Atma Bodha – Chapter7

Atma Bodha

Vishnu Bapat

Write something worth reading

Or do something worth writing

-Benjamin Franklin

ज्ञान फलम् -जीवन्मुक्तः, विदेह मुक्तः
Verse 43
As the sun rises in the dawn, darkness of the night is driven away. Similarly, the darkness caused by ignorance is dispelled as the Atman raises.

अरुणेनेव बोधेन पूर्वं सन्तमसे हृते ।
तत आविर्भवेदात्मा स्वयमेवांशुमानिव ॥ ४३॥
अरुणेन इव बोधेन पूर्व सन्तमसे हृते ततः आविर्भवेत् आत्मा स्वयम् ऎव अंशुमानिव

अरुणेन- by the Lord of early dawn इव- like बोधेन-by the knowledge पूर्व-beforehand सन्तमसे- by the universal darkness हृते-when destroyed ततः -then आविर्भवेत्-rises आत्मा-the self स्वयम्-on its own accord ऎव-like अंशुमान्-the sun इव-like

Aruna, the Lord of early dawn, drives away darkness of the night and herald’s sunrise. Similarly, the darkness caused by ignorance is destroyed by knowledge, just as the atman reveals himself.
In this verse, the rising of the sun is compared to the rising of Atma Jnyana in the mind of the seeker.
Gita 5:16 says
ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः ।
तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् ॥५ – १६॥

But in the case however, of those who have banished ignorance of self by transcendental knowledge, the wisdom shining like the sun reveals the supreme.

अरुणेन इव बोधेन पूर्व सन्तमसे हृते सति – Aruna, the Lord of early dawn is like knowledge. He dispels the thick pall of darkness of the night. Knowledge dispels thick pall of ignorance (सन्तमसे) and its related misconceptions. By the systematic study of Vedanta by Shraavana, manana and nidhidyasana. सम् = सम्यक् , universal which coverse the entire world. तमः darkness चतुर्थी विभक्तिः संतमसॆ
ततः आविर्भवेत् आत्मा स्वयम् ऎव अंशुमानिव –So too, ignorance is dispelled without any effort. Just as the sun rises on its own accord. आत्मा or self-knowledge soon arises (आविर्भवेत्) in the mind of the student automatically (स्वयम्).
In this verse Shankara beautifully equates the sadhana process with the rising of sun. The sun rises up slowly in the horizon, dispelling the darkness. Nothing needs to be done for the sun to glow brilliantly. In spiritual growth also, one shines slowly with sadhanas and meditation, The darkness of ignorance is removed.
“When the egocentric existence in us, that obstructs the vision of the Self, is falsified by constant and diligent meditation, the vision of the true Self arises in all its glory” –Swami Chinmayananda
Verse 44
Atma is ever present reality. but it is not realized due to ignorance. After dawn of knowledge, you become aware of it, like a missing neckalse worn by you

आत्मा तु सततं प्राप्तोऽप्यप्राप्तवदविद्यया ।
तन्नाशे प्राप्तवद्भाति स्वकण्ठाभरणं यथा ॥ ४४॥

आत्मा तु सततम् प्राप्तः अपि अप्राप्तवत् अविद्यया तत् नाशे प्राप्तवत् भाति स्वकण्ठाभरणम् यथा
आत्मा-the self तु-verily सततम्-always प्राप्तः-is present अपि-although अप्राप्तवत्-remains as unrealized अविद्यया-due to ignorance तत्-that (ignorance) नाशे-destruction प्राप्तवत्-feels like newly gained भाति-appears स्वकण्ठाभरणम्- (स्व कण्ठ आभरणम्) the ornament of one’s own neck यथा- just like
Atma is ever present reality (सत्). Yet it is not realized due to ignorance (अविद्या, अज्ञान). When ignorance is destroyed Atman reveals itself. It is like finding a missing a necklace on one’s own neck.

आत्मा तु सततम् प्राप्तः अपि अप्राप्तवत् अविद्यया – Although the self is ever-present reality, it is not recognized due to avidya or ignorance. Atma is सततम् प्राप्तः the onsciousness is ever existent. Paramarthananda says there is no question of आत्मा प्राप्ति or attaining atma, meeting atma or merging with atma. None of these happen because आत्मा तु सततम् प्राप्तः or Atma is ever available. So Atma is called सिद्ध वस्तु meaning ever available self. Anatma is असिद्ध वस्तु is साध्य् that is to be attained in time. Atma is available all the time. There is no time or space when or where he was not there. All our transactions in the body and universe are illuminated and pervaded by him. He is the existence and consciousness. But why do we not recognize this fact? Due to avidya or ignorance Atma अप्राप्तवत् भाति appears as attainable, साध्यवत् भाति.
तत् नाशे प्राप्तवत् भाति स्वकण्ठाभरणम् यथा –When that ignorance is dispelled, the self appears as if it is gained. It is like finding a lost necklace on one’s own neck (स्व कण्ठ आभरणम्). To make this clear Shankara gives an appropriate simile. A lady who has been searching for her necklace seldom realizes that the necklace is already around her neck. When she discovers that the necklace is not created anew; it was already there. Only thing is she was not aware of it. It was never lost. What is the import of this analogy to us? The loss of Atman was illusory; its gain too is equally illusory. It appears the self is attained, but in fact it was really forgotten. It is not discovered but only remembered.
Verse 45
Due to ignorance, a post appears as a ghost., just as Brahhman appears as jiva. When the ignorance is removed the true nature of Brahman is revealed

स्थाणौ पुरुषवद्भ्रान्त्या कृता ब्रह्मणि जीवता ।
जीवस्य तात्त्विके रूपे तस्मिन्दृष्टे निवर्तते ॥ ४५॥

स्थाणौ पुरुषवत् भ्रांत्या कृता ब्रह्मणि जीवता जीवस्य तात्त्विके रूपे तस्मिन् दृष्टे निवर्तते

स्थाणौ-in the trunk of a tree पुरुषवत्-like a man भ्रांत्या-by delusion कृता-is made ब्रह्मणि-in the Brahman जीवता-in the jiva or individuality जीवस्य-of the jiva तात्त्विके रूपे-in the real nature तस्मिन्-in the self दृष्टे-where seen निवर्तते-is destroyed

Due to delusion a post appears to be ghost. Similarly, Brahman appears to be a jiva or soul because of delusion. When the delusion is destroyed, the real nature of Jiva as Atman is realized.
स्थाणौ पुरुषवत् भ्रांत्या कृता ब्रह्मणि जीवता – Due to delusion, a trunk of a tree is mistaken for a man; so also, Brahman is seen as the individual limited Jiva. जीवः ब्रह्मणि कृता means कल्पि्ता अध्यस्ता अध्यारोपिता. Limitation and conditioning is super imposed on Brahman. (Paramarthananda)
जीवस्य तात्त्विके रूपे तस्मिन् दृष्टे निवर्तते – When the real nature of the Jiva is seen as the unlimited Brahman, the ego-centric jiva is destroyed. तात्विकम् रूपम् means ब्रह्म स्वरूपम् or the nature of Brahman. When such a vision arises what happens? जीवत्व बुद्धिः निवर्तते- identification with jiva is destroyed. जीवत्व निवृत्ति is the same as ब्रह्म प्राप्तिः.
What is the import of this verse for a sadhaka?
In this verse Shankaracharya gives the example first and later teaches the lesson. In the darkness of ignorance, I consider myself as the limited Jiva. This in turn raises several negativities in me. I impose several limitations on me. I consider this unit of body, mind and intellect as my proprietary possession. This unit of BMI has limitations of death, disease, old age, hunger, greed, attachment, envy etc. When the light of knowledge dawns on me, I understand I am not limited Jiva but I am unlimited all-pervading Brahman, the Sachidananda atma. The limited jiva no more belongs to me. I become free and fearless. I get freed from all vasanas. I become jivan mukta. This is the direct phalam of Atma Jnyana.