The Buddha called himself Tath-Agatha, which means That has come. An incredibly famous phrase from the Upanishad is Tat-Tvam-Asi, which means I Am That.

Many of us know That represents the Spiritual Destination in Eastern philosophy. However, why use the term That?

Why That?

The Buddha could’ve said, “I am Shunyata or Emptiness.” The Upanishads could’ve declared, “I am Divine.” Instead, those scholars from two different religions resorted to a mystical sounding That. Why?

That’s because The Buddha isn’t saying go and find Shunyata. He is saying – I found my spiritual goal in Shunyata. Now, you go and find your spiritual destination.

The same applies to the Upanishads as well. The scholars who wrote those scriptures are saying – I found my goal in the Divine. Now, you go and find your spiritual destination.

As history has witnessed, it is the disciples who misinterpret everything and cause a mess! In essence, the teachers have all said the same thing as Swami – Discover Your Truth. (Some saints use the term Truth instead of That, but both mean the same here.)

Finding That

Naturally, the next question that pops up is – how do we find That if we don’t know what That is?! In other words, how do I reach my spiritual destination if I don’t know where I’m headed?

Even though Math is my terror zone, let me take you to Algebra-land for a bit. Remember those school days when your hair wasn’t gray, and you could run miles without panting? Enough of nostalgia, now zoom in to that Math class where your teacher tortured you to find x in those problems. Did any of you ever know the value of x before solving those scary-looking formulae? Never. Not unless you cheated by looking at the answer sheet!

What x is to Algebra is That to spirituality. In Algebra, we kept solving that problem, and x revealed its value by itself! Similarly, in spirituality, we don’t ever start knowing or understanding what That means to us. We keep walking the path by following specific guidelines. At the end, when Nature thinks we are ready, we discover That.

Readiness in Finding That

Swami once explained to me that our spiritual journey is like making paneer. Trust him to come up with super simple examples!

To make paneer, we keep heating the milk. When the milk heats up to the right temperature, we pour in the lime. At that time, there comes out our delicious-looking paneer. Now, the difficulty here is, if we don’t mix the lime at the right time, we can say goodbye to our paneer. The key to success in making paneer is adding lime at the right time.

That’s how things work in spirituality as well. We keep working towards purifying ourselves. There comes a moment when our ego decimates, and we become open-minded to accept various possibilities. At that time, Nature pours in the catalyst and magically helps us discover our Truth.


Due to social conditioning, most of us lock ourselves into one religion or thought process. By doing that, we’re preventing ourselves from progressing on the spiritual path. That becomes a massive hindrance for us in finding our destination. Instead, if we dedicate ourselves to practicing compassion and love, we’ll reach our goal faster.

When I started walking the path of spirituality, I had no clue about my destination. My life felt like an obstacle course with an endless series of annoyances. I just kept identifying survival strategies to deal with those.

When I ran out of motivation, Swami provided me with hope to keep walking. One event led to another, and there came a day when I realized “I don’t really matter”. That, I’m beautiful and I must care for myself, but my existence isn’t as important as I thought. That day, I saw Mother Sri Devi sitting within me.

As a parting note, here’s what I wish to say – Keep working on self-purification. There’ll come a time when you’ll feel free from the burden of your ego. Then, social conditioning and purposeless norms will mean nothing to you. Nobody will appear more or less important than the other. On that beautiful day, you’ll find That Truth within you!


Image: Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

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