yasyaiva sphuraNam sadAtmakamasatkalpArthakaM bhAsate
sAkshhAttattvamasIti veda-vacasA yo bodhayatyAshRRitAn /
yaH sAkshhAtkaraNaat bhavenna punarAvRttir-bhavAmbhonidhau
tasmai shrIgurumUrtaye nama idaM shrIdakshhiNAmUrtaye //
यस्यैव स्फुरणं सदात्मकमसत्कल्पार्थकं भासते
साक्षात्तत्त्वमसीति वेद-वचसा यो बोधयत्याश्रितान्।
यः साक्षात्करणात् भवेन्न पुनरावृत्तिर्भवाम्भोनिधौ
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये॥
: Tr. To Him whose luminosity of Absolute Truth alone, shines forth in the false world of appearance, to Him who instructs those who resort to Him through the vedic text 'That Thou Art', to Him by realising whom there will be no further return to the cycle of transmigration, to Him of the form of the Guru, (who is attained by kinesis ), the blessed dakshinA-mUrti, is this prostration.
The phenomenal appearance of the universe is actually the shining of Brahman and not its own shine. The 'reality' of the universe is actually the reality of the substratum that is Brahman. When the movie appears on the screen, what is real is the screen, not the movie; because the screen is the only thing that is present before, during and after.
That Thou Art is the famous Grand Pronouncement (mahA-vAkya) found in the Ch.U.of the Sama Veda, meted out by AruNi to Svetaketu. It is repeated nine times to him and explained nine times. It is not supposed to be a casual statement. It is the summum bonum of all Upanishadic teaching. Among the four mahAvAkyas (see 6.3) it is the upadeSa-mahAvAkya by which the Guru instructs the disciple about the great Truth at the time of initiation. It says: That Brahman which is the common Reality behind everything in the cosmos is the same as the essential Divinity, namely the Atman or the Self, within you. This latter is the innermost core of our selves and so seems to have an individuality of its own. In saying that it is the same as the unqualified Brahman in the infinite cosmos, we seem to be identifying two things, one that is unlimited and unconditioned and one that is possibly limited and conditioned. Whenever someone says, for instance, that the person (call him B) whom you are meeting just now is the same as the one whom you saw (call him A) twenty years ago at such and such a place, what is actually meant is not the identity of the dresses of the two personalities of A and B, nor of the features (those of B may be totally different from those of A), but of the essential person behind the names. So whenever such an identity is talked about we have to throw away certain aspects which are clearly distinctive in both and cling on to only those essentials without which they are not what they are. B and A may be engaged in distinct professions, B and A may be having different names, B and A may be having different attitudes towards you or towards a certain issue, B and A may be posing as different persons, by, say, showing off different passports, -- but still they are the same, is what is being asserted. So when Brahman and the individual Self are being identified in this statement, we have to see what commonality or essentialness there is in them that is being identified. Brahman is the cause of this universe. But this is a predication of Brahman and is extraneous to the identity that we are talking about. We want the essentiality, the svarUpa-lakshaNa of both. The capability of creation is only a taTastha-lakshaNa of Brahman, that is, it is a definition which is only indicative, and does not distinguish it from everything else. The Self of Man appears to be limited by an individuality which keeps it under the spell of Ignorance; this is extraneous to the essentiality of the Self. So what we are identifying is Brahman, minus its feature of being the Cause of this Universe and the Self minus its limitations of Ignorance-cum-Delusion which individualises it. That these two are the same, is, in essence, the content of the statement: tat tvam asi. The Cosmic mAyA is what makes Brahman the cause of the universe. The individual avidyA (=Ignorance) is what makes the Self circumscribed and delimited. So the mahA-vAkya says Brahman minus its mAyA and the Self minus its avidyA are identical.
This statement 'That thou Art' is not just a flattery of the individual Self; because the subject of discussion is vedAnta where sentiment is not the issue. It is not just a comparison between two entities; there is no necessity to compare. It actually says they are identical. There is no status of cause and effect here; the tvam, that is the individual self, is not the effect of ISvara as the pot is that of the potter. There is no question of attribute and subject here; because, on the one hand, if ISvara is the subject which is attributed by the JIva-guNa then it should be mortal and on the other hand, if JIva is the subject with ISvara-guNa then it should be immortal. Nor is the statement just one of worship or prayer.
OVER TO SHLOKA NO.4