Prostrations to the Guru and to one and all.
Till 15th sloka we have seen the analysis that we are the nature of atman , which is witness to all activities performed, the cause of the world and is the creator. It is the substratum of the world of nature of satchidananda.
Next the author talks about the atman, the nature of the atman, so that our conviction about our nature gets deeply rooted.
ahameko.api suukshmashcha GYaataa saakshii sadavyayaH .
tadaha.n naatra sa.ndeho vichaaraH so.ayamiidR^ishaH .
Meaning: I am without parts, subtler ,knower of everything, witness,pure consciouness,indivisible. I have no doubt about my nature .Thus he thinks as above.
Explanation: As per scriptures,Brahman is “Ekam eva adviteeyam” . Here Ekam means without any parts, Evam means one alone and adviteeyam means there is no entity that exists apart from Brahman.
There are 3 types of bheda’s swagata ,swajateeya,vijaateeya bheda.
Swagata bedha is the differences in one’s own body. Human body has swagata bedham means it has many parts different from each other. But Brahman has no parts. As per scriptures Brahman has come from aakasha, it means Brahman has qualities of aakasha.
Space though is all pervading and has no parts. Any thing without parts cannot have association with anything else . Thus space is without parts and so also Brahman.
Swajateeya bedha is when differences between entities of same category. One body is different from another in many ways. It is our experience also. This is swajateeya bedha. As there can be no two sons, or two lights, so also there cannot be 2 brahman’s. Hence Brahman is dereft of swajateeya bedha. If there are two entities which are self-luminous, then one luminates another,as this is not not possible,so there cannot be 2 entities which are self –luminous.
Vijateeya bedha is difference between entities of 2 different types. Like a human body is different from a tree. But Brahman alone is real and everything else is illusion. Hence the possible of existence of a second entity is ruled out. Hence barhman has no vijayeetya bedha.
Thus Brahman is devoid of any bedhas.
Brahman is said to be subtler than the subtlest and greater than the greatest .As per sciptures “anor aniyaam mahato maheeyam” ,means smaller the smallest of atoms and bigger the biggest of objects.
As Brahman illuminates everything in the world, it is the all knower. It is the witness to all the activities. If one gets involved in any actions, he/she would be effected by the actions. But when one remains a witness to the actions, he is unaffected by the good and bad results of it. As sun illumines the world and remains as a witness to all the activities, so also Brahman is a witness. It is of the nature of existence
Brahman is indivisible as we have earlier the qualities of brahman without parts.
Thus after vichara a person would understand the nature of his self as explained above, there remains no iota of doubts about his nature of atman.
aatmaa vinishhkalo hyeko deho bahubhiraavR^itaH .
tayoraikyaM prapashyanti kimaGYaanamataH param.h
Meaning: Atman is without parts, is one alone , Body is many and with parts. If we say that both are the same, is there any ignorance greater than this?
Explanation : Till the earlier slokas , we have seen through vicahara how a person concludes “I am not the body” . From 17th to 21st slokas the author brings out the differences in nature of atman and the body. Though we are of the nature of atman alone by birth, we have been under the impression that we are the body from the beginning. Any lay man in the world thinks he is the body. Thus we have a vision of we are the body. This is called superimposition. Superimposition of the body over the atman leads to conclusion that we are the body. The natural state seems far away and the superimposed nature seems to be our nature.
To know that we are not the body wouldn’t help us to come out of the body consciousness. To know milk tastes good wouldn’t help us, until we taste it. A sadhaka has to assert himself all the time that he is not the body. By constantly contemplating on the nature of atman a person through practice over certain period of time comes over the notion that he is the body.
In this sloka sankaracharya brings out 2 differences in the nature of atman and body.
Atman is without parts. We have seen in the earlier slokas that atman does not have any bedhas i.e swagata bedha, swajateeya bedha and vijaateeya bedha. Also atman is come from aakasha and aakasha is without parts. space pervades everything but it has no parts. Likewise Brahman or atman has no parts.
Body on the otherhand body is made of many parts like hands, legs etc.
Atman is one alone. Atman does not have swajateeya bedha, i.e differences with entities of its kind as its one alone. As it is the only entity in its kind , it is one alone.
There are many bodies in the world. Various names and forms of Brahman, which are but an illusion. But the atman in all is the same , as the sun reflected in water in all the pots is the same. So how can person consider himself to be the atman? This is the greatest ignorance.
aatmaa niyaamakashchaamtardeho baahyo niyamyakaH .
tayoraikayaM prapashyanti kimaGYaanamataH param.h
Meaning: Atman is the controls the body and is subtle, whereas body is under the control of atman. . If we say that both are the same, is there any ignorance greater than this?
Explanation: In continuation to the above sloka , the author mentions few more differences between atman and body.
Atman is the controller. Atman through consciousness makes the sense organs and body work. Without consciousness one is dead person. Sense organs work for the atman. Atman is the illuminating entity , a sentient entity which makes the insentient objects look sentient. Its subtle and cannot be seen. Self beyond ones experience as it’s the subject.
Body is the gross, its visible. Body is controlled by the atman. The substratum of all the names and forms in the world is Brahman alone.
When we realize that names and forms are temporary and are under the control of the consciousness of the nature of satchidananda and we are of the nature of satchidananda, we will be ever blissful.
Knowing these differences as stated above, if a person still considers himself to be the body , Can there be greater ignorance than this?
aatmaa GYaanamayaH puNyo deho maa.nsamayo.ashuchiH .
tayoraikyaM prapashyanti kimaGYaanamataH param.h
Meaning: Atman is consciouness and is pure. Body is made of flesh and is impure.
. If we say that both are the same, is there any ignorance greater than this?
Explanation: Atman is of nature of consciousness. Atman is satchidananda. As per Upanishads “Pragyanam Brahmam”. Meaning atman is consciousness. Atman is pure. Anything that has association with something else can become impure. For example When we take red color powder and rub on our hands our hands turn red in color. Something which has parts can only have association. As atman is said to be without parts or “niskalam” hence it cannot have association. Hence it remains pure.
Body is an insentient entity made up with flesh ,blood etc. If the atman doesn’t illumine the body it is equal to a log of wood. Body needs an sentient entity to operate.
Body is full of impurities both outside and inside. We all know that human body has many bacteria,worms and other impurities inside. Body has 9 opening as said in Gita “Nava dvare pure dehi” .Out of these nine openings in the body all the impurities are expelled from the body.
Thus body has contradictory nature when compared to atman. So how can person consider the atman to be the body. Can there be greater ignorance than the vision that he is the body?
Sloka 20 :
aatmaa prakaashakaH svachchho dehastaamasa uchyate .
tayoraikyaM prapashyanti kimaGYaanamataH param.h ..
Meaning: Atman is self –luminous and pure. Body is of nature of darkness. . If we say that both are the same, is there any ignorance greater than this?
Explanation: Atman is self-luminous. It is the only sentient entity. As said in gita 15th chapter. “Yat aditya gatam tejo, jagat bhasayithee akhilam
Yat Chandramasi yat cha agnau tat tejo viddhi mamakam.”
It is the luminous entity that is substratum of the whole universe. It is the sentient entity in the sun and the moon. It is pure as we have discussed in the earlier sloka.
Body is of the nature of darkness. It is “jadam” or insentient.
Considering both the body and the atman to be same is foolishness. There cannot be any greater ignorance than this.
Sloka 21 :
aatmaa nityo hi sadruupo deho.anityo hyasanmayaH .
tayoraikyaM prapashyanti kimaGYaanamataH param.h .
Meaning: Atman is eternal and is of the nature of consciousness. Deham is temporary and is insentient . . If we say that both are the same, is there any ignorance greater than this?
Explanation: With this sloka the author concludes the differences between the atman and the body.
Atman is eternal. It is the only changless entity. It the substratum of the changing temporary world. It is present always and hence eternal. Nature of atman is satchidananda i.e of the nature of consciousness. It is the only sentient entity in the world. Body is insentient. It is only darkness, lighted up by atman.
Thus sankaracharya has brought out differences between atman and deham starting from1 7th sloka.
To summarize atman has following attributes -- vinishkalo or without parts, eko or one alone, niyaamakascha or controller ,antah or internal, gyaanamayam or consciousness ,punyo or pure, prakaashah or self-luminous, svachho or pure, nityo or eternal, sadroopo or consciousness.
Deham is bahu or many, bhiraavrutaha or has parts, bahyo or outside , niyamyakah or which follows order of, maansamayam or insentient, asuchihi or impure, taamsam or darkness, anityo or non-eternal ,asanmayaha or insentient.
Bearing all these differences in mind a sadhaka should reaffirm that he is not the body. Treading this path alone can a person come out of the adhyasam or superimposition that he is the body .Until he considers he is the body a person can never progress in the spiritual path. when he identifies himself to be the atman of nature satchidananda, then ignorance is removed and one is always blissful.
With this sloka the discussion on the differences between the atman and the body is concluded by the author.