856comments on Atma Bodha
- Aug 3, 2002Some comments on
ATMA BODHA by Adi Sankaracharya
(apologies for the length, but it seems important to
get this out.)
Quote to ponder while reading this:
"We are as gods and might as well get good at it."
Stewart Brand - Whole Earth Catalog
Although it is true that what Sankaracharya terms this round
of existence is like a dream that appears real as long as what
he names the individual Atman appears impure, we must after
Realization re-affirm the dream worlds solidity in order to
help bring down the light into what Aurobindo terms
Some quotes from Atma Bodha with commentary. I
apologize for the length, but I feel the need to get this out to
7. The world shines as "real" as long as the Father of Reality,
the One, the non-dual basis of everything, is not known.
Comment: When non-duality is understood, everything is
experienced as patterns and vibrations of varying frequencies
of primordial stuff that we call on one level light, on
another level consciousness, on another matter and flesh
and so forth.
7. (cont.) But, this world is an illusion like silver in mother of
Comment: Perhaps more a reflection in the Pool of All
Possibilities of the solar world above?
8. The Supreme Lord is the material cause, the universal
substratum, of everything.
Comment: Although this is no doubt true, lets not leap to
conclusion above and beyond our tiny capabilities, as mere
atomic flecks in the eye of our solar parent. The only Supreme
Lord with whom we are capable of union, in my humble
opinion, is the Solar Logos (as named in Alice Baileys
writings and elsewhere).
8. (cont) All the worlds rise, exist, and dissolve in Him,
passing away like bubbles in water.
Comment: I would change the above to read, All the planets
and asteroids and comets in our System rise, exist and dissolve
in Him, ultimately passing away like bubbles in His Pool of
Possibilities. Keep in mind that in Sankaracharyas world
view, worlds may not yet have been sorted out into star
charts, and distances measured, astronomically speaking.
9. All of this manifest, manifold world is projected by the
imagination of the perceiver onto the eternal omnipresent
Sustaining Lord, just as bracelets and other ornaments are
made of gold.
Comment: I would prefer to state the above is projected by
the overwhelming light-love-consciouessness OF the eternal
(to us) omnipresent (also to all solar system residents)
Sustaining Lord SUN, just as bracelets, etc. are made of gold,
SO ARE WE ALL MERELY SLOWED DOWN SOLAR
LIGHT (to quote Ram Das).
10. Like all-pervading space, the Master of the Senses, is
mistakenly associated with various conditionings, and
appears to be different because of that conditioning, but
becomes one again on themdestruction of these conditionings.
Comment: Im unclear how the simile works -- all-pervading
space = various conditionings. But the gist is of course that the
ATMAN, the Solar Consciousness, assumes various
conditional guises and roles in the individual planetary
11. Only because of its association with different conditionings
does birth, death, name and stage of life appear superimposed
on the Atman, just as flavor, color, and so forth are
superimposed on water.
Comment: Right on.
12. [description of the physical body as the medium for
13. [description of the subtle body as the instrument of
14. [description of the causal body as unknowable, timeless,
indescribable] The Atman should be understood as other
than the three bodies (physical, subtle, and causal.
Comment: I would once again define the Atman as one and the
same as the Solor Logos, residing in the heart of our star.
15. When united with the five sheaths [of the food-body --the
physical corpus, the vital body, the mental body, the
intelligence body and the bliss-body (the Breath of God)], the
Atman appears identical with those five sheaths just as crystal
appears blue in association with blue cloth.
Comment: Lets look at these sheaths more closely. We have:
the physical (the cells), the vital (sugar-oxygen absorption by
the cells), the lower mind (thoughts and ego), higher mind
(purified thoughts) and the Bliss Body [Mind of God]. Im a
little shaky on this division between lower and higher mind, as
well as what is meant by placing all five -- especially the Bliss
Body-Mind of God within the so-called food-body, but
perhaps this will become more clear further along.
16. By logical reasoning, the pure Atman should be separated
from the five sheaths just as rice is separated from the husk by
Comment: Never heard of logical reasoning getting anyone
beyond their mind, but perhaps its possible for some?
17. Although the Atman is all-pervading, it does not shine
Comment: I think it does penetrate everywhere, but is occulted
in the most dense levels of matter.
17. (cont) It shines only on the discriminating intellect, just as
a reflection in a very polished mirror.
Comment: Its reflection can be best perceived by the
18. Know that the Atman is distinct from all this earthly matter
such as body, senses, mind and intellect, and like a king It is a
witness of the modes of thought.
Comment: Tat Sat - truth. The Solor Logos is Witness to All.
Thus when we tread Sakyamunis Middle Path, balancing our
awareness equally between the perceived and the perceiver, the
Inner and Outer Awareness, we triangulate and merge with the
apex of the triangle, the Witness/Solar Logos/Atman, but only
its reflection in the Pool of Possibilities.
19. To people without discrimination, the Atman itself appears
to be acting while it functions in the sense organs. In the same
way, the moon appears to be running when clouds gather in
Comment: The Solor Logos remains forever beyond.
20. Depending on the Divine Energy of Consciousness, the
body, sense organs, mind and intelligence are active, just as
people engage in their respective activities depending on the
light of the Sun.
Comment: The light of the Sun IS the Divine Energy of
Consciousness. They are not separate. Even in the darkest
night the Solar particles penetrated and imbue every corner of
our planetary reality with consciousness-light-life. We are
21. Through lack of discrimination, people superimpose on
the stainless Reality [which is Being and Knowledge and
Bliss] those qualities and actions of the body and senses, onto
Reality, just as blue and the like are attributed to the sky.
Comment: Amen, bro! Although the Sat-Chit-Ananda triangle
again has its reflection within the bodys three centers of lower
belly, heart node and central brain capsule.
22. Just as the tremblings of the water are attributed by
children to the moon reflected in the water, in the same way
from ignorance the agency of action and other limitations are
attributed to the Atman.
Comment: The Solor Logos, ever undefiled, penetrates all
dimensions and layers of the System. However in the densest
layers it can merely be perceived as a reflection of a reflection -
- a distant echo of its purest self.
23. Attachment, desire, pleasure, pain, and so forth are
perceived when the mind is active, but are not perceived in
deep, dreamless sleep when the mind is not active. Therefore,
these characteristics belong to the mind and not to the Atman.
Comment: All events can be witnessed by the Atman, but the
Atman is not sullied by these.
24. Just as light is characteristic of the sun, and coolness of
water, and heat characteristic of fire, so the nature of the
Atman is Existence, Consciousness, Bliss.
Comment: Okay, the Solar Logos is all three, so the Atman is
the Solar Logos - what we call the sun, our creator star.
Light is universal consciousness filtered through the heart of
our star, who burns out of love for his/her children. This light
enters our being as a vertical beam that our hearts transform
into the horizontal energy that we call love.When we balance
ourselves on the Middle Path, we become aware of this
ongoing transformative process, which we then realize is the
ocean of bliss into which we merge every night in deep sleep.
25. 26. [These deal with the confusion between the ego
thinking it is the knower and becoming attached and fearful
of death and dissolution.]
27. (cont) But, there can be no fear when it is understood that
'I am not the limited, separate ego; I am the Supreme Atman.'
Comment: All we are is patterned sunlight, and at the core
eternally united with the Solar Logos, whether aware of it or
28. As a lamp illumines the inert objects of a windowless
room, so too the Atman alone illumines the intellect and the
29. As a lighted lamp does not need another lamp for
illumination, the Atman, which is the very body of
consciousness, does not need another consciousness to know
30. After denying all conditionings thus: 'The Atman is not
this, It is not this,' one should realize the Oneness of the
individual Atman with the universal Atman, in accordance
with the Profound Revelations of the Ancient Scriptures.
Comment: TheNeti, neti path (not this, not this) is one of
several classical pathways to the Supreme.
31. The body and other visible objects up to the 'Causal Body'
are perishable as bubbles. Separate from all these, one should
realize thus: 'I am the Attributeless Reality.'
Comment: Okay, A.R., so what are you going to do about it?
32, 33 [further elucidate that I am not the body, the mind, the
sense organs, etc.]
33. (cont) Truly the Scriptures teach 'The Atman is without
breath, without mind, pure...'
Comment: This may be a reference to the highest states of
Samadhi in which there is no perceptible breath and just the
faintest of heartbeats in the Realized One. Open-eyed, fixed
gaze is another aspect of this state.
34. The Atman is without attributes, actionless, eternal,
without desire and thought, unsullied, changeless, formless,
always free, ever pure.
Comment: We now must ask What remains to be
accomplished after realizing the Self? Aurobindo teaches here
that we must surrender ourselves to the descending Mother
Force, and work for the divinization of our material cells.
35. This Atman is like Space, pervading all things without and
within, changeless, always the same in all, perfect, stainless,
36. I Am the Supreme Divinity, and only That, eternal, pure,
free, one indivisible, blissful, non-dual, Truth Wisdom,
Comment: Okay, so dont bogart the chillum!
37. The constant practice, with no other activity, of the
impression, "I Am That" destroys ignorance and agitation, as
medicine destroys disease.
Comment: But I Am That should also destroy disease, and
this is where the pedal hits the metal. None of the great saints
and yogis of the past have been able to succeed in finally
merging the inner and outer lights in a scietifically verifiable
manner -- that is, out in public. I understand that there are
those Arhats in the Himalayan caves who rumor has it are able
to survive on light and air, and Tibetan lamas who have been
described as having made amazing body transformations, but
none of this has entered a scientifically verifiable state, and
must remain hearsay.
All I know is that even the most realized and truly saintly
beings such as Ramana and Ramakrishna finally succumbed to
mortality. Even Sri Aurobindo and Mother Mira, who fought
heroically to bring down the light, only survived to their
eighties and nineties.
So far, then, death is not conquered. You can argue whether it
ever SHOULD be, what with the population crunch. As my
mother used to say, Think of the nightmare of a world where
no one ever died!
But I believe that Gaia, as a conscious entity, yearns to be
transfigured. Just what this transfiguration of matter will entail
remains shrouded in mystery, but I am convinced that there is
both a spiritual evolution and the devolution occurring, the
aspiring of life towards the sun and the suns coming down
onto the planet in the form of great teachers and avatars, that
demonstrate in their own bodies the possibilities of conquering
both fear and suffering, but ultimately death itself.
38 thru 42 [instructions for attaining the state of Sat-Chit-
43. Just as the Dawn destroys the darkness of the night and
the sun then shines in fullness; so after the darkness of
ignorance has been destroyed, the Atman shines of Its own
Comment: This is a very moving image, and to me refers to a
time when heaven comes to earth for all beings.
44. Truly, the Atman is always present, yet not realized
because of ignorance, just as the sun is always shining, but
not known through the storm clouds. When ignorance is
destroyed, the Atman is realized, like a missing ornament
being found on one's own neck.
Comment: I always find it amusing that when the teacher
attempts to describe the very highest states, the image of the
sun always appears, at least as a symbol of the Truth. How
ironic that we must always abstract away from Reality to create
yet another reflection in ignorance of what really exists.
Prayer: I acknowledge you, oh Beloved Solar Being, as the root
and cause and energy of my self on all levels of my existence. I
celebrate you with every breath I draw, with every beat of my
heart, and can only surrender my own highest self at your lotus
feet, for You are the Atman energy that drives our local
universe that we call our Solar Home. What lies beyond You
is beyond my ability to know, at least until I achieve total union
with your brilliance on all levels of my being.
Although my only desire is to dissolve into your heart, I take
on the task of planetary living to devote myself to transmuting
your rays into love beams for the good of all beings
everywhere, and to work for the divinization of this form to
prove that if I can do it on this my first birth into a planeary
body, and despite having accrued a heavy burden of karma
through various, then anybody can!
45 through 53 [further descriptions of the realization of the
54-65. [A beautiful hymn to the Atman, which of course I
believe should be applied to the Solor Logos]
Comment: Although there is nothing to be attained after
attaining this experience, there is still work to be
accomplished planetside. Yes?
Some little snippets that close the gap between the symbol and
the reality, in my view:
65. ... But he who has the eye of ignorance cannot see the
shining Atman any more than a blind man can see the brilliant
Comment: Think of Platos story of the people in the cave.
Think of how most people walk around in a trance, although
some part of their awareness is always interacting with the sun
(Hm, cloudy, today. Hm, its clearing. Hm, a glorious
67. Truly, the Atman, the Sun of Wisdom, which rises in the
sky of the heart, destroys the darkness of ignorance,
pervading all and supporting all, shines and causes
everything to shine.
68. He who renouncing all [UNCONSCIOUS] activities is not
subservient to direction, place and time, worshipping at the
Sacred Shrine of the his own Omnipresent, Stainless Atman
which destroys heat and cold and is Eternal Bliss, becomes
all-knowing, all-pervading and immortal.
Comment: Im working on it, yes indeedy. Especially the
immortal part needs fixing, folks.
- Next post in topic >>