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!

Not Lost, Forgotten

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.

The previous shloka portrayed the arrival of Self-Knowledge as being like the arrival of the sun in the morning. A key difference, though, is that the sun can set again and we think that it has 'gone', that darkness has taken over. The scientific mind, though, knows the sun goes nowhere, it is merely the turn of the world which makes it appear so. Thus…

AaTma tu stt< àaPtae=PyàaPtvdiv*ya,
tÚaze àaPtvÑait Svk{Qa_ar[< ywa.44.
Aatmaa tu satatam praapto-pya-praaptavad-avidyayaa,
Tannaashe praaptavad-bhaati svakanthaa-bharanam yathaa ||44||
Image result for necklaceAatman is an ever existing Reality. Yet, because of ignorance, It is not Realised. Therefore, as soon as the ignorance is dispelled, the Aatman is Realised. It is like the missing ornament of one's neck.

In the same way that the sun is never actually absent from the system, the Aatman is ever-present. It is only the veil of ignorance (avidya) which prevents us from recognising this. All that remains for us to know Aatman is to rediscover It, in the same way that a woman may, forgetting she has placed a necklace around her neck, only remembers when she touches it. In Sanskrit culture, men also wore necklaces which is why women are not specified here, but these days, few men wear chains - though it is not impossible. Perhaps another way to write the analogy is the keys of the car. A husband may be looking around for some time before the wife says to him, "what are you searching for?" He will admit, "the car keys". She smiles indulgently and says "check your left pocket!"  The fellow is surprised to find they were with him all the time, but for some reason he had forgotten.

Knowledge lies veiled by ignorance. It may be temporary, like the forgetfulness mentioned, or it may be that we have no knowledge at all. No one can give a dreamer his waking experiences - he must live them for himself. That person is the same personality whether they be awake or in the dream, or, indeed, in the deep sleep state. Similarly, there is no need to think that one must become different when one Realises the Truth.

However, if one is not at that stage yet, it may be necessary to build up to it by listening and studying and cogitating and meditating. It is not that one is changing one's personality, but atuning it to the frequency which will permit the dropping of ignorance and the apprehension of Reality.

It is not that this shravanam, mananam, nididdhyaasanam and such like 'creates Aatman'; it is that Aatman awaits our arrival as we travel through these 'gateways'. If we were to say that the saadhana brings Aatman into being - ie, that it is the 'cause' - then the minute we cease from saadhana, Aatman also ceases. What is created has a finite existence. Aatman, we must understand, is not created, but is that from which all creation arises. Saadhana is a means to reach, but is not the cause of, Aatman. Even in saadhana, Aatman is present, but until we attain a suitable atunement, we are blind to it.

Aatman is ever-present, in all states of experience, in all beings and at all times. We can only live because of its Illumination, yet are blind to the Light Divine.

When the veil is removed, we might exclaim in surprise. Despite being told again and again of Its existence, we still marvel at the dawn, is it not? How much more so the Realisation of Self! We may lament, as in the example of the shloka, at the potential loss of our necklace/keys, which we know ought to be there but we cannot find… because they are already with us, we already have them upon our being! On rediscovering them we recognise how silly was our despair.

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Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

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