Friday, September 3, 2010
ATMA BODHA =(POST 3)= BY ADI SANKARA = WHO AM I = THE ETERNAL QUESTION ANSWERED
SRI ADI SANKARACHARYA
TEXT & COMMENTARY
(POST-3 - VERSES 6,7,8,9)
6. Samsarah Swapnatulyo hi
Prabodhe sati Asadbhavet.
The meaning of the word ‘Samsara’ is not what we understand in common social parlance. It is not merely equal to family bonds. Its vedantic meaning is much more significant.
In Vedanta, Samsara is the representative MAYA that we are in. We are in it all the time and are tossed from one end to the other end of various dualities in it. Samsara is always filled with dualities like pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow, love and hate, attachments and aversions and so on.
Samsara looks so real to us, when we are in it, floating and sinking, periodically. But, in reality, Samsara is more like a dream. We feel the experiences of Samsara to be so very real as long as the dream of Samsara continues.
But, is this not so with any other Dream? As long as the Dream continues, it is real and we act various parts of the dream with great gusto as if we are living REAL LIFE. We feel all the feelings of life in the dream too. But, when we wake up, we know the dream was not real.
But, once we attain Self-knowledge, the dualities we experience in Samsara will appear to us as illusory and dream-like.
The attainment to the knowledge of our self as the Sat – Chit – Ananda Brahman, removes all of our illusions. Truth that is Brahman alone shines in us, enabling us to see both Samsara and the Dreams in sleep as alike and not as true and real.
This implies that, our sufferings will never end – until we attain to the Atma Jnanam (Self Knowledge). We will go through the cycle of pleasures alternating with Pains and all other dualities of samsara throughout our physical lives. For a person with self knowledge, the dualities in samsara and in dream are both like dreams only – and he no more suffers either of them.
7. Taavat satyam Jagadbhati
Suktikaa Rajatam Yatha
Yavanna Jnayate Brahma
The inside of the oyster Shell looks like silver to our eyes. In reality, the silvery shining of the shell is not Silver at all.
Until we know the all pervading Brahman, the universe (Jagat or creation) appears to be very real. But, Brahman only is the permanent, all pervading entity and Universe or Jagat is ever changing, impermanent, illusory and is a mere reflection of the Brahman.
Brahman, the all pervading, is advayam (without a second). Until we perceive the Brahman, the Sristi (Creation or Universe) looks like so many, different, real things with names and forms. Once we know the Brahman, we perceive only Brahman everywhere and in everything. There is not a second thing any where, when we perceive the Brahman.
8 Upadane Akhilaadhare
Sarga sthiti Layaanyanti
Creation, Maintenance and dissolution (sristi, sthithi and layam) are constantly happening in the Universe,
A bubble takes birth in water, grows and remains colourful for some time and then, dissolves back into water. Such bubbles go on forming in water, and go on dissolving into water. Water only remains all the time but bubbles disappear within a small fraction of time. It is much like the same with the Jagat or Universe.
Brahman only is permanent and is the supporting background for all things in the entire Universe. Universe and all things in it exist like the bubbles in the water, in the Brahman, who is the Upaadaana Kaaranam for the universe.
There are always two causes for any thing to come into shape and exist.
First, the Upaadaana Kaaranam, the material with which or from which the thing is made or formed. For example, the pot comes from the mud, which is its Upaadaana Kaaranam.
But, there should also be a Pot Maker, who is called the Nimittha Kaaranam. Likewise, for any other thing, there must be a Upaadaana Kaaranam (the thing from which it is formed or made) and a Nimittha Karanam, or, the one who made it.
A Chair has wood as its Upaadaana Kaaranam and the Carpenter as Nimittha Kaaranam.
For the universe, this sloka identifies the Brahman itself as the Upaadaana Kaaranam.
Reason is – Universe cannot come from nowhere. Brahman is all existing and is advayam, or, without a second. Thus, Brahman only is and can be the Upaadaana Kaaranam for every thing.
Then, who is the Nimittha Kaaranam for the Universe?
Who else can it be? Is there any one else who can be the maker of the Universe?
9 Satchidaatmani Anusyoote
GOLD is the root metal for all gold ornaments. We may buy any ornament, and wear it on the hands, legs, neck, ears, nose or hair and call the ornaments by different Names. For the user, the ornaments do have different names and forms. He or she calls them by different names and finds different uses for them.
But, the ornament maker values any ornament by the weight and quality of Gold in the ornament and not by the shape of it or by the way it is worn by the buyer. If you look at the Bill he makes for you, he shows therein the major component of weight of gold as the biggest amount. The making charges etc are insignificant. When he buys back an ornament from us, again, he values it by the value of GOLD only, and totally ignores even making charges.
Likewise, the world does have many, many things with different forms and names. But all these names and forms exist only in the Sat–chit–Atma, the all pervading, universal consciousness called Vishnu (which is also none other than the Brahman).
A person with SELF KNOWLEDGE perceives this Vishnu (i.e., Brahman) in every Name and Form, like the ornament maker perceives only Gold in every ornament.
Let us be clear here that Self Knowledge, Atma Jnanam and Brahma Jnanam are not three different things but one and the same only.
Likewise, Brahma (Used on sloka.7), Parameswara (used in sloka.8) and Vishnu (use in sloka.9) also signify the same Brahman and not three different Gods or entities. Adi Sankara uses some more terms also in Atma Bodha and in other texts written by him, to identify the same Brahman.
This is done with a clear purpose. The champion of Advaitha Philosophy that Adi Sankara is – has to demolish the mistaken notions in the Society that all these names signify different Gods who are friendly or inimical to each other. For him - Brahman alone is – and all are names and forms relating to him. He had said – Eko devah kesavova, Sivova, or its equivalent in several hymns of his. Had India come across any other religions with Gods called by other names and forms, he would have said the same about those names and forms too.
The quintessence of Indian culture (I would not call it religion) found in its Upanisads says – Brahman alone is – and Brahman is nameless and formless. The Universe and all things in it are reflections of Brahman. But, the popular impression in the western mind (and even in many Indian minds, because of western writings) is that, we pray several gods with different names and forms.
Our Upanisads are much more revolutionary in concept, when it comes to our own SELF.
They say – YOU ARE THE BRAHMAN.
And, we do find this a little tough to digest. But, Upanisads give concrete, conclusive Proof that YOU ARE! That, I AM!
And, what prevents us from seeing our self as Brahman?
Maya, Ignorance, Avidya – Which we have dealt with it in a few earlier Posts.
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