Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Slokas 34 to 38

Hari Aum,

Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.

Till now the author has explained the nature of Brahman. In the earlier slokas he refuted the thought that the body is the atman. In following slokas be provides proof to explain that the body is not the atman.

Sloka 34:

yasmaatparamiti shrutyaa tayaa purushhalakshaNam.h .
vinirNiita.n vimuuDhena katha.n syaaddehakaH pumaan.h ..

Meaning: The nature of Atman as supreme is what is mentioned in the scriptures which are written by people who are not ignorant.

Explanation: After saying that the atman is one alone and is the subject and which doesn’t undergo changes. The author gives a scriptural statements proof to prove that atman is different from the body.

As per scriptures it has been stated that the uttama purusha is supreme and is beyond intellect, body, mind, ego . Its the subtler than the subtlest. Great saints, rishis have proclaimed this through their experience .

Inspite of the proof from the scriptures , how can a person say that he is the body.?

Sloka 35:

sarvaM purushha eveti suukte purushhasa.nGYite .
apyuchyate yataH shrutyaa katha.n syaaddehakaH pumaan.h

Meaning: Everything is purusha as per purusha sukta. Even sruthi speaks about purusha as being present everywhere, i.e being the essence of everything in the world. So how is atman same as body?

Explanation:Adter proving through sruthi, that atman cannot be the body, Author gives the proof of purusha sukta where it is mentioned that everything is pervaded by Brahman.
As per purusha sukta ” sarvam purusha eva edagam sarvam yad bhutam yascha bhavyam”. Meaning purusha is alone present and is pervading entire universe.
The entire universe has substratum of Brahman alone. Whereas the body is limited and perishable. So the atman which is ever present and all permeating cannot be equaled to the body which is limited by space and time. Thus author refutes saying that the body is not the same as the all pervading atman.

Sloka 36:
asa.ngaH purushhaH prokto bR^ihadaaraNyake.api cha .
anantamalasa.nshlishhTaH katha.n syaaddehaka.H pumaan.h

Meaning: Purusha is unattached as per brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Body is full of impurities. So how can the body be the atman.

Explanation: Till now the author has mentioned supporting statements from sruthi and purusha sukta which say that the atman is different from deham or body. Now he mentions about the brihadaranyaka Upanishad statements.
As per brihadaranyaka Upanishad the purusha is “asangaha” meaning it is not attached or associated. Purusha is just a witness to all the activities performed by the body. It is not involved in the activities.
The body is made up of all the impurities ,here it also means that the body undergoes various changes.
Purusha is referred to as witness because, in all the 3 states of waking,dream and deep sleep states, the purusha is a witness. We experience all the 3 states means that we are the witness of all the 3 states.In the dream state, we are not aware of the waking state.The states are mutually exclusive, the only entity in common is the witness “I”.
Similarly in waking state we have the gross body, in dream state we have a subtle body. In dream state we can become an actor of bollywood and behave like that. So our dream body is totally different from the waking body. Similar is the case with deep sleep state.In all the 3 states the body keeps changing. The body even changes in the deep sleep state, hence we also wake up after deep sleep and we cannot be in that state for a longer time.
Only the witness , the purusha remains same in all the 3 states, hence we proclaim that we had good sleep or had a bad dream.
So the purusha is the witness and is unattached whereas body keeps changing and is made of impurities, how can one say that he is the body.

Sloka 37:
tatraiva cha samaakhyaataH svaya.njyotirhi puurushhaH .
jaDaH paraprakaashyo.aya.n katha.n syaaddehakaH

Meaning: Purusha is a self –luminous entity, whereas body is insentient entity depending on the self-luminous entity for its existence. So how can the atman be same as the body

Explanation: In the earlier sloka the author mentioned about the brihadaranyaka Upanishad supporting witness hood of the purusha. In this sloka we see the direct quotation from the Upanishad.

As per the Upanishad statement atman is self –luminous. A self –luminous object doesn’t depend on any object for llumination. Other objects are illumined in its presence.
As the purusha is self-luminous hence its “asangaha” as mentioned in the earlier sloka. Purusha is unassociated. Even in darkness a person says I exist, this shows that the consciousness in each one of us is self-luminous. This proves beyond doubt the nature of atman as mentioned in the Upanishad.
Whereas we cannot see any of our body parts in darkness. Parts of our body work in presence of purusha. Once this consciousness leaves the body the person is dead. We cannot expect a dead body to move. Hence body depends on the sentient entity of Brahman or purusha the all pervading entity.

Sloka 38:
prokto.api karmakaaNDena hyaatmaa dehaadvilakshaNaH .
nityashcha tatphalaM bhuN^kte dehapaataadanantaram.h

Meaning: As per the karma kanda atman and body are different. Atman will enjoy the fruits of the actions performed by the body after the demise of the body.

Explanation: In the earlier slokas author had given scriptural proof to distinguish between atman and body. He has negated the possibility of the gross body to be the atman. Now Sankaracharya in the slokas 38 and 39 negates the possibility of sthoola shareera and sookshma shareera being one with atman.

Sruthi has 3 parts. karma kanda, jnaana kanda and upasana kanda. Karma kanda explains the way the rituals need to be performed. Jnaana kanda is the knowledge behind by the rituals performed. Upasana kanda helps a person to practice the truth mentioned in the jnaana kanda. Vedanta is based on the jnaana kanda.So one can say that sankaracharya is referring to only the jnaana kanda portion of sruthi. Hence in this sloka he mentions that even the karma kanda of the sruthi mentions that both body and atman are different.
Atman enjoys the fruits of the actions performed by the body after the body falls off.
Meaning, the bad and good results of the deeds done are enjoyed by the atman in each birth.
Incase the atman is the body, then if the person dies , what happens to all the fruits of actions not enjoyed by the person in that birth?. This is called “krita haani”. we all know that we do not enjoy all the fruits of our action in the current birth itself. As per law of karma one should bear the consequences of his action. But if body is same as the atman , it goes against the law of karma, as when a person dies he would not reap the fruits of action in that birth.
Similarly when a person is born , he may be born in a rich family or a poor family, but he hadn’t done any actions at the time of birth to give him that fruit of action, if we consider the body to be the atman. This is called “Akrita abhyagamam”. This only shows that the atman attains a new body and reaps the fruits of karma or sanchita karma in the new birth. Hence the atman is not the body. Atman attains new body in each birth until he extinguishes all the karma.
Thus the author says that the sthoola shareera is not the atman.

Hari Aum

Slokas 29 to 33

Hare Krishna,

Prostrating at the Lotus feet of AMMA, lets continue our discussion on Aparokshaanubhuti , the work written by sankaracharya.

Sloka 29:

Meaning: In our body resides the purusha mentioned in the scriptures, which was experienced by great saints. Oh murkha why do you think you are the body, when you are beyond the body.

Explanation: The atman of nature of satchidananda has been mentioned in the scriptures as the purusha. I am not the body, but “I “is the atman as mentioned in the scriptures.
How can person identify himself with the body, even though the scriptures reiterate over and over again that O!! murkha your not the body but the atman of the nature of satchitananda, the ever blissful self. Great saints who have realized the self have proven that we are of the nature of satchitananda, nature of eternal bliss. Inspite of scriptural guidance and examples of mahatmas who are in the state of self -realization, if we still cling to our body , then no one can save us.
Ignorant people associate themselves with the body, even though its very obvious and simple as per scriptures to identify that we are not the body. This leads the people into the suffering in the world, away from their blissful self.

Sloka 30:

Meaning : As per scriptures and reasoning atman is the purusha as mentioned in the scriptures. It is beyond the body , of the nature of sat and cannot be seen by people who have no discrimination.

Explanation: In the earlier sloka sankaracharya strongly says that only ignorant people consider themselves as body even though the scriptures and mahatmas say that we are beyond body. In this sloka he explains the nature of the self.

Author says “ O ignorant person, Listen to what scriptures say and what the reasoning would conclude it to be” As per scriptures the atman is the purusha, who is beyond the body, who is of the nature of satchitananda. But a person who is not interested in getting liberation , will not benefit.
Self of the nature of consciousness, existence and bliss is complete and full. When one considers himself to be the body then he sees others different from him. As a result, likes/dislikes , sorrow would arise in the world. When one realizes the truth that Brahman, which is all pervading and is the only existing reality in the world and all that is seen is only name and form of the reality of Brahman, one will never get deluded in the world and be in the nature of Brahman of eternal bliss. Thus disassociating himself from the body is the first step in the spiritual path of a sadhaka. Until he is convinced of the fact , he cannot progress any further.
Thus sankaracharya urges everyone to understand that we are not the body , but of the nature of sat ,once we realize that we become jeevanmuktas and we are ever blissful and liberated from the bondages of samsaara.

Sloka 31:

Meaning : The word “I” is different and is one alone . Whereas the gross bodies are many. So how can you be the body?

Explanation: In the earlier slokas , author has described the qualities of atman or uttama purusha, the Brahman and how to identify the atman to be different from body or deham. Starting from 31 to 37 he shows the differentiation between the atman and the body, through reasoning.We have seen the attributes of Brahman in earlier slokas, this would help us to differentiate between Brahman and the body.

We have seen in the earlier slokas that we are not the body but the purusha that scriptures talk about. Sankaracharya says that the “I” which is purusha is one alone. There purushas as per 15th chapter of gita are of 3 types kshara, akshara and uttama purusha. This uttama purusha is all pervading in the entire universe is what the author is pointing to. As sun is reflected in different pots containing water, so also uttama purusha is what is reflected in the intellect of each jeeva. The reflection may be different but the source of reflection , the sun is the same. The reflection is the akshara purusha or jeeva. Once the akshara purusha overcomes his limitations of mind and body, he becomes one with uttama purusha. As the limitations of a jeeva are due to his body- mind complex alone, the atman in all is nothing but the uttama purusha. Scriptures give many names to the same consciousness which is the satchidananda.

Hence author compares the uttama purusha and the body. So the atman or uttama purusha is the same in all beings but only the bodies are different. Each person gets a body made of pancha bhootas , based on his past karmas or actions.Body is acquired to exhaust the good and bad fruits of deeds accumulated over the past.

There can be only one uttama purusha as they cannot be two suns in the universe. Hence it is one alone.The names and forms are different, but the substratum of all the names and forms is Brahman alone.
So the author brings out the point that the atman is one alone whereas the bodies are many in the world, hence how can one say that the atman is the body, or I am the body.

Sloka 32:

Meaning: I am the witness or subject , who sees the object and the body is the object, that is seen .This is proved by own experience“This is mine” .So how can one say that I am the body?

Explanation: Continuing with the differentiation of the atman and the body, the author says that the subject i.e the atman which sees the object is different from the object that is perceived. We see our hands, we see our legs. Meaning they are objects of subject “I” , which is the atman or the purusha. The subject is always different from the object.
Similarly we cannot see our own eyes. As we see through the eyes. That which sees cannot be seen. It means the subject is never perceived. The subject perceives the object, but it itself cannot be perceived. We all know this through one’s own experience of seeing our body parts. Consciosuness is the witness to entire activities in the world. As it’s the only conscious entity present, nothing else can perceive it.
Hence the subject of “I” is different from the object of body. So how can one say that he is the body.

Sloka 33:

Meaning: I is devoid of changes, but the body is always changing. This is part of our experience. So how can one say that he is the body.

Explanation: We have seen that one of the attributes of the atman is “nirvikaro”, meaning which doesn’t undergo changes. We are the same existence or consciousness right from our birth till now. We call ourself to be the same right from birth. We always have identified ourself with the same atman. But the body has undergone huge changes over the years. We are not the same as we were in our childhood. Hence the atman , the illuminating factor, which is beyond mind, intellect is the same always and doesn’t undergo change, but the body undergoes the shadvikaras or the 6 different types of changes happening in a life span of a person, right from the time of birth.

We don’t need proof of it, as we have witnessed our body changes till day. Hence how can a person say that he is the body? These are very obvious differences we haven’t taken notice of until day and have always considered ourselves as the body with using our discrimination.

We shall continue with the other differences mentioned by sankaracharya in the next mail.

Hare Krishna

Slokas 22 to 28

Hare Krishna,

Prostrations to the GURU and prostrations to all of you.

Sloka 22:

aatmanastatprakaashatva.n yatpadaarthaavabhaasanam.h .
naagnyaadidiiptivaddiptirbhavatyaandhya yato nishi ..

Meaning: The illuminating nature of atman , illumines the objects in the world. Its illumination is not like the illumination from the deepam or fire or sun , which are not present in the darkness of night.

Sankaracharya here brings out the difference between the illuminating nature of the atman and the illuminating nature of the illuminating bodies present in the world like deepam, fire , sun etc.

Atman has the nature of satchitananda. As deepam dispels darkness in the entire room , so also atman illumines everything in the world. It alone illumines everything in the world. The light behind all lights. The illuminating bodies like sun, fire derive their power from Brahman. The substratum being Brahman.
The sun, fire etc have limitations. Sun is not able to dispell the darkness of the night. But Brahman is present everywhere as nature of existence. The illumination of atman is not exactly like the illumination of the illuminating bodies in the world.
Here is a beautiful example to show the difference. When the power goes off, the whole house is plunged into darkness. Mother calls out to the kid in the house in a different room, asking them “Are you there?” .He answers “I am there”. Inspite of any means of light in the room, the kid knows that he is present. So that which is pulsating in everyone as “I exist” is the illuminating factor.It is the eye behind all eyes. This clearly shows the difference between the illuminating bodies we know and the illumination of the satchitananda.

Thus author brings out 2 major differences 1) That sat or existence is the light behind all lights 2) It is present everywhere. Its all pervading. It is present where sun, fire cannot reach.
Nature of atman is satchitananda , existence ,consciousness and bliss. Realizing this makes a person ever blissful. Realizing this truth one becomes jeevan mukta.
As per scriptures “Yovay bhooma tat sukham na alpe sukham asthi” meaning , Once a person knows that he is full and perfect , he is contented and is blissful.

Sloka 23:

deho.ahamityayaM muuDho dhR^itvaa tishhThatyaho janaH .
mamaayamityapi GYaatvaa ghaTadrashhTeva sarvadaa ..

Meaning: Ignorant people think they are the body. Even as they say this is my pot and this is my body.

Explanation: This sloka brings out the level of ignorance one has in this world about himself. Everyone would consider himself/herself as the body. The author negates this and gives proves as to how one is not the body.

Ignorant masses consider themselves to be the body. By saying “I” he means that he is the body.
We would call any other object we possess as “ my pen” , “my laptop” , so also we say “my body”. As “my pen” and “my laptop” are different from me and not me , so also what we call as “ my body “ is different from me. So I am not the body. Even though through the statement of “My body” its so obvious that one is different from his/her body or object of possession, people considers themselves to be the body. With discrimination and analysis one can understand the truth behind the statement of “My body”.
Person who lacks this discrimination is called “moodah” or ignorant person.
Understanding that one is not the body , a person would no suffer when the body suffers , as he is not the body. This happiness and sorrow doesn’t depend on the body. Thus he remains blissful disassociating himself from body.

Sloka 24:
brahmaivaaha.n samaH shaantaH sachchidaana.ndalakshaNaH ..
naaha.n deho hyasadruupo GYaanamuchyate budhaiH

Meaning: I am Brahman of the nature of steadiness ,peace and satchidananda.
I am not the body, which is insentient, wise people have this knowledge.

Explanation: Till now we have seen the nature of the atman, nature of the body, the differentiation between atman and body. Now sankaracharya talks about the nature of Brahman. From sloka 24 to 28 he emphasizes that atman is Brahman alone, by bringing out the nature of Brahman.
Wise people through the knowledge of Brahman, know Brahman as ones own atman.
They do not consider themselves to be the insentient body. Always reveling in the truth they are ever blissful.
Brahman is said to be of the nature of “samah” or steady ,without changes. That which is steady is without changes and is always peaceful or “shantah”. We have seen in the earlier slokas that the nature of Brahman is satchidananda, which is eternal, consciousness and bliss alone.
Jeevan muktha’s know their nature of atman to be Brahman of the nature as satchitananda and hence remain ever blissful. They do not acknowledge the body and the associated pains and sufferings.

Sloka 25:
nirvikaaro niraakaaro niravadyo.ahamavyayaH .
naaha.n deho hyasadruupo GYaanamuchyate budhaiH ..

Meaning: That which is without changes, without form, without blemishes or stains and which is indivisible. I am not the body, which is insentient, wise people have this knowledge.

Explanation: The author continues the explanation of few more qualities in this sloka.
“Nirvikaro” meaning without changes or modifications. We have seen in the earlier sloka that one of the qualities of Brahman is steady i.e without changes. That which is in stable state is said to be steady, one which is steady cannot have changes, as a result of which it is steady. If there is a change, anything cannot be stable. Hence Brahman is said to be without changes or nirvikaro.
Brahman is “niraakara” or without form. It is formless. That which has form is subject to modifications. As Brahman is without changes , hence it should be without form. So as Brahman is stable hence it cannot undergo changes and as it is changless, it cannot have form. As it has no form ,it has no blemishes or stains, Its pure.
That which has form, has no parts and hence is divisible. Space has no form and parts. Its not divisible. Similarly anything without form is not divisible. Hence Brahman is indivisible or “Avyayaha”.
So Brahman is without changes as its steady. As it has no changes or modifications ,hence it cannot have a form .As it has no form it cannot have stains and it is indivisible.

Sloka 26:
niraamayo niraabhaaso nirvikalpo.ahamaatataH .
naaha.n deho hyasadruupo GYaanamuchyate budhaiH ..

Meaning: That which is Without disease, which is beyond comprehension, which is without parts and which is all pervading. I am not the body, which is insentient, wise people have this knowledge.

Explanation: Sankaracharya continues the explanation of the nature of the atman in this sloka.
Brahman is of the nature of “niraamayo” meaning without any disease or decay. That which has form and undergoes changes is subject to decay or diseases. We have seen in the earlier slokas that Brahman is formless and hence changeless. So can it have decay?
It is “niraabhaso”. It is beyond comprehension. It is that which is self-luminous .It illumines everything. As it is beyond comprehension doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. As it is the subject, hence it cannot be apprehended by the objects of perception.
Brahman is “nirvikalpo” without any modifications. That which has form and parts has modifications. As Brahman is formless, its steady, it has no parts, it cannot undergo changes.
“Aatataha” means all pervading. It is of the nature of sat. It is all pervading. Brahman is said to be of nature of satchidananda. Meaning eternal consciousness and bliss absolute.
Brahman is without decay or disease as it is formless and is beyond comprehension as it’s the subject. It is without modifications as it is without form and without parts.
Thus wise people consider the atman to be Brahman and not the insentient body.

Sloka 27:
nirguNo nishhkriyo nityo nityamukto.ahamachyutaH .
naaha.n deho hyasadruupo GYaanamuchyate budhaiH ..

Meaning: That which is beyond gunas, without actions, which is eternal, which is ever liberated and which is imperishable. I am not the body, which is insentient, wise people have this knowledge.

Explanation: The author continues the explanation of the nature of Brahman in this sloka.
Brahman is beyond the three gunas of sattva,tamas and rajo guna. It is “nishkriyo” or without actions. Gunas as the cause of desires and thereby lead one to do actions. As Brahman is beyond gunas, it is devoid of action. It means actions cannot be associated to Brahman. It is witness to all activities which are done by the body-mind made of the gunas.
It is “nitya” or eternal . As it is of nature of satchidananda, it is eternal. It is present all the time. It has no constraints of time and space. That which has limitations of time , space and effect cannot be all pervading. As Brahman is all pervading it cannot have limitations. Hence Brahman is eternal.
Brahman does not have bondages. Gunas are the cause of desires. Desires lead us to actions. Actions create bondages, when we expect fruit from it. But as Brahman is beyond gunas ,it has no bondages, hence it is ever liberated. A person who realizes himself to be Brahman ,will be ever remain blissful, such a person is a jeevan muktha. He doesn’t associate himself with any bondages in the world.
Brahman is “Achyuta” meaning it is imperishable. That which has form shape and parts is perishable. Brahman is beyond all this, hence it cannot be perishable.
Thus Brahman is not from the three gunas and hence has no actions to perform and is imperishable and eternal.

Sloka 28:
nirmalo nishchalo.anantaH shuddho.ahamajaromaraH .
naaha.n deho hyasadruupo GYaanamuchyate budhaiH ..

Meaning: Without impurities, it is not moving, it is pure and it has no birth and death.
I am not the body, which is insentient, wise people have this knowledge.

Explanation: Continuing the nature of Brahman, the author says thus.
Brahman is “Nirmalam” ,that which has no impurities. That which has association has impurities. If ink is dropped on a paper the paper becomes impure. So the association of the ink with the paper caused the impurity. But when something is without parts, it cannot have association. If it cannot have association, it cannot have impurities. Therefore Brahman is Nirmalam.
Brahman is “Nischalam” meaning without movement. Brahman is all pervading .That which is present everywhere has no where else to move. Hence it is nischalam. Space is present everywhere. We travel in space. But space doesn’t travel.
Brahman is “Anantah “ is that which is all pervading. It is “shudhham “ or pure. Brahman is pure as it has no association. It remains a witness to all activities.
Brahman is without birth and death. Brahman is of the nature of sat. Meaning it is eternal. It is always present. That which is always present cannot have birth and death.

With this sloka sankaracharya concludes the explanation of the nature of Brahman.
We have seen that nature of Brahman to be “nirvikaro” or changeless , “niraakaro” or formless, “nirvadhyo” or without blemishes, “Avyayaha” or indivisible, “niraamayo” or without decay, “niraabhaso” or beyond comprehension,”nirvikalpo” or without modifications, “aatataha” or all pervading, ”nirguna” or without gunas, ”nishkriyo” or without actions, “nitya” or eternal, “nityamuktha” or ever liberated, “achyuta” or imperishable, “nirmalo” or without impurities,”nischalo” or without movement, ”Anantah” or all pervading, “shudhhah” or pure, “ajarahaamaraha” or without birth and death.
Always contemplating on the nature of Brahman as explained above and with the knowledge that he is the atman, slowly a person would come out of the body consciousness. Contemplating always that he is the atman of nature of Brahman, he realizes oneself. As the nature of Brahman is satchitananda, such a person is ever blissful. This is the state of jeevan muktha, who is beyond all attachments in the world, though he seems to do actions in the world.

Hare krishna