'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.
As we have had a break, it is serendipitous that the next two shlokas in our text of study actually serve as a 'review'! Both repeat in fuller context what had been brought out in shloka 19 - and as this is the case, today, both verses will be given, rather than the usual one.
Sv³IyaweR;u vtRNte sUyaRlaek< ywa jna>.20.
Svakriiyaartheshu suuryaalokam yathaa janaaH ||20||
Depending upon the Aatman which is of the nature of Consciousness, the body, senses, mind and intellect engage themselves in their respective activities, just as men work depending upon the light of the sun.
AXySyNTyivveken ggne nIltaidvt!.21.
Adhyasyasyantya-vivekena gagane niilataadivat ||21||
Those who lack discrimination, superimpose upon the Self - of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss - all the varied functions of the body and the senses, just as they attribute blue colour and the like to the sky.
In shloka 20 we are reminded that it is only by the presence of Aatman as the life principle that any action takes place at all and that, just as mankind is inclined to work during daylight; the analogy used was extremely apt until the arrival of electric lights which permit work to be carried out irrespective of whether or not the sun is shining or if it is even daytime! The point, however is not lost. Without light, work is made very difficult if not downright impossible. Without the enlivening quality of Aatman, there is no 'Life' to undertake action.
Taking the analogy a step further, shloka 21 repeats that the less-aware being is inclined to think all activity, in any sphere, belongs to them, the individual, and by doing this they are superimposing that activity (however unknowingly) upon the active principle which is being called here as Aatman. The thing which strikes one in this shloka is the analogy given. In our modern, 'scientific' era, we are taught that the sky is not actually blue, it just appears that way due to the way light works when hitting the atmosphere of the earth… Adi Sankara and all the Rsis before him appear to have understood the nature of light at the same level, without any of our modern equipments and fancy terms.
The sky is not blue. Activity and its consequences are not Aatman. The 'sky' is nothing but our atmosphere, which reaches all the way down to us and surrounds us and comes internal to us as we breath. Aatman is nothing but our Greater Self, pervading everything, yet, like the atmosphere, we almost always ignore it.
A short one today, to ease you back in! This line of thinking continues next week.