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doc (Compiled and edited by Jay Mazo, International Gita Society)
ATMA BODHA by Adi Sankaracharya
1. This exposition is written for those seekers after Realization who by spiritual disciplines have exhausted their cravings and realized their errors, and are peaceful, and without attachment. 2. Indeed, compared with other means, knowledge is the sole means of Liberation, as fire is for cooking. Without wisdom, Realization does not result. 3. Action cannot destroy ignorance, as it is not in conflict with ignorance. Wisdom truly destroys ignorance as light destroys dense darkness. 4. Because of ignorance the Atman appears to be conditioned. When ignorance is destroyed, the Atman shines by its own light, just as the sun shines of itself when a cloud is dissipated. 5. The constant practice of knowledge purifies the individual Atman, which was made to appear impure by ignorance. Then, "knowing" itself disappears, just as soap is rinsed off after washing. 6. This round of existence crowded with likes and dislikes and preferences and repulsions, is like a dream which appears to be real during its duration, but is known to be unreal upon waking. 7. The world shines as "real" as long as the Father of Reality, the One, the non-dual basis of everything, is not known. But, this world is an illusion like silver in mother of pearl. 8. The Supreme Lord is the material cause, the universal substratum, of everything. All the worlds rise, exist, and dissolve in Him, passing away like bubbles in water. 9. All of this manifest, manifold world is projected by the imagination of the perceiver onto the eternal omnipresent Sustaining Lord, just as bracelets and other ornaments are made of gold. 10. Like all-pervading space, the Master of the Senses, is mistakenly associated with various conditionings, and appears to be different because of that conditioning, but becomes one again on the destruction of these conditionings. 11. Only because of its association with different conditionings does birth, death, name and stage of life appear superimposed on the Atman, just as flavor, color, and so forth are superimposed on water. 12. It is said that the physical body, (the medium for experiencing pleasure and pain., because of past actions is born of the five-fold division of the five great elements [earth, fire, water, air, and ether]. 13. The subtle body is the instrument of experience and is composed of the five vital energy systems, and the mind, and the discriminating intellect, and the ten organs of perception and action. All these are formed from the rudimentary elements before their five-fold division. 14. It is said that the causal body is unknowable, timeless, indescribable. The Atman should be understood as other than the three bodies (physical, subtle, and causal. 15. When united with the five sheaths [of the food-body (the physical corpus, the vital body (the energy that maintains life., the mental body (the thought-filled mind and ego, the intelligence body (the purified intellect and the bliss-body (the Breath of God.], the Atman appears identical with those five sheaths just as crystal appears blue in association with blue cloth. 16. By logical reasoning the pure Atman should be separated from the five sheaths just as rice is separated from the husk by pounding it.
10974125.doc (Compiled and edited by Jay Mazo, International Gita Society) 17. Although the Atman is all-pervading, it does not shine everywhere. It shines only on the discriminating intellect, just as a reflection in a very polished mirror. 18. Know that the Atman is distinct from all this earthly matter such as body, senses, mind and intellect, and like a king It is a witness of the modes of thought. 19. To people without discrimination, the Atman itself appears to be acting while it functions in the sense organs. In the same way, the moon appears to be running when clouds gather in the sky. 20. Depending on the Divine Energy of Consciousness, the body, sense organs, mind and intelligence are active, just as people engage in their respective activities depending on the light of the Sun. 21. Through lack of discrimination, people super-impose on the stainless Reality [which is Being and Knowledge and Bliss] those qualities and actions of the body and senses, onto Reality, just as blue and the like are attributed to the sky. 22. Just as the tremblings of the water are attributed by children to the moon reflected in the water, in the same way from ignorance the agency of action and other limitations are attributed to the Atman. 23. Attachment, desire, pleasure, pain, and so forth are perceived when the mind is active, but are not perceived in deep, dreamless sleep when the mind is not active. Therefore, these characteristics belong to the mind and not to the Atman. 24. Just as light is characteristic of the sun, and coolness of water, and heat characteristic of fire, so the nature of the Atman is Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. 25. The sensation that 'I know' arises from indiscrimination regarding the blending of the thought-waves of the intellect with the existence/consciousness aspect of the Atman. 26. The Atman Itself does not act, and the intellect alone does not have the capacity to experience consciousness. But the individual, not knowing anything well enough, is deluded into thinking that he is the observer and the worker. 27. Considering oneself to be an individual, separate from all else, one is overcome by fear, as a person who in dim light mistakes a rope for a snake. But, there can be no fear when it is understood that 'I am not the limited, separate ego; I am the Supreme Atman.' 28. As a lamp illumines the inert objects of a windowless room, so too the Atman alone illumines the intellect and the sense organs. 29. As a lighted lamp does not need another lamp for illumination, the Atman, which is the very body of consciousness, does not need another consciousness to know itself. 30. After denying all conditionings thus: 'The Atman is not this, It is not this,' one should realize the Oneness of the individual Atman with the universal Atman, in accordance with the Profound Revelations of the Ancient Scriptures. 31. The body and other visible objects up to the 'Causal Body' are perishable as bubbles. Separate from all these, one should realize thus: 'I am the Attributeless Reality.' 32. I am other than the body. Birth, old age, senility, death and so forth are not for me. I am not attached to the sense organs, such as sound, taste, smell and so on, as "I" am without sense organs. 33. Since I have no mind, for me there is no sorrow, passion, desire, malice, fear or such. Truly the Scriptures teach 'The Atman is without breath, without mind, pure...' 34. The Atman is without attributes, actionless, eternal, without desire and thought, unsullied, changeless, formless, always free, ever pure.
10974125.doc (Compiled and edited by Jay Mazo, International Gita Society) 35. This Atman is like Space, pervading all things without and within, changeless, always the same in all, perfect, stainless, and motionless. 36. I Am the Supreme Divinity, and only That, eternal, pure, free, one indivisible, blissful, non-dual, Truth Wisdom, Eternity. 37. The constant practice, with no other activity, of the impression, "I Am That" destroys ignorance and agitation, as medicine destroys disease. 38. Seated in a solitary place, without attachment, controlling the senses, with undivided attention, concentrate on the Infinite Spirit of the Lord, which is One without a Second. 39. The wise person should by intelligence merge the perceptible world in the One Spirit alone and constantly think of that Spirit as stainless, boundless Space. 40. He who has realized the highest goal, discarding everything else such as form, career, name, kin and so on, becomes the embodiment of Fullness, Consciousness, Bliss. 41. In the Atman there is no distinction such as knower, knowledge, and the object of knowledge, for the Atman is of the very nature of bliss and shines of Itself alone. 42. By the churning of constant meditation, the firesticks of the Divine Atman are kindled and the flame of knowledge arises, which consumes the fuel of ignorance. 43. Just as the Dawn destroys the darkness of the night and the sun then shines in fullness; so after the darkness of ignorance has been destroyed, the Atman shines of Its own accord. 44. Truly, the Atman is always present, yet not realized because of ignorance, just as the sun is always shining, but not known through the storm clouds. When ignorance is destroyed, the Atman is realized, like a missing ornament being found on one's own neck. 45. As a tree stump at dusk may appear from a distance to be a man, so does The Divine Creator Himself appear to be a Person, an embodied soul, through ignorance. But when the real nature of the individual is seen, ignorance is destroyed. 46. The knowledge that is produced by a realization of the nature of Truth instantly destroys the ignorance of the 'concept' of 'I' and 'Mine', just as a wrong notion about directions can be corrected by accurate data. 47. The realized man who has the true knowledge sees with his Eye of Wisdom that the entire Universe is his own Identity as One Divine Reality. 48. This entire objective world is truly the Atman and nothing but the Atman. We should see all as the Spirit, even as we see all ceramic goods as clay. 49. Truly, the man who is liberated while alive, gives up his previous traits of character and attains the state of Reality, Consciousness, Bliss-like the caterpillar who learns to fly. 50. After crossing the ocean of delusion in the ship of Wisdom, and killing the seamonsters of passion, hostility, and greed, the liberated man shines, united with Peace, exalting in the Sweetness and Bliss of the Atman. 51. He who has renounced attachment to all external, illusory happiness, and is satisfied with the Bliss coming from the Atman, ever shines within, like a lamp covered with a clean, clear glass chimney. 52. Still retaining his outer bodies, the contemplative one is untainted by them. Though he knows everything, he remains unaltered under all conditions, and moves about unattached like the wind. 53. When the material coverings of the Atman have been destroyed, the contemplative one is totally absorbed into the all-pervading Universal Sustainer, as water into water, space into space, and light into light.
10974125.doc (Compiled and edited by Jay Mazo, International Gita Society) 54. Realize That to be the Source, the attainment of which leaves nothing to be obtained, the happiness of which leaves no other happiness to be desired, and the knowledge of which leaves nothing more to be known. 55. Realize That to be the Source which when seen, there is nothing else to be seen, which having become, there is no more rebirth in this world, and having known, there is nothing else to be known. 56. Realize That to be the Source which fills East, West, North, South, and above and below, which is the non-dual Existence, Knowledge, Bliss and which is endless, eternal, and One. 57. Realize that to be the Source which is Non-dual, Indivisible, One and Blissful! Realize That by the culmination of all Scripture, which by negation logically deduces the nature of the Source. 58. The concept of a Creator, and the ideal as any other deity, permits only a particle of the unbroken, perfect bliss of the Source, which is proportioned among them. 59. All objects are pervaded by the Source; all actions are possible because of the Source. The Source permeates everything like butter in fresh milk. 60. Realize that to be the Source which is neither subtle nor gross, neither short nor long, birthless and changeless, without form, qualities, status or name. 61. Realize That to be the Source by whose light shine the sun and the other luminous orbs, which cannot be illuminated by their own light, and by whose light all this Universe shines. 62. Pervading the entire Universe inwardly and outwardly, the Source shines of Itself, as the fire that heats a red-hot iron ball shines of itself. 63. The Source is other than the Universe, but there is nothing that is not the Source. If anything appears to be other than the Source, it is an illusion like a mirage in the desert. 64. All that is seen, all that is heard, is the Source and nothing else. After attaining the knowledge of Reality, all is perceived as the Non-dual Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, which is the Source. 65. The Atman as pure Consciousness is present everywhere, but can be perceived by the Eye of Wisdom only. But he who has the eye of ignorance cannot see the shining Atman any more than a blind man can see the brilliant sun. 66. Freed from all impurities by being heated in the Wisdom Fire which has been kindled by Hearing, Reflecting, and Meditating, the individual shines of itself like purified gold. 67. Truly, the Atman, the Sun of Wisdom, which rises in the sky of the heart, destroys the darkness of ignorance, pervading all and supporting all, shines and causes everything to shine. 68. He who renouncing all activities is not subservient to direction, place and time, worshipping at the Sacred Shrine of the his own Omnipresent, Stainless Atman which destroys heat and cold and is Eternal Bliss, becomes all-knowing, all-pervading and immortal.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?