About Atman(Cont..)

How am I to look beyond the name and form? I do not see anything.

You are right. The teacher would suggest you look within before you venture out. Therefore, for now, do not try to see ‘Atman’ in all.

  • First, we should know what to look for?
  • Second, it doesn’t have a form; it cannot be described(like space).
  • Most importantly, you and I are also part of ‘All’. So, the search should start within.

You might worry that ‘Atman’ may vary from being to being. For example, the aloe vera plant sitting in the balcony might have less of ‘Him’ compared to ‘Him’ in me. Or the Himalayas would have more of ‘Him’.

Arjuna pretty much had the same doubt. To which Krishna answered: “Ajuna, I, Atman is equally disposed to all living beings(BG 9.29). Everything rests in me, as beads strung on a thread.”-Bhagavad Gita 7.7

Since he doesn’t have a form. How do I experience him?

Let’s apply the basic meditation here-Observing the Thoughts.

  • Sit with your eyes closed in a quiet place. why? Because we give way too much importance to our sense perceptions. So, shut them out for some time. Bhagavad Gita 8.12
  • You see your thoughts coming & going? Do not go with them however interesting they may seem.
  • Where are the thoughts appearing and disappearing? Watch that space that is helping the thoughts come and go. Hmm, interesting. That doesn’t have a form, either.
  • Now, what is that which is observing that space? Your eyes are closed but there is something which is witnessing the flow & intensity of thoughts.
  • If you have ever dreamed, you know that something was watching that dream too.  That is when you say I dreamt. Your body lay there like a corpse while dreaming. So, who was watching that dream?
  • Even in your deep sleep state, there is that thing which is observing nothingness(cessation of activities) Who is That?

Now our scriptures say, that ‘Observer’ who is observing all the three states is ‘YOU’. Unless someone is walking in and out of you, ‘That’ should be YOU 😉

Now we may realize, what do we mean by “Man having a body and mind”?

So, the ‘Man’ is Atman. He is not different from us but He is us.

I suppose we also understand who we are addressing when we use ‘I am’. And the Vedantic phrase “Nitya Shuddha Atman”.

Why am I Nitya? Because I do not come and go. I am there as an observer in all the states at all times.

Why Shuddha? Because the thoughts/emotions/dream/waking doesn’t taint me. They exist in Me. Like what we do under the Sun, doesn’t malign the Sun. Gita in 13.33 reiterates the same with another example of space.

I observe the mind & body in the waking state and the mind building a dream. I also observe when all the activities cease.

I am there. I am That.

As my teacher would put – we are like the Musk deer which spends its entire life searching outward for its own scent. Completely unaware that the smell is from its own navel 🙂

Note: This is my understanding. I might never be able to understand another person, or for that matter, even my mind or body. Though we do not wish for situations/people in our lives to change yet they change and so do we. But you might notice that we are longing for permanence – our very nature.

We should not stay unhappy with what we get. We should find our happiness and trust me, that isn’t anywhere outside. Change is the only constant thing in this world and we are seeking the opposite. So…..

Bhagavad Gita:

Bahir antaśh cha bhūtānām Acharaṁ charam eva cha
Sūkṣhmatvāt tad avijñeyaṁ Dūra-sthaṁ chāntike cha tat// 13.16

Exists outside and inside all living beings, those that are moving and not moving. Subtle, and hence incomprehensible.  Always near yet at the unspeakable distance- such is imperishable He!

Image: Internet

 

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About Atman…

When I was told by my teacher that I am neither the body nor the mind .. suddenly it felt strange, as if someone had stripped me of my Identity.

The more I pondered on it, the more desperate I became. The desperation was real. How would you feel, if you been told that you are not anything that you doubted you were? Doubted? This thought would have crossed any mind at least once- that how can I be both the body and the mind.
Now, I wanted to know who am I? How do I look? How did I end up fooling myself to be the body and the mind?
For a minute, I even doubted whether I really existed. That strange feeling of not knowing myself was disturbing. I thought if I didn’t know myself then how wrong was I interpreting everything that is around me.
When the inquiry deepens and when we start asking more questions about Self (mind you, not about the world nor about fixing worldly things) that is when the teacher would render his experience or for that matter the experiences of all those who had discovered their true self.
Teachings:
  • The first thing that you would be told is that Atman is self-luminous, Svayamprakasha.

I, Atman does not require any proof to be proven. I am right there but you do not see me because you are too distracted. For example, we do not see the space or akasha around us(it doesn’t have a form) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there(it is in our experience). Likewise, you do not see yourself nor you see your self in others but you experience yourself and that needs no proof.

  • Atman is the Only Reality, SAT/Existence

Also, Atman is not an effect of a cause and it does not appear all of a sudden from somewhere. IT is just there and everything exists because of That.

Vedanta gives examples of the mud in the pot; it was always there in the pot. Gold in the gold ornaments etc. The body cavity which contains internal organs isn’t different from the space outside the body. Space which is so invincible yet so strong and extremely important for existence perhaps is the closest proof that Atman can exist likewise.

Since the real identity hasn’t been strengthened yet, there is a possibility of the above information to be misconstrued. You might just confuse your old pseudo self to be that Atman. To break that notion, Bhagavad Gita comes forth with the below message.

  • The names and forms are in me; I am not in them.(Bhagavad Gita 7.12, 13.17)

alphabet-alphabet-art

The letters are on the paper. Can you say the paper is in the words?

The 29 States and 7 Union Territories are a part of India. Do we say each state is a different India?  You cannot say there are multiple Indias as there are multiple states. The essence of India is in each state because India is one entity; the states are part of India. There is no two, in reality, India is One. Similarly, the names and forms are in the Brahman, the beings with the names and forms are unmanifest before their birth, manifest in life and again unmanifest on death. Basically, nobody is going anywhere or rightly put, there is no two things to come and go.

Sumi, in a black or pink dress, would still be Sumi. The dress does not change Sumi. Likewise, there is one Brahman, who wears different attires and is addressed differently. Long story short, we should learn to look beyond that names and forms.

to be continued…….

Image:  Internet

 

The Concept of KARMA

“Speech is not what one should desire to understand. One should know the Speaker
  The deed is not what one should desire to understand. One should know the Doer
  Mind is not what one should desire to understand. One should know the Thinker.”
Kanshitaki Upanishad

‘I’ (the Atman) is the one worthy to be known. The ‘I’ who owns the speech, act and thought

Even the 5 Why’s of the Root Cause Analysis will not get you to the root problem of the Karmic cycle. It is like a vicious cycle; your every Act, Thought and Word, has a short-term and long-term repercussion. Instead of getting to the root of this cycle, the ingenious would find a reason to save him from this cycle.

What is Karma?  

KARMA refers to both Action and Reaction.

Karma.png

If we identify the CAUSE, we can CHOOSE to ACT and thereby have control over our ACTIONS but yet never over the RESULTS. [B.G. 2.47,51 ]So, advice is not to cling to the results of the action and to free ourselves.

Good Karma & Bad Karma?

The Gita points out that it is nearly impossible to differentiate between action that is meritorious and action that is not.

Who is responsible for the Karma phenomenon?

Krishna tells us in Bhagavad Gita that “Mayadakshena Prakriti, Suyate sa Characharam” [B.G. 9.10]

The Gita says, in the guidance of the ParamAtma, Prakruti with the help of Gunas creates and maintains everything that you see here. So, God has nothing to do with what you are bestowed here, good or bad.

Will Karma affect you?

If you think YOU are the KARTA (the agent of all kinds of action)then YOU will be the BOKTHA(the receiver of all the results of action).

The divine knowledge is Self-knowledge – YOU are nothing but GOD.

According to Gita, so many things should come together for you to act upon anything. Despite that, only an ignorant man thinks he is the agent behind that action.

What should Guide the MIND?

The INTENT behind the actions is crucial. The Mind should act like an INSTRUMENT, not the DOER. Anything that you do with your mind, body, speech will never be completely 100% good. Think about it, you will know what I am talking about.

Remember EVERY WORK has INADEQUACIES 
[B.G. 18.48] Sarvarambha hi Dosena

For example, everyday chore like bathing also comes with merits and faults. That doesn’t mean people should go without a bath. A man gotta do what a man gotta do ;). Rather than burdening ourselves by Merit or Demerit, every thought/action should be guided by Proper INTENT.

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Since you are not the actor but a witnesser, can you choose INACTION?

Gita says you are neither the body nor the mind and thereby Activity or Inactivity doesn’t exist for you. But the bodily functions has to be maintained, so learn to be an observer (Inaction) in Action. [B.G. 4.18] [B.G. 3.4-8]. Moreover, the action should be performed to clear the MIND and keep it in the Present [B.G. 5.11].

So, if you are the one who believes in KARMA then you are the one who DOES NOT

  • Blame
  • Judge
  • Think you are the DOER nor the RECEIVER
  • Attach themselves over the RESULTS
  • Think everything will remain Constant
  • Have a Troubled Mind over the Consequences
  • Rock as pendulum
  • Act with Expectations

 

Happy Makara Sankranti

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Today is Makara Sankranti. We do have set rituals that accompany these festivals. Do we understand the essence of these festivals or is it too mechanical in nature? Do we have an answer for our kids who would like to know its significance?

 We celebrated Bhogi yesterday at our apartment having a bonfire. Kids just loved it. These festivals indeed bring us all together as a family to mark its importance but the essence of it is lost somewhere. What will our future generations carry forward when the soul of the festival is forgotten? When the spirit is lost, importance also faints. Maybe that is why kids like to be confined in the four walls and play video games than to be on the roof flying kites.

My grandmother once said while you burn old things on bhogi. Do remember to also discard your vices along with the things in the fire. She said this does not only mark a new season but also a new beginning to inculcating good thoughts. It stayed with me. Every time I celebrate it, it reminds me to start afresh at all levels.

Sankranti is the movement of the Sun from Dhanu Rashi into Makara. It sets the completion of harvesting days and calls for an elaborate 4 day celebration. One of the days is marked to recall the role played by the animals in harvesting and in our lives. Forget about paying respects, we indulge in betting on cock fights, bull fights, elephant mela etc etc. We torture them more than respecting them.

 Sankranti in Sanskrit is derived from the word Sankramana meaning commencement of movement. Now “Movement”, that’s an interesting word. Isn’t it? Anything that has life has a beginning and an end. Gita says Jatasya hi Dhruvo Mrutyh,Druvam Janma Mrutyascha. Movement takes place in Space. Now Space is still. So, we can say movement is supported by stillness.

Numerous Planets are hung in that space revolving around that one Sun which makes life possible. Gita says like the Sun that illumines the whole universe, there is only one Atman that illumines the entire field of physical activity (ref:Chapter 13, shlok 33). Movement, however it be, can only be enjoyed by the One who has experienced the stillness of his being. Would you want to disagree on this? If the movements in our lives are unfavourable, we experience lopsidedness. Latest study shows one in every 10 Indians are depressed (ref: article,Times of India dtd 29th March 2015 read”One in 10 Indians depressed and do not ignore the subtle symptoms”). Depression,stress and anxiety are no longer foreign to us. Trying to calm our mind and disciplining it for an hour or so each day will help us to create a balance. Else, we might be forced to get introduced to stillness as we grow old. We should befriend the stillness when we have control on the movement.

We are taught to pay respect to the Sun who contributed to our existence on this planet on Sankranti. Is it not necessary to pay attention to the SELF which is the source of our existence?  Ponder on it.