[Advaita-l] Atman the Infinite Brahman
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Jan 22 11:54:02 CST 2013
In the srImadbhAgavatam 11th Canto occurs the delineation of the 24
teachers a sage derives inspiration from. One such teacher is 'space':
अन्तर्हितश्च स्थिरजङ्गमेषु ब्रह्मात्मभावेन समन्वयेन ।
व्याप्त्याऽव्यवच्छेदमसङ्गमात्मनो मुनिर्नभस्त्वं विततस्य भावयेत्॥
|| 11.7.42 ||
antarhitash ca sthira-ja~NgameShu
vyAptyAvyavacchedam asa~Ngam Atmano
munir nabhastvaM vitatasya bhAvayet ||
The sage should contemplate on the space-like nature of the omnipresent
Atman, understanding that the Atman which is Brahman, though present within
all moving and non-moving objects, is all-pervasive and detached.
The commentary of srIdharaswAmin is:
AkAshAcchikShitaM sambhAvanAdvayam Aha—antarhitashceti dvayena |
antarhitashca dehAntargato.api munirAtmano dehAdyasa~Ngam ata
evAvyavacchedaM ca bhAvayet | kutaH ? sthira-ja~NgameShu samanvayena yA
vyAptis tayA | kiM maNiShu sUtrasyeva vyAptiH, na, vitatasya sarva-gatasya
| tat kutaH ? brahmAtma-bhAvena brahma-svarUpa-bhAvanayA | tat tvam asi iti
shruteH | nanvetat sarvaM kathaM sambhavati tatrAha—nabhastvaM tattulyatvaM
bhAvayet | yathA nabhasaH sarva-gatasya na ghaTAdibhiH sa~NgaH paricchedo
vA evam Atmano.api sambhavatIti ||42||
The essence of and the corollaries from the commentary is:
- Space is all-pervasive and the Self too is.
- The verse says: brahmAtmabhAvena which means the sage should
contemplate his own Self, Atman, on the analogy of the all-pervasive space
as something akin to Brahman that is all-pervasive and not something
- The shruti support for this bhaagavatam teaching is: tat tvam asi, etc.
- The identity of Atman and Brahman that is taught in the verse is the
Advaitic teaching in the bhAgavatham shows that the Atman is One only and
not many as there can be only One all-pervading Entity, Brahman.
- There are not many Atman-s as this will be opposed to logic: there
cannot be more than one Infinite Atman.
- The Atman is ever unattached to anything, asangaH
- All sanga is due to guNa-s of prakRti and therefore there is no guNa
in the svarUpa of Atman.
- (In other words, sanga can take place only between two entities that
are endowed with guNa-s.)
- This is brought out by another verse of the Bhagavatam: sattvam
rajastama iti guNAH buddheH na cha AtmanaH
sattvena anyatamau hanyAt sattvam sattvena chaiva hi 11.13.1 (
The Gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tams belong to the intellect and NOT to the
Atman. Through sattva one should subdue the other two and subude sattva
also by means of Sattva itself. There Sridharaswamin comments: If sattva,
etc. are the very svarUpa of the jIva then the teaching (in this very
verse) to be free of them would be meaningless.
- And all sanga will be 'wtih' amAtman.
- In other words, if guNa-s are admitted as one's svarUpa, then one is
nothing but anAtman, jaDa, (kShetram of the Bh.Gita 13th Ch.) and not the
Atman, cahitanyasvarUpa (the kShetrajna) This is because any guNa has to
be a product of sattva, etc. of prakRti, which is jaDa, paratantra,
dependent, on Brahman.
- The scripture is not teaching one to know oneself as the anAtman but
as the Atman which is infinite and free of all guNa-s.
- Realization on these lines alone will ensure mukti/moksha in the true
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