Saturday, April 19, 2008

Slokas 74 to 78

Hari Aum,

Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.

Sloka 74:

gR^ihatvenaiva kaashhThaani khadgatvenaiva lohataa .
vinirNiitaa vimuuDhena dehatvena tathaatmataa

Meaning: As the house if seen in wood and a sword is seen in iron. Similarly the atman is seen as the body by an ignorant person.

Explanation: With this sloka the author ends the explanations with examples to show how an ignorant person is deluded by considering his body to be atman.

We have seen two different kinds of illustrations to prove the unreal nature of the objects in the world. The illusions of water seen in desert , where water doesn’t really exist at all but is seen to exist. The case of names and forms seen in the world but which may be at an empirical point of view, but at a vyavaharika level they are unreal.
In this sloka the author explains with the example of house made of wood. What we see as a house is in reality wood alone. The house is made of wood alone and name is assigned to it. The indwelling self in all individuals the same. It is the same consciousness, which make activities happen in the world. It is the underlying substratum of the world. This is what is clearly brought out through the example.

The sword made of iron is just a name and form given to iron metal. Similarly we see different names and forms for the same consciousness principle residing in all. The outer covering of the body is different. We see people of different skin colors, different heights, weights etc. We get deluded considering these names and forms as real. We consider ourselves to be the body and hence consider others to be different from others. Thus we like some people and dislike some others. But when we understand that outer appearances are deceptive and one should see the all Brahman present in everything in the world.

Sloka 75:

tathaa vR^iksha viparyaaso jalaadbhavati kasyachit.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning : As the reflection of a tree is seen in a water body, so also an ignorant person considers his atman as the body.

Explanation: From this sloka till the next 12 slokas, the author explains the how ignorance makes a person consider himself to be the body. He gives lots of illustrations from a different perspective, the perspective of an ignorant person. We have seen earlier that an ignorant person ignores his atman and considers himself to be the body. A seeker differentiates atman and his body and concentrates on his self. A jnaani is a person in a state of perfection where he considers his body and atman as Brahman.

In a river or lake we can see the reflection of a nearby tree. We all have seen this in our lives. Through these simple examples, vedantic perspective are brought out clearly with worldly experiences we have in life.
The reflection we see of the tree in the water is an illusion and its not the real tree. But it appears as a real tree. As we know how a tree looks , when we see the reflection of the tree in water, we understand it is not a real tree and only an illusion. Incase we were not aware of the real nature of a tree or how a tree looks, then we would consider the reflection of the tree as a real tree. Same understanding can be applied to our current state we do know who we are. We do not know that we are the self. Hence we consider ourselves to be the body due to ignorance. This ignorance of the self as “I”, deludes us in the world. So a person considers himself to be the body due to ignorance.

Seeing the reflection of tree in the water, a person who is ignorant may even try to get the fruits from the tree, may seek many things from the tree, but we all know that this will lead him only to sorrow, as he is seeking which is not actually exisiting. We are sure about the illusory nature of the reflection of the tree in water, but we do not know that we are in the same kind of illusion which is the world. We are seeking many objects in the world which are temporary, which are not real and hence would lead us to sorrow alone in the long run. But we are not able to convince ourselves of the truth that the world is just an illusion of names and forms.

Thus the author brings out through the example that the world is just an illusion.

Sloka 76:

potena gachchhataH pu.nsaH sarvaM bhaatiiva chaJNchalam.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning: A person traveling in a boat would see that all objects are moving. Similarly a person considers himself to be the body.

Explanation: Continuing the explanations through examples, sankaracharya gives example of a person who is traveling in a boat and feels that the other objects he sees are moving,
We have experienced such things many times. When we are traveling in train, we see through the window that the crops, trees , poles are moving. But we are aware that we are traveling in the train and that the train is moving, making us feel that the other objects that we see are moving. But this is only an illusion created in our mind. But due to the knowledge that we have , that we are moving in the train, immediately our intellect reiterates saying that ”No its me who is moving”. The knowledge that we are the self.
Would help a person to understand the truth, to realize oneself and not to get deluded in the world and be surrounded by sorrows.
This example also brings out that the experiences we have in the world is not real as the world itself is an illusion.
An ignorant person hence considers himself to be the body , due to the ignorance of the self.

Sloka 77:

piitatva.n hi yathaa shubhre doshhaadbhavati kasyachit.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning : A person suffering from jaundice would see everything as yellow in color. Similarly an ignorant person sees the self as the body.

Explanation: Through another examples the author is explaining as to how an ignorant person is considering himself to be the body.In this sloka he talks about the perspective vision of a ignorant person.
A person suffering from jaundice sees everything in the world as yellow in color. This is because of the disease he is suffering from. This changes his vision of the objects in the world. This doesn’t mean that the objects in the world are yellow in color. It is the vision of the person which is wrong , as he is suffering from disease. If he considers that the objects he sees are by nature yellow in color, then he is foolish. It means he is ignoring that he has the disease, as a result of which a wrong perception of the objects in the world is created. He will get the right perspective of the objects he sees only when he is cured of the disease. These are simple facts we all are aware of.
In the same fashion ignorant people in the world, who consider themselves to be the body, are suffering with the disease of Ignorance if we can say so. So their perspective of the world is wrong. They have wrong ideas and impressions about the world in mind. They do not know the nature of the world and create impressions of the world through their own experiences and interpretations ,due to lack of self knowledge. This will just lead one to sorrow.
We all know that given an object each person interprets in different ways, his interpretations depend on the knowledge of the object he has. The person who has the appropriate knowledge will be in a position to give the right perspective. A scientist who has discovered something, he would be the right person to explain about his discovery, than people who have looked at his discovery.
Thus the vision of an ignorant person in the world is wrong. This can be set right only with knowledge. As ignorance is the cause, the solution for the same is knowledge and could be nothing else.
Lord Krishna in gita 4th chapter says
sreyan dravya-mayad yajnaj jnana-yajnah parantapa sarvam karmakhilam partha jnane parisamapyate

Thus an ignorant person considers himself to be the body, only because he doesn’t have the right knowledge.

Sloka 78:

chaxubhyaaM bhramashiilaabhyaa.n sarvaM bhaati bhramaatmakam.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning: A person who has faulty eyes, will have fault vision of the world. In the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.

Explanation: The author has explained through an example of a person suffering from jaundice, about the vision of the world. He continues the same explanation in this sloka as well.

A person who has faulty eyes will have faulty vision. A person who has long sight or a short sight , or a cataract in the eye, would not be able to see the objects properly. This impaired vision would impede the functionality of the eyes and a person can no longer depend on his vision entirely. He would need to seek the help of people with right vision, to guide them. Even though his eyes are not functioning properly if a person thinks that whatever he sees is the right vision, then he will end up in trouble.
As a person who has an impaired vision seeks a guide who directs him , So also ignorant people like us should approach the people with right vision of the world, to impart the self knowledge to us. Guru is the right person who has knowledge of scripts and how has treaded that path and is a self-realization soul. He is the person who has the right vision of the objects in the world, through whose help we will be able to cross over the ocean of transmigration .
Lord Krishna says in the 4th chapter thus

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah

A person should serve the Guru and put proper questions to get the knowledge of the self from the Guru. Thus alone he attains self knowledge . This also shows that without the grace of a Guru a person cannot think about self –knowledge.

Hari Aum

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