"Aham brahma asmi" is a phrase from the Upanishads, a collection of ancient Indian texts that form the basis of the Vedanta philosophy. The phrase can be translated as "I am Brahman," and it expresses the idea that the individual self and the ultimate reality, known as Brahman, are one and the same.
According to Vedanta, the ultimate reality is Brahman, which is the unchanging, eternal, and absolute reality that underlies all phenomena. Brahman is the source of all creation and the ultimate goal of spiritual pursuit. It is often described as being without form or qualities, and is said to be the ultimate reality beyond the world of appearances.
The individual self, known as the jiva, is often seen as being separate from Brahman. The jiva is believed to be limited by its individuality and its experiences of the world. However, according to Vedanta, the jiva is actually an expression of Brahman, and is therefore identical to it.
The phrase "Aham brahma asmi" is a statement of this identity between the individual self and Brahman. It is a declaration of the ultimate realization that the jiva is not separate from Brahman, but is in fact identical to it. In this realization, the individual self is said to be liberated from the cycle of rebirth and the sufferings of the world.
This idea is expounded in the Upanishads, particularly in the famous Mandukya Upanishad where it says "Brahman is the ultimate reality and one's own self". In the Advaita Vedanta school of thought, this idea is further expanded upon by Adi Shankara, where he explains the concept of Maya, or illusion, which causes individuals to perceive a false separation between the self and the ultimate reality. According to Shankara, the realization that "Aham brahma asmi" is the key to liberation from Maya and attainment of moksha, or ultimate liberation.
In conclusion, "Aham brahma asmi" is a powerful statement that expresses the fundamental idea of Vedanta philosophy: the ultimate reality of Brahman and the individual self are one and the same. It is a declaration of the ultimate realization that the jiva is not separate from Brahman, but is in fact identical to it. This realization is said to lead to liberation from the cycle of rebirth and the sufferings of the world, and ultimately to attainment of moksha.