Saturday, September 11, 2010





(PART - 6 – VERSES 15 & 16)

ATMA BODHA, or Knowledge of the Self, is the answer to the eternal question; WHO AM I. This is the gist of the Upanisadic knowledge from Jagad Guru Adi Sankaracharya.
We have seen 14 verses so far.

V.1, emphasized that Moksha (Liberation) is the goal of Atma Bodha (Self Knowledge). To be eligible for self knowledge, One must become free of sins, keep a tranquil mind, remain beyond the dualities of likes and dislikes and maintain a strong desire for liberation. We discussed briefly what Moksha or liberation is. In simple terms, it means, becoming free of all sorrows (Samsaara) permanently and being absolutely JOYFUL. As simple as that. The Sorrows / Samsaara arise due to lack of self knowledge (ignorance of Self). This being so, Self Knowledge frees you from all sorrows / Samsaara.

If you have come to this Blog Post, or have listened to any great Gurus, or have seriously read books, commentaries, audios, audio visuals etc on ATMA BODHA, it is not by mere chance, but, because you somehow, are a seeker of this knowledge and you somehow know that every other knowledge is not going to satisfy you or free you from all sorrows. Therefore, you are on the path to become eligible for Atma Bodha and through it, for Moksha. Just keep continuing your effort.
V.2 emphasized that - Knowledge of Self is the direct cause of Liberation, as it destroys the Ignorance in us (the Avidya or Maya) and removes all of our sorrows thereby.
V.3 tells us that Karma (Other Sadhanas / actions) can purify the mind and enable assimilation of knowledge. But, Karma can not directly liberate us. Knowledge of Self only can.
V.4 tells us that limitations for Atman perceived by us are all only due to Ignorance (Avidya) and Knowledge of Atman removes all such limitations instantly.
V.5 says that – Ignorance makes the Jeeva impure and knowledge removes the impurity. When Jeeva perceives himself as ATMAN, knowledge also is no more needed and drops off.
V.6 says that - Samsara is always filled with all dualities like likes and dislikes (pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow and so on).When we are immersed in Samsara, it looks so real to us and we suffer all its dualities. But, once self knowledge is gained, we understand its dream-like nature and remain unaffected by it. This implies that all of our sufferings end only when we gain this knowledge of Self.
V.7 says that – Brahman is all pervading and one without a second. Until we perceive Brahman, the Sristi or Universe looks like so many, different, real things with names and forms. Once we know Brahman, we perceive only Brahman everywhere and in everything. There is not a second thing any where, when we perceive the Brahman.
V.8 says that – Changes like Creation, Maintenance and dissolution are always happening in the Universe. Just as POT is made from MUD, and therefore mud is the material cause of Pot, Universe has come from Brahman, who is therefore its material cause (One who supplies the Upaadhi or material).
V.9. says that - the world seems to have many things in it with different forms and names. But all these names and forms exist only in the Sat–chit–Atma, the all pervading, universal consciousness called Brahman. A person with Self Knowledge perceives the same Brahman in every Name and Form easily.
V.10 explains further that – Brahman seems to be different things to our perception because of the numerous Upaadhis he manifests in and to which we have assigned different names and forms. When the perception goes beyond these names and forms, the underlying, all pervading Brahman shines forth in us as one without  a second.
V.11 says that - because of identification with Upaadhis, and their names and forms, we ascribe names, varnas (castes), Aashramas (celibate, married, retired, renunciate and so on) etc to Atman or Brahman (both one and same) which has no such distinctions. Names and forms are part of Maya / Avidya. Perception of the pure atman beyond these distinctions happens only when this upaadhi dosha is removed from our perception. The perception of the Brahma Jnani (or, Atma Jnani) is beyond all such distinctions.
V.12 says that – Your Gross Body (Sthoola Sareera) is formed through a special process called Pancheekaranam of the five great elemental forces. The old baggage of Punyam and Paapam (the unexpired result of our past good and bad deeds) which accompanies you from your previous births is responsible for your present Gross body which now becomes the seat of all Pleasures and Pains in you.
V.13 says that – While the Gross body is the seat of all pleasures and pains, the Subtle Body (Sookshma sareera) is the real ENJOYER  of these pleasures and pains. The subtle body has seventeen parts – 5 Pranas / Energy Flows in the body, Manas, Buddhi, 5 Jnanendriyas and 5 karmendriyas. 2 other parts, Chittha and Ahankaara, are also said to be parts of Subtle Body but these are taken here as part of Manas itself.
When Gross Body dies, the subtle body leaves the gross body along with the Sanchitha karma (unexpired punyam and papam).
V.14 says that - AVIDYA (or ignorance) is Anaadi or Beginningless and Difficult to Define. In you, it is called the Kaarana Sareera or CUASAL BODY,  the 3rd of the Sareera Thrayam.
Aanandha Maya Kosa or Kaarana  Sareera or Causal Body is the causative factor for the Gross Body and the Subtle Body. Causal Body is equated with AVIDYA  and since causal body is the cause of other two, the other two are also taken as products of AVIDYA.
We will now proceed with V.15.

15 Panchakosaadi Yogena
Tat Tanmaya Iva Sthitah
Suddhaatma Neelavastraadi
Yogena Sphatiko Yathaa.

All of our sorrows (or Samsaara) arise due to Ignorance (Avidya / Ajnaana) – because of which we project our SELF onto various Upaadhis like Sareera thrayam. We believe the Upaadhis to be our real SELF. This false projection is called Adhyaasa. We must get rid of these twin, related problems of Avidya (ignorance) and Adhyaasa (False Projection).
The verse provides a beautiful example. Crystal is pure, clear and colourless. If we cover it with a Blue cloth, it looks like a blue crystal for the onlookers. Cover it with Yellow cloth; the onlookers will see the crystal as yellow crystal. But, no coloured object can really make the crystal lose its purity or colorlessness.
Only our perception changes due to false projection of the colour of the object on the colourless Crystal. A similar false projection is occurring in case of the pure Atman also. We falsely project the Sareera thrayam and the Pancha Kosaas as the self and assume all the limitations (of time, space, name, form etc) of the Sareera thrayam as the limitations of the Atman.
This false projection is called TANMAYA, or Taadhatmya. It happens in dream state in respect of the dream world, dream personalities, dream objects, dream scenarios etc which we create, and with which we also identify fully. Only on waking up, we find, the dream was unreal and a mere false projection. The waking state is similarly bound by ignorance and when we come out of Ignorance, we find the reality of the Atman.
In vs.12,13 and 14 we talked of Sareera thrayam. In V.15, the same Sareera thrayam is mentioned as Pancha kosa, which is examined in depth in other texts like Tathva Bodha.
In brief, Pancha Kosa consists of the following.
Annamaya Kosa, which is the Gross body, is made up of food and water.
Praanamaya Kosa, which is a part of Subtle Body, is made up of energy flows, which manifest through the Air flowing at different places of the body in different directions.
Manomaya Kosa is also part of the subtle body and is responsible for our psychological, emotional processes.
Vijnanamaya Kosa is also a part of Subtle body and is responsible for  our intellectual processes.
Aanandmaya Kosa is our Causal Body which is dormant and hidden and is identified with Avidya. It feels like aananda or joy totally but the real, permanent Joy is that of the Atman only.
When we project our self on to the Sareera thrayam or Pancha Kosa, we seem to become one with them and go through their ups and Downs. This identification is called Tanmayathvam.
The Sareera thrayam goes though birth, childhood, youth, middle age, old age, diseases and death. Because of Tanmayathvam, we feel we are undergoing these changes, though we, as Suddha Atman, are changeless. I, the Sath Chith Aananda Swaroopa, which is my real self, is not affected by the arrival / exit of Sareera Thrayam or the Pancha Kosa.
But, how to separate the Avidya covering from the pure Atman?

16 Vapus Tushadibhih Kosaih
Yuktam Yuktya Avaghaatatah
Atmanam Antaram Suddham
Vivichyaat Tandulam Yatha.

We have established that Avidya or Ignorance is the main problem and it envelopes us through the means of the Sareera thrayam or the Pancha Kosa.
Because of this, a false projection occurs and we identify with the Kosa Panchakam / Sareera thrayam. Now, we need to carefully remove the Avidya enveloping the Kosa Panchakam / Sareera thrayam. It is only when the Covering of avidya is removed that Atman can  shine forth in its true splendor.
We must not interpret this as getting rid of Sareera thrayam / Kosa Panchakam. We must get rid of avidya. We must see atman as our real self, which is separate from the Sareera thrayam / Kosa Panchakam and all of their limitations.
The verse gives an example. When we pound Paddy carefully, we remove the external husk from the inner rice without destroying  or damaging the rice.  The husk never really affected the rice within but just covered it totally. When the husk is carefully removed, we get the pure rice.
The effort of removing the avidya from us similar. When the husk of avidya goes, the atman shines forth, irrespective of the Sareera thrayam and their stages. The important thing is to know that – I am the Brahman (atman) and not the Pancha Kosas / Sareera thrayam – but, of course, I am their current user.
How is the Pure Atman perceived?  V.17 explains further.

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