Saturday, April 19, 2008

Slokas 69 to 73

Hari Aum,

Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.

Sloka 69:

yathaiva mR^inmayaH kuMbhastadvaddeho.api chinmayaH .
aatmaanaatmavibhaago.ayaM mudhaiva kriyate.abudhaiH

Meaning : As a mud pot is mud alone, so also in a body chit or consciousness alone exists. Ignorant person separates the atman and anatman but of its of no use.

Explanation: In this sloka sankaracharya explains the how an ignorant person considers himself to be the body.
It’s a general experience to answer that “My name is XXX” when asked upon by some one. We also use terms like “My stomach is paining” . We have the knowledge that even if the parts of the body are not present, we see people living. We do try to correlate both these facts and figure out the truth. The above statements clearly show that we are not the body. There exists a significant principle which pervades the whole universe that gives existence to the whole creation seen. Thus an ignorant person doesn’t see the underlying substratum of each and every entity in the world. As the pot is made of mud alone, so also in the body chit or consciousness or atman is present , which always persists as “I exist”.
An ignorant person considers his body as atman and thinks the body is real, even though he sees that it undergoes many changes over period of time. He seeks for happiness in the world, which is ever changing, forgetting that his own nature is anandam and that he is seeks the same ananda through the temporary objects of the world.
Thus an ignorant person concentrates on the body which he considers as atman and ignores the atman. Thereby he is doing a distinction of atman and anatman without realizing that the atman is not his body. He considers atman and body to be one .
When a sadhaka knows the truth that body is illusiory and is just name and form in Brahman, he discriminates real from unreal and differentiates the atman from the anatman. He tries to concentrate on his self.
Slowly when the sadhaka realizes the truth , he becomes jnaani who experiences what he tried to practice. Once a person reaches this state, he no more differentiates between atman and anatman. For him Brahman alone exists in the world. Everything is pervaded by Brahman. For his all bodies are all individuals are his self alone, he doesn’t see any duality at all. Thus the author explains the different perspective of the ignorant person,sadhaka and a jnaani towards the body.

Sloka 70:

sarpatvena yathaa rajjuu rajatatvena shuktikaa .
vinirNiitaa vimuuDhena dehatvena tathaatmataa

Meaning: As snake is seen in rope, as silver is seen in nacer. Similarly the atman is seen as the body by an ignorant person

Explanation: In the previous sloka the author has explained how an ignorant person considers himself to be the body. In this sloka and next few slokas he explains through illustrations the same truth for our better understanding.

All names and forms seen in the world are illusion in Brahman. As pot is made of mud alone so also there is Brahman alone exists as atman in each individual and Brahman alone that is present in the entire universe. Unaware of this truth, an ignorant person fails to understand the eternal nature of his self of sat chit ananda. He thereby seeks objects of this world for happiness. This is due to superimposition or adhyaasa of the body over self or atman, due to ignorance of the self.
We might imagine snake to be the rope. But when we try to understand whether its really a snake, using our discrimination , we figure out that we have been deluded by our own mind and that it was never a snake and was rope alone all the time. Thus when a person tries to know the ultimate truth , he understands that never a world existed and it is out of his ignorance he imagined a world . Once the veils of ignorance are removed , he would see the perceive the true nature of the world.
Similar another analogy of silver seen in nacer is given by the author. When we observe and try to check whether it is really sliver that we seen in nacer, the truth is revealed.
Thus when a person is in ignorance , as a rope is seen as snake and silver is seen in nacer, so also a person considers himself to be the body. So with the illustrations of the illusion of snake in rope and silver in nacer, author shows that a person is deluded by illusions in this world.

Sloka 71:

ghaTatvena yathaa pR^ithvii paTatvenaiva ta.ntavaH .
vinirNiitaa vimuuDhena dehatvena tathaatmataa

Meaning : Earth is seen as pot , thread is seen as cloth. Similarly the atman is seen as the body by an ignorant person

Explanation: In this sloka author gives another illustration to show how an ignorant person considers himself to be the body.

Earth which makes up the pot is known as pot and not earth. Its called as pot though each particle of the pot is mud or earth alone. People conveniently ignore the fact that it is mud alone. They are deluded by names and forms.
A cloth is woven from thread alone, without thread there are no clothes. Even though we know this fact that without existence of a thread, the name and form of the cloth or dress cannot exist, we ignore it .
The whole world is pervaded by Brahman alone. As the mundaka Upanishad says about Brahman being all pervading.

Brahmaivedam amritam purastaat
Brahma paschaat brahma dakshinatascha uttarena
Adah cha urdhvam cha prasritam
Brahmaiva idam vishwam idam varistam

Brahman alone is present here, he is behind and before,he is in the south and in the north, on top,below, Thus he is present everywhere in the whole universe.
But still we see only the names of forms in the world, which are illusions in Brahman. Names and forms exist only due to the substratum of Brahman. If Brahman doesn’t exist, nothing exists, but we still hold onto the unreal names and forms in the world and forget the ever existsing, eternal, all pervading Brahman which is our very nature. Thus an ignorant person considers his body as atman.

Sloka 72 :

kanaka.n kuNDalatvena taraN^gatvena vai jalam.h .
vinirNiitaa vimuuDhena dehatvena tathaatmataa

Meaning: As the gold is seen as earring, as water is seen as waves. Similarly the atman is seen as the body by an ignorant person.

Explanation: Author gives another example of gold and gold ornaments and waves in an ocean to show how a person considers himself to be the body.

Whether it’s a necklace or an ear ring, it is made of gold alone. All ornaments are made of gold alone. Ornaments are not different from gold.. If a person doesn’t acknowledge that gold and necklace are the same , then its foolishness.
The whole world is made up of Brahman alone. The names and forms are just illusions.
If we do not acknowledge this fact and consider the names and forms as real we will end up in sorrow. As scriptures proclaim “Anithyam asukham lokam” , World is temporary and full of sorrow. If we stick to the name and form it will lead us to sorrow alone. A goldsmith who sees all ornaments as gold alone. Similar attitude we have to develop towards the world. We should be able to see everything as Brahman alone, of the nature of sat chit ananda. Negating the names and forms if a person concentrates and reiterates through his intellect that the truth behind all the illusions is Brahman alone, he will be able to come out of the superimposition and perceive the truth.

Waves might seem to be different from the ocean. Waves are created in the ocean, they are formed out of the ocean and merge back into the ocean. They are part of the ocean, but might seem to be different from the ocean for a short duration of time. Ocean and water is made up of water alone. Both have different names. So name and form are only illusions when the reality is water alone. We cannot say that wave is not water.
Waves form keeps changing until it merges back into the ocean.
The nature of the world is also temporary and changing. Anything that is temporary cannot give us permanent happiness which are seeking in the world. Once the object no more exists, what was giving happiness earlier with give sorrow. Understanding this temporary nature of the world, a person should realize oneself, which would give him eternal bliss. The only permanent entity in this world is Brahman , which of the nature of sat chit ananda which alone would give a person permanent happiness.

Sloka 73:

purushhatvena vai sthaaNurjalatvena mariichikaa .
vinirNiitaa vimuuDhena dehatvena tathaatmataa

Meaning : As people are seen in the lamppost, as water is seen in the desert . Similarly the atman is seen as the body by an ignorant person.

Explanation: Sankaracharya gives another example to show how foolish it is to consider the body as atman.
In a lamppost a person would see the reflection of objects, but what a person sees depends on what a person wants to see. A policeman would see a thief in a lamppost, as he always in lookout to catch thieves. His mind is most of the time thinking about them.
A lover would see his lover, as his mind always dwells in the moments he or she spends with his/her lover.
Similarly we see the world as we want to see. Our perception of the world, entirely depends on our thoughts which constitute our mind. Our mind which is a bundle of thoughts created due to the impressions. The attitude behind perceiving things in the world changes our experience with the world. The world will still remain the same, but the perception of the world differs. The lamppost in which different people see different objects is one and the same, but the perception of each person differs based on their mental state. Likewise what is perceived in this world is a based on our mental state.
A jnaani sees nothing but Brahman as existing everything, pervading the entire world. For him duality has no existence whatsoever. He revels ever in Brahman and hence is always blissful. A mudah perceives the world of names and forms, considers them real and suffers as a result of this. This perception of the ignorant person just gives him sorrow. Understanding the truth and changing our attitude our perception towards the world changes. The circumstances we might face in the world may not change but our attitude to handle them changes, due to the knowledge that has dawned in us, of which we are totally convinced.
So names and forms seen in world are like the reflections seen in the lamppost, they r temporary and only give sorrow.
We all know the example of water in desert. The names and forms in the world are as illusory as the water seen in desert. A jnaani who also might see the water but knows that water doesn’t really exist, is not effected even though he might run towards the water. A jnaani knows the world is an illusion, still he does actions necessary. So world or the scenario hasn’t changed , a person may still perceive the water in desert, but the knowledge that world is unreal, helps us to have an equipoised mind all the time. Whatever may be the outcome of the actions we perform in the world we will remain unaffected.
This is the attitude we have to develop towards the objects in the world, else we shall end up considering the body to be the atman, not able to differentiate the real from the unreal.

Hari Aum

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