views updated

Mahāvākya (Skt., ‘great saying’). Any one of several great sayings which occur in the Upaniṣads and which are held to reveal the unity of the Self (ātman) and Ultimate Reality (Brahman). The number of these is generally said to be four, but five are commonly encountered in the later literature: tat-tvam-asi (‘That Thou art’), ahaṃ brahmāsmi (‘I am Brahman’), sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma (‘All this indeed is Brahman’), ayam ātmā brahma (‘This Self is Brahman’), and prajñānam brahma (‘Pure Consciousness is Brahman’).