1. Would you like to join the IL team? See open jobs!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. What can you teach someone online? Tell us here!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. If someone taught you via skype, what would you want to learn? Tell us here!
    Dismiss Notice

What is Atma? - Part 1

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    33,568
    Likes Received:
    3,746
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Female
    The following describes in a nutshell what Atma means. This was stated by the Sage Hasthamalaka:

    Naaha manushyo na cha daeva yakshow

    Na brahmaNa kshathriya vais(h)ya s(h)oodraah

    Na cha brahmachari na gr(u)hee vanastho

    Bhikshurnachaaham nijabodharoopah

    “I am not a man,neither a deva nor a yaksha. I am not a brahmana, kshathriya, vaishya or sudra. Nor am I a brahmachari, not a house-holder or a forest dweller. I am not even a monk. I am the Self whose nature is pure awareness.”

    All distinctions such as a man etc are all based on the body. It is sheer body consciousness born out of ignorance that breeds these distinctions. That pure consciousness which pulsates in the heart of all beings as “I”, is untouched by the body.

    Pure “I” consciousness transcends all time and space. Although the rhythm which pulsates in the heart as “I” seems to be different in each individual, it is in reality non-dual. Due to ignorance, we consider matter as consciousness and consciousness as matter. This mutual superimposition causes the dire malady of body consciousness from where springs forth the idea “ I am a man or a woman, an Indian ... “.

    Atma is light of all lights.
    It illumines the world through sense organs. It is self-evident all the time and because of that alone, everything becomes evident. To take atma as an object, is a big misconception. In our tradition, this self-evident consciousness is revealed by comparing it to light, which is self-luminous. In Vedanta, the term “ illumines” means, that in whose presence things are known. By this reasoning, it follows that every sense organ is like a light as it makes known various sense objects.
    Extending this principle, the “ultimate light” has to be Atma ( consciousness), as it is only because of consciousness that everything else can be known.

    So, we can conclude that Atma is invisible, eternal and infinite. The qualities are:
    1 – Atma is not a part, product or property of the body.
    2 – Atma is an independent identity which pervades and enlivens the body.
    3 – Atma is not limited by the boundaries of the body. It is like space – all pervading and formless.
    4 – It survives even when the body perishes and hence is eternal.

    Atma with example:
    Objects in a dark room cannot be known in the absence of light. If the window is open and a mirror is placed outside the room directed towards the sun, sunlight falls on the mirror, forming a reflection. With the reflected light, the mirror has become luminous and can act as an illuminator of the objects in the dark room. If it is questioned what illumines the dark room, the proper answer would be that it is a combination of sunlight and the mirror.
    While expressing this idea, one may give emphasis to the sun by saying that the sun illumines the room through the mirror and another might emphasise the mirror by saying that the mirror, backed by the sunlight, illumines the room.
    Applying the above example, atma is comparable to the sun and the inert mind of every individual is comparable to the mirror, the world being compared to the dark room. The whole world is seen and experienced because of the two factors, the mirror-like mind and the sun-like atma.
    Now, the question can arise as to why the same uniform light is not reflected from every human being. Well, the reflected light will be clear, only if the reflecting medium is equally clear. The mirror (here, our mind) is so clouded with impurities that the reflected light varies with every individual depending on his or her anatma.

    You can say, either the mind experiences the world backed by atma or atma illumines the world through the mind. When the mind is resolved, as happens in deep sleep, atma cannot illumine the world, though it continues to be self-evident.

    You employ your body, mind and intellect to contact the world. Atma merely animates them. It has little to do with their activities. It serves like electricity in electrical gadgets.
    Electricity activates the bulb to glow and the fan to run; but it has nothing to do with these expressions. Similarly, Atma remains a mere animating principle witnessing our physical, mental and intellectual activities.

    To be continued….

    Love,
    Chithra.
     
    Loading...

  2. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,094
    Likes Received:
    15,323
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Chithra
    That's quite an illuminating treatise on Atma. Paramacharya says, " Moon causes its image to fall on every object equally. It doesnt differentiate between a gutter or a crystal clear pond. But the image we see reflected in the gutter is so distorted while the Pond reflects the Moon in all its true glory and magnificence, almost like the original"
    Sri
     
  3. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear chith,
    Tha atma is clearly explained by the comparison to the sun and electric current.Indeed it is very difficult to explain in short crisp posts but i should say your post delights the layman ready to know something about self.
    Regards,
    Meenu
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    33,568
    Likes Received:
    3,746
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Sri,
    It is my great privilege that no less than a learned person like you has done the feedback Boni ! I cannot thank you enough, Sri.
    Your example is perfect & makes it crytal clear, why each person is different, though the inherent Atma is the same in everybody. The reflecting medium makes all the difference.
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  5. aishu22

    aishu22 Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    109
    Trophy Points:
    160
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Chithra,
    A very simple and understandable example of athma given by you. Enjoyed the posting reading and most of all realising what is athma.

    Thank you,
     
  6. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    33,568
    Likes Received:
    3,746
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Meenu,
    Thankyou very much for joining us here.
    Cheeniya's post is very complementary to my post & explains the concept much more clearly.
    Though abstract, by repeated reading with suitable examples, we understand what Atma (also known as Chaitanyam) is all about.
    Love,
    Chithra.



     
  7. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    33,568
    Likes Received:
    3,746
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Aishu Baby,
    I am thrilled with 3 quick F Bs for the post, which I was dreading the most, to post, believe me.
    We will go the next post and understand a little deeper, next week.
    The second and third chapters of the Gita are full of Atma !
    I cannot thank you enough.
    Love,
    Chithra.



     
  8. vidhi

    vidhi Senior IL'ite

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Chith

    With all the examples given you have very clearly explained about atma. You quote very apt examples every time. That makes it very simple to understand the concept. So you are preparing us for the second chapter of Gita. You would have been really a gift to the students if you have taken the teaching profession.

    Love
    vidhi
     
  9. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    33,568
    Likes Received:
    3,746
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Vidhi,
    Your F B makes me happy that you have understood the concept clearly.
    I was teaching for 2 yrs in a college - thank God I did not continue for long.
    I earned the name "grumpy chithra", very soon. What a difference between that young chithra & the present chatterbox, chitvish !
    Love,Chithra.



     
  10. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    23,654
    Likes Received:
    27,160
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Chithra,

    Wow. What else to say. IT was a beautiful and illustrious thread defining atma.
     

Share This Page