[Advaita-l] Conviction that the Atman is distinct from the body

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Sep 30 23:07:19 CDT 2016

The Maitreyi upanishad says:

उत्तमा तत्त्वचिन्तैव मध्यमं शास्त्रचिन्तनम् ।
अधमा मन्त्रचिन्ता च तीर्थभ्रान्त्यधमाधमा ॥ २१॥

[The highest means is contemplating the Tattva. The middling type is
contemplating the śāstra. The lowly one is engaging in mantra and the
lowest one is pilgrimage]

In the case of Ramana we find this completely consummating. He never spoke
about śāstra vākyas to buttress his anubhava but his contemplation was on
the Tattva the śāstra teach.  The śāstras, on the other hand, spoke of his
anubhava. That is what he re-cognized, pratyabhijnā, when people started
reading vedantic texts in his presence: These books are stating my

It is a case of the śāstra-s conferring prāmānyam to his anubhava.

It is this tattva chintanam that is glowing in his talks. When someone
asked: which is better - avaccheda vāda or pratibimba vāda? Ramana replied:
ellā vādattaiyum viṭṭāl adu tān sari ['transcending all vāda-s alone is

He did not engage in any mantra japa.  He never left Tiruvannamalai once he
came there renouncing hearth and home.  This location was his only
destination and having found it he remained there forever.

Here are two verses from the Panchadashi (Tṛpti dīpa prakaraṇam) of

असन्दिग्धाविपर्यस्तबोधो देहात्मनीक्ष्यते ।
तद्वदत्रेति निर्णेतुमयमित्यभिधीयते ॥७.१९॥

In speaking of himself the common man seems to be convinced of his identity
with the body.A similar conviction about this self as Brahman is necessary
for liberation.This is the meaning of 'this' in ' I am this'.

[The context is the Bṛ.up. mantra The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

   teaches: आत्मानं चेद्विजानीयात् अयमस्मीति पूरुषः । किमिच्छन् कस्य कामाय
   शरीरमनुसञ्ज्वरेत् ॥ (IV.iv.13) [‘If a man knows the Self as ‘I am this’,
   then desiring what and for whose sake will he suffer in the wake of the

An ignorant man says ,'I am this',showing his body;a wise man says ,'I am
referring to his Self. Here knowledge is identified with conviction.

देहात्मज्ञानवज्ज्ञानं देहात्मज्ञनबाधकम् ।
आत्मन्येव भवेद्यस्य स नेच्छन्नपि मुच्यते ॥ ७.२०॥

When a man is as firmly convinced of his identity with Brahman as an
ordinary man is convinced of his identity with the body,he is liberated
even if he does not wish for it.
[This verse is from the Upadeśasāhasrī of Shankaracharya]

The 'Atman' here is the one that is not kartā-bhoktā.

The above verses reflect the experience and state of Ramana Maharshi.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list