kiLaroLi iLamai - 2 - svarUpa jnAnam - basics

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

In the previous article ( we observed the importance of reaching out to emperumAn/AchAryan when we are young and active.

In this article, let us try to understand the basics of svarUpa jnAnam.

The first step in reaching out to emperumAn is to understand who we are (svarUpa jnAnam). Without understanding who we are, it is impossible to understand anything else properly.

Ours is a thathva thraya samprAdhAyam - there are 3 thathvas (entities) - chith, achith and Ishvaran. 
  • chith is sentient being - infinite number of entities that have knowledge
  • achith is non-sentient object - matter that has no knowledge
  • Ishvaran is the supreme sentient being who is the single/supreme controller of all chith and achith
In this we fall under the chith category since we all have jnAnam (knowledge). The fact that we are controlled by Ishvaran means that we are subservient all the time. So jnAthruthvam (being with knowledge) and sEshathvam (being subservient) are the two most important attributes of jIvAthmAs - to put it in the words of our pUrvAchAryas - that knowledge which makes us realize we are subservient to emperumAn is the main attribute of jIvAthmA.

Our sidhAntham is called visistAdhvaitham - qualified monism. This means, there is one brahmam (paramAthmA) that has infinite jIvAthmAs and matter as body. This is called sarIra-sarIri bhAvam. Just like the body is controlled by the soul (jIvAthmA) from within, the souls are controlled by the supersoul (paramAthmA) from within. This is also called as apruthak-siddha visEshaNam - which means that paramAthmA is inseparable from jIvAthmAs and matter.

It is explained by pillai lOkAchAriar in thathva thrayam, that chith is different from dhEha (body), indhriya (senses), mana (mind), prANa (life air), etc. This can be understood by the fact that
  • dhEham, etc are seen as objects belonging to the AthmA
  • dhEham, etc as seen as mine and AthmA as I
  • AthmA is always felt, while dhEham, etc are felt at times and not felt otherwise - for example, while sleeping we dont realise anything else but when we wake up, we understand that we slept well (or not so well).
  • dhEham, etc are many but AthmA is one (in relation to each individual) - one person has a child body, later adult body followed by older body - but the person remains the same. Same way there are many senses (touch, vision, etc) but AthmA is only one. 
  • beyond all of these, sAstram says that AthmA is different from dhEham, etc and that is ultimate pramANam for the ones who accept sAstram.
In this context we have to understand the terms ahankAram and mamakAram. A simple phrase from vishnu purANam explains these two - anAthmani Athma budhi, asvE sva budhi.
  • anAthamani  Athma budhi is ahankAram - i.e., considering what is not AthmA (dhEham, etc) as AthmA. This ahankAram is the cause for dhEhAthma abhimAnam - thinking that AthmA and dhEham (body) are non-different and acting according to that.
  • asvE sva budhi is mamakAram - i.e., considering some one else's property as our own. mamakAram is the cause for sva svAthanthriyam - thinking that we (AthmA) are our own (independent) instead of thinking that we are owned by emperumAn and acting according to that.
When we get rid of these two (ahankAram and mamakAram) we will automatically get bhagavadh sAkshAkAram. This is explained very nicely by periyavAchAn pillai in his vyAkyAnam for thirumangai AzhwAr's thirunedunthAndakam - pAsuram 22. In this pAsuram, emperumAn tries to convince parakAla nAyaki, since parakAla nAyaki was taken aback by emperumAn's parathvam. emperumAn sings a special tune (naivaLam) which will mesmerize any one and it did mesmerize parakAla nAyaki. So, parakAla nAyaki says "I no longer sees my  own kaivaLai (bangles) and mEkhalai (belt) but see emperumAn's beauty". Here kaivaLai and mEkhalai are compared to ahankAram and mamakAram which are the causes for bondage in samsAram and once they are rid of, we get bhagavadh sAkshAthkAram.
We will see in the next post more about how to get rid of dhEhAthma abhimAnam from gIthAchAryan's own words.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely explained. Excellent post Swamin. Thanks for the Kaimkaryam.