Faith

Atma and Ahamkara

All Sruti texts focus on the ‘Parama Tatparya,’ the highest truth, Brahman, and great thinkers and philosophers have examined the Srutis in detail to arrive at this knowledge and recorded their findings and arguments in their many Prakarana granthas. Advaita Vedanta establishes the one and only transcendental Reality that is not associated with the Prakriti or creation. It asserts that this entire creation is only ‘mithya,’ unreal, having no basis of existence. Dvaita and Visishtadvaita philosophies explain the truth of Brahman in their own ways on the basis of duality between the Paramatma and the created world of beings.

In the important Advaita text Naishkarmya Siddhi, the author argues to show how all the problems of samsara arise owing to lack of awareness of the true relationship between the atma and all else, pointed out Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in a discourse. It is the irony of life that this avidya has no closeness with the atma at any point of time, in the past, present or in the future. But since the atma exists along with this anatma, the sense of ‘I’, the ahamkara experienced by each being leans towards the body mind intellect aspects which are actually independent of the atma. This is explained by the experience of an individual during the deep sleep state which he describes on waking up. When he says “I did not experience anything,” the term Aham is the pure atma alone without any association with the ahamkara. Here the ahamkara is dissolved in the pure atma.

Another example to illustrate how the ahamkara sense is seen as one with the atma though it has no connection with it at all is of the iron which appears red hot when heated. Once the heat is taken away, it reverts to its original nature. Neither the redness nor heat belongs to it.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 12:37:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/atma-and-ahamkara/article32655296.ece

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