Faith

The eternal atma

The main thrust of scriptural teachings is to make jivatmas aware of the presence of the atma within their physical body and also of its essential nature as sat-chit-ananda. The regard and awareness of the body in every jivatma is always strong and even eclipses the presence of the atma. In the text Laghu Vasudeva Mananam, the author shows with apt examples that the awareness of the atma is latent in all and that when this pervades one’s consciousness in toto, it leads to realisation, pointed out Sri R. Rajagopala Sarma in a discourse.

The Sat swaroopa of the atma is present in the ‘sense of I’ that is central to all individual experience which is bound by the sarira and the attendant karma. The stream of karma and sarira is ‘anadi’, that is, its beginning cannot be traced. One cannot say for certain whether karma is the cause for the sarira or vice versa. This continues to be the eternal riddle of life like the primacy of the egg or the chick. But the sarira is necessary for one’s actions. It is the belief that one’s deeds good or bad, will determine one’s future birth. A bhakta thinks that his bhakti is owing to his past karma; a wealthy person thinks he is enjoying wealth owing to his good deeds in earlier births. One who is interested in Vedanta thinks that he has crossed over to this point and hopes to gain atma jnana.

A mumukshu leads life in the hope that the ‘I’, the atma, would henceforth gain freedom from further birth. But the ‘sense of I’ is always existing in every jiva through every birth, past, present and future. So, the way to salvation is by dissociating the atma from sarira and karma. Srishti, stiti and samhara is for the prapancham and for the sarira and not for the atma at any time. The atma is eternal.


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 11:17:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-eternal-atma/article33431916.ece

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