Episode # 368 – Does the physical body hold the “Atman”? Or…. Vice versa???

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of an important discussion wherein we understood that performing our “Nitya-Karma-Anushtana” aids our path to “Moksha”, but is not something that grants us “Moksha” straightaway. We had also witnessed an analogy to this effect, wherein we compared “Moksha” as the destination that we would like to reach, by driving down the national highway. Our sins are like the obstacles that come about in the national highway while we drive. Our car is like the “Bhakti”, which is the main instrument that is going to take us to “Moksha” ultimately. The underlying point that we should understand from this analogy is that, as we try to proceed through the “Bhakti-Maarga”, our sins would keep on creating obstacles on the path. Eventually, because of our sins, we would start deviating away from the “Bhakti-Maarga”, although we might want to walk that path. This is where, our “Nitya-Karma” helps us in clearing those unwanted obstacles, thus, enabling us to freely walk the path of “Bhakti”, which would ultimately lead us to “Moksha”.

Thus, from all these discussions we understand one basic point here – At any point in time, we should never refrain from performing our “Nitya-Karma-Anushtaana”. Some people would keep telling all sorts of unwanted and negative things about it, but as ardent followers of our “Sanaatana Dharma”, we should never give in to those crap. In fact, we’re witnessing here in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana text, as well as in the Bhagawad Gita that Bhagawan Krishna Himself is emphasizing the importance of performing our “Nitya-Karma” properly. If Bhagawan Himself is laying lot of stress on it, then who are others to deny that? Hence, we should make it a point that we perform all our “Nitya-Karma” without fail. This is what would purify us from all our sins.

As Bhagawan Krishna concludes this discussion thus, He says to Uddhava, “Oh Uddhava! This is the same thing that I had given as an advice to Bhagawan Brahma as well, and I’m now telling all of this to you. Hence, please make sure that you follow my advice meticulously even when I’m not here. It is not important whether my physical form is around you. I’m always within the hearts of my ardent “Bhaktas”, if they’re walking the path that I had laid down to reach me!”

As Uddhava listens to Bhagawan Krishna thus, He is going to explain another important aspect of “Vedanta” to Uddhava. Bhagawan Krishna explains thus, “Oh Uddhava! You should also understand one more thing in this regard. I’ve explained you already that the “Atman” is a tiny and an invisible portion that is present inside all living beings in this world. Now here’s a question – Do you think that this small and tiny “Atman” holds the physical body, no matter how huge it can be, or the physical body is holding the “Atman” carefully inside it? Which is true?”

This is a very important question that Bhagawan Krishna poses here. In fact, it is He who is going to give the answer to it as well. However, before going to the answer, let us understand the question first. It might be a tricky question for us to understand properly. I shall try and explain it in a bit of detail. All of us now know that the Atman is an invisible form of “mechanism” that is activating the physical body, no matter how big or small it is. For instance, we might have a doubt here – Whether the “Atman” for a rat is very small in size and that of an elephant is extremely huge in size? Are there differences in the sizes of the “Atman”? The answer is “No”! Irrespective of whatever the living being – An ant, elephant, human being, etc., the “Atman” is of the same tiny size and is invisible. Size of the physical body doesn’t have anything to do with the size of the “Atman”. Now that we’ve understood this concept, Bhagawan Krishna’s question assumes more relevance now. The question here is “Which is holding what? – The “Atman” holding the physical body or the physical body holding the “Atman”? Which is true?”

In normal scientific sense, a heavier object should hold a lighter object isn’t it? For instance, the size of an elephant is mammoth in nature! The “Atman” of the elephant is extremely tiny, as per what we’ve witnessed above. So, is the mammoth physical body of the elephant holding the “Atman” here? So for today, let us understand this question very clearly and we shall wait for the next episode to find out Bhagawan Krishna’s interesting answer, and the reason why He’s posing such a question! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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