Location: India

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sloka 19 and 20

Hari OM,


vyaapR^iteshhvindriyeshhvaatmaa vyaapaariivaavivekinaam.h .
dR^ishyate.abhreshhu dhaavatsu dhaavatriva yathaa shashii .. 19..

Pada artha:
Vyapruteshu: while functioning
Indriyeshu: the sense organs
Atma: the Self
Vyaapaari: active
Iva: like
Avivekinaam: for non discriminating people
Drushyate: appears
Abreshu: the clouds
Dhavtsu: when moving
Dhaavam: to be running
Yatha: just as
Shashi: the moon

The moon appears to be running when the clouds move in the sky. Likewise to the non-discriminating person the Atman appears to be active when It is observed through the functions of the sense-organs.

In the previous verses, we learnt that the Self is just a witness to all the actions and is only a illuminator and never the doer of the actions and the Self is never tainted by any activities of the body and senses. To explain this further, Acharya gives another beautiful example in this sloka.

An observer standing on the ground perceives the moon to be moving. The passing clouds seem to cover the moon and one may feel that the moon is running with the clouds or hidden by the clouds, while all the while, the moon was neither hidden nor is moving with the clouds. It is only when one sees the moon with respect to the passing clouds that such illusions occur. Similarly, the Self is mistaken as the doer of actions when viewed through the sense organs and mind. That is, it is only due to the association with the mind, intellect and body that the Self seems to be agitated and ever changing.

For an ignorant person who mistakes the mind and the senses as the Self, Self appears to be limited. It is only when there is a false cognition of Self that there arises misery due to thoughts such as “I am sad”, “I am poor”, “I did this” etc. but the Self like the moon is ever blissful and is never the enjoyer or the doer of any actions. It is only the ego that creates this illusion. Hence for a wise one who discriminates between the reality and the non duality, for one who knows the real nature of Self, there can never be any miseries.

Hence it is very essential for a seeker to know that all the duality and hence the actions are illusions only and is perceived only due to the ego arising due to ignorance of one’s true nature. And that any actions can never be done by the Self and that ‘I am verily bliss alone’ and hence all the actions can never affect Self, just like the movement of clouds on moon. This is what Acharya says in Atmashatkam also as “Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta ; Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham”

Thus just as how the movement of clouds create an illusion of the moon moving, the activity of the mind and the senses create the illusion that the soul is active and the doer of all actions.

Here a seeker may get the doubt that if it is the senses that do the actions and not the Self, then they(the mind and senses) are sentient and can be called as conscious entities and hence the Atman. Acharya removes this doubt in this next sloka.


aatmachaitanyamaashritya dehendriyamanodhiyaH .
svakriyaartheshhu vartante suuryaalokaM yathaa janaaH . 20..

Pada artha:
Atmachaitanyam: vitality of consciousness
Ashrtya: depending upon
Dehendriyamanodeeyaha: body senses mind and intellect
Svikriyaatheshu: in their respective activities
Vartante: engage
Suryalokam: light of sun
Yatha: just as
Janaha: people

Depending upon the energy of vitality of Consciousness (Atma Chaitanya) the body, senses, mind and intellect engage themselves in their respective activities, just as men work depending upon the light of the Sun.

In the previous sloka we learnt that all the activities done are attributed only to the mind and the senses whereas the Self remains untainted by all actions and their results. Then one may get a doubt that do these senses act in their own accord? And if so are they not sentient and hence the Self? To answer this, Acharya explains in this sloka that just as how people work depending on the daylight pf the sun, the senses, mind and intellect seem to act only due to the consciousness.

As we have learnt in the Panchadasi fifth chapter, first sloka, that the consciousness or the Self is the illuminator of all the objects of the world. It is that because of which the eyes can see, the tongue can taste etc. It is that because of which the senses seem to work.

Like the iron that glows due to the heat acquired from fire, like how the iron filings become active in presence of a magnet, the insentient body and inner organs seem to be sentient only due to their association with the Self. It is this absolute consciousness that drives all the actions. Hence no activity is possible without Self. Like the light that illuminates the screen on which a drama is played, the Self kindles life in the insentient matter.

Self is sentient and non dual. Hence all other objects of the world, all the duality have to be unreal only. Thus even the actions done by them are illusions only. These seem to be sentient only due to the consciousness.

Thus without this consciousness, there is no activity possible. But the Self by itself is ever pure and is not affected by the actions of the sense. Senses seem to work only due to consciousness but consciousness is never affected by the actions. We have to never forget that the illusory duality can never affect the Self. It is only due to ignorance that one perceives the senses, world of duality and hence all the actions. Like the sun that illumines any object that comes in front of it without itself being affected, the Self illuminates the physical and the subtle bodies.

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


Blogger vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

"Thus even the actions done by them are illusions only. These seem to be sentient only due to the consciousness."

Sankara is not pointing out the above statement here - if he was pointing this out, then there would have been no explanation and analysis of sense organs being sentient.........

Actions being insentient and illusory is known by one and all -- this is accepted by all systems & hence there is no use of putting forth the same. But the charvaka system does mention that the sense organs are the Self etc. etc. which is being negated by Sankara here by telling that they are not sentient whereas it is the sentience of the Self that drives them to work and makes them seem sentient.

Also it would be better to stick to the particular sloka alone rather than going into statements that the Self is non-dual, actions are illusory etc... because if such explanations are made, then there would be no real need of explaining about sense organs, their dependence on the Self, their insentience etc......

Whenever we deal with topics in Vedanta, we have to stick to the topic --- it is not good to always go directly to the paaramaarthika level because in such a case, no explanations are required.

Moreover we have to grow higher to quote from relevant sruthi whenever we make strong statements instead of just saying something or the other...... If we dont do that, it would be like mere "book" statements without any backing --- It is all wrong on one's part to say that "I dont know the scriptures, I dont have books, I dont have time" -- these all are statements not to be made by a seeker of the reality.......

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

8:22 PM  

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