kiLaroLi iLamai - 3 - svarUpa jnAnam - avoiding dhEhAthma abhimAnam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed the basics of svarUpa jnAnam.
Real knowledge about self means understanding the self to be jIvAthma, one who is sEshan to emperumAn. In thiruvAimozhi 8.8.2, "adiyEn uLLAn" pAsuram, an incident from our pUrvAchAryas lives is explained by nampiLLai. A doubt arises in emperumAnAr's kAlakshEpa gOshti - what is the most important quality of jIvAthma? Is it being knowledgable or being subservient to emperumAn. emperumAnAr sends AzhwAn to thirukkOshtiyUr nambi (one of his AchAryas) to find out the answer (he already knows but he wants to establish it through his AchAryan's words). AzhwAn serves nambi for 6 months and finally when nambi asks the reason for his visit, AzhwAn asks the question. For that nambi says "since AzhwAr says adiyen uLLAn, where adiyen represents jIvAthmA here, sEshathvam is the main quality of jIvAthmA". "adiyen" represents subservience to emperumAn - so AzhwAr (who was blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge) thus establishes the real identification of jIvAthmA.

kannan emperumAn as gIthAchAryan spoke bhagavath gIthai to Arjunan. bhagavath gIthai is very special for us since it was directly spoken by emperumAn himself. That is why emperumAnAr wrote a detailed commentary in gIthA bhAshyam and vedhAnthAchAryar explained it further in his thAthpariya chandhrikai. Arjunan came to the battle field prepared to fight but when he saw his guru (dhrONa), grand father (bhIshma), dhuryOdhan (brother), etc on the opposite side, he got overwhelmed with emotions, thinking that why should he fight against his own relatives?. He starts shivering and his gAndIpam slips from his hands. It is explained by our pUrvAchAryas that arjunan is not a common man - when he saw Urvasi (from heavenly abode who will mesmerize anyone), he calls her Mother - such was his control over senses. But even he started thinking that he should not fight his bodily relatives even when they are involved in adharma. Such is the power of this prakruthi, even great personalities can fall into the trap of confusing between AthmA and dhEham.

Seeing arjunan like this, gIthAchAryan first establishes the permanent nature of jIvAthmAs. In most of the 2nd adhyAyam (chapter) in gIthai, emperumAn talks about the difference between jIvAthmA and dhEham. We must understand that we are not the body - if we get that clarity, our activities will automatically be based on what is good for AthmA (instead of what is good for the body).

In slOkam 2.12, which is where gIthai starts really, emperumAn says that "Never there was a time you, I or the (jIvAthmAs who are in the bodies of these) kings did not exist, nor will there be a time when we wont exist". This slOkam:
This is a very important slOkam (emperumAnAr has done a detailed vyAkyAnam in his gIthA bhAshyam for this slOkam) here emperumAn establishes several things:
  • jIvAthmA is different from paramAthmA - since you and I are used.
  • jIvAthmAs are many and unique - since it talks about arjunan and kings specifically
  • we also can understand that jIvAthmAs take different bodies eternally in samsAram (ofcourse until the individual gets the mOskham)
In the next slOkam, 2.13, gIthAchAryan explains that how an intelligent person will easily understand that AthmA at the time of death will take another body just like it goes through various bodies like a boy, adult, man/woman and aged person.
In the next slOkam 2.14, emperumAn explains to arjunan that when our senses (sound, touch, vision, rasa, smell) interact with the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) we feel happiness/distress, heat/cold. We should learn to tolerate such interactions since those are for the (temporary) body only.
In slOkam 2.18, emperumAn instructs arjunan to fight with the understanding that the body which is visible to the eyes is perishable but the AthmA which is inside the body is the one who will enjoy the fruits of the action and that AthmA is permanent.

Finally, in slOkam 2.24, emperumAn explains to arjunan that the AthmA cannot be cut, burnt, dissolved, dried. AthmA is permanent, old (unborn) and he is situated in the heart and spread throughout the body through his dharmabhUtha jnAnam.

Thus, emperumAn clearly establishes the differences between AthmA and dhEham as the first principle for us to understand. If we dont have this understanding and keep thinking that we are this body, our actions will also be not situated properly. For example, if a person is appointed as an Accountant in a company, but if he thinks that he is a Manager and acts according to his thinking, surely he will be doing inappropriate things. Same way, when we have dhEhAthma abhimAnam, i.e., thinking that we are the body and act according to that, the actions will be inappropriate only.

With this understanding, we will move on to the next pitfall to avoid, that is sva svAthanthriyam in the next post.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

1 comment:

  1. Swamy, you have mentioned "emperumAn explains to arjunan that when our senses (sound, touch, vision, rasa, smell) interact with the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) we feel happiness/distress, heat/cold. We should learn to tolerate such interactions since those are for the (temporary) body only"

    Swamy, adiyen would like to clarify on the following :
    (a) When the sense makes contact with a sense object, a feeling of happiness or sadness arises. These are different states of dharma buta gyana. Does this mean the dharma buta gyana of the atma has such a varied composition that the gyana can be of wind, taste, touch, smell, sight etc all of which are of are different from each other and are perceived differently and felt or realized differently?? Is it due to presence of rajo-guna in mind, senses and body that the presence of liking or disliking a particular experience arises?

    (b)We experience lot of distress due to body alone without the senses, like fever, cold, stomach pain, headache, umpteen no of bodily problems. This has no relation with contact of senses with sense objects. How does this samyogam happens? I.e we are atmas, have no parts, have only dharma-buta-gyana as the attr which is spread throughout the body. How come a headache or cut on the body cause us to feel distress? Is this a tool or mechanism structured by Perumal to make us feel happiness or distress due to papa-punya? Like suppose, we are hurt on the leg, and blood comes out, it can happen that we feel a sense of happiness due to this. But this does not happen.

    adiyen ramanuja dasan