Location: India

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sloka 17 and 18

Hari OM,


sadaa sarvagato.apyaatmaa na sarvatraavabhaaste .
buddhaavevaavabhaaseta svachchheshhu pratibimbavat.h .. 17..

Pada artha:
Sadaa: always
Sarvagataha: all pervading
Api: although
Atmaa: the Self
Na: not
Sarvatra: everywhere
Avabhaasate: shines
Budhyav: in the intellect
Eva: only
Avabhaasate: manifests
Swacheshu: in the transparent surface
Pratibimbavat: just as the reflection

The Atman does not shine in everything although He is All-pervading. He is manifest only in the inner equipment, the intellect (Buddhi): just as the reflection in a clean mirror.

In the previous slokas we learnt that the Atman is all pervading and all the duality on the world are just an illusions superimposed on Self. Here Acharya is explaining that the Atman though infinite and all pervading is manifested only by the inner equipment. Though it is available by cognition of all objects, only in pure intellect can the true nature of Self be realized.

As we know, all surfaces have reflecting property, but we can see our reflection very clearly only in a clean mirror. Similarly, the reality of Self can be known only through a pure intellect alone. The mind and intellect with all its modifications can reveal the true nature of Atman. The thoughts are just like impurities on a mirror because of which the image is distorted or reflected badly. Hence it is only in serene and pure intellect that the Self is recognized just as we can easily see our image in a clean mirror held steady.

Like the light that is present everywhere but it is perceived only when it falls on an object, Atman though present everywhere is perceived only by a clear intellect. The light was ever present and does not depend only on the object for its existence. Similarly, the all pervading atman is never limited by the gross and the subtle bodies but only manifests through them.

Hence though as existence and consciousness, atman is all pervading, it is only through the inner equipments that the Atman manifests. Here it maybe doubted as why does not the all pervading atman manifest through all things. Acharya explains this in the next sloka.


dehendriyamanobuddhiprakR^itibhyo vilakshaNam.h .
tad.hvR^ittisaakshiNaM vidyaadaatmaanaM raajavatsadaa .. 18..

Pada artha:
Deha: body
Indriya: senses
Manas: mind
Budhihi: intellect
Prakrutibyaha: from all this matter (prakriti)
Vilakshanam: distinct
Tad vritti saakshinaam: witness of their functions
Vidhyaat: know
atmaanam: the Self
raajavat: like a king
sadaa: always

One should understand that the Atman is always like the King, distinct from the body, senses, mind and intellect, all of which constitute the matter (Prakriti); and is the witness of their functions.

In the previous slokas we learnt about the various bodies and that the Atman is different from all these and manifests through inner equipments due to ignorance. In this sloka Acharya is explaining the all pervading Self as the illuminator of everything. It has to be understood that the Atman is distinct from the physical body, mind and intellect as it is the illuminator of everything

Acharya here gives the example of a king. A king is never a participant in the drama and dance in his darbar hall, but is only a witness, Similarly the Atman is a witness to the body and the dual world. Though the Self seems to be manifested as body, mind etc, yet it is totally different from them as it is the subject and the unchanging consciousness. Like the king who sits high on the throne witnessing all the activities of his court, the Atman though mistaken as the body and the inner equipments is always untainted and remains only as witness of the functions of the body, senses, mind etc. A witness can never be the doer of the actions. Hence the non dual atman is never tinted by any desire or the actions.

It is but the consciousness which is the very illuminator of all external objects and actions. It maybe next be objected that the Self is not a mere witness, but also participates in the activities of the body and senses. Acharya Sankara answers to this objection by means of another beautiful illustration in the next sloka.

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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