'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We are now studying Aatmabodha. As always, with each week, you are encouraged to review the previous teachings and spend some time in contemplation of the meanings as the affect your life. Please do consider purchasing the text. Remember, also, to recite the mangala charana before each study and review the lessons before each new one.
We learned last week that, due to being jivas fixed in flesh and blood, we tend to view things as having an explanation based on finitude. This even applies to our perception of the Divine. We have, over the centuries, separated the spiritual entity within us and given it the name "God". Then we set up rites and practices of worship to that Divine Principle. In shloka three, Shankara-ji pointed out that these actions could not actually result in our rediscovering our True Self. He says further;
Avi½Ú #va}anaÄÚaze sit kevl>,
Svy< àkazte ýaTma me"apaye<=zumainv.4.
avacchinna ivaaGYaanaattannaashe sati kevalaH.
svayaM prakaashate hyaatmaa meghaapaayeM.ashumaaniva||4||
The Self appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed, It is recognised to be Infinite, Absolute. The Self reveals Itself by Itself - like the sun when the clouds pass away.
This may look the same as the previous shloka, however there is a deeper sense of Self intimated here and a clearer focus on the revelationary aspect of It.
For grasping the immensity of the claim that nothing is required in order to remove ignorance and obtain Knowledge (go from avidya to vidya), an analogy is used. When, in the depths of atmospheric lows, the sky is filled with blankets of clouds for days on end, we can forget what the sun looks like - or even that it exists! Then, as if by magic, something causes the clouds to move on and we are left in the full bath of sunlight. Do we not stretch ourselves before it? Do we not breath more deeply and smile more widely? Do we not feel every part of our body responding to the warmth of that light? Are we not glad to be reunited with the sun?
It is not that the sun was ever absent, but that there was a physical defect, causing us to think it had gone. Even when in the presence of current, widely understood science, we accept that the sun is there, we are so dependent on physical presence that we become forgetful and complain of its absence.
This is how we have become with The Self - though fully worse, for we have truly forgotten and even become totally unaware of its continued presence in our existence - that Its existence IS our existence. When - if - we reach the level of inner understanding and surrender which allows us to enter that spiritual effulgence again, it will feel like that moment of the break in the clouds - only this time the clouds will not return and the bliss will be exponentially more than a brief sun-bathing!
The Self is infinite. There is no plurality in that homogenous Being; The Self Alone exists as the illuminator and makes Its presence felt by its life-giving power. It sits and waits for those 'down below' to create for themselves the atmosphere in which the clouds part. It does not need to do more. Those who are qualified and reach to the Universal Truth are those who have no clinging attachment to the enchantments of the external world of objects and who have placed themselves firmly in the physics of spirit. In doing so, the limited knowledge which was "I" joins with the unlimited Knowledge of "T"ruth to become "IT''. …
Some extra terms for your notebooks… svRVyaip/sarvavyaapi - not limited by space; svaRTma /sarvaatmaa - unlimited by object; kalinTy/kAlanitya - unlimited by time=eternity. To put these terms into sentences descriptive of The Self…
ndez gt pirCDed AiSt tSmat! AaTma svRVyaip /nadesha gata paricCheda asti tasmaat aatmaa sarvavyaapi - there is no limitation (boundary) pertaining to space therefore Self is not this way limited
nkal gt pirCDed AiSt tSmat! AaTma inTy>/nakAla gata paricCheda asti tasmaat aatmaa nityaH - there is no limitation pertaining to time therefore Self is eternal
nvStu gt pirCDed AiSt tSmat! AaTma svaRTma/navastu gata paricCheda asti tasmaat aatmaa sarvaatmaa - there is no limitation by object therefore Self is all things.