Q: What is a Holistic vision?
Ans: Holistic vision is also called ‘helicopter view, or bird’s eye view’. If we sit inside the plane while on a runway, we can only see a very narrow stretch outside but when we fly high, we have a bigger picture. Similarly it is important to have a bigger picture of any situation before we make a decision. Every situation must be seen from a variety of perceptions. The world is different for a young child, for an adolescent and to an older person. Perception also changes based on generations, exposure and life’s experiences. Taking into consideration different viewpoints, helps us to make an objective, unbiased decision instead of one’s own opinion alone not only in spiritual but also in worldly life.
Q: What’s the nature of this Self?
Ans: Lord reveals the atma in verse 20
It existed in the past but is always new. Atma is not destroyed even when the body is destroyed. All the modifications that happen to the objects of this universe,but not on I the Self.
Q: What is Self, Atma or Consciousness?
Ans: Do you ever wonder any time, when you say, ‘my hand hurts, my legs are strong, my thoughts are positive’, who is that ‘my,me?’ Who am I?
When there is one hole in a balloon, the air escapes, Have you ever stopped to think how does the air goes in and out of something with nine holes? That’s our body. How is that possible? Can you create one such equipment? A newborn with all the systems functioning, with a thinking mind and an intellect that can make decisions?
That which enables your eyes open, that which triggers your hand to feed you, that which activates your legs to transport you, that which energises the mind to think thoughts, that which enables your intellect to make decisions is all due to that ‘presence’, without which none of these is possible. We can call it with any name.
Atma, Self, Consciousness, God, Lord, power are all the words describing the indescribable. These words are only sounds.
“I”, knower of the change, is seeing the change happening in this body, mind and the world outside. Since every ‘this’ is seen, heard, tasted, smelt or felt, the ‘I’ is different from all of them and therefore the seer, the witness of all actions, “I” is changeless.
Avinashi.. Indestructible: Eternal, ever existing. The five elements keep modifying.. The atoms and molecules keep changing whereas the Atman does not modify, it is Indestructible, pervades everything.
Idham and aham. ‘This’ and ‘That’.
‘Idham’ is all experiences, “aham” is the experiencer.
‘aham’ pervades all ‘idham’. You cannot experience the world without experiencing your Self.
There cannot be an experience without the subject. I see, I hear, I touch, I taste…
We cannot do any of these without ‘I’. Nothing can be known without ‘I’. A subject is required for experience of this world. So every experience of this world is due to “I” in all. “I” pervades this entire world.
Who is that ‘I?’ Because we associate with this body, it is very difficult to comprehend that ‘I’ pervade everything. For ex: The space inside the pot seems limited within the pot but in reality the space inside and outside, is the same in the world, universe, galaxy.
Avyayam: Atma cannot be destroyed. It is imperishable, there is no loss of diminishing value.
Destruction of the self is impossible. Even people who commit suicide do so only to the body, the atma is indestructible.
The nature of the body is to constantly change, constantly dance ultimately comes to an end, dismantled and disintegrated. The same materials goes to make some other body. This cycle goes on and on.
Aprameya… prameya is that which can be known through pramana, through some means of knowledge, an instrument or equipment. Color is seen by the eyes, music is heard through ears,. Eyes and ears are the means of knowledge,
That which is known is ‘prameya’
Pramata is the knower
Pramana is the instrument
Prameya.. That which is known
To know anything, we need an instrument but Atma is aprameya… cannot be known by any means of instrument..
If it is known, then you, the knower is different from the known.
Q: What are the means of any knowledge?
Ans: There are six modes of instrument, six means of knowledge that we use to know anything in this universe.
- Thru Senses (prathyaksha praman)
Thru inference smoke reveals fire (Anuman praman)
Thru comparison, comparing the metals in Mars to what we know in earth (Upamanam)
Thru the words of a realized master (Sabhdha praman)
Thru studying the effect we understand the cause, like health ( Arthaa patthi ex:flood reveals that there was rain)
Thru unavailability, by knowing nothing is there, they know nothing is there. By negation in blood test negative for certain things (Un upalapthi)
All the scriptures are sabhdha praman (mode of sounds), those who have realized atma, are verbalising it to us. We cannot see it, we cannot infer it. we cannot compare it but only by the words of a realized master one can know atma then realized that we are atma, the true nature.
Sabhdha praman (what is verbalised) is not to gain the knowledge of the Self but to remove the misunderstanding of the Self. By the study of scriptures from a guru, all misunderstandings go away and self reveals itself. It is Self shining, (svayam prakashaham).
Ananda… It is happiness, not because of something.
Self is consciousness by itself not conscious of something!
Anadhi..with no beginning
Anantham with no end.
Nithyaha eternal, Atma is not born, it doesn’t die ever. There is no punarjanma, rebirth for atma. Atma doesn’t undergo reincarnation, Ajaha unborn.
Puranaha..pura api navam ancient yet new at all the time.
Q: Explain karma yoga
Ans: Karma is an action but karma Yoga is an attitude with which you do any karma.
Everything happens in space. Space doesn’t do anything, it does not trigger any action on any thing. But there is something that makes everything happen in space. All the planets are in space, rotating, revolving but the space isn’t doing anything.
Similarly everything is happening in that Self but the Self itself is not the doer.
The doing happens in the level of the body, in the level of the mind, because of the gunas. The ego is the doer, not the Self. like the vehicle moves because of the gas but the gas doesn’t take the car anywhere. The same atma is present in every being.
Asangaha… atma remains unattached..atma is not a ghost, it is not an object existing in this body, in between the eyebrow or in the heart. Atma doesn’t fly out when the body dies, like shown in movies!
It is all pervading.. It cannot move in space. Space also exists in THAT.
One who thinks I’m the doer of action or the action is done on me don’t know the Self. It remains untouched in all circumstances.
Q: What are the changes that happens to all bodies?
Ans: Before the physical body is born, it exists as a materiel in parent’s body. There is no “I” at that time.
That material foetus is born with a shape. grows, modifies, decay, die.
Every body undergoes six modifications: Asti, jaayathe, vardhathe, Veeparinamathe, apaksheeyathe, vinashyathi
Exists, born, grows, modifies, decays and dies.
Atma is untouched by time. It doesn’t get modified by time. For ex.. In a movie we see the little child grow into an adult and achieve lots of things, getting old, handing over to the next generation but the screen behind is the same. That doesn’t change a bit. Similarly atma does not experience any modification.
Q: What does it mean that Self is the witness in all?
Ans: When we see a mirage, we see water. We also see the movement of water but actually, there is no water at all. Similarly Self appears to be acting. Self is not the doer.
Also, the moon appears to be moving but when in reality, the clouds are moving. The moon is stationary. We superimpose the idea of the movement of the clouds on the moon.
Similarly, the actions are happening at the level of the body, the mind and outside the body. Atma, the pure Self, is not the doer of any action. In its very presence all actions happen through the body, mind and intellect, just like
the very presence of Sun all activities happen but the sun doesn’t perform any action. One who realizes this of Atma, is free of doership and enjoyership.
Another example would be electricity. In its presence various equipment functions but electricity by itself doesn’t have heat light or sound!
Self is pure presence.. Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Sat..pure existence. Any and all ‘it’ exits. Self doesn’t exist. It is existence itself.
Chit… It is pure consciousness. Because of “It”, we’re conscious of something.
Ananda… is Bliss.that cannot be described.
Q: What is life and death, different bodies, reincarnation?
Ans: This body is like a dress of the Self. As we change our outfit depending on the activities, wedding, party, exercise jogging, swimming so also Self changes the body for the functionality.
Dress has an effect on our mind. If gives confidence in sports clothes, race clothes, relaxation in walking clothes, professional mind and attitude in work clothes, humility in clothes that we wear to temples. Same with colors too.. Each color has an impact on our mind. Uniform of a military personnel, police and school uniforms have an impact in their mind.
When we change clothes, the body doesn’t undergo change. Similarly our physical body is only a dress, when it becomes ineffective, is dropped and a new body is taken.
We have a physical body inside which there is a subtle body with mind and intellect. Science has advanced in many many field but cannot show what’s life. What makes a matter tick? Our body is matter! What gives intelligence to those chemicals in the body, the hormones, the self healing?
How does an ant know where your sugar is? Not only that, it also communicates with other ants. How does it know to store for the rainy day?
How does the squirrel know there is a seed underneath the soil? How does the bunny know that greens are edible?
If I throw a stone up in the air, we know, due to gravity it will come back to the ground but when I release a bird, no one can tell where it will go! Because it is not just a matter but intelligence due to the presence.
There is a life with intelligence. It is not dull or inert. Life force is intelligence. The bacteria, the virus, germs, worms, the fish they all have intelligence in them and in all the “I” is present… Everything has something beyond matter.
When a person dies, the subtle body, (Sukshma Sarira) moves from this pot to a different pot. That subtle body gathers impressions and is carried forward to different life times.
Atma is not a ghost, the impressions don’t die when the body dies, they remain. That’s the individuality, personality. That personality creates another body.
We, create our own blueprint for the next birth with our thoughts, words and actions.
Like the chip in a phone. The chip is the personality of that phone. It had all the details, when your physical equipment dies, you can take out the chip into a different body! Even if the chip is lost, we still get the bill for payment. That bill is for the chip not the for the phone.
Similarly karma phala (consequences of actions) comes to the mind not to the body, whichever body we’re in, it will come.. Because karmas are performed by the mind… Body replicates it. Karmas are like boomerang, it will always come back to the one who initiated.
Mind and intellect with all the karmas of the past is not the supreme Self, it is functioning because of Self.
In Gita, Lord is removing that grief through knowledge. When one is sad, materials cannot remove that sadness. When a loved one is dead, anything that you give is not going to remove that sadness of a family member, you can’t get pizza, sweets or take them to a movie… grief cannot be removed by entertainment, pleasure, wealth or material objects. It can be suppressed for sometime but can be removed only by knowledge. Atma is indestructible.
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