Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slokas 79 to 83

Hari Aum,

Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.

Sloka 79:

alaataM bhramaNaiva vartulaM bhaati suuryavat.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning: A ball of fire on rotation appears to be like a sun. In the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.

Explanation: Using some of the observations ,experiences of the external objects we make in life, the author brings out beautifully the vedantic perspective , to prove that a human being is also deluded in a similar fashion to assume his body to be atman.

In circus , a person performing the tricks with a wire or string having a ball of fire at one end winds the string in a circular fashion, after sometime , we do not see the string anymore but a ring of fire is seen, though there it is only a string having fire at one end.
Thus an illusion of a ring of fire similar to the sun is created.

Due to the daily experiences in our life, we are thinking that happiness we get is present in the outside world. But objects of the world are temporary and ever changing, hence we can get only sorrow from them. Also we seek that temporary happiness which is nothing but from the atman, instead of seeking the atman our own self for poorna anandam or eternal bliss. That which is nature of bliss can give bliss.The wife is loved by the husband, for the sake of his self. He loves his wife, because he is happy if he does so. Ultimately its his happiness he is seeking , due to which he loves his wife. Thus indirectly everyone is deriving happiness from oneself alone, though seeking objects in external world.
Thus because of our ignorance of the nature of the atman of sat chit ananda , of the nature of consciousness, existence and eternal bliss, We consider that the happiness we get from performing activities in the world , is because of the objects in the world. Everything in the world is pervaded by Brahman alone in this world.
Thus we get deluded to think that the body is permanent, the objects of the world are permanent and would give immense happiness, on the contrary only atman which is all pervading , ever existence permanent entity can alone give eternal bliss.

Thus sankaracharya through this beautiful illustration of a fireball brings out the illusion created in our minds about the body being the atman.

Sloka 80:
mahattve sarvavastuunamaNutva.n hyatiduurataH .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning: Big objects also look very small if seen from a great distance. In the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.

Explanation: Here the author gives another illustration of distant objects appearing small in size, to explain how a person perceives his body as atman.

From a distance we might see a big mountain to be of a small size. We can see the mountain peak also. When we go near to it, it appears very huge and we wont be able to see the top of the mountain too. Also sometimes the clouds may cover the mountain and make it appear as to be of less height. These are all illusions of space and time. Once we go near or once the clouds disperse we get the real vision of the mountain. Until then our vision of the mountain or the opinion we have about it is wrong. So we cannot judge something just by looking at it. These may be lot of delusions involved of distance and time like as we have seen in the case of mountain.
So also our vision of the atman hampered by our ignorance. Due to the superimposition of the body over the self, we are considering the body to be the self. Since our birth we have been living with the thought that we are the body. The strong impressions in our mind that are created as a result of this ignorance veil the atman from us. To get the real vision of the atman, we should come out this superimposition, to realize the truth. As going near to the mountain we can apprehend how a mountain looks like, similarly reiterating ourselves that we are not the body, mind complex, we will realize ourselves.
The clouds of our ignorance veil the atman to us. Thus when the light of knowledge dawns , the clouds of ignorance get cleared and our true nature of self is revealed.
For this to happen, one should have strong conviction that he is the self not the body. This builds the strong desire in him to realize the truth, hence he takes steps in that direction to get self –realization.

Thus sankaracharya through this illustration of the delusions happening due to ignorance brings out clearly how a person considers himself to be the body.

Sloka 81 :

suukshnatve sarvabhaavaanaa.n sthuulatva.n chopanetrataH .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning: All minute organisms can be seen as gross organisms through a microscope. In the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.

Explanation: Earlier author has given example observing objects from far, now he gives example of observing through the microscope here to explain how the body is considered as the atman.

A minute organism when observed through a microscope, appears big, we see the distortion of the size of the organism. Also in order to observe it clearly some pigments are added to it. Thus in order to study it, its size is magnified and pigments added. A person who is observing the same has the knowledge that the color of the pigment is not the color of the organism. He also keeps in mind the size of the organism even though it appears big under a microscope.
The world is viewed , due to the presence of atman. Atman illumines the sense organs , which seek out objects in the world. As sun is the witness to all activities in the world but is not involved in it. So also atman illuminates the sense organs , with the help of which they perform activities. Thus atman alone is responsible for perceiving objects in the world. As we are ignorant of the nature of the self, we view the body to be the atman. Even though the object appears big under the microscope doesn’t mean it is big, so also though the body is considered to be the atman, it is not the atman. The distortions seen in the object of observance is similar to the distortions of the atman seen through the mind body complex. This leads a person to think that he is the atman.
Atman is beyond mind and intellect .It said to be “Mano vacham agocharam” in lalitha sahasranama. Meaning it’s beyond perception of body and mind.

As right vision of the object cannot be obtained, without distortions while viewing through the microscope, so also atman cannot be realized through the mind and intellect.

Sloka 82:

kaachabhuumau jalatva.n vaa jalabhuumau hi kaachataa .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning: A glass sheet might appear to be water and water might appear to be a glass sheet. In the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.

Explanation: In this sloka author talks about how through ignorance one is fooled to consider himself to be the body.

A glass sheet at a glance might appear to be water, so also water in dim light might appear to be glass sheet. Thus when observed in a hasty fashion, we get wrong vision of objects in the world. One should enquire into the true nature of the objects seen, rather than jumping to conclusions. As the famous saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold”. So also all that appears as water may not be water but can be only a glass sheet.
We are considering ourselves to be the body. This assumption is made without proper though about why and how we considered ourselves to be the body. We are so busy with our daily chores , that we have time to sit in silence and think who we really are. Without this proper enquiry into ourselves, we consider ourselves to be the body. This is due to ignorance of our true nature. The ignorance veils makes us think that we are the body.
Only through understanding and knowing the truth from the mahavakyam
“ Brahma satyam jagath mithya jeevo brahamaiva na parah “ This is stated by sankarcharya

Knowing this will a person know his self. Through knowledge alone this darkness of ignorance is dispelled.

Thus the author explains with simple example to show how a person considers himself to be the self.

Sloka 83:

yadvadagnau maNitva.n hi maNau vaa vahnitaa pumaan.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH

Meaning : As lamp is seen as a gem, as gem is seen as sparks of fire remaining in an object. In the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.

Explanation: Author gives few more examples of illusions to bring out his analysis that ignorant person is deluded and hence considers body to be atman.

Especially in the darkness of the night , when one sees a lamp glowing stably, he might assume it to be a gem , due to the glow. But on close observance truth will be revealed that it is not gemstone but lamp alone. So also a gem which glows is seen from a far off distance, one might consider it to be some sparks of fire from burnt coal. But when he approaches near to it, he finds the truth.
Similarly, due to lack of understanding of the truth, the nature of the atman, a person thinks he is the body. He Is deluded by his ignorance to assume that he is the insentient body and not the eternal self.

Thus sankaracharya explains about the ignorance of the person which makes him consider himself to be the body.

Hari Aum

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