Episode # 108 – “I” / “You” signify the “Atman” and NOT the “Deham” – Sage Bharata explains the crux of “Vedanta”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Jada-Bharata’s accord on the key characteristics of the “Atman” and how is the “Atman” different from the “Deham”, which is the physical body. In that way, we’ve witnessed four important characteristics of the “Atman” and in these lines, we had spoken about how the “Atman” is totally devoid of any kinds of “Doshas” in yesterday’s episode. We had witnessed a detailed accord in this regard, and the main underlying message for all of us from this is that, we should learn to face whatever problems that come through, with maturity and with the sense of feeling that nothing is going to affect our “Atman” ultimately. Instead of facing problems head-on thus, the main issue today with many of us is that, we immediately run to an astrologer if we confront any sort of problem in life. This is a wrong practice totally and we should understand here that everybody in this world have their own sets of problems to handle. We’ve to realize that nothing in this world comes easily to us, and we’ve to slog hard for success. Whereas, if we start running towards astrologers for all our problems, there is going to be no end for this. Ultimately, we would become cowards and there is no use in running away from the problems that we’ve to face. Hence, this is something important that we’ve to understand from this point that Sage Bharata is stressing upon. 

Moving on thus, Sage Bharata now answers the initial questions that King Rahuguna had asked. Sage Bharata now gives some expanded answers to the ones that he had given earlier. At that point in time, King Rahuguna was angry and frustrated when Sage Bharata was giving answers. But now, since King Rahuguna is more receptive to understand some important deeper meanings of what he had said, Sage Bharata is trying to give his previous answers a bit more sense, so that King Rahuguna, and in turn, all of us can understand clearly. Sage Bharata explains thus, “Oh Rahuguna! You had asked me as to who had lifted your carriage and why wasn’t it lifted properly, isn’t it? Now let me give you an analogy to explain my answer to you – For instance if we’ve to boil rice, what are the ingredients that are needed for it? We need rice grains, water for the rice to boil in, fire for boiling, firewood for the fire to catch and grow further, a match stick for igniting the fire, and finally Mother Earth (Goddess Bhoomadevi) for resting all the firewood and the pot of rice for boiling. Thus, for anything and everything to happen in this world, isn’t Goddess Bhoomadevi responsible? You might easily say that the rice is boiling in the kettle because of the heat, and finish it there. But I wouldn’t accept such an outward answer. I look at it in depth, to understand what is really responsible for the rice to boil!”

Sage Bharata continues thus, “Oh Rahuguna! Think about this as well – There are so many things which are responsible for the rice to boil, isn’t it? Ultimately, see how Mother Earth is responsible. If something goes wrong in this rice-boiling process, whom would you blame? Would you blame the cook? How can you blame that person, if so many things are responsible for it? Perhaps, the fire wouldn’t have burnt properly, or the rice might have been overcooked! Or, perhaps the kettle would have had some problem. Or, perhaps the firewood which was used to light the fire might have been wet with water, and the fire wouldn’t have generated enough heat to boil the rice! Or perhaps, the quality of water that was used to boil the rice in the kettle wasn’t very good and upto the mark! So if these many things are there in the middle, how do you just put the blame on the poor person and punish him / her? How fair that would be? Similarly in our case also, yes, outwardly it might seem that I was the one who carried your carriage in an undesirable way. But, if it was my shoulder which carried your carriage, or if my hips that were carrying my shoulder, or if my legs that were carrying my hips, or if Goddess Bhoomadevi who was carrying my legs were at fault, what would “I” as an individual do? How would I be solely responsible for this?” 

Sage Bharata continues to give detailed descriptions further thus, “Oh Rahuguna! Next what did you say? You said that I’m well built and tall! I had just explained what is the real meaning of the words “I” / “You” here, isn’t it? The word “I” or “You” signifies the “Atman” and I’ve explained to you that the “Atman” can never grow or decline in size or shape. If you’re saying “You are tall and well-built”, how can the “Atman” be tall and well-built? Isn’t it a wrong perception that you’re having about the “Atman”? This is what I’m trying to point out. Hence, from this, you should understand that the “Atman” doesn’t have the capability to be well-built or tall or well-nourished. All these are attributes of the physical body, which cannot be denoted by the words “I” or “You”. Hence, do not confuse yourself between the “Atman” and the “Deham”. If you’re denoting somebody as “I” or “You”, it only signifies the “Atman”, and never the “Deham”!” 

This is an extremely important narrative that all of us should understand in depth and very clearly. I’ve tried to explain this in simple language, however, I would urge readers to read this episode more than once, so that we would be able to grasp the real  meaning behind what Sage Jada-Bharata is explaining here. We shall go a bit slow in this point because, these are some deep concepts of “Vedanta”, wherein they require repeated introspection and repeated understanding. So for today, let us read and re-read the underlying message that Sage Bharata is trying to convey to King Rahuguna and all of us so that we could understand better! Let us wait till the next episode to continue further from this point! 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 Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, 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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