Location: India

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sloka 15 and 16

Hari OM,


pa.nchakoshaadiyogena tattanmaya iva sthitaH .
shuddhaatmaa niilavastraadiyogena sphaTiko yathaa .. 15..

Pada artha:
Pancha kosha aadi yogena: by identification with five sheaths
Tat: that
Tanmayaha: identical with that
Iva: like
Stithaha: appears
Shuddhatma: the pure Self
Neela vastraaadi yogena: by association with the blue garment
Sphutika: crystal
Yatah: just as

In its identification with the five-sheaths the Immaculate Atman appears to have borrowed their qualities upon Itself; as in the case of a crystal which appears to gather unto itself color of its vicinity (blue cloth, etc.,).

In the previous slokas we learnt that the Atman is independent of the three adjuncts which are the gross, subtle and causal bodies. To remove any doubts of the Atman being dependent on these bodies as it seems to be endowed with so many physical and mental qualities, Acharya here is explaining that all attributes of the Atman is only due to the false identification arising out of ignorance. To explain this, Acharya is explaining about the five sheaths and how the non dual Self is always distinct from them.

Here we are given another beautiful example of a crystal to answer as to how the perfect immutable Self seems to be contaminated by the duality. A clear glass or a crystal when placed in front of a blue object appears to be blue in color, similarly, in association of a red object appears to be red in color. Similarly, the Self which is untainted and ever free from any duality seems to be limited only due to ignorance and hence the association and identification with the five sheaths. Like how a clear glass tumbler appears to have taken the color of the liquid it holds, the Self is wrongly identified with the five sheaths due to ignorance alone.

The five sheaths are
1. The gross physical body, (annamaya kosha).
2. The vital air structure, (pranamaya kosha)
3. The mental sheath (manomaya kosha)
4. The intellectual sheath (vijnanamaya)
5. The bliss sheath (anandamaya kosha).
There are called as sheaths as they are like coverings on the atman which manifests itself through them, like the sheaths that cover the sword, these cover the blissful Self from an ignorant one. It is only due to ignorance about the nature of Self that one mistakenly identifies Self with these, and hence rises the ego and thoughts such as “I am clever”, “I am fat”, “I am sad” etc. while all along the Self is but verily bliss.

Just as how the clear, colorless glass appears to be colored only due to its association with colored objects, the ever non dual blissful Self seems to be tainted by the misery only due to the associations to the illusory objects of duality. This is only due to ignorance and hence Acharya in the next verse explains though another beautiful example that one should discriminate Self from the illusory objects of the world, i.e. from the non Self.


vapustushhaadibhiH koshairyuktaM yuktyavaghaatataH .
aatmaanamantaraM shuddhaM vivichyaattaNDulaM yathaa .. 16..

Pada artha:
Vapuhu: the form
Tushaa aadibhihi: with husk etc.
Koshaihi: with sheaths
Yuktham: covered
Yuktyaa: by logical thinking
Avaghaatataha: by thrashing rice in a mortar
Atmaanam: the Self
Antaram: within
Shudham: pure
Vivichyaat: should separate
Tandulam: rice
Yatha: just as

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, etc., that are covering it.

In the last sloka, Acharya explained to us about the various sheaths and how the Self seems to be covered by them for an ignorant person thus leading to the false identification of the Self with the five sheaths. In this sloka, Acharya is instructing that a seeker must learn to discriminate between the Self and the non Self and through the discriminative power, know the Self as distinct from the five sheaths.

The gross, subtle and causal bodies are inert and changeable by nature. Hence they are always distinct from the Self and the Self is only a witness to all the changes occurring to these. One must clearly know that the five sheaths though identified as the Self due to ignorance are never permanent and hence different from the Atman they seem to cover. Just like the husk of the rice that seems to cover the kernel of rice and appears to be inseparable, as a part of rice, these sheaths that seem to veil the ever blissful Self are but creations to ignorance alone. When one realizes Atman to be distinct from the sheaths he becomes detached with them, and this detachment will surely lead to knowledge.

Hence Acharya is instructing that a seeker should analyze and be discriminative, i.e. viveka is very much important for a seeker. Through Self analysis and knowledge one must know that the Self which is ever blissful and immutable can never be any of the sheaths. Just as how the rice is obtained by removing the husk, bran etc. from the paddy, so too, by discrimination, by distinguishing the reality from the nonreal, and by removing the various impurities superimposed upon Self, one must realize the real blissful nature of Self which seems to be veiled beneath the sheaths of ignorance.

Thus by negation of the physical and mental equipments, when a one experiences the truth, one becomes detached from the various sheaths and realizes the real nature of atman as different from all the layers. And this constant process of detachment from them, will definitely lead a seeker to the bliss absolute, which is but the very nature of Self.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God


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