Thank you for sharing your analysis Of Atma Bodha. This is an example
of Jnana yoga, the yoga of wisdom. A common instruction is often that
the next step in the "work" should involve taking the thoughts from
the intellectual center, and filling your heart and actions with the
knowledge you have realized. You, of course have nothing to do, or
can do, in the process.
Peace and blessings,
Ramon Sender <rabar@m...>
> Some 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
> 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
> Realization re-affirm the dream world's `solidity' in
> help bring down the light into what Aurobindo terms
> `inconscient matter.'
> 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
> another level `consciousness,' on another `matter'
> 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, let's 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 Bailey's
> 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 Sankaracharya's 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: I'm 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: Let's 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]. I'm a
> little shaky on this division between lower and higher mind, as
> well as what is meant by placing all five -- especially the
> 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
> pounding it.
> Comment: Never heard of `logical reasoning' getting anyone
> beyond their mind, but perhaps it's 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
> discriminating intellect.
> 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 Sakyamuni's 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
> the sky.
> 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
> solar-driven entities.
> 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 body's three centers of
> 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
> into the horizontal energy that we call `love.'When we
> 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
> 25. 26. [These deal with the confusion between the ego
> thinking it is the `knower' and becoming attached and
> 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
> sense organs.
> 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: The"Neti, 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,
> and motionless.
> 36. I Am the Supreme Divinity, and only That, eternal, pure,
> free, one indivisible, blissful, non-dual, Truth Wisdom,
> Comment: Okay, so don't 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
> 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 sun's 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 Plato's 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, it's clearing."
"Hm, a glorious
> and FINALLY
> 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: I'm working on it, yes indeedy. Especially the
> `immortal' part needs fixing, folks.