In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important point that Sage Jada-Bharata has been emphasizing to King Rahuguna that as spiritual seekers, the first step that all of us need to keep in mind is that, we should be able to see all the “Atmans” on the same plane. This implies that there is no real difference between all living beings in this world, as all of us have the same “Atman” dwelling inside! This is what we refer to in our Sanaatana Dharma as “Nishkrishta Vesham”. In due course of our previous episode, we had also witnessed another form of the “Atman”, which is called “Vishishta Vesham”, wherein we differentiate between living beings on the mere basis of our physical body and appearance. This is perhaps the lowest level to which a spiritual seeker can go, and as we move forward from here, we should raise our bars upwards from the “Vishishta Vesham” to the “Nishkrishta Vesham”. This is exactly what Sage Jada Bharata is talking about in his first point to King Rahuguna – The separation between the “Atman” and the “Deham”.
Moving on further thus, we’ve to witness the other characteristics of the “Atman” that Sage Jada-Bharata is talking about here. I’ve already quoted the two slokas through which Sage Jada-Bharata is driving home these points, and for our reference, we shall quote the slokas once again here. Sage Bharata explains thus:
“Aham tvancha tathaanyecha bhootairuhiyaama paarthiva!
Gunah pravaaha pathithaha bhoota vargopi yaatrayam!!
Aatma shuddhaha aksharaha shraantaha nirgunaha prakrithehe paraaha!
Pravrithabhayo naasya chaikasya akhila janthushu!!”
So till now, we’ve witnessed the key narratives of the “Atman” with regards to the first sloka, and now we’re moving on to the second one. Sage Bharata explains the next characteristic of the “Atman” as “Shuddhaha”. This means, the “Atman” is extremely pure and is never affected by the birth-death cycle that one undergoes. In fact, this is the same point which Bhagawan Krishna too emphasizes in His Bhagawad Gita – He says to Arjuna that the “Atman” never gets destroyed. It is a permanent entity, unlike the “Deham” which keeps getting destroyed at the end of every birth, only to take a new “Deham” at the beginning of every birth. However, the “Atman” inside all these physical bodies that we take birth after birth, is something that is permanent in nature and can never be subjected to any form of destruction. Even when we reach “Vaikunta” or the ultimate “Moksha”, our “Atman” would transform itself into “Nitya-Atmans”, which signifies that from that point onwards, we are never going to take births in this world anymore! Thus, we’ve to understand that even when we reach “Moksha”, our “Atman” is still going to exist, and we would get the ultimate opportunity to spend golden time with Bhagawan in our vicinity. Thus, the point here is that, the “Atman” is characterized as “Shuddhaha”, because it doesn’t get affected in terms of purity, unlike our physical body.
Next in the list is “Aksharaha”. This means that our “Atman” never diminishes in size or form. It is only our physical body that keeps growing, and then gradually shrinking in size and appearance as we progress with age. However, the “Atman” always remains “Young” and “beautiful”, and it doesn’t change it’s form, no matter what happens to our physical body. Even if we pass away and when our physical body gets destroyed, the “Atman” gets “transplanted” and “impinged” into another physical body (We take different physical forms owing to the Karma that we possess) in the same way, without any shrinkage, etc.
Subsequently, Sage Bharata talks about the next characteristic – “Shaantaha”. The “Atman” is always calm, composed and beautiful. No external disturbance can really cause the “Atman” to worry or change its state from peace. All these external disturbances are only for our physical body, and not for the “Atman”. For instance, we talk with others, shout at them, vent out our frustration, laugh, feel happy, sad, etc. all through our lifespan isn’t it? Sage Bharata is clearly explaining that all these so-called “feelings” (happiness, anger, sorrow, frustration, etc.) are all for the physical body and not for the “Atman”. The “Atman” sits inside us without getting affected by all what is going on outside. Similarly, even if we get hurt physically or mentally by someone or something, this doesn’t affect our “Atman” in any way. This is why we say that if we’ve to control our anger or frustration over somebody, we should develop the thought process that after all this person is trying to insult our “Deham”, which is anyway subjected to destruction. Nobody can ever insult or scold the “Atman”, which is permanent. If such is the case, what is the point in paying heed to people who are abusing us in any way? Similarly, if we get physically injured also, we should understand that the injury is for the body and not for the “Atman”. If we develop such a thought, nothing can even cause any sort of a pain or discomfort to us!
Of course, it is all easier said than done! 🙂 However, we need to put that meticulous effort to understand and implement these points if we’ve to progress spiritually upwards,, isn’t it? As I always keep saying time and again, putting the effort is very important here and we should strictly abide by this come what may! Of course, this is a slow process, but we should not give up. We should keep trying and trying. So for today, let us understand these important points that we’ve discussed and we shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂