Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Think It Through Thoroughly

Hari OM

'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.

Continuing with examples of how it is that Aatman creates the illusion of multiplicity;

pÂkaezaidyegen tÄNmy #v iSwt>,
zuÏaTma nIlvSÇaidyaegen S)iqkae ywa.15.
Panchakoshaadi-yegena tat-tanmaya iva sthitaH,
Shuddhaatmaa niilavastraadi-yegena sphatiko yathaa ||15||
In its identifications with the five sheaths, the immaculate Aatman appears to have borrowed their qualities upon Itself; as in the case of a crystal which appears blue or yellow depending upon the colour of the cloth in its vicinity.

A question which often arises in the minds of spiritual seekers and students of philosophy is 'why would the Lord wish to disperse Himself in this manner?' or 'how is this great illusion perpetuated?' Here we are given the example of crystal sitting in proximity to something of colour. This could be altered to something more mundane… a glass tumbler sitting upon a tablecloth which could be (to use the analogy of the shloka) of blue or yellow - or both. Through that glass we see the colour and if we are not entirely paying attention, mistake the glass itself for having that colour. Indeed, even if we know the glass itself is clear, we still see the colour in it purely because it reflects what is sitting upon.

The crystal analogy in some ways is firmer, because we also know that the crystal is capable of taking pure white light and splitting it into the full-colour spectrum. Aatman is the pure white light, the body in which it sits is the spectrum. The body, remember, consists of the panchakoshaH; annamaya, praanamaya, manomaya, vighnaanamaya and aanandamaya. Further, within annamaya, we find the energy centres called as chakras, each reflecting one of the colours of the spectrum. 

Just as we see the glass as being blue or yellow, our mind being tricked by what the eye perceives, we think the Aatman is this body because that's what we can see.

The Self is ever-pure and the same everywhere and it is never contaminated by the objects it reflects through. The traditional example of Vedanta is that of the snake superimposed upon the rope. We, in the poor light of ignorance, see a rope and assume it to be a snake. The rope is ever the rope and not at all damaged by this superimposition - neither can it be poisoned by the bite of this illusionary snake - it remains ever 'pure' as the rope substratum. The glass is ever the glass and never actually gets stained as blue or yellow, no matter how much our eyes tell us otherwise.  The Aatman remains uncontaminated by the flesh, the breath, the mind, the intellect or the individual soul which carries it.

The following shloka is directly related to this one so we shall proceed with it today;

vpuStu;aidi_a> kaezEyuR´< yu®yv"att>,
AaTmanmaNtr< zuÏ< ivivCyaÄ{ful< ywa.16.
Vapustusha-adibhiH koshairyuktam yuktya-avaghaatataH,
Aatmaanamaantaram shudham vivichyat-tandulam yathaa ||16||
Through discriminative self-analysis and logical thinking, one should separate the pure Self within from the sheaths, as one separates the rice from the husk, bran and so on that are covering it.

Here Shankara-ji is demanding that the serious seeker must put the 'little grey cells' into action! Thrashing about the idea of pure Self being at the base of all else and the way to reach it is to put it through the thresher of shravanam, through the winnowing of mananam, through the mulling of nididhyaasanam, just as rice is torn from its 'sheaths' of husk, bran, et cetera. Only then can the rice be cooked - jiivanmukta… realisation.

Chitta shuddham, purification of the mind, takes time. Do not rush into the task, as there is risk of further mistakes, a danger of damage. There is a process tried and tested over the centuries. Modern technology has resulted in our grains becoming adulterated, impure even in the name of 'purification and refinement' - no time is given for the maturing and the fullness of procedure; now there are allergies and other body reactions to foods which were once staple.

Incorrect processing, fast-tracking, does us no favour.

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Hari OM
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