'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 text now moves onto a declaration of Oneness.
AaTmEved< jgTsvRmaTmanae=NyÚ ik<cn,
m&dae yÖ˜qadIin SvaTman< svRmI]te.48.
Aatmaivedam jagat-sarvam-aatmaano-nyanna kinchana,
mRdo yadvad-ghataadiini svaatmaanam sarvam-iikshate ||48||
The tangible universe is verily the Aatman Itself. Nothing whatsoever other than the Aatman exists. Just as pots and jars are verily made of clay and cannot be said to be anything but clay, so too, for the enlightened person, all that is perceived is the Self.
Again we have a verse from the jnaana-marg which echoes that of the bhakti-marg in yesterday's post. Once the Realisation of Truth of Self is made, then everything dissolves in to the whole which is described by this text as Aatmaa.
What is the difference between this and earlier declarations of unity? Very subtly, the move is from the individual recognising their part in the whole, to accepting that they ARE the whole and were never apart from it. To aid this shift in detail, the analogy given is that of the cooking pots (still used in today's households in many parts of the world!) which are made from the earth's rich soil, formed into clay. That clay itself is formed further to give useful items. When their usefulness has expired they are thrown out - essentially, returned to the clay. We may be reminded, here, of the words 'from dust to dust' which are heard often at funerals. The recognition is that, for there to be form, there must first be something from which that form can be built and that those forms must return to somewhere - which is likely to be the source material again.
Without clay, all the different forms and shapes could not come about. The original clay alone can give the material for shaping and strength to all the forms which arise from it.
In the same way, we are asked here to understand that the Self alone is the source 'material' from which this entire universe obtains its form; it is the Reality upon which the shape of 'life' in this world of names and forms is founded and to which it all returns once a Man of Wisdom has done the research necessary to discover that source.
Those folk who have no greater purpose in life than to direct their energies towards a hunt for the fleeting pleasures of this world of objects, cannot so easily recognise this subtle presence everywhere. They may even be cruel to those who DO see it and appreciate the connection. Again it is noted, then, that the path of Wisdom in this context is not a busy one; few have the stamina to search long enough and hard enough to discover this truth of the interconnectedness of All. The Infinite pervades and envelops the entire finite world. The multiplicity beheld by the grosser personality is but a projection upon the One Eternal Truth.
The one who comes to fully appreciate this moves beyond the boundaries of even recognizing plurality and comes to exist in the completeness of Aatman.