing (athiesm).  The results are always not exactly as per the action, but with various influences in the matter involved for such action.  Therefore, the mind of one should get settled to the reality faced being in the condition of (1) (2) or (3) above.  Regards.

  2. Dear Guruji,

    Ultimately there is no meaning derived whether you are mosquito or a mahatma  It is therefore, easy and best to be conscious of certain levels of life and to not to attempt for ‘being’.  Aham Brahmasmi is like one is given anesthesia and he drifts.  What I am benefitted by dhyana as simple as it should be, that you get feed of things easily to your mind from thin air which generally we come to know through books, watching and getting imparted by other physical media.  I also see like eyes’ vision, dhyana provides some vision which like a combination of understanding, sensing, realising, knowing, feeling, enjoying, suffering, tasting, being, that to exact it we may call it third eye.  That gives you opening like how eyes are helpful right from body balance, mobility, activities and all things which the blind cannot easily do.  As dhyana expands its vision in us, we come across premonition, extra sensory perception, etc., (this is my personal experience). I am in the beginning stage.   I am in the process of getting into this on my continued dhyana.  I am doing dhyana whenever and wherever I get opportunity without any wish in mind, while I also do physical exercises.

    Physical exercises strengthen and shape the body.  You will gain good reflexes and action-capacity by such perfected body.Depends on what for you require say, a computer scientist or a bellator fighter.   There is limitation, though.
    Mind exercises strengthen and shape the mind.  You have better mind vision (or third eye)  There is limitation, though.
    Both body and mind exercises keep us sophisticated in application of them.  What else is required?

    Therefore, I feel to put a full stop from my side, for exploring aham brahmasmi which is just an action of a merger of a thing (take as a person) into a omnipotence and from omnipotence thing(s) come out and so on in a cyclic manner, like a thread roll and like Einstein finally said that the universe is either expanding or reducing.

    Thank you for giving me an opportunity to bring out my thoughts out of my experience. 


    PV Rangaiah

  3. I differ with the Author Mr. Gurudev.  Aham Brahmasmi is a state of mind of just born child.  The difference is:

    – the child cannot physically or mentally function on its own but by emanation of its charming existence make others do everything it requires without it asking for it. 
    – the man can physically or mentally function on his own but he adjusts his mind to that of a just born child and get a charming existence that makes others to do everything he requires, if at all, without his asking for it.  Commonly, you will also find that we run head and foot to help a beautiful girl, is it not? 

    Now, how a man can attain this status.  The question arise.  The answer is:

    As we see in ordinary printing of pictures with outlines and filled up colours sometimes the coloured filling will not get printed exactly within the frame of the outline meant for it.  It is printed with a shift in position.  In a similar fashion our lives are there.

    The body life is the outline and the mind life is the colour fill up.  Death is not complete if:
    – the mind dies earlier and body remains – this is a coma stage of a man. few people live in coma stage for several years and die and some recover.  during that period; they grow up, grow old physically.  When body dieing time comes, the mind also dies.  So the man then dies in full.
    – the body dies and mind remains – this we commonly call the ghost.  As a ghost, one lives up to the period of mind life.  During this period the ghost does the possible activities without body or entering into some body of a living person  When the time comes for death of mind, as the body was already buried or cremated, the mind vanishes.  So the man then dies in full.

    Further, during the lifetime, as network all are connected with activities like we are connected by earth.  If the pull of center of gravity is stopped all the men and materials on earth will fly away.  Like that if we are not required in a place or in an activity, we will not be there physically or mentally.  Till such time we are physically forced even though we do not mentally involve, we will have to be there.  Vice versa, if we are physically not required but we force our mind and poke ourselves, we will be ignored or driven away. 

    So what one should know is the position of self, what is the role he has to play.  Only those who have no physical commitments and a role to play, can exercise their minds not to poke into matters where they are not expected or required.  In doing this exercise, they have to turn the mind inwards from outwards.  They still have a body and a mind with soul and the person.  They see themselves.  It is aham brahmasmi.  On practice, they charm others and others involuntarily fills their needs non-fatally.

    Otherwise, the simple way is pray externally viz., some iconised God form or Godman or Guru and end up the term of life. They go on pilgrimage.  They join mutt and they do bhajans and poojas and while away their time without involving in any other mundane affairs of their kith and kin.

    Salvation is a mirage.  There is nothing like salvation.  Life is like a ball.  You will reach a high and a low when move your finger on the ball.  There is nothing like You.  It comes into being like a whole is forming when roll and fold a paper.  From global point of view, being a mosquito or a mahan makes no difference.

    Only that you have to ensure how long you have been HAPPY and how much MATURED you are at the time you die.  The HAPPINESS is a revenue income enjoyed in the lifetime.  The MATURITY is capital carried over to next point of life cycle.  Depending upon maturity one gets improved next life like promotion on passing out from class to next upper class in studies.

    As Adi Sankara said Virtue and Sin are accounted based on the mentality of a person and not on the activity of a person.   A person may be running a women’s college (this may be considered as a social service for upliftment of women’s status) but his intention is to have women for his sex needs (this is the point of his sin even if his intention does not materialise). 

    As such, the mind of a matured man is better qualified for a better next life whatever be it.  If he fails there, he comes down and so on.

    The thought of Salvation is an escapism from an existing factor.

    Aham Brahmasmi is a positioning of mind within one self.  He is not meant for living for others but others shall show interest in him as showing interest in a child or a beautiful girl.

    Please correct if I am wrong by sending me email:  rangaiah1948@gmail:disqus.com


    PV Rangaiah


    • I request to to correct the word “whole” as “hole” at the place talking about folding paper.  

      I also request the readers to understand that shift in outline and filled colour is timeline and timeframe of life.

      It all takes a desire and fear of a mind of a person to involve in worldly affairs.  To the extent these two are trimmed or eliminated, participation is reduced.  For example, the plants do not move from one place to another but they get their food and grow from where they are, like ground and atmosphere.  Is it not wonderful.  Like that the idled by aham brahmasmi thought one gets everthing he requires where he is.

      Thanks and Regards,

      PV Rangaiah

      • I am Rangaiah again.  I wish to cite an example.  A tree is fixed to ground.  It does not move away.  It remains.  But how it has its food, how it lives, how it grows and how it reproduces.  Is it not a wonder.  From where it is, it gets everything it needs.  This is one way of understanding aham brahmasmi. 

        To sum up, if you are idle and other things and lives acts for you, you are aham brahmasmi.  It is not selfless service or other bullshits.

        There is nothing like good and bad in the nirguna brahmam otherwise known as aham brahmasmi.  Therefore, being good and doing good service are a stand taken.

        Please know all good habits and qualities are artificial and man made as they require cultivation, maintenance and practice.  All bad habits and qualities are natural and you need not do anything, it will come, remain and develop and act automatically.

        Aham brahmasmi is a state of mind (not a dream or fantasy) in realistic term, not bothered about anything.  May be the highest order one can reach.  In the next level is LOVE between two persons.


        PV Rangaiah

        • Why cant it be Saguna Brahman? Instead of being idle doing nothing, cant it reach a state where we do something but with a larger outlook. After all we are born as humans not to sit idle and do nothing. Just imagine how the world would be if every person becomes becomes like a tree.

          Moreover, a tree may remain fixed on ground, but it still has to spread its roots around and spread branches around, without which it will die. If there is another tree shadowing sunlight above one tree, then the tree below it has to grow out of the shadow and reach out to get its own sunlight. Else it will perish.

          Same thing applies to a baby as well. A baby has to cry to gather attention, when it is hungry and when it feels pain, etc. We keep reading news items where new born babies disowned by parents being found by passers by on hearing the baby cry. If it hadnt cried out of discomfort, it would have not been possible to save that baby.

          So I guess these comparisons are not accurate examples. I guess the difficultly lies in the fact that there is nothing exact in the universe WE KNOW to compare with Aham Brahmasmi.

          Yes Aham Brahmasmi is definitely a state of mind where one is not bothered about anything, and I guess there are sages in the himalayas who seem to be in that state of mind. But at the same time, it would be incorrect to say that just because one is in this state of mind, everybody else and everything else will move towards him/her?

          Regarding good habits and bad – its not man made – its a feature of the physical universe – because the physical universe we live in itself is full of good and bad – unlike nirguna nirvikara eternal consciousness who has no attributes as such.

          With or without man, there still is life, a deer tries to avoid being hunted, a crow wants to quench its thirst, and so on. Its just that what is good and what is bad are relative. And that is where the Sookshma of Dharma comes into picture. What is Dharma for one person might be Adharma for another. Trying to accurately understand one’s dharma and to try to abide by it is what is all about a man’s goal in life.

          The ultimate measure and judge of good and bad is one’s own self, and hence they are relative. So good and bad are the nature of the physical universe expressed via consciousess (or life as we call it). Its not that it is only limited to man or is mad made. Its only that man has a greater control over his actions unlike other life forms.

          Being good and doing good hence is one’s Dharma – not a mere stand taken.

    • Very true, I agree on this. But isnt it also a fact that once a person gets into this Aham Brahmasmi mode he wont be seeing any difference between himself and rest of the world, in other words it has to be a unison – all is contained in self and self pervades all – and becomes nirguna, nirvikara

      • Dear Guru,
        If a person thinks of himself that he is everything but outside him there is no effect or result of his such thought, we have to consider that person having “mental imbalance”. 
        If a person practices his mind with the appropriate mental exercises and realises that he achieved some level and there is equal effect and result of his understanding outside him in respect of him, then there derives a meaning for his position.
        To achieve the status of aham brahmasmi, one loses his own identity in the course of his pursuit itself and there remains nothing separate of him.  Therefore, aham brahmasmi is a final reach like a drop of water dropped and mixed in ocean

        What I can do is that to get enough vision, strength and power with the available body and mind, I have to comfortably live through the lifetime.

        I am now 63 years old, a retired executive of corporate laws.  I have done all my duties my family and carried out my responsibilities to the extent I could.  Now, I have to just live the rest of my life just like that where I am not needed for anything nor I need anything than the basic needs that are assured for me.   At this stage, what I am doing is:

        1.  keeping my body fit enough so that I am not sick and inconvenience others for medical help.  I am walking for 45 minutes and doing exercises for 45 minutes everyday morning.  I am healthy.
        2.  keeping my mind balanced without getting unnecessarily involved in any matters where I am in no way needed.  For this, I am doing dhyana.   How I do this:

        – at first I was going to temples and praying various deities; attended religious functions, festivals etc.,
        – then I sat and prayed particular deities in silience both at home and at temples
        – then I sat and started practising unthinking process.  At first I was not able to do but with continued practice I can drift into thoughtlessness
        – then after seeing your article, I am further attempting dhyana

  4. Child is not given by the god,when your mind starts listening to you and act accordingly,then it is said that you are the father ie Brahma and mind is avtar ie name and Body.
    Ultimately you the god who is doing this ,because expressions needs body where the role of paigambar starts.

  5. Another thought provoking article. Wanted to say many things, but your last paragraph sums it up nicely…

    “”every time when God wanted to do something good to this world, he didn?t do it by himself/herself.. instead God created a child.. you are one such child.. identify and achieve the purpose of your being on earth.. and you can say ?Aham Brahmasmi?””

    The basic pre-requisite for attaining the ultimate spirituality for those who are on knowledge based path (satvik or tantrik) is Kundalini shakti (to prepare higher level of free thinking and freeing yourself from stress from material world). I envy those bhakts (devation based path), as I am too educated (and mind dominated rather than heart dominated) to start spirituality without understanding it.


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