Prostrations at the Lotus feet of AMMA.
abhreshhu satsu dhaavatsu somo dhaavati bhaati vai .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH ..
Meaning: The moon behind the passing cloud seems to be moving. Similarly the same way an ignorant person consider the atman as the body.
Explanation: Sankarabhagavatpada is explaining through various analogies, how a person mistakes his body to be the atman.
Under a beautiful moonlit sky with clouds , when the clouds play hide and seek with the moon, If one concentrates on the clouds, then one feels that the moon is moving and that the clouds are stationary. Incase one is observing the moon, one can feel that the clouds are moving and the moon is stationary.
Similarly if one concentrates on his body, mind and intellect. He feels he is the body ,mind and intellect. If he considers himself to be the self, beyond body, mind and intellect, self which is a witness to all activities, he realizes himself.
Identifying himself with the body mind complex a person is suffering in the world. He thinks he is limited by the body. He thinks he has no existence after death and that death is the end .Thus he also perceives duality in the world. He suffers due to the desires, bondages due to perceiving the duality.
Once he realizes that he is not the body ,mind or intellect and nothing else exists here except Brahman and that he is that and the naama roopam we see in the world is nothing but Brahman alone ,then he always rejoices in bliss. All duality vanishes and he sees himself in all and all in himself.
Due to superimposition of the self over the not self, a person due to ignorance of the nature of the self , considers himself to be the self. Once this veil of ignorance is removed, the true self reveals to him.
Thus a person having an understanding through scriptural studies that he is not the body,mind or intellect, slowly through practice ascertains himself that he is the self, then the self would reveal himself .
Lord Krishna says thus in Gita
na hi jnaanena sadrisham pavithram iha vidhyathe, tat svayam yoga samsiddhaha kaalena atmani vindhathi
A person who is established in the path of knowledge will realize himself in due course of time.
yathaiva digviparyaaso mohaadbhavati kasyachit.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH
Meaning: When there are two ways to take, a person gets confused due to ignorance. Similarly the same way an ignorant person considers the atman as the body.
Explanation: In this sloka sankarabhagavatpada talks about how ignorance creates confusion in the mind. Only when the intellect is totally convinced would all doubts get cleared and a person would be out of confusion. A clear mind can express its thoughts well.As long as ignorance exists, the mind would be in turmoil all the time.
The same thing is emphasized in the sloka. In life we may face situation where we have to make a choice . We have to choose which path to take . Those could be the incidents which bring changes in our life completely. One should take decisions cautiously, using his intellect and shouldn’t be overpowered by emotions. But lack of understanding of the nature of the world a person takes wrong steps. He doesn’t even understand that he lacks the knowledge needed to take right decisions.
A person is deluded by the desires , attachments in this world and his decisions are influenced by likes and dislikes. He doesn’t make a decision, being a witness to the situation. His individual ego identifies with the situation and this hampers him to take the right decision.
Even the ignorance of the self, makes a person think that he is the body ,mind and intellect .He takes a wrong path, goes in a wrong direction and thinks that atman is the body. Having the knowledge of the ultimate truth, that Brahman alone exists here and we are that, would help him to take the right step for self realization.
yathaa shashii jale bhaati chaJNchalatvena kasyachit.h .
tadvadaatmani dehatvaM pashyatyaGYaanayogataH
Meaning : As the reflection of the moon seen in water appears to be moving. Similarly the same way an ignorant person considers the atman as the body
Explanation : Sanakarabhagavatpada gives another analogy here of moon seen in water.
The reflection of the moon in a pond or river is moving, because of the waves present in the water body. So the reflection falls on the waves and it also seems to be moving.
The moon is not moving, but for a viewer who sees the reflection , it looks like moon is moving. The real moon is not the moon seen in the water. The moon seen in the water looks exactly the same as the actual moon , but it is just a reflection and hence illusion.
Similarly the sense organs are active only due to the presence of the atman. This creates an illusion in our mind due to the ignorance of the true nature of the self, that atman is our body. But atman is in whose presence activities happens. It is the light behind lights.
As Krishna says in Gita 15th chapter
yat aditya gatam tejo, jagat bhasayithee akhilam
Yat Chandramasi yat cha agnau tat tejo viddhi mamakam
Neither the moon nor the sun nor the fire shine, I alone shine and am the illuminating factor behind them.
As the moon is stationary and is different from the water body and is not associated with the reflection or water, so also the atman is a witness to all activities of the jeeva. Atman is not involved in any activity , but which supports all activities.
Due to ignorance of the moon as just an reflection makes us feel that moon is moving. So also ignorance of the self makes us think that body is the atman. As reflection is just an illusion , so also the body mind complex is just an illusion.
As moon is not tainted by the waterbody , so also atman remains untainted by the activities performed by the person.
Thus sankarabhagavatpada through this beautiful analogy brings out the nature of the atman and how an ignorant person perception of the atman is wrong.
evamaatmanyavidyaato dehaadhyaaso hi jaayate
sa evaatmapariGYaanaalliiyate cha param.h
Meaning : As seen atman is considered the body due to ignorance . Through knowledge the nature of the self , ignorance is removed .
Explanation: Sanakarabhagavatpada in the earlier 11 slokas through various analogies had explained how the body is considered to be the atman.
In this sloka he says that due to ignorance the atman is considered the body. As we know that due to superimposition of the non-self over the self, the person considers himself to be the body. This is known as adhyaasam or superimposition. The cause of the adhyaasam is ignorance of the nature of self. Considering the atman to be the body due to ignorance , a person perceives duality in the world and end up in sorrows. He suffers due to the likes and dislikes he faces in the world as a result of this. Thus ignorance of his true nature makes him suffer in the world.
After attaining the knowledge that he is of the nature of sat chit ananda, that is of the nature of eternal bliss ignorance vanishes and the person remains ever blissful. This is the state to be aspired by us. Wherein the external environment doesn’t effect us. We are not seeking happiness from the world . We rejoice in our inner state of bliss, irrespective of the worst circumstances we might be in. This is the state of a jeevan mukta, who is liberated. He is liberated from all sorrows from the world. He ever rejoices in eternal bliss.
Thus author says that due to superimposition which happens due to ignorance of the nature of the self, an individual suffers in the world. Only through self knowledge would the ignorance vanish and brings in him peace.
sarvamaatmatayaa GYaata.n jagatsthaavarajaN^gamam.h .
abhaavaatsarvabhaavaanaa.n dehasya chaatmanaa kutaH
Meaning: Knowing that moving and immoving objects in the world are Brahman alone, all the dual notions of body will vanish and how can he then consider himself to be the body.
Explanation: Sankarabhagavatpada has explained in the earlier sloka that only through knowledge of the self would a person realize his true self and be liberated from the ocean of samsaara. In this sloka he explains how knowledge helps in removal of the notions.
World can be basically said to be having naama roopam and substratum of Brahman.
Naama roopam of body is just an illusion .We have seen this in the analogies. Brahman alone is the reality and the naama roopam of the world is just an illusion in it.
When knowledge that atman alone is present as the substratum of the moving and unmoving entities in the world, then be doesn’t see any duality, he doesn’t himself to be different from others. He sees himself in everything.
So all the notions of the body mind complex are removed. If atman is the only reality and body mind complex an illusion , then how can person consider himself to be body mind complex?...Thus understanding the truth his body notion vanishes.
Lord Krishna says in Gita 15th chapter
mama eva amsah jeeva loke jeeva bhutah sanatanahah
Manah sasthani indriyani prakrithi sthani karshati
I am the indwelling self in all. Each individual is part of me.
So we have seen how the author has earlier through analogies proved how a person considers himself to be the body. He also instructs as to how to come out of the notion of the atman to be the body.