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.
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.?
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.
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.
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.
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.