Saturday, September 18, 2010
ATMA BODHA =(POST 9)= BY ADI SANKARA = ATMA - ANAATMA CONFUSION -WHY? (V.21&22): WHO AM I Contnd..
SRI ADI SANKARACHARYA
TEXT & COMMENTARY
(PART - 9 – VERSES 21 and 22)
In previous verse 19, we saw how the Sareera thrayam does all its actions in presence of the Vyaktha (Atma) Chaitanyam. But, due to Ignorance, we feel that it is the Atma Chaitanyam that is doing all the actions.
It is similar to our allusion of the movement of the clouds past the moon in the sky to the moon, and assume that the moon is moving so fast across the sky. In reality, the moon is relatively stationary and only the clouds are moving. When the clouds move away from moon, we see clearly that the moon was not moving but the clouds were moving. This means when the deluding Ignorance moves away from us, truth of the Sat – Chit Atma shines forth.
In verse 20, we saw that - Sareera thrayam can do all their work only in the presence of Atma Chaitanyam. Without Atma Chaitanyam’s presence, no work, no transactions, no movement can occur at all. Atma Chaitanyam is thus the Source of the capabilities, functioning and movements of Sareera thrayam – but by its mere presence. But it does not participate in any of these activities. All these activities belong to the Sareera thrayam totally(swakriya = for their own purpose/ work).
The example given is how people do all the work in the presence of sun light, but sun takes no part in their activities.
As readers can discern carefully- Sankaracharya is making clear and elaborate distinction between Atma and Anaatma. After all, our basic identity arises first with Anaatma, due to Maya / Ignorance. What I see – is what I have! I see the Gross Body only. So, I identify with Gross Body first.
Next - we do experience intense feelings of all dualities (likes and dislikes, love and hatred, pleasures and Pains etc) in our Subtle body – specifically the Manas (Emotional Mind) part. So we do acknowledge and identify with our emotional Mind too. What I feel is what I am!
We also know about decision making faulty, the Buddhi or Intellect. I think and I decide, we say! What I think – is what I am! I am the Kartha, the Doer. So, I easily identify with Buddhi also.
When we go into deep sleep, and get up later, we feel the pleasure of the deep sleep. Who feels the pleasure? Our Aanandamaya kosa when all others are asleep.
So, identifying with Sareera thrayam happens all the time – but this is due to delusion or Maya.
The discussion continues why the delusion happens and what we need to do remove the delusion.
21 Dehendriya Gunaan Karmaani
All Gunas and Karmas (Characteristics and actions) belong to the Deha (Body) and the Indriyas – which together means the Sareera thrayam.
But, the Atma is untouched by the Gunas and Karmas (Amala) as it is Sat-chit – changeless, pure consciousness.
Atma is absolutely free of all Gunas and Karmas.
But Ignorance (aviveka) makes us ascribe all characteristics and Actions of the Anaatma to the Atma (Self). This is called Adhyaasa.
Sankaracharya is very fond of and very particular about quoting examples of each element of the five great elemental forces to stress the difference between Atma and Anaatma.
Each element does have some thing in common with Atma, not a Guna but a Guna-lessness of the Atma, which is ultimately the source of all five elemental forces and all creation. Sky is both limitless and colourless – some thing akin to Atma. But we see this pure, colourless sky as of Blue colour – due to our own delusion.
When we read these slokas, we go through them routinely with our present knowledge base. But, let us just go back to the days of Sankaracharya, a minimum of 1200 years back,(Or much earlier) when this sloka was written – and similar examples which are available in earlier works too – how did they know that blue colour does not really belong to the sky / space and that it is only our delusion?
Well. There was a huge scientific knowledge base in the days of the Upanishads which we need to reclaim now.
Atma Bodha itself is the quintessence of Science and really a treasure house for all of us.
Sankaracharya says that it is our Ignorance which makes us feel that the sky is blue. Likewise, it is our delusion to ascribe all characteristics and actions of Sareera thrayam to the Atma / Self. Atma is totally ACTIONLESS, TRANSACTIONLESS, CHARACTERISTIC-LESS and CHANGELESS!
But, all the time, Jeeva uses the term ”I” to represent both the Atma + Anaatma whose combination he feels he is. For transaction purpose, this is also true. In Atma’s presence only transactions can occur but, they can occur through Anaatma only. Even to claim the self as “I”, the body-mind combination is needed.
This claiming also is, as we must understand, a transaction only and Atma cannot do this transaction. And, Atma has no need to claim itself as itself.
When complete Atma Jnanam occurs, there is no further claiming. All transactions cease. The last seed of “I” also dissolves.
But, since that stage is still a bit away from us – what is the role Ajnana or Ignorance playing in us as we are. The examination proceeds.
22 Ajnaanat maanasopadheh
Kartrutwaadeeni cha Atmani
Kalpyante Ambugathe Chandre
Chalanadi Yatha Ambhasah.
When we perform an action, the natural question that is asked is – who is the Doer of this action?
“I” comes the claim. We need to look at this transaction very carefully. Wherefrom is the claim coming? It is from the Ahamkara (the Ego) part of the Sareera thrayam, on behalf of the Sareera thrayam.
It is ‘I’ who did it, with my own hands, my own legs, my own thinking, my own intelligence, my own eyes, my own ears, my own words(Tongue) and so on – all of my own, so, it is ‘I’ who did it. This is the claim.
Who can rightfully claim to have done it – with all these body parts? The Anaatma, of course. It only has all these body parts and it only acts through them. And, the doer-ship feeling also rightly belongs to Anaatma (the Ahamkara part in it).
But, when the Doer is said to be ‘I’, the Doer-ship gets ascribed to the Atma, the real Self, due to the perennial confusion between Atma and Anaatma.
Likewise, let us see the question, what did you feel? I felt happy, I felt sad, I felt angry and so on, people claim. Here also, the claim is coming from the Sareera thrayam (the Ahamkara part) which is feeling all these. Atma is GUNA-LESS. Yet, when the claim of feeling/suffering is said to come from ‘I’, it seems to come from the Atma /Self due to the same confusion as above.
Throughout life, whenever we use the word ‘I’, this confusion continues – till complete ATMA JNANAM arises in us.
Taking responsibility / onus for an action is called “KARTHRUTHVAM” or Doer-ship. Receiving / enjoying the fruits of an action is called “Bhokthruthvam”. The receiver is called Bhoktha while the Doer is called Kartha.
Undoubtedly, the Anaatma is the Kartha or Doer always. But, the Doer-ship gets ascribed to Atma due to the ‘I’ feeling and since the real self is the Atma.
There is a quizzical expression on this Atma-Anaatma distinction.
Q: When do I identify fully with Atma?
A: When the I feeling goes totally!!
Self arises when the I feeling goes! The whole of Samsaara is because of this I feeling sitting in Ahamkara which makes us claim doer-ship and receivership (Kartha and Bhoktha)
Sankaracharya gives another beautiful example. Moon is in the sky. We see his reflection on the surface of water.
If water is still, we see a clear, beautiful (reflected) image of Moon on the water. But, if water is disturbed, several wave circles arise in the water where the moon’s reflection is. Looking at this reflection of moon in the disturbed water, we begin to feel that the Moon is shaking! The motion of the water in waves is transposed to the moon image first and then even to the actual moon.
Likewise, all actions of Anaatma are like disturbances in the water. If the Buddhi (Intellect) is still and clear, we can perceive the reflection of Atma (Vyaktha Chaitanyam) in it clearly. If the Buddhi is disturbed by various actions of Anaatma, it looks as though all these actions pertain to Atma.
We will examine some of these disturbances occurring in the Anaatma in the next post..
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