- Vs.29 says that we do not need any other knowledge to identify the SELF or ATMA. It is itself the Knowledge required.
- In V.30, we saw that all that we need to do is remove the Upaadhis which are blinding us from the SELF.
- The method prescribed is to negate ANAATMA in the Jeeva – like the Gross, subtle and causal bodies, their vritthis etc, through the process of Nethi, Nethi, Nethi – meaning, not this, not this, with clear, logical, doubtless understanding.
- The next step is meditating on the Mahavakyas - ‘Prajnanaam Brahma’ from Rigveda, ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’ from Yajurveda, ‘thath thvam asi’ from Saama veda, and ‘ayam atma brahma’ from Adharva veda.
Monday, October 4, 2010
ATMA BODHA = Vs 31,32,33 = BY ADI SANKARA = MEDITATION = WHAT I AM = WHAT I AM NOT = NETHI PROCESS
SRI ADI SANKARACHARYA
TEXT & COMMENTARY
(PART - 14 – VERSES 31,32,33)
In the last Post, we understood – the following methods to achieve Atma Jnanam or Self Knowledge:
Let us now understand clearly how ‘I’ am the ‘Atma’:
31 Aavidyakam Sareeraadi Drusyam
Etat Vilakshanam Vidyaat
Aham Brahmeti Niramalam
We know that Anatma consists of Gross Body, subtle Body, causal body, their vritthis and Chidhabhasa or Reflected consciousness.
They are purely temporary like bubbles which arise in water, grow in water, and dissolve back into water very quickly. They are the Avidya in Jeeva.
Adi Sankara calls them as “Drisyam”, the scene or scenery or the seen things. But, the real “I” - am the seer, not the seen.
I am distinctly different (vilakshanam)from these temporary things like Sareera thrayam and Chidabhasa.
I am not Ignorance (avidya). I am the knowledge (Vidya).I am the pure, the Brahman.
This is a turning point for us. So far, we compared Atma with Anaatma in several ways and drew the differences between the two. We identified Atma as Sath, Chith, Aananda, Nithya and Nirmala in previous Verses.
This process is mere conceptual, intellectual understanding of Atma. We talk as if Atma is before us or outside us and we are examining it to understand its nature. At this point, our identification is still with Sareera thrayam and Chidhabhasa, which only are in the experience of our sense organs.
But, we know technically and intellectually that – we are not Sareera thrayam and not Chidhabhasa (reflected consciousness) which are the avidya. We know, we are the real “I”, the one in whose presence and by whose power, all the Sareera thrayam and Chidhabhasa function.
But, when we look at what we are talking, and how we are talking, we find that our basic identification continues to be with Sareera thrayam and Chidhabhasa which only can be perceived by the Sense Organs (whose power is derived from the real ”I”).We talk of the real “I” as some thing different from us. We talk of the Sareera thrayam as us. This is the problem.
It is for this reason that a three pronged process is prescribed for Atma Jnanam. These are
(i) Sravanam :-Listen to the teaching of Self Knowledge from the Guru, understand it, clarify your doubts fully and ensure that your knowledge is doubtless. Read and understand all the foregoing verses and their meaning carefully.
(ii) Mananam : Recall from time to time, very frequently, in your mind, try to look at it from all view points, repeat several times, till the entire essence of it sinks into your mind and Buddhi totally.
(iii) Nidhi Dhyasanam : Nidhi dhyasanam is Meditation. Meditate on this Self Knowledge now. This is the most important stage of assimilation of the Self Knowledge. In this stage, you become the self knowledge. You become the Atma. You become the Brahman. You assimilate into you, all the qualities of the Brahman – Sath, chith, Aananda, Nithya, Nirmalatha and so on. In fact, there is nothing new to assimilate. These are your innate, intrinsic Nature, and these are already yours (or, rather, these are YOU!). Find them in you. Find them as YOU. Experience your SELF as these. Then, look at the Avidhya and negate them as Nethi, nethi. Your IDENTIFICATION with your real SELF becomes clearer and clearer.
So far, words used were - Atma, Brahma, Hrisheekesa, Eswara and so on.
Now, for the first time, the word used is ‘Aham’ – meaning ‘I’.
Aham brahma ithi nirmalam. I am the pure, the Brahma. This is how we need to meditate intensely with total identification of the ‘Aham’ with the ‘Brahma’.
Now onwards, several slokas of meditation can be seen. In all these, “I” need to identify with Brahma (or Brahman), with Atma (or Atman),or any name we have given to represent the supreme self , the Parmatma etc. All this is “I” and none other than “I”.
From this identification, we will proceed to negate the Avidya, and look at all other things. The important point to note is – Meditate on your real self, as “I” and look at all things from this identification. How long should we meditate? As long as it takes to identify one hundred percent, without an iota of doubt, with the Atma, or Brahma, and dis-identify one hundred percent, without an iota of doubt, from the Avidya, the Sareera thrayam and Chidhabhasa.
With this self identification, we will proceed further:
32 Deha Anyathvath Na me Janma
Jara Kaarsya Layaadayah
Sabdaadi Vishayaih Sangaha
Nireendriya tayaa Na Cha.
I am not the physical body – which is subject to birth (Janma), Old age (Jara), decay (or ematiation, Kaarsyam) and death (layam). It is the body which undergoes all these changes. The body comes and goes and undergoes many changes. It is subject to the Law of Karma and is the seat of all enjoyment and suffering as karma Phalam. Differences such as sex, childhood, old age and diseases affect the Body. But, I am the changeless. I am NOT THE BODY which undergoes incessant, perennial changes until its layam / death.
The body functions through its five sense organs and five karmendriyas. The external objects and beings are perceived through Sense Organs like Ears (for sound /sabda), eyes (for sight /roopa), tongue(for taste /rasa), skin (for touch /sparsa), nose (for smell /gandha).
The body becomes attached to the internal images of these external objects. Sabdhadhi Vishayaih sangaha. This attachment is created by the sense organs which are part of the Subtle body.
I am not the sense organs nor am I the inputs received through them. I am also not the organs of action (Karmendriyaas) which act as outputs for the body, but they also belong to the subtle body.
We first negated the Gross body – which is temporary and inert and subject to so many changes till its death. Next, we negated the 5 sense organs and 5 organs of action which are part of the subtle body. These too are temporary, ever changing, and subject to destruction.
This is continuation of the Meditation from the previous verse.
Identification with Atma and negation of Body and Indriyaas must become firm in us. Till then, the meditation must continue with vigour.
33 Amanastwaath Na me
Dukha Raaga Dwesha Bhayaadayah
Apraano Hi Amanaassubhra
Ithyaadi Sruthi saasanaath
I am not the MANAS or mind. The Manas is constantly in the grip of Sorrow (Duhkha), attachment (Raaga), hatred (Dvesha), fear (bhaya) and all other dualities. I am not the Manas or these vritthis of the Manas. The mind here also includes Buddhi, Ahamkara and chittha – all of which are subject to destruction and death.
I am not the Pancha Pranas too (prana, vyana etc) which form the pranamayakosa and condition the body and the mind. Pranamaya kosa also is temporary and subject to destruction.
I am the Atma, the ever pure. So say the Sruthis, the Vedas.
This verse also is for Nidhi dhyasanam (contemplation or Meditation). First and foremost, we must start totally identifying “I” with Atma /Brahma, who, am eternal existence, all pervading, universal consciousness (all pervading), bliss and absolutely pure. This is what I AM.
Next is what I AM NOT. I am not the gross body. I am not the emotional mind, or ahankara, or chittha or Buddhi or the five sense organs or the five organs of action all of which are parts of the subtle body. I am not the Karana Sareera. I am not the Chidhabhasa. This way, I must negate the entire Avidya, the Anaatma. I am the one which infuses action and consciousness into Anaatma but I remain actionless.
This way – the meditation must proceed with absolute, doubtless confidence, till self knowledge becomes absolute.
We will further proceed with self identification –with greater emphasis, in the next post.
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