Thursday, March 26, 2015

Atman, a beautiful tale from Upnishad

Atman, a beautiful tale from Upnishad

One day, Prajapati (Brahma) announced that this Atman is free from every kind of evil, unaffected by old age or decay of any kind or death. It has no hunger, no thirst. It's wishes are immediately materialized.

After hearing the proclamation of Brahma the Gods (Devtas) and Demons (Asuras) held conferences separately, discussed about the capacity of Atman to fulfill every wish or desire, and decided to send their Chief, Indra and Virochana for training under Brahma to know this Atman, respectively.

Indra and Virochana, the deadly enemies, didn't speak to the other about the purpose, and both went to Brahma and stayed for 32 years without saying anything, observing austerity, controlling their senses and living a very disciplined life. Then after 32 years Brahma asked them the purpose of their visit. Both replied about his great proclamation of knower of the Atman fulfill all desires, and explained the purpose of coming in search of the knowledge of the Atman.

"The Being which you see in your eye is the Atman" said Brahma. The Being that you see in your eyes, that is the Atman. This is the immortal, this is the abode of fearlessness, this is the Absolute.

Oh, I see, this is the Atman. What is reflected in the eye, concluded both. Then what is reflected in water, mirror is that Atman also? They asked. "It is seen in every kind of reflection" Brahma replied. Then Brahma told them to go and look at themselves in a pan of water and see what is there? They went and saw themselves, from hair to nails, everything they are, reflected in that water. We see ourselves as we are, they answered. "This is the Atman". Brahma said. What you see in your eyes is the Atman, what you see in the reflection is the Atman.

Both were very happy, went back thinking they have known the Atman.

Virochana, the chief of Demons went to Demons and explained I know the Atman, by which I can control all the world and fulfill all your desires. This body itself, what we are here is Atman. It become asuras doctrine of crass materialist and sensualist. They concluded body as Atman and to use it to fulfill desires. They started decorating the body beautifully, cover it with silk, gold, etc, even care for the corpse after the death. This become the fate of Virochana and his followers.

Indra, half way to heaven had doubts, how could this body be the Atman? What is reflected in water or anywhere is the body, and if it is Atman then it would be affected by every kind of defect in which the body is subject. So there would be defective Atman. This can't be called immortal. It goes with the death of body. Where then comes fearlessness and immortality and brahmatva mentioned by the creator? He didn't go to gods (devas) and returned immediately to Brahma.

Indra asked, how can we regard this body as the Atman, when it is subject to these defects? If the body is blind, the Atman will become blind. If body is diseased the Atman would have disease. If the body dies, Atman will die. Reflection can't be the Atman.

Brahma told him to live the life of austerity (severe discipline, self control, and aspiration) for another 32 years, afterwards, he will speak.

After 32 years, Brahma have fresh instructions. "That which you see in the state of dream is the Atman. The Being which rejoices and is happy in the state of dream is the Atman, which is fearless and which is immortal".

Yes this must be so. Indra accepted and went back. Before he reached his palace, he again had a doubt. How could this be? That which is in dream is the Atman? The dreaming individual is not affected by the defects of the physical body but some other defect will be as one is not perfect in dream. One cries, weeps, and sobs when one has painful experiences in dream. This dreaming Atman is no good. He went back to Prajapati and raised his doubt, the dreaming individual is no good at all, it can be affected.

Indra stayed for another 32 years of self control. After 32 years Prajapati instructed Indra again. "Now, I will tell u about Atman that is not affected by the physical body not conditioned by the sorrow of dream and which is blessed in its own state, what is that? He who is in deep sleep state, that is the Atman. This is immortal, fearless, Atman".

Indra got satisfied and returned. But on the way he again had doubts. Atman in sleep, it is zero. It is in darkness, neither know self nor others. This kind of Atman is no good. He again went back to Prajapati, raised doubts, stayed for another 5 years of self control (total 101 years of Tapas).

Then Brahma said, "O Indra, this body is perishable and it is enveloped and overwhelmed by death from every side. How could this be Atman?" Neither the body nor the mind is Atman. Anything finite can't be Atman. Neither the walking individual nor the dreaming individual, nor the experiencer of deep sleep can be Atman. Atman is manifesting through body but it is not identical. The body the vehicle, the mind are conditioned by the vicissitudes of pleasure and pain. There is under current of future sorrow even at the time of present happiness. Bodiless existence is free from the vicissitudes of pleasure and pain. The Atman is Bodiless. Atman can't be thought of by the mind. One has to rise above the physical (walking), subtle (dreaming) and causal (sleeping) conditions, the limitations of the Atman, then one become the true Being. True being is not unconsciousness. It is self luminous light of all lights. Brahma further explained, the Purush, seeing through eyes, smelling through nose, speaking through mouth, hearing through ears is Atman. The experiencer is Atman. Whatever thinks through mind (celestial eye- Divya chakshu) (the Brahma-loka) (the state of mind to the high frequency level of consciousness) also is Atman.

Indra return peacefully and conveyed the knowledge of Atman to the gods(devtas). Whether Indra and Devtas followed the knowledge in the same meaning or not but  if Indra need 101 years to understand, what to speak of ordinary people like us? We are followers of Virochana, the chief of demons, busy in decorations of our body with designer cloths and ornaments and acting for fulfillment of its desires.

After reading the tale, what do you do? Follow Virochana? Or follow Indra? Or follow Brahma?

Atman Bhavatu.

Punamchand
26 March 2015

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