Atma Bodha – Chapter10

Atma Bodha

Vishnu Bapat

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ज्ञानफलम् ज्ञानदृष्टि Verse 63-67
In the previous slokas, Acharya explained that Brahman is the substratum of the entire creation, here in this verse, we learn that the Brahman is ever uncontaminated by the world as the world is illusory and Brahman is ever existent.

Verse 63
There is nothing in the universe that is other than Brahman.
If any object appears to be existing it should be a mirage.

जगद्विलक्षणं ब्रह्म ब्रह्मणोऽन्यन्न किंचन ।
ब्रह्मान्यद्भाति चेन्मिथ्या यथा मरुमरीचिका ॥ ६३॥
जगत् विलक्षणम् ब्रह्म ब्रह्मणः अन्यत् न किंचन ब्रह्म अन्यत् भाति चेत् मिथ्या यथा मरुमरीचिका
जगत् विलक्षणम्- which is other than universe ब्रह्म-is Brahman ब्रह्मणः-apart from Brahman अन्यत्-other न-not किंचन-a little ब्रह्म अन्यत्-other than Brahman भाति-shines चेत्-if मिथ्या-unreal यथा-just as मरुमरीचिका-the mirage

Brahman is entirely different from universe, and there exists nothing in the universe that is not Brahman. If any object other than Brahman appears to exist, it is unreal like the mirage which feigns to be a source of water in a desert
जगत् विलक्षणम् ब्रह्म ब्रह्मणः अन्यत् न किंचन
Brahman is different from the world. there is nothing other than than Brahman.
Acharya here is explaining that Brahman is that which is different from this illusory world. The Acharya reconfirms
immediately that whatever exists is but Brahman alone and there is nothing apart from Brahman. Thus, the world that is said to be perceived has no reality and it is illusory like a mirage in desert.
ब्रह्म अन्यत् भाति चेत् मिथ्या यथा मरुमरीचिका- The mirage appears while one walks in a desert on a hot day, but actually only desert exists. And the mirage water cannot wet even an iota of the desert land. It is only the ignorant who sees water and assumes it to be a reality while the wise knows only the substratum as real and all the duality as only an illusion.
Now let us apply this lovely simile to the desert of the Vedantic world:
The desert sands stand for Brahman. That is the only reality. The world of objects is the mirage that appears as ‘water’. It is mithya or bhrama.

Verse 64
All perceivable objects have no independent existence. Upon gaining knowledge one realizes them as sat-chit-ananda.
दृश्यते श्रूयते यद्यद्ब्रह्मणोऽन्यन्न तद्भवेत् ।
तत्त्वज्ञानाच्च तद्ब्रह्म सच्चिदानन्दमद्वयम् ॥ ६४॥
In the last shloka we learnt that there is nothing apart from Brahman and all the dualities are just like a mirage in a desert. Acharya continues to explain the same in this sloka also.

दृश्यते श्रूयते यद्यत् तत् ब्रह्मणः अन्यत् न भवेत् तत्त्वज्ञानात् च तद्ब्रह्म सच्चिदानन्दम् अद्वयम्
दृश्यते-which is perceived श्रूयते-which is heard यद्यत् (यत् यत्)-all that तत्- that ब्रह्मणः अन्यत्-other than Brahman न-not भवेत्-can be तत्त्वज्ञानात्-from the knowledge of the reality च-and तद्ब्रह्म-(तत् ब्रह्म) that Brahman सच्चिदानन्दम् (सत् चित् आनंदम्)-existence-knowledge-bliss अद्वयम्-non-dual

All objects perceived, or heard, have no existence independent of Brahman. Attaining the knowledge of essential reality, one sees the universe as the non-dual Brahman which is in the form of Sat-chit-ananda.
दृश्यते श्रूयते यद्यत् तत् ब्रह्मणः अन्यत् न भवेत् –Whatever we perceive, hear, feel, either in the body, mind and intellect or in the outer world of plurality, are all manifestation of the Brahman and nothing else. But we experience OET as matter or anatma because of ignorance.
तत्त्वज्ञानात् च तद्ब्रह्म सच्चिदानन्दम् अद्वयम् –
That very same is understood as Atma, consciousness or Brahman on gaining knowledge.
When the ignorance is removed and the truth is revealed and experienced, one can see the entire universe as Brahman who revels as sat-chit-ananda because it is one and only one. The simile of rope and snake explains this phenomenon. A rope lying in a semi dark room is mistaken for a snake. Upon turning on the light, one gets the knowledge of rope and realizes his mistake. Does the snake disappear and the rope appear? No. There is no appearance or disappearance. The same rope is confused as snake.
Similarly, दृश्यते श्रूयते यद्यत् (whatever has been seen heard, is nothing other than Brahman. But it is experienced as the world due to ignorance. Upon dawn of knowledge, the same world is realized as nothing other than Brahman or absolute consciousness, सच्चिदानन्दम् अद्वयम्, the only one absolute consciousness-bliss.
Acharya is explaining here that an ordinary mind turned outward cannot see the reality. One who is disciplined can see the reality.
Verse 65
The all-pervading atman is seen only by an eye of wisdom.
and not by the ignorant ones. It is like a blind man who
fails to see the sun
सर्वगं सच्चिदात्मानं ज्ञानचक्षुर्निरीक्षते ।
अज्ञानचक्षुर्नेक्षेत भास्वन्तं भानुमन्धवत् ॥ ६५॥
सर्वगम् सच्चिदात्मानम् ज्ञानचक्षुः निरीक्षते अज्ञानचक्षुः न ईक्षते भास्वन्तम् भानुम् अन्धवत्

सर्वगम्-which is present everywhere सच्चिदात्मानम् (सत् चित् आत्मानम्)-which is existence, knowledge, consciousness ज्ञानचक्षुः- eye of the wisdom निरीक्षते-perceives अज्ञानचक्षुः-one whose vision is obscured by ignorance न-not ईक्षते-sees भास्वन्तम्-one who is shining भानुम्-the sun अन्धवत्- like a blind man

Though Atman is of the nature of existence- knowledge- bliss and is ever present everywhere, yet it is perceived only by the eye of wisdom. But one whose vision is obscured by ignorance, does not see the radiant Atman just as a blind man does not see the resplendent sun.
सर्वगम् सच्चिदात्मानम् ज्ञानचक्षुः निरीक्षते- The satchit Atman who is present everywhere, is observed only by one who has the eye of knowledge.
अज्ञानचक्षुः न ईक्षते भास्वन्तम् भानुम् अन्धवत् – one who has eye of ignorance, cannot see him just as a blind man cannot see the shining sun.
Acharya clarifies the idea that the difference between a person who can perceive the Brahman and one who cannot, is not physical but mental understanding. The difference is in the outlook; the change from wrong vision to right vision. अज्ञान चक्षुः is an eye whose mind is backed by ignorance; ज्ञान चक्षुः has the mind backed by knowledge.
ज्ञान चक्षुः सर्वगम् सच्चिदात्मानम् ईक्षते. अज्ञान चक्षुः सर्वगम्
जगत् रूपेण, रज्जु रूपेण दुख्ःम् ईक्षते. पश्यन् अपि न पश्यति
That is the difference –swami Paramarthananda.

Verse 66
The maligned jiva shines like Brahman when purified by the
fire of Knowledge. It is like glittering gold puried by smelting.

श्रवणादिभिरुद्दीप्तज्ञानाग्निपरितापितः ।
जीवः सर्वमलान्मुक्तः स्वर्णवद्द्योतते स्वयम् ॥ ६६॥
In the previous slokas we learnt that Atman though ever present is perceived only by the eye of wisdom and not by the ignorant ones. In the next two slokas Acharya is explaining that such an ignorant one when purified by the fire of knowledge, the Atman shines by itself just like Gold stripped of all impurities

श्रवणादिभिः उद्दीप्तः ज्ञानाग्निपरितापितः जीवः सर्वमलात् मुक्तः स्वर्णवत् द्योत्तते स्वयम्

श्रवणादिभिः(श्रवण आदिभिः)-by hearing and so on उद्दीप्तः-kindled ज्ञानाग्निपरितापितः (ज्ञान अग्नि परितापितः)-heated in the fire of knowledge जीवः-the jiva (individuality) सर्वमलात्-from all impurities मुक्तः-freed स्वर्णवत्-like gold द्योत्तते -shines
स्वयम्- of itself

The individual jiva becomes free of all impurities, and shines independently like purified gold, when heated in the fire of knowledge, kindled by study of scriptures, enquiry and contemplation,
श्रवणादिभिः उद्दीप्तः ज्ञानाग्निपरितापितः –Kindled by disciplines like Shravana, manana, nidhidhyasana, and roasted in the fire of knowledge. The three spiritual disciplines which removes the ignorance of jiva are श्रवण मनन and निधिध्यासन (listening to the truth from the scriptures and explained by the teacher (श्रवण), reasoning of the truth (मनन) and deep contemplation on what has been heard and reasoned out (निधिध्यासन).
श्रवणादिभिः उद्दीप्तः the seeker’s mind is kindled by these three practices. ज्ञानाग्नि परितापितः -The seeker’s mind is roasted by the fire of knowledge.
जीवः सर्वमलात् मुक्तः स्वर्णवत् द्योत्तते स्वयम् –The individual jiva becomes free from all impurities and shines resplendently like purified gold.
By the spiritual practices and disciplines the individual jiva becomes free from all impurities (अमलम्). Which are the impurities of the jiva which obstruct him to realize his own real self? Raga, dwesha, duality, doubt etc. They are together called ignorance. The ignorance of individual self has to be removed to make him realize his real nature. This requires no special effort. It is sufficient if the impurities are cleaned just as in extraction of gold all the impurities of the ore are removed by several processes including smelting. When the impurities are removed the pure gold shines itself without any further processing. Similarly, when the impurities of the jiva is removed the Atman shines itself. द्योत्तते comes from the root द्युत् meaning to shine forth. Impurity means ignorance,
In obtaining knowledge, vedanta recommends three courses. first is Shravana or listening to the truth from the scriptures, then manana or reasoning of the truth heard and finally nidhidyasana which is deep contemplation on what has been heard and reasoned out.
Such a systematic learning and contemplation is necessary to clean one from the impurities of thoughts and only when ignorance is removed, does the Self-reveal itself in all glory.
स्वर्णवत् द्योत्तते स्वयम् Gold Shines forth on its own.
Gold mining
The mining of gold is a brilliant example. The gold ore contains tiny gold nuggets in the midst of solid rock. The whole ore has to be heated to a very high temperature in furnaces. Then with both gold and impurities in liquid form, the gold separates from the ore completely, and is siphoned off as it sinks below the molten rock. When cooled down to form gold bars, it has a beautiful golden shine.
In the same way, the Jiva the Consciousness (the raw gold) mixed with the impurities of Vasanas, as well as ignorance, raga, dwesha attraction replulsion etc. together with all its effects (the subtle and gross body) has to be purified.
This Jiva (the raw gold ore) has to be smelted down through the rigorous processes of Sadhana. After undergoing this “heating” process, the impurities are removed and the pure gold or Consciousness shines forth in the realized sage who has discovered his true identity as Atman.
Verse 67
हृदाकाशोदितो ह्यात्मा बोधभानुस्तमोऽपहृत् ।
सर्वव्यापी सर्वधारी भाति भासयतेऽखिलम् ॥ ६७॥
हृदाकाशोदितः हि आत्मा बोधभानुः तमः अपहृत्
सर्वव्यापी सर्वधारी भाति भासयते अखिलम्
हृदाकाशोदितः (हृत् आकाशः उदितः)-which rises in the sky of the heart हि-verily आत्मा-the atman बोधभानुः-the sun of knowledge तमः-darkness अपहृत्-destroys सर्वव्यापी-pervading everything सर्वधारी-sustains all भाति-shines भासयते-makes to shine अखिलम्-everything

The Atman, like the sun of knowledge arises in the firmament of heart and destroys darkness of ignorance. It pervades all, sustains all, it is self-illuminating as also illumines everything in the universe.
हृदाकाशोदितः हि आत्मा बोधभानुः तमः अपहृत्
हृत् आकाश उदितः आत्मा- The self which arises in the heart space. हृदाकाशःis the same as चित्ताकाशः or the sky of the mind. The heart mentioned here should be understood as the mind where noble thoughts arise. The thought of atman arises in the mind. हृत् आकाश उदितः आत्मा. The knowledge of self or Atma bodha arises in the mind. चित्ताकाशः mind space, or sky, is also huge and limitless. This is our mind space (Hrut–akasa) which is equated more with the Buddhi (Intellect) rather than with the manas (emotional mind). The Buddhi can be equally expansive and limitless.
बोधभानुः तमः अपहृत् -the sun of knowledge which removes darkness of ignorance. Just as the sun dawns, the darkness is removed. The dawn of self-knowledge removes ignorance. Ignorance is body consciousness and its offshoot such as desire, attachment, moha, mada, matsara and duality which is removed by this sun of knowledge.
सर्वव्यापी सर्वधारी – The self pervades everything, it sustains everything like space.
Atma is all pervading (sarvavyapi). It is the changeless substratum on which all the play of multiplicity takes place. Hence it is called the supporter of everything (सर्वधारी). It is like the sand which supports the mirage, the rope which supports the snake, the waker supporting the dream. One of these is satyam or real and the other is mithya or unreal.
भाति भासयते अखिलम् – It shines independently by Itself, and makes all else shine. When Sun is not there, the limitless sky is enveloped in total darkness. This darkness of the sky is illumined by the rise of the sun.
Likewise, हृत् आकाशः उदितः (intellect- space) is enveloped in the total darkness of ignorance or Maya. This darkness of ignorance can only be illumined by the rise of the sun of Atma Bodha or self-knowledge.

Chapter 11: फलश्रुति conclusion Verse 68
Verse 68

दिग्देशकालाद्यनपेक्ष्य सर्वगं
शीतादिहृन्नित्यसुखं निरंजनम् ।
यः स्वात्मतीर्थं भजते विनिष्क्रियः
स सर्ववित्सर्वगतोऽमृतो भवेत् ॥ ६८॥
दिग्देशकालादि अनपेक्ष्य सर्वगम् शीतादि हृत् नित्यसुखम् निरंजनम् यः स्वात्मतीर्थम् भजते विनिष्क्रियः सः सर्ववित् सर्वगतः अमृतः भवेत्

दिग्देशकालादि (दिक् देश काल आदि)–direction, space and time अनपेक्ष्य-not depending upon सर्वगम् which is present everywhere शीतादि हृत्-which destroys cold etc. नित्यसुखम्-which is bliss eternal निरंजनम्-stainless यः-who स्वात्मतीर्थम् (स्वात्म तीर्थम्)-the holy place of his own भजते worships विनिष्क्रियःrenouncing all activities- सः-He सर्ववित्-all-knowing सर्वगतः-all-pervading अमृतः-immortal भवेत्-becomes

Unbridled by limitations like direction, space, and time, he becomes all-pervading, free from opposites like heat and cold. He is bliss- eternal and immaculate. He makes a pilgrimage unto his own self. He realizes himself to be omnipresent, supporter of all, knower of all, action-less and immortal.

The author of journey deep-within blog spot Comments:
The splendid spiritual feast of Atma Bodha is brought to an end here with a verse that is like an icing on the cake.
In this verse the whole spiritual journey is summed up as follows:
दिग्देशकालादि अनपेक्ष्य- transcending all limitations. The upadhis of the body, mind and intellect pins us down to their narrow confines of the experience. So, our experiences operate within the time, space and direction. The realized person overcomes this handicap and is exposed to immense possibilities of the self. The verse lists the following possibilities.

  1. शीतादि हृत् -overcomes the pairs of opposits represented by heat and cold, happiness and misery, birth and death, भाव अभाव (appear and disappear), same in favourable and unfavorable, bouquet and brickbat. Such a person is called Dhira or brave. Gita Verse 14:24 says:
    समदुःखसुखः स्वस्थः समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः।तुल्यप्रियाप्रियो धीरस्तुल्यनिन्दात्मसंस्तुतिः।।14.24।।

निरंजनम्- immaculate, stainless state. That means chitta shuddhi or purity of mind. चित्त एकाग्रता one pointed-ness of mind, चित्त विशालता and large hearedness.
स्वात्मतीर्थम् -Considering the self as the highest pilgrimage.
विनिष्क्रियःrenouncing all activities. He gets all these endowments without any effort. He is his own innate nature.
He becomes all-knowing, all-pervading and attains immortality. He is no longer identified with the body and mind which have a limited shelf life from birth to death. Now being identified with the self, he becomes eternal and immortal.

Thus, ends Atma Bodha.
May God Bless all the beings of universe.
॥ इति शंकराचार्यविरचित आत्मबोधः समाप्तः ॥