Thursday, February 22, 2007


Tattvabodha - 21

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

Atma tharhi kaha?
What is Atman?
Sat chit ananda swaroopah
It is of the nature of Sat-Chit-Anandam (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss)

Sat kim?
What is Sat?
Kaalathrayaepi thishTatheethi sat
Sat is that which remains unchanged in the three periods of time.

Atman is that which is different from the three bodies, Sthula, sukshma and kaarna shareeram, and it is beyond the pancha kosas, it is the witness of all the three states of experience (Jagrat, swapa and sushupthi). Shankara first explained about the anatman, shareerathrayam and pancha kosas. He also explained through example that Self is different from the pancha kosas. Shankar now starts his explanation on the real nature of Atman or Self. The nature of Self is Sat (Existence), Chit (Consciousness) and Anandam(Bliss).

Sat is that which exists on all three periods of time without undergoing any change. The three periods of time are past, present and future. Let us analyze it by means of an example. Let us consider a pot. Before pot was made, there was only clay. After pot is made, we have name and form of clay as pot, but it is only clay which is assuming that name and form and hence clay is the substratum of pot. After the destruction of pot, there will not be any pot but the clay will remain. It was clay which existed throughout, but assumed a name and form for a short period as pot and thus we can say that Clay is the Existence principle behind the pot. In the same way, before the creation of the world there was only Sat which was existing.
As Chandogya says,

"Sat eva soumya idham agre aaseet ekamevaadviteeyam"
O good looking one! in the beginning this was Existence Only, one without the second.

Thus before the creation there was only Sat. After the creation also there is only Sat as the substratum of the world and its object and once the world and its objects dissolutes Sat alone will remain. Thus Sat alone remains on all the times. Whatever seem to exist in the world is Atman only but in temporary name and form even as clay temporarily having name and form as pot. There is no pot at all separate from clay , in the same way there is no world separate from Atman. Thus it is Atman what was existing, which is now existing, and which alone will be exist and we can say Atman alone Sathyam.

Mandukya Upanishad says,
“Aum ithi ethath aksharam idhagum sarvam thasya upvyakyaanam bhootham bhavath bhavishyath ithi sarvam omkaara eva. Echchaanyath thrikaalaatheetham thadhapya omkaara eva”.

“Aum, the word is all this. A clear explanation of it is: All that is past, present and future is Aum only. That which is beyond the three periods of time is also, indeed, Aum.”
We will learn the Chit or Conscioussness the next day.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum



Prostrations to all.

Sankara quotes a purana sloka in his Katha Upanishad bhashya for defining Atman (atma)

Yat cha aapnothi yada aadatte yat cha atti vishayaan iha
Yat cha asya santhatho bhaavah tasmaat atmethi keerthyathe

That which attains everything, attracts everything, which enjoys all sensual pleasures and that by which the world has existence (seems to exist), that is called Atman.

There need not be any detailed explanation for the above as it is self-explanatory -- the last part of teh sloka explains the SAT nature of Atman and tells that the world seems to be existent only because of the Atman.

Drig drishya viveka splits eveyrthing that we perceive into 5 parts thus:

asthi bhaathi priyam roopam naamam cha ithi amsha panchakam
aadhya trayam brahma roopam jagadroopo tatho dvayam

Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, name and form ar e the five parts of anything that we see - the first three is the nature of Brahman and the last two (naama and roopa) is the nature of world.

Thus whatever we see is only names and forms of Brahman (Sat chit ananda) - thus everything that is existent has SAT or Brahman or Atman as its substratum.

Speaking about SAT, Vidyaranya defines Sat nature of Atman thus in the panchakosha viveka of Panchadashi:

Satyatvam baadha raahityam jagad baadaika saakshinah
baadhah kim saakshiko broohi na tu asaakshika ishyathe

SATYATVA is being unsublated -- that which remains forever -- and is the witness to the sublation of the world (after knowledge dawns). If it is argued that isn't there sublation for the witness-Self, then it is not so because that would lead to Self being non-witness (due to its sublation -- as witness is not sublated of what it witnesses).

SAT as that which never ceases to exist is defined by the Lord in Gita thus "na asathah vidhyathe bhaavah, na abhaavah vidhyathe satah" -- ASAT never has any existence and the SAT never ceases to exist.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God
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