Why did Dr. Ambedkar say “Aham Brahmasmi” should be asserted with ‘Tattvamasi’?

By Sunil Kumar

Another one of my answers on Dr. Ambedkar;

English: This Picture is the Portrait of Dr.B....

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: This Picture is the Portrait of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar seen as very young Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This statement shows that Dr. Ambedkar was a rationalist above all else; and was firmly invested in the idea of a spiritual basis for geographical unity(essentially how India remained a nation even though it was a bunch of disparate units.

The ethical and social impact of the Brahman being the essence of every human being — and all humanity as part of the same Brahman — did not escape the notice of Babasaheb Ambedkar, who found in it the spiritual basis for social democracy. He calls the concept of Brahman “Brahmaism”. (He had borrowed the term from the work The Great Epic of India: Character and Origin of the Mahabharata by Edward Washburn Hopkins.) Rejecting the criticism of Christian theologians that the Mahavakya “Aham Brahmasmi” was arrogant and impudent, Ambedkar puts forth a staunch defence of the Mahavakya:

Democracy demands that each individual shall have every opportunity for realizing his/her worth. It also requires that each individual shall know that he is as good as everybody else. Those who sneer at Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma) as an impudent utterance forget the other part of the Mahavakya namely Tat tvam asi (Thou art also Brahma). If Aham Brahmasmi has stood alone without the conjunct of Tatvamasi it may have been possible to sneer at it. But with the conjunct of Tat tvam asi the charge of selfish arrogance cannot stand against Brahmaism.

What does the idea of Tat Tvam asi signify according to Dr. Ambedkar?

He thought that the Advaitic experience was the basis of all ethical systems; and here’s his explanation of Tat Tvam Asi.

There are moments when every man feels that he is one with the universe, and he rushes forth to express it, whether he knows it or not. This expression of oneness is what we call love and sympathy, and it is the basis of all our ethics and morality. This is summed up in the Vedantic philosophy by the celebrated aphorism, Tat Tvam Asi (Thou art That).



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