Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.
Continuing with sankaracharya’s logical analysis of how atman is different from Deham.
liN^ga.n chaanekasa.nyukta.n chala.n dR^ishya.n vikaari cha .
avyaapakamasadruupa.n tatkatha.n syaatpumaanayam.h ..
Meaning: Linga shareera is associated with many parts and changes,it is an object and undergoes modifications.It is not all pervading, is insentient and hence cannot be same as the atman.
Explanation: Till now the author is comparing the atman with the sthoola shareera.So anyone can have a doubt that sooksha shareera can be atman, if not the sthoola shareera.To clarify this ,after negating the sthoola shareera , the author now explains about the sookshma shareera qualities, to differentiate the atman from the sookshma shareera.
Sookshma shareera is also called Linga shareera . Jeeva is the reflection of the kutastha in the intellect of the sookshma shareera. Hence sooksha shareera also is called linga shareera or where the atman resides.
Sookshma shareera or subtle body is said to have 17 or 19 parts. The 5 sense organs of smell ,touch,taste,seeing,hearing, 5 organs of action legs,hands,excretion,speech and genitals + 5 pranas prans,apana,samana,udana and vyana + mind+intellect+ego+chittam.
Hence subtle body is said to be associated with many parts. But Brahman is without parts or “niskalo” as we have discuused in earlier slokas.
If we analyse we can understand that We experience the mind as changing ideas,notions etc. Some times we are absent minded, some times we think a lot .This all shows that subtle body is ever changing. But Brahman is “nischalam” or not moving as its all pervading.
It is the object even though its not perceived, as we say that my mind is not working etc.
Hence it is an object and not a subject. Brahman is the subject which perceives all the objects. It is never an object of perception.
It undergoes modifications. We see that some people loose their sight due to some accident . This shows that subtle body undergoes changes. But Brahman is never changing , the I we identify with from birth is the same even after many years.
Subtle body is limited to the adjuncts of the body. But Brahman is all pervading. Once jeeva identifies himself with the kutastha atman , he identifies himself with everything in the universe. For him everything is one and the same consciousness. Mahatma’s reside in such a state and hence treat everyone as his or her self.
Subtle body is asat or insentient. Only if the consciousness exists in the body does a man think and do actions. A dead body doesn’t think. But Brahman is the consciousness principle behind the eyes which see the objects. It is the eye of the eye, the mind behind mind .
So given all these differences how can the subtle body be atman.
Karana shareera is also negated by sankaracharya here.Karana shareera is the body in the deep sleep state. The karana shareera manifests itself as subtle or sthoola shareera. karana shareera cannot be for a longer period in the same state. Negating the subtle and gross bodies also implies negating the karana shareera or cuasal body as causal body cannot be present without the other two. Hence sankaracharya doesn’t negate the causal body. But its indirectly implied that the karana shareera is also different from the atman.
Thus the author clearly proves beyond doubt that all the three shareera’s one experiences is beyond the experiencer , the atman. Hence we cannot say that atman is sthoola,sookshma or karana shareera.
eva.n dehadvayaadanya aatmaa purushha IshvaraH .
sarvaatmaa sarvaruupashcha sarvaatiitomahavyayaH
Meaning: Atman is above both the bodies and is the purusha or Iswhara.
He is present in all being in the world,he is present in all forms,he is beyond forms and is without parts.
Explanation: The author concludes the analysis of differentiating the atman from the sthoola, sookshma shareera’s with this sloka. Till now we have seen slokas showing that one is not the body. After clearly the author explains as to how the atman is the body ,a sadhaka would develop a strong conviction that he is not the body.
In this sloka he explains the nature of the atman and concludes the reasoning.
Atman is beyond the gross and subtle bodies. It is called the purusha as explained in the scriptures and also called Iswhara the sustainer of the universe.
Purusha is the essence of the existence in the universe. The indwelling self in all beings. He is also the name and form. Name and forms we see in the world are only illusions, but the substratum of all illusions in Brahman. Hence the illusions are also Brahman. As the water seen in the desert is desert itself. He is beyond the names and forms. As the desert is beyond the waves created in the water seen in the desert. He is all pervading and only reality present. He has no parts , as something with parts changes, but Brahman is changless, hence it has no parts.
Knowing that Brahman alone is present in the whole universe, that alone exists in all beings, the names and forms seen are nothing but Brahman , would remove duality in the world. The cause for sufferings in the world is due to the perception of the dual world. Seeing everything different from us. Hence this knowledge of our very essence of atman being the all pervading Brahman makes us identify with everything in the universe, thus removing bedha bahavana or dual notion.
ityaatmadehabhaagena prapaJNchasyaiva satyataa .
yathoktaa tarkashaastreNa tataH kiM purushhaarthataa
Meaning: The atman and body differentiation and the truth of the world that has been reasoned out ,how does it help the people?
Explanation: Sankaracharya has brought out the difference between atman and body and thereby also proving the illusionary nature of the world using reasoning.
Now in the coming slokas he dwells on the “Mithya” aspect of the world. This sloka questioning the significance of the conclusions drawn in the earlier slokas, helps us to understand the world is an illusion.
We have seen through the earlier slokas that two things are proved , that the body is insentient and temporary and so also the world and the only sentient being illumining or making the insentient entities look sentient is Brahman , the substratum of the world.
So there are two parts of the question here.1) How does the differentiation between the atman and the body help a person in this world? . The author proved that the body is temporary ,hence the names and forms in the world are also temporary. So the next question arises as to 2) How does the knowledge that the objects seen in the world are also temporary help a person?
These questions are answered in the next slokas. Thus the author enters into explanation of the illusionary world, in the next few slokas.
Till now we have seen the logical analysis of how the body is temporary and separate of the atman. The benefits from this understanding is explained next.
ityaatmadehabhedena dehaatmatva.n nivaaritam.h .
idaanii.n dehabhedasya hyasattva.n sphuTamuchyate
Meaning: Showing that the body and the atman are different the feeling of I am the body is removed. Also it clearly brings out that the body is unreal.
Explanation:nIn this sloka the author explains , the benefit of knowing that one is different from the atman. How this knowledge will help a person in his life.
Once a person knows that he is different from the body, he would treat the body as he would treat his pen, his laptop, meaning he would treat the body as not himself i.e separate from onself, thereby the happiness or sorrow arising due to the body will not be taken as his sufferings by the person. So his happiness sorrow doesn’t depend on the body. As he knows that the body is temporary and it just seems to exist for a short span of time. He has been taking many births and has had many bodies, but his atman is one alone. If a person is suffering from fever , he takes the needed medicines but still if it doesn’t cure soon, he doesn’t bother it. Externally he might appear as suffering, but internally he knows he is not the body, hence is always blissful.
So even when his comforts are less, even though he is injured , he is in pain, he will be blissful ,knowing the true nature of his self.
A person seeks happiness in the world without knowing the real nature of the world, or without giving a thought about the real nature of the world. He thinks that world is permanent and the objects of the world would give him permanent happiness. Hence he is always in pursuit of objects of the world.
As the body made of the pancha bhootas is asat or unreal and the purusha present as atman is the only truth, so also the objects of the world, the names and forms are asat or unreal and that purusha is present everywhere, pervading the entire universe. Once he knows this truth he will not go behind the worldly objects seeking happiness, instead he will be seek happiness inside.
Hence the duality of the world doesn’t delude him and bring him sorrow. Thus a person will be ever blissful. He develops samabhavam, that which is mentioned as the goal of life in Gita by Lord Krishna.A person through this difference of atman and body, realizes the nature of the world, understands the ultimate truth and never gets effected by the world, thereby he has no likes dislikes, no dvandha bhavam, which helps him to achieve samabhavam.Thus the understanding of the difference between body and atman makes him ever rejoice in the blissful nature of his self.
chaitanyasyaikaruupatvaadbhedo yukto na karhichit .
jiivata.n cha mR^ishhaa GYeya.n rajjau sarpagrahau yathaa
Meaning: Consciousness is one alone and has no divisions. Jeeva is a illusion similar to the illusion of the snake in the rope.
Explanation: After logical anlalysis of the body ,atman and the world, the author further gives analogies to explains the illusionary nature of the world. In this sloka the author through an analogy of snake and rope explains the perception of the world by ignorant people. Brings out the illusionary nature of the Jeeva.
Jeeva is the reflected consciousness in the intellect, that we all experience as “I”. Jeeva due to ignorance associates himself with body, mind adjuncts. He considers himself to be body. His happiness and sorrow depend on the body and the world.
Purusha or Atman as mentioned in the scriptures is beyond body and mind and is the essence of all the being in the world, Which is only truth in the world.
The author explains that consciousness is devoid of any bedha’s as we discussed earlier, the swagata ,sajateeya and vijateeya bedha’s and is one alone. So among jeeva and atman only one can be real and the other illusionary. As the snake is only a illusion in the rope, so also jeeva is only an illusion in the atman or purusha.
Once the jeeva come out of the ignorance and knows that he is the all pervading purusha ,he becomes Brahman,the fundamental principle of the entire universe. Until a person considers the rope as a snake he is scared. The very moment he realizes that snake doesn’t exist, his fear vanishes. So also when the jeeva realizes that he is the atman ,once he comes out of the notion that he is the body, once he leaves all the body consciousness behind, he becomes blissful. He always rejoices in the self.
Thus the author brings out the illusionary nature of the Jeeva, which is the cause of sufferings in the world, due to perception of dualities.