Atma Bodha Verse 01
We shall start our journey with the prakaraNa grantha called Atma Bodha. As the name indicates, this text deals with teachings of the Self. I have taken this up first because it is a brief but a brilliant treatise on the subject of the Self. I have based my explanations on the translations of Swami Chinmayananda-ji and the Vedanta press of the Ramakrishna mission. However, the translation has been re-worded by me. Hopefully, this would not violate any copyrights.
Atma Bodha Verse 01 :
tapObhih kshiNapApAnAm SAntAnAm vItarAgiNAm |
mumukshuNAm ApekshyOyam AtmabOdhO vidhIyate ||
For those who have cleansed their sins by austerities, for those who are calm ( or attained calmness ), for those who are not bound to cravings of the body, and for those who seek liberation, to such worthy people, I (ShrI Shankara) compose this teaching on the Self.
This verse is the introductory verse which identifies the purpose and the intended audience. The Great Teacher has laid down certain basic qualifications ( discussed in other works ) and he mentions a simplified version of the same here.
The advaita tradition maintains that only certain people are qualified to take up the study of advaita vedanta. The reason being that the path of advaita is like walking a tightrope across a ravine. One who is not competent to do so would most certainly injure himself/herself. It is out of compassion and regard for such souls that such conditions exist.
What are these qualifications? In other texts, ShrI Shankara has elaborated upon this and presented the four basic qualifications. Here, he has offered a simpler scheme, as follows,
1. Those who have cleansed their minds by spiritual practices such as tapas, japa etc.
2. Those who have attained a degree of mental calmness ( required to contemplate and meditate )
3. Those who have at the very least realized that the cravings of the body are ephemeral.
4. Those who posess a desire for liberation ( moksha ). This is very important!