Upanishad | Teachings
|Nature of the Soul|
The Aatmaa pervades all like butter hidden in milk. He is the source
of Self-knowledge and ascetic fervor. This is the Brahman teaching,
the highest goal. He who with the truth of the Aatmaa, unified, perceives
the truth of Brahm as with a lamp, who knows God, the unborn, the stable,
free from all forms of being, is released from all fetters. The inspired
Self is not born nor does He die; He springs from nothing and becomes nothing.
Unborn, permanent, unchanging, primordial, He is not destroyed when the body
There is a spirit which is pure and which is beyond old age and death;
and beyond hunger and thirst and sorrow. This is Aatmaa, the spirit in
man. All the desires of this spirit are Truth. It is this spirit that
we must find and know; man must find his own soul. He who has found and
knows his soul has found all the worlds, has achieved all his desires.
What you see when you look into another person's eyes, that is
the Aatmaa, immortal, beyond fear; that is Brahm.
Now, the teaching concerning the Aatmaa: the Aatmaa is below, it is above,
it is behind, it is before, it is in the South, it is in the North. The Aatmaa
indeed is all that is. He who sees, reflects and knows this -- he has joy in
the Aatmaa, he plays with the Aatmaa, he unites with the Aatmaa, his is the
bliss of the Aatmaa. He becomes free and is free to move in all the worlds. But
those who think otherwise are ruled by others and their worlds are perishable. They
are bound in all the worlds.
There are five subtle elements (Tanmaatraa) and these are called elements.
There are also five gross elements, Mahaabhoot, and these are also called elements.
The union of these is called the human body. The human soul rules the body;
but the immortal spiritual soul is pure like a drop of water on a lotus leaf.
The human soul is under the power of the three constituents and conditions of
nature, and thus it falls into confusion. Because of this confusion the soul
cannot become conscious of the God who dwells within and whose power gives us
power to work.
He who dwells in the light, yet is other than the light, whom the light
does not know, whose body is the light, who controls the light from within
-- He is the Aatmaa within you.
The three impurities are Anav, Maayaa and the one caused by actions.
Pure consciousness, taking form as knowledge and action, is present in the
soul everywhere and always, for the soul is universal in its unfettered
When the state is attained where one becomes Shiv, the Mal -- the
bonds diverse, mental states and experiences that arose for the
individualized soul -- will all fade like the beams of the Moon in the
presence of the rising sun.
When Jeev attains the state of neutrality to deeds, good and evil, then
does divine grace in Guru form descend, remove attributes all and implant Gyaan that is unto a heavenly cool shade. The Jeev is without egoism, and
the impurities three are finished. He is Shiv who all this does.
In the primal play of the Lord were Jeev created. Enveloped in mighty
they. Discarding them, they realized themselves and besought the feet of
their hoary Lord. Thus they became Shiv, with birth no more to be.
A goldsmith fashions several ornaments out of gold. So God, the great goldsmith,
makes many ornaments -- different souls -- out of the one Universal Spirit.
The Aatmaa is eternal. This is the conclusion at which great souls have arrived from their
experience. Let this truth become well impressed in your mind.
Ordinary Man's Views
(There are two very similar words Brahm and Brahmaa. The first is in neuter gender and is the ultimate reality. The second is masculine and refers to the progenitor. I owe this clarification to another Tirupati lecturer on Dwaitvaad. Being a Vaishnavite he called the latter the “son of Naaraayan”. I do not accept the "son" part.
Brahmaa is an independent part of the Hindu trinity of Godhead. He is the father of all life systems embedded in the Padmanaabh icon and (hence of Vishnu).
(I am not able to name the lecturer. The bureaucratic practice of crediting all the superiors in the department makes it difficult to know who deserves the credit or who is the actual speaker? Tamil Channels go farthest and mention the Driver of the vehicle also. Socialism cannot go farther down.) According to the Tirupati lecturer, Tvam refers to the Aatmaa as distinct from the body. He said the two are different. If this is the 'qualified' part, then I feel it is wrong. Vishisht A-dwait has no rationale to the claim of an independent system.
Another Tirupati lecturer on Dwaitvaad gave a different twist to "Tat tvam asi". He somehow arrived at "tat tvam na-asi" and said the soul and Brahm are different. The difference is the cornerstone of Dwait.
(Digressing, I quote an atheist friend who said that it is not "chaaturvarnyam maayaasrishtam" . He added another "a" and described it as "chaaturvarnyam maayaa-a-srishtam".)
The Aatma concept had troubled me for a long time. Even now all my doubts are not removed. What is the Aatmaa or the soul? Where does it reside in the body?
provided an absurd answer. It says that the Aatma has the
of a thumb and stays in the heart cavity.
This cavity part is also mentioned in Taittireeya Upanishad.
pervades the entire body. It is the one that is directly or indirectly
responsible for termination of life. The idea that Praan is the Aatmaa,
does not solve all the problems. But it is
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 12/19/12