Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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


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