Atma Bodha Verse 10,11
Class Notes from Week 6— Oct 12, 2017
Class Notes from Sharmila
Bhagwan Krishna says in Gita Chapter 7 that everything is connected and HE is that common connection, all-pervading (Sutre Manigana Iva), He is the catalyst and the “purpose”. When we cannot see the purpose is when we feel “separate”. How do we get a fuller understanding of this oneness ? — the answer is by reading AtmaBodha.
From shloka 8, we saw that “Reconversion is alone creation”. We are all different but equal; equal because we are all “existence” “awareness”. This existence, awareness is what gives value to valuables.
From shloka 9, we saw that We only experience God; but we should know it (that is have the knowledge of this, Bodha) to benefit from it. When we understand that we all have the same “cause”, that we are all related, then we would all treat each other very differently!
In this shloka, AdiSankaracharya compares the sky/space to God/Infinity. When we stand in the front or back of the ship and stare into the vastness in front of us, we see no shapes or limitations. This space is like Infinity, on which a lot of equipments have come to exist. When the space and water is conditioned, we give it labels. Conditioning is what makes us feel separation — such as good people, bad people etc. Then we begin to think that the conditioning is real ! Assuming labels only makes us weaker and limits us. When labels are broken, what remains is “oneness”. This is the foundation and the fundamental truth, just like the Akshara (or letter) is the foundation for words, sentences, paragraphs and Akshatha , or food is the most fundamental wealth which symbolizes the fundamental blessing!
HrishikeshaH means one who has curly hair that is tied tightly, referring to Bhagwan Krishna.
Another meaning of the word is Lord of the senses (Hrshika — senses, Isa- Lord) or the Life behind the senses.
This shloka hence declares that all conditioning is only “as if” and is not reality!
Sutra for Shloka 10: Colors are colorless
A beautiful representation of the Sutra is that of the color associated with Mother Parvati being red , Mother Lakshmi being pink (white-red) and Mother Saraswati being white — Symbolically representing going from color to colorless!
Acharya Sankara elaborates further on conditioning of Atman and compares it to water which is superimposed with flavor and color.
Conditioning is what makes the hardware different, the software different but the electricity behind it is the same. It is the conditioning on the Atman that makes this one Life force appear as plurality. Species, color etc are just labels, just like the colorless water is given color and taste which is not the inherent nature. There is only one electricity, but manifests differently through different equipments. When we focus on this separation, we are only limiting ourselves and others!
Sutra for Shloka 11: Projections cannot harm
Projections can only harm the ego, but not the SELF. So use the Self as the center or pivot and all else as reference points, not the other way around!
Reflection questions from last week:
How has your outer life changed based on changes in your inner life?
One becomes:Deeper,Simpler, Quieter,Happier (lesser FOMO — Fear of missing out),More focus
What does it mean to be a fundamentalist?
Fundamentalist is someone who knows their priorities
What is the real solution to ending violence?
Have the education that we are not this body; we are more than that!
Notes from CHYK DC — Hopkins
General Class Notes
● Humans and the oneness that connects us are referred to as ‘mani-sutre’. Here ‘sutre’ is the invisible thread that holds the individual pieces (mani — Pearls). Acharya Shankara artfully picks the specific gem, pearl instead of a ruby or a diamond as pearls are opaque and hence one wouldn’t be able to see through them and identify the thread joining them.
● So far, we have seen Acharya Shankara elucidate Oneness/Brahman with 8 common elements of our day-to- day lives
o Sloka 2 :- Fire (Cooking)
o Sloka 3 :- Dark room
o Sloka 4 :- Clouds
o Sloka 5 :- Pool with Algae
o Sloka 6 :- Dream
o Sloka 7 :- Shell (Not silver, but a projection of it)
o Sloka 8 :- Bubbles
o Sloka 9 :- Jewellery
● Oneness is the ultimate Truth, and the separation we experience from all other beings is a result of ignorance of our true nature. Really, all that we experience is God, through and through.
However, we can only benefit from this Truth if we directly and intimately know it. Our nature is independent joy, but we can experience and share this joy only when we know that we are that joy.
yathakaso hrsikeso nanopadhigato vibhuh
tadbhedadbhinnavadbhati tannase kevalo bhavet.
o The first quarter describes how we have conditionings on the space that exists around us. Is the space in Kentucky different from that in Maryland? Does the disputed waters/airspace near South China sea belong to China or International travel/freight?
We address this issue by placing conditionings on space and water bodies by boxing them, thus adding more differences/distinctions to the same entities. Another way we can say this: We place conditionings on space and water bodies, projecting differences and distinctions on to entities that have no difference or distinction.
o People like to spend more time at the front or the rear end of a cruise ship despite the instability caused by the motion, due to the shapeless/relatively less shapes and limitations that the horizon provides. Another way we can say this: because we want to get a glimpse of the limitless horizon.
o The ego projects conditionings onto Brahman, It’s own Existence-Awareness, and thus misinterprets its true nature.When we assign labels to ourselves, we weaken ourselves.
o Once these conditionings are destroyed or dissolved, only Oneness/Brahman remains.
Oneness/Brahman is Akshara, which means indestructible.
o Sutra (1–5 simple English words that capture the essence of a concept): ‘Colors are Colorless’.
▪ Colors are just conditionings. When white light is passed through a prism, we see it as the different colors of the visible light spectrum. In reality, the different colors are nothing other than conditionings/manifestations of white light, which is colorless.
▪ In our spiritual journey, we must progress from the colored to the colorless. This is beautifully illustrated by the garments worn by Mother Durga, Mother
Lakshmi, and Mother Saraswati. Mother Durga wears a red colored saree,
Mother Lakshmi wears a pink colored saree, and Mother Saraswati wears a
white colored saree. In Navaratri, we progress from worshipping Mother Durga (destruction of animalistic tendencies — red), to worshipping Mother Lakshmi (cultivation of the wealth of spiritual virtues — pink), then to worshipping Mother Saraswati (realization of Self-Knowledge — white). The realization of Self-Knowledge is the true victory, Vijaya Dashami, which is beyond all color.
● In the Chandogya Upanishad, a Rishi enlightens his son, who is his sishya. He tells him, “Existence alone was here in the beginning”. His son, like us, was focusing on the differences we project in life, and not on the underlying unity.
● Hrishikesha — A moniker of Bhagwan Krishna. Hrishikesha means one whose curly hair is tied close to the body like dreadlocks (jata). At a deeper level, Hrishikesha means the Lord of Senses. At a still deeper level, Hrishikesha is the very Life behind the senses. By the Light of Existence-Awareness alone, do our sense organs function in the world.
o We all have different hardware and software but the electricity that powers us is one and the same. In Geeta, Lord Krishna mentioned that Atman can be the body. If you go deeper, it can be considered as the mind. If you go even deeper, one can correlate the Atman with Spirit, and at that level Atman/Spirit is the same among all humans.
o Sutra: ‘Projections cannot harm’ — They can only harm the ego but not Sat, the ever- lasting Self.
▪ When we identify with the ego, we have so many reference points by which we identify ourselves. I am my father’s son, I am my patient’s doctor, I am my
▪ Our reference point should be the Self, Existence-Awareness. In other words, we should be our own reference point. This is real independence.
Discussion Question/ Reflection Question
● This week’s discussion questions:
o What is the implication of: “Many finites do not create infinity”?
o What caste systems do we still live with?
▪ We still live with the caste system of social hierarchy associated with inequalities and stigmas of race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.
Last week’s discussion questions:
● What does it mean to be a fundamentalist?
○ A fundamentalist is someone who knows what their priorities are.
● What is the real solution to ending violence?
○ The real solution is to have the knowledge that we are more than this body.
Last week’s Mananam Question
● How is our outer life changed when our inner life changes?
o Our outer life becomes deeper, simpler, quieter, and happier.
o We have less fear of missing out (FOMO).
o Our capacity to focus increases exponentially.
o We ask ourselves: are we all these different things that we think ourselves to be?
Notes from CM — London
Verse 10: Just as space becomes one when the limiting adjuncts are destroyed, so also, the omnipresent Truth becomes one when the upadhis are destroyed.
Verse 11: Just as water assumes flavour and colour depending on the associations, so also, the conditionings of caste, colour, position and so on are superimposed on the Atman.
Summary of sutras so far:
Verse 2: All we need is knowledge
Verse 3: Vision keeps busyness away
Verse 4: I is the original light
Verse 5: Practice makes perfect
Verse 6: Words are relative
Verse 7: Who made Who
Verse 8: All are related
Verse 9: Valuables depend on value
Verse 10: Colours are colourless
Verse 11: Projection cannot harm