Location: India

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sloka 21 and 22

Hari OM,


dehendriyaguNaankarmaaNyamale sachchidaatmani .
adhyasyantyavivekena gagane niilataadivat.h .. 21..

Pada artha:
Deha indriya gunaan: qualities of the body and senses
Karmaani: actions
Amale: pure
Sat-chot-atmaani : on the Atman, the absolute-Existence-Knowledge
Adhyasyanti: superimpose
Avivekena: by lack of discrimination
Gagane: in the sky
Neelataadivat: blue color and the like

Fools, because they lack in their powers of discrimination superimpose on the Atman, the Absolute-Existence-Knowledge (Sat-Chit), all the varied functions of the body and the senses, just as they attribute blue color and the like to the sky.

The Atman though conscious by nature is not endowed by any characteristics such as birth, growth, death etc. and Acharya in this sloka is explaining that all the characteristics are superimposed on Atman due to ignorance alone.

The example given here is that of the attributes of the sky. Space has no attributes like color, brightness etc. but still, one attributes the blueness, murkiness etc. on the sky. It is only due to non discrimination that such attributes are superimposed on the sky while the sky can never be conditioned by color etc. The sky can never change colors but it is only due to our limited vision that the sky appears to be dirty, dark, blue etc. Similarly the Atman, though ever pure appears seems to be limited only due to ignorance.

Thus it is only due to the lack of discrimination that the qualities of ever changing mind and the intellect and their limitations are superimposed on the Atman. Acharya here says that the foolish one’s i.e. those who do not know the true nature of Atman, attribute the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies to the Atman. Just like how the sky remains the same even when different colors are attributed to it due to our vision, the Atman remains pure and unaffected. Another beautiful example given by our Acharyas to explain this is, just as how as the sands of the desert can never become moist from the water of a mirage, likewise, the Self is not affected by the traits of the body and the senses.


aGYaanaanmaanasopaadheH kartutvaadiini chaatmani .
kalpyante.ambugate chandre chalanaadi yathaambhasaH . 22..

Pada artha:
Ajnaanat: through ignorance
Manasopadehe: of the mind which is a upadhi
Katrutvaadini: agency of action etc.
Cha: and
Atmaani: on the Self
Kalpyante: attribute
Ambugate: which is reflected in the water
Chadre: in the moon
Chalanaadi: tremblings etc.
Yatha: just as
Ambasaha: of the water

The trembling that belong to the waters are attributed through ignorance to the reflected moon dancing on it: likewise agency of action, of enjoyment and of other limitations (which really belong to the mind) are delusively understood as the nature of the Self (Atman).

In the previous sloka we learnt that just like how the colors and other qualities are attributed to the sky, due to ignorance, the Atman is superimposed with attributes. It may be contended that the Atman may not have characteristics such as birth, death etc. yet enjoyment, actions etc. belong to it due to common experiences such as “I am happy”, “I am sad” etc. To remove such doubts, Acharya here explains that all the agency of action, enjoyment and other limitations actually belong to the mind and are only falsely attributed to the Atman. Just as the ripples in the water making the image of the moon shake, the thoughts in the mind make one perceive Self as the enjoyer and doer.

The example given here is that of the moon. The image of moon seen in water appears to be real and when water surface is disturbed, it looks as though the moon shivers. When the water is steady, the moon appears to be steady, while in reality, all along, the moon is never affected by the disturbances in water. Similarly, it is only due to the modifications of the mind and because of ego that the Self is falsely perceived as the enjoyer of all actions.

All the ideas that “I am this”, “I am the doer” etc. belong only to the mind which is but a upadhi and exist only when it is active i.e. when one is awake. When the mind is inactive or not present as in deep sleep, we find that such notions of “I am that”, “I am this “ etc. do not exist at all. Thus all the notions of the attributes of Self are only temporary thoughts of the mind.

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.

The Atman is never affected by all the activities as it is the changeless substratum of all activities. The atman seems to have upadhis but never really has any upadhi --- the activities of the upadhi are superimposed on the atman. The example scriptures give for the same is that of a crystal. When something is kept near the crystal, the cystal seems to be get changed but is never changed at all --- this example also gives the reason for different upaadhis or jeevas in general --- the crystal is same but depending on the entity near it, there are many jeevas or dependeing on the upadhis, jeevas seem to be many.

But then there might be a doubt that the jeeva is suffering contrary to "seem to be suffering" - the changes of the mind does affect the jeeva -- so this means the Self is suffering and not "seems to be suffering". It is to solve this doubt that the example of moon-water-reflection is given.

The reflection of moon on water doesn't seem to be changing but is changing or moving (disturbances). So it is the reflected moon that is really changing whereas original never changes but only seems to be changing.

This is where the concept of jeeva and kutastha becomes clear. Jeeva is not "seemingly" suffering but suffering whereas kutastha is ever the same. When a person realizes that he is not the suffering jeeva but the changeless kutastha, that is realization.

We should remember that jeeva never exists without the kutastha and hence the statements of Sankara himself "jeevo brahmaiva na parah" is valid --- here jeeva is one who is devoid of impurities or adjuncts. Remove the adjuncts from moon-water, it becomes original water itself. Thus that is what Sankara is pointing out here & not jeeva in the literal sense.

Dattatreya says in Tripura Rahasya that there is no reflection at all without the original -- hence there is no jeeva without kutastha --- or in short, jeeva is kutastha alone but with illusory adjuncts and changes based on the adjuncts.

The above explanations are the translation of the final verse of Haastaamalakeeya:

Upaadau yathaa bhedhathaa san maneenaam
Tathaa bhedhathaa buddhibhedheshu te api
Yathaa chandrikaanaam jale chanchalatvam
Tathaa chanchalatvam tavaapi iha vishno

Due to differences in upadhi, the crystal seems to be changing -- similar is the changes in you due to various adjuncts or buddhi-manas etc. --- The chanchalatvam in you is like chanchalatvam in moon reflected in water -- the word Vishnu denotes the all-pervasive entity called as Brahman in Upanishads.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

6:35 AM  

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