From wiki:

The Mahavakyas (sing.: mahāvākyam, महावाक्यम्; plural: mahāvākyāni, महावाक्यानि) are "The Great Sayings" of the Upanishads, as characterized by the Advaita school of Vedanta.

Most commonly, Mahavakyas are considered four in number -

  • Prajnanam Brahma (प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म)
  • Aham Brahma Asmi (अहम् ब्रह्म अस्मि)
  • Tat Tvam Asi (तत् त्वम् असि)
  • Ayam Atma Brahma (अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म)
  • 1
    If talking about Vedanta school all Hindu schools believe in these Mahavakyas but other than Advait Vedanta every school interpret it as per their philosophy. Advaita Vedanta takes it as they are written. Like when Mahavakya says - aham brahmasmi, AV actually says I am Brahman. But in VA it says My antaryami is Brahman (Sriman nArAyaNa). So it depends on school. Apr 11, 2018 at 16:55
  • @Rohit. AV places special emphasis on these particular verses of the Vedas and calls them Mahavakyas. VA is holistic and gives weight to all Vedic injunctions without cherry picking certain ones as more important in terms of truth value. Apr 12, 2018 at 3:36
  • the mahavakyas appear in the upanishads. to be hindu, one accepts the upanishads. different schools may emphasis and interpret verses differently than others, but all accept. your question makes no sense. Apr 12, 2018 at 4:42
  • AV is advaita vedanta, but what is VA ?
    – zaxebo1
    Apr 12, 2018 at 5:29
  • There are sectarian upanishads and so the blanket statement "one accepts the upanishads" is false.
    – S K
    Apr 12, 2018 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


Madhwas have "interpreted" the statement "aham brahmasmi" to effectively disagree with the natural meaning of "I am of Brahman"or "I am the Infinite Reality"


transcript from

How do Dvaitins interpret this verse of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad?

"The word Aham in the sentence 'Aham Brahma asmi' does not mean "I", and the sentence above given does not mean "I am Brahman". On the other hand Aham means Aheyam "that which cannot be neglected, cannot be avoided"; similarly the word Brahma means "all-full". Asmi does not mean "I am" but it is a compound of two words "As" meaning existence and "Mi" meaning knowable. So Asmi means ever-existing knowledge or he whose knowledge is ever-existing and never-obscured. Brahman knew (always realizes) the nature of His self as being Aheyam (all-pervading ruler of the world), Brahma (all-full), and Asmi (ever-existing knowledge)."

"aham" and "asmi" are primitive words inherited from from proto-indo-european and Madhwa's re-interpretations are grotesque.

  • 7
    This doesn't answer the question on rejecting mahvakyas. Madhwas also accept the mahavakyas and interpret in their way. This doesn't mean they reject the mahavakyas and upanishads. Apr 12, 2018 at 12:53
  • 3
    Madhvas interpret Tat twam asi as Atat twam asi. So the mahvakya instead of being 'That art thou' becomes 'That art not thou'. Madhvas are accepting the mahavakya but interpreting it differently. Apr 12, 2018 at 13:09
  • 4
    Interpreting and rejecting are different things.
    – Pandya
    Apr 12, 2018 at 13:30
  • AHam means Aheyam.. How come?? there are no avenues of twisting the meaning here.
    – Rickross
    Apr 12, 2018 at 14:54
  • @Pandya Can you answer this then? :) Apr 12, 2018 at 17:02

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