Wednesday, September 29, 2010




(PART - 13 – VERSES 29 and 30)

In the last Post, we examined verses 27 & 28 of Atma Bodha.
V.27 tells us that - we need absolute certainty in SELF KNOWLEDGE (Nischaya Jnanam), that we are the Higher self, the Brahman. Once, this certainty of self knowledge is achieved, we become totally FEAR-FREE (Or, fearless).
Without such certainty of self knowledge, we always tend to become fearful.
For example, when we mistake a rope for a snake, we instantly become fearful. But, when we know that (i) the rope is not a snake, (ii) it is not also some other fearsome thing other than a snake, but (iii) that it a Rope only, - we get definite knowledge of the object before us. Then, we become totally fear-free.
In V.28, we saw that – in presence of the Self luminous consciousness of the Atma - the otherwise inert Buddhi, Manas and sense Organs etc acquire a (reflected) consciousness and become competent to perform their actions. Externally, we see the Sareera thrayam performing all actions, indulging in various transactions and undergoing continuous changes. By their own nature, they are inert and lack the consciousness and intelligence to perform any of these things. Wherefrom do they get this consciousness and intelligence? It is from the Atma, the original Consciousness, which is pervading the whole of Sareera thrayam and in whose direct presence, the Sareera thrayam acquires its reflected consciousness, to perform all actions and transactions.
It is like the Light of the Lamp illumining various objects around it and making them visible and shining in its presence. But, by themselves, these objects are non-luminous and can not be seen in the absence of the self luminous and illuminating light.
From the next two verses (No.29 and 30), we are gradually entering into a deeper and more profound analysis of the Self.

29 Swabodhe Naanya Bodhecchaa
Bodha Rupataya Atmanah
Na Deepasya Anya Deepecchaa
Yadhaa Swatma Prakaasane.

In presence of a self luminous lamp, all non-luminous objects and beings (in its vicinity) become luminous, visible and identifiable.
Do we therefore need another self luminous lamp to identify this self luminous lamp, which is helping us to identify things around it through its luminosity? It is very obvious that the answer is,  no. We do not need any other lamp’s help or support to identify a self luminous lamp.
Likewise - Atma is the consciousness principle with the help of which all other objects and beings are recognized and identified. Sareera thrayam, being the inert principle, acquires a reflected consciousness from the Atma, the original consciousness principle, to recognize all objects and beings around it.
The Buddhi becomes a reflecting medium for the original consciousness principle and a reflected consciousness (Chith +Aabhaasa = Chidhabhasa) comes into reckoning now – to provide the means for identifying and indulging in all actions and transactions.
But, the three Bodies and the reflected consciousness can function only in presence of the self luminous consciousness principle of Atma. When Atma is the enabling factor for the inert Sareera thrayam for all of their functions and for recognizing all other objects, does it require some other Object or some other knowledge for recognition of itself?
The answer is a definite no. As Atma helps in proving others’ existence by its sheer presence and its consciousness, its own existence is automatically proved.
There is a classical, oft-repeated example of 10 students of a teacher trying to ensure that all of them have reached the other side of the shore after swimming. The leader asks all students to stand in a row and counts them all. He finds only nine in the row. His heart sinks. The tenth man is MISSING!! Dasamo Nastaha!! He starts weeping. Then, another student counts in the same way. He also finds only nine in the row. Another counts. Same result again. All of them start weeping that one of them (who? - they are unable to identify) is missing!!
A wise man passing that side asks them the cause of their weeping, understands their predicament and first assures them that the tenth man is ALIVE and AVAILABLE. Then, he makes all of them stand in the row and counts all ten people and proves to them that all ten are safe and available. The very fact that the identifier is identifying and proving the existence of all others is proof of his own existence. No further proof of his existence is needed.
I have to check the existence of others but not of myself. I am myself the proof of my existence. Atma is the original consciousness – which is ever evident. All of us experience it.
In every experience of every object, self experience as a conscious being is first evident. Subject experience is always the first and permanent experience. Object experience comes next only and is temporary and fleeting along with the objects.
Swabodhe = for self experience or knowledge.
Anya Bodha icchaa naasthi = there is no requirement of a second cognitive process or effort.
But, most people are trying to experience the Atma, as if it is some thing separate from us, even though, it is of the nature of CONSCIOUSNESS  eternally experienced by us.
Can Chidhabhasa, the reflected Consciousness know and illumine the Atma, the original consciousness?
Can the Sun be proved by the image of the Sun in the Mirror? Why look at the Mirror at all? Look at the Sun. Sun is the proof for Mirror Image but mirror image is not the proof of Sun.
Now a more fundamental question -
Is it not a fact that we are always confusing the Sareera thrayam and the Chidhabhasa as the “I”, and if so, how can we sit firmly in the right self knowledge of Atma as the real ”I”.

30 Nishidhya Nikhilopaadheen
Neti Neteeti Vakyatah
Vidyadaikyam Mahaavaakyaih
Jeevatma Paramaatmanoh.

The perennial problem for us is that Jeeva always goes along with both Atma and Anaatma.
We always experience (1) original consciousness (2) Reflected consciousness (Chidhabhasa) and (iii) Gross, subtle and causal bodies simultaneously.
As original consciousness, I am all pervading and not limited to the Sareera thrayam. The limitations of the Sareera thrayam are not limitations of the I, the original consciousness. But, Sareera thrayam and Chidhabhasa have their limitations of time, space, Gunas etc.
When I experience the ‘I’, there is always a false transference of the limitations and attributes of the Sareera thrayam to the original consciousness.
These limitations and attributes of Anaatma must be clearly understood to be those of the Sareera thrayam /Anaatma and not those of the Original Consciousness, the real I.
There is no new experience in this but a clarity of understanding. How is this to be done?
The oneness of the individual soul (Jeevatma) and the Supreme Soul (Paramatma) is clearly indicated by the Mahavakyas (Great statements) from all the four Vedas.
The four Vedic Maha Vakyas are :
1) Rigveda : 'Prajnanam Brahma' –which means, consciousness itself is Brahma.
2) Yajurveda : ''Aham Brahma asmi'' – which means, I am Brahma.
3) Saama Veda : ''thath thvam asi'' which means - 'That is thou'.
4) Adharwa Veda : ''Ayam Atma Brahma'' –which means, This Atma is Brahma.
Similar Mahavakya type of statements are made by Upanishads as well. Deep contemplation on these Mahavakyas is needed to digest the core of their meanings. The negating process of nethi, nethi is highly effective in understanding the oneness of the Jeevatma (Individual soul) and Paramatma(Supreme, Universal soul). This process of negation of the impermanent step by step is eulogized by the great sages as an effective method to arrive at the ultimate self / ultimate truth.
We must negate each of the Upaadhis and each of the limitations of these Upaadhis, dis-identifying from them step by step but completely. This process is called “nethi, nethi, nethi..” meaning “not this, not this, not this…”.
I am not this. I am not this. I am not this. I must negate this way, all that is impermanent, and all that is not ‘I’.
I must affirm in this negation process that I am not the Sthoola Sareeram, I am not the karmendriyas, I am not the Jnanendriyas, I am not the Manas, I am not the Buddhi, I am not the Chittha, I am not the Ahamkara, I am not the Chidhabhasa, I am not any part of the Prakrithi and no on. This process of effective negation will ultimately bring us to our true self.
As the reader can realize, Adi Sankaracharya is leading us from a detailed analysis of Anaatma and Atma to the difficulties in identifying with Atma and from there, to the effective processes of arriving at the oneness of Jeevatma and Paramatma – in other words, towards Nischaya Jnanam.
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