Monday, September 13, 2010
ATMA BODHA =(POST 7)= BY ADI SANKARA = SELF AS WITNESS =SELF AS REFLECTION = WHO AM I Contnd..
SRI ADI SANKARACHARYA
TEXT & COMMENTARY
(PART - 7 – VERSES 17 and 18)
We have seen in the previous post a summary of all the previous verses of Atma Bodha upto V.14 and also the commentary on verses 15 and 16.
So far, we have understood that JNANAM (Knowledge of Self) is the means for Liberation. But, we are born with Ignorance which shrouds us from our real nature. The Ignorance is seated in the Causal body surrounded by the subtle and the gross bodies.
So, we need to remove this ignorance or Avidya – through Jnana yoga.
In Sareera thrayam, the Gross body is seen as the seat of all pleasures and pains while the subtle body is seen as the enjoyer of such pleasures and pains. The causal body is the causative factor for both of them.
Ignorance or Avidya, which is both timeless and impossible to define or describe, exists as Causal Body in us.
As long as Causal Body exists, our sorrows and Samsaara also exist. We go through them continuously, in our cycle of births and deaths.
Pure Atma is different from all the three entities of Sareera thrayam.
But, because of identification with the Pancha Kosaas (or, Sareera Thrayam), the pure Atma appears to be subject all modifications (Vikaaras) of the Pancha Kosaas – just as the pure, colourless crystal looks like a coloured one, in the background of a coloured cloth.
We need to dis-identify ourselves from the Pancha Kosaas (Sareera thrayam) and identify ourselves with the pure Atma. Lot of Intellectual battering and pounding is required for disidentifying from Sareera thrayam and identifying with Pure Atma.
We had examined these concepts as part of Vs.14 ,15 and 16.
In this blog post, let us examine V.17 and 18 on the topic further.
17 Sada Sarvagato Apyatmaa
Na Sarvatra Avabhaasathe
Individual or Jeeva exists as a combination of ATMA (Consciousness principle) and ANATHMA (material, or Jadam, principle).
The material principle or Jadam is visible. But the consciousness principle or Atma is invisible.
For Jeeva to exist, however, both are needed.
Consciousness exists everywhere – in the body and outside the body and has no boundaries. But, it expresses itself and transacts through the body only. It can not be experienced outside the body, though existing every where.
So, here, we can see three stages of the Self Knowledge.
First, we must distinguish very clearly between Consciousness principle (Atma) and the material principle (Anathma or Jadam principle).
Second, we must clearly discern and understand without an iota of doubt that only Atma / consciousness principle is Real and unchanging (Sath or Sathyam) while Anathma principle is Mithya and is ever changing.
In the third stage, We must identify our self with the Sath-Atma or the Real consciousness principle, which is ever existing, all pervading and never changing. We must claim ourselves to be the Atma Principle and we must clearly dis-identify our self from all the rest.
This is the process enunciated in all these verses in different ways.
V.17 says that – Atma or consciousness principle is not limited by any boundaries. It is all pervading and exists at all times. Yet, it cannot be experienced everywhere, though existing everywhere. It has to be reflected in / by a medium. In the body, the reflecting medium is the subtle body, or, Sookshma Sareeram, and in it, specially the Buddhi or Intellect part, which must be in its purest form to reflect it.
The purest form of Buddhi only will reflect the Atma – just as a pure, bright, perfect mirror only can reflect the images perfectly.
The verse naturally raises the question, why the gross body, other part of the subtle body and the Causal body cannot reflect the pure Atma. This is examined in V.18
18 Dehendriya Mano Buddhi
Tadvrutti Sakshinam Vidya
Atmaanam Raajavat Sada
We have seen in previous verse that only the purest Intellect (Buddhi) can reflect the Pure Atma or consciousness Principle. Why so – is the question.
Consciousness principle and matter principle do coexist as Atma and Sareera thrayam but, both are distinctly different.
The non-material principle of Atma is never available to the material principle of Sareera thrayam though pervading the whole of it – except for being reflected by the subtlest part of it called Buddhi.
We have already called the Sareera thrayam as matter or material principle or Jadam Principle. It can function only in presence of the Consciousness principle.
The consciousness principle is their constant witness and remains as the experiencer of all of them and of their modifications (Vritthis). But, while being their constant witness, the consciousness principle however does not undergo any changes or any modifications itself.
This is the central point stressed in this verse.
I, the Atma, or the consciousness principle – is the experiencer or witness of all that happens around me.
But, I am different – from all that I experience.
All that I experience are the objects of my experience. I am not them.
I am the subject who is experiencing all of them.
Let us now see what are the objects that I am experiencing.
V.18 lists Deha (Physical Body), Indriyas (five Jnanendriyaas and five Karmendriyaas), Manas (mind, the seat of all emotions), the Buddhi (Or the higher intellect), Prakrithi (Avidya, or Ignorance or Kaarana sareeram and rest of the world), and all of their vritthis or changes /modifications.
Thus, we have listed all those which we experience. We will now go through a process of examining each of them and negating them as not the SELF.
First, I experience the Prakrithi in the shape of the external world. I am not the external world. This must be very clear to everybody. None of us take the external world as our SELF. There is no confusion in this one aspect. It is the experienced object and I am the experiencer. I am not the world.
Second – let us examine our physical body. Unfortunately, because, it is much more intimate to us than the rest of the world, our senses perceive it as part of the same entity as themselves, and convey to us the same. It is the only tangible part with which we transact with the rest of the world. Hence, there is a great temptation to see the Body as our self.
But, on close examination, we can easily see that - we experience the physical body distinctly and differently, and very clearly - as an independent experiencer experiences an experienced object. Body is therefore merely an object of experience, though more intimate than the rest of the world. Also, the physical body serves us as an instrument to experience the world. It is much like spectacles, which, though, a separate object from the eyes, yet, helps the eyes to see the external objects. Even an instrument used to experience an external object is also itself an object of experience. Spectacles cannot be eyes. It can only be an instrument. Similarly, physical body, which is constantly changing cannot be I, the experiencer. I, the experiencer, is different from the body which I experience.
Next, Let us examine the mind. Do I experience my mind or not? I do experience the mind very intimately. I experience all of its dualities like likes and dislikes, happiness and sorrows, envies, hatreds and all other emotions and clearly see myself as the experiencer and all these emotions as the experienced. I am not the emotions and I am not the mind. Mind serves me as an instrument to experience knowledge and external world. I remain as the constant experiencer of my mind.
Next stage is - thoughts and Intelligence. In the way, I negated the Manas and emotions as merely an experienced object, though very subtle object, likewise, my thoughts and intelligence are also experienced objects, which I experience. They are also experiences but more intimate and subtle ones.
In summary - I am the experiencer of external Prakrithi, the physical body (Sthoola Sareera), the subtle body (Sookshma Sareera) and the causal body(the Karana Sareera). I am the experiencer for – not only them, but also for all of their vritthis or, modifications. I am clearly not these vritthis but I am their witness.
What is left behind after negating all these is I, or My Self, the experiencer.
Can I also experience the I, or, my SELF?
There is no way and no need. I can not and need not be searching further for my Self. I cannot be an object of experience as I am my self the consciousness principle and the only one experiencer principle, without a second. I am the Atma. I must only claim myself as the Atma, the Sakshi, the witness, the observer, the experiencer of all that there is in all names and forms; of all the Mithya Prakrithi.
The very experience of the entire Anathma principle as described above proves the existence of the experiencer or the witness, namely, I, or, my SELF. I only need to identify with the I or, the Atma or consciousness principle. No further proof of my existence is needed.
The example given in the verse is – that of a King, around whom the people are all performing many duties. The king is the witness, the ever shining one – who is ever witnessing all that his people are performing.
But, all this happens when I attain the knowledge of the Self. How does a person without self knowledge behave? Let us see in next post, in v.19
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