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