Friday, March 31, 2006

Sloka 15 and 16


ghaTadraShTaa ghaTaadbhinnaH sarvathaa na ghaTo yathaa .dehadraShTaa tathaa deho naahamityavadhaaraya .. 15..

Pada artha:
Yatha: Just as
Ghata-drushta: a seer of a jar
Sarvatha: is by all means
Ghataat bhinnaha: distinct from it
Na: and by no means identified with
Ghataha: it
Tatha: so
Aham: I
Deha-drushta: the seer of this gross body
Na: am not
Dehaha: the body
Avadhaaraya: ascertain
Iti: this

Just as a seer of a jar is, in all respects, distinct from it, so know it for certain that you, the seer of the body, are by no means one with it.

The guru here demonstrates to the student as how the body is different from the Self through the example of a jar. Here the guru is reinforcing his statement by telling the student to know it for sure that just as the jar is different from the seer so is the body different from the Self. It is our experience that a person seeing the jar will be distinct from it at all times. If the jar or pitcher and the seer were the same then, one can never say I see a Jar, I see a pot etc. Hence there has to be difference between the jar and the seer. Similarly, one can never say “I am changing” or “I see myself”, etc. even for that to happen there has to be a reflection (which is also nonself) or something other than Self has to be referred to. The body is seen and witnessed as undergoing all changes. Hence there must be someone else to ascertain its presence and to witness the changes.

Thus by logic and experience we know that the witness is always different from the object being witnessed. Hence, the body and the intellect that undergoes changes and being seen have to be different from the seer and that seer is but the Self. The guru is thus explaining to us the nature of the body as non-self by explaining the Self as witness to all objects and actions.

Also it is important to remember here that just because a body is seen and is different from the Self as we have learnt, WILL NOT imply that that objects and in general, the world really exists apart from Self. The illusory and impermanent nature of the body and in general, the world itself has to be remembered when we are analyzing this sloka. The body is definitely distinct from the seer which is the Self, but is also not the Self as it is ILLUSORY and IMPERMANENT in nature. Hence a seeker has to always remember that there is one and only one thing present, the Self. All the external objects seen and perceived have to be known as illusory and unreal and hence non-Self only.


evamindriyadR^iN^naahamindriyaaNiiti nishchinu .
manobuddhistathaa praaNo naahamityavadhaaraya .. 16..

Pada artha:
Evam: in this way
Nishchinu iti: come to the conclusion
Aham: I am
Indriya-druk: the seer of the senses
Na but not:
Indriyaani: the senses
Avadhaaraya iti: and also come to the conclusion
Aham: I am
Na: neither
Manaha: the mind,
Budhihi: the intellect
Tatha: nor
Pranaha: the vital force

Thus ascertain that you, the seer of the senses, are not the senses themselves; and know for certain that you are neither the mind, nor the intellect nor the vital forces.

In the previous slokas, the guru explains the nature of the body and the internal organs as different from the Self and that the Self is but a witness. In this sloka, the Guru is again repeating the words as asking the student to ascertain that the seer of the senses is not the senses and hence different from them. Similarly Self cannot be the mind, intellect or the vital forces, i.e the internal organs.

We can see that the Guru is explaining the same concept again and again, but we also have to grasp the relevance of repetition here. For a student who is not clear of the illusory nature of the body and still considers Self as embodied, it is necessary to propound the reality in many ways clearly, many times. This is what we see here. The guru in the first slokas said that “you are Tvam and Tat is Brahman” but the student still unconvinced requests the teacher for a detailed explanation. The Guru then resosts to logic and experience as we saw in last sloka.

Just like the pitcher different from the seer, the guru reinstated his statement that the body is different from the Seer. Here he extends the same to all the senses and the internal organs. The seer can never be the seen and the act of seeing; the hearer never be the heard and the act of hearing. Thus, the senses of hearing, seeing etc are always different from the one who is sensing them. The seer can never see himself, in other words, the object and its witness are distinct and unique and can never be identified.

There is always a witness to all the changes and the senses and internal organs are just like the tools that sense the external objects. A seeker thus has to discriminate between Atman and anatman by knowing the real nature of the Self. One has to know that I am not the senses nor the intellect nor the mind but I am that which is the witness to all these illusory objects and changes.

The guru thus is asking the student to be certain, to remove all the doubts on the nature of the Self and know for sure that Self is not the gross or the subtle bodies. In the next slokas, we will learn how the Guru explains this again in many ways.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God


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