Saddarshanam, Class 16


Greetings All,

Shloka #26:

The body does not know. Of the Truth, there is no birth. In the middle of these two, another of the size of the body rises, which is of the names ego, knot, bondage, subtle mind, mind, the realm of becoming and the individual.

Continuing his teaching, Swami Paramarthananda said, from shloka # 23 onwards Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi is analyzing the mysterious and mystical nature of Ahamkara. He wants to show us that it is a false entity created by features of both Atma and Anatma.  In creation there is the Chetana Atma and the Achetana Anatma. Ahamkara is a mysterious third entity with features of both Atma and Anatma. The sentiency of Ahamkara is a feature borrowed from Atma.  Modifications of Ahamkara such as Kartritvam are a feature borrowed from Anatma. Thus, a new mythical Ahamkara is created. While my face is reflected and the mirror reflects my face, the Reflected face itself is a third entity. It is a false entity. It has features of the original face as well as the mirror as well. Thus, while the mirror moves, my face does not move. Motion is a feature of the mirror. This motion is transferred to the reflected face. The motion property is borrowed from mirror. Thus, the reflected face has a location not determined by original face. Location is determined by mirror. Location and motion are both borrowed from mirror. Now, Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi says, Ahamkara is similar to this mirror, with features borrowed from Atma and Anatma. Thus, you have the changing features of Ahamkara. Attributes like young, old etc. are features borrowed from the Anatma Body. Ahamkara is neither Shariram nor Atma. It is a mysterious and fraudulent entity.  Ahamkara has birth and death although it is sentient. It is like Narasimha, who has features of man as well as a lion. When you try to get to the reflected face it disappears. Whatever disappears on enquiry is a fraudulent entity.

Ahamkara has the size of the body but is different from the body. Body is insentient while Ahamkara is sentient. It arises only in proximity of the Atma (face) and Anatma (the mirror). If you separate the Atma and Anatma, Ahamkara does not rise. Because it is a fraudulent entity, like a cheat, Ahamkara assumes different names. These names include:

  • Ahamkara: Or one who says Aham Karomi Iti. Who says this? Anatma cannot say it. Body is matter. It is inert. How about Atma? Atma does not have a mouth. It is all pervading, like space. Neither say this. So, Ahamkara alone says Aham Brahma Asmi.
  • Granthi: Knot. Ahamkara is a knotty entity. It cannot be easily disentangled. It has been there since time started. Actually time itself is a concept generated by Ahamkara. In sleep, Ahamkara dissolves, so time dissolves as well. Even time transcendence requires Ahamkara. Even Bhakthi cannot remove Ahamkara. A Bhakta can still feel he is a great Bhaktha. Thus, we have Narada Bhakthi Bhanga story. Hence it is called Granthi.

Knot also means combining of two things, Atma and Anatma. A wedding also has three knots.

  • Vibhanga: means strong bondage or strong Samsara. Here Ahamkara is the problem. Moksha cannot happen if Ahamkara or individuality remains. In some philosophies they say individuality can be retained. Vedanta however says individuality and Moksha cannot go together. Moksha cannot happen, if one still has individuality.
  • Sukshma Shariram: It is a thought arising in the subtle body. It is the “I” thought. In sleep, the “I” thought gets resolved. Thought is Sukshma Shariram.
  • Cetaha: It is the Mind. Ahamkara is also known as the Mind. When mind is active, Ahamkara rises. It is, however, passive in sleep. So, the mind is figuratively called the Ahamkara.
  • Bhava: means Samsara. It can also mean God Shiva, although here it not used to denote Shiva. Individuality is Samsara. Individuality and freedom cannot go together. Individuality means differences, gradations, and resulting jealousies. In some philosophies the individual soul sits in front of God with other souls. This is sure to lead to jealousies. Jealousy can never get us Moksha. Therefore, individuality has to be falsified.
  • Jiva: The individual. The one who is born, lives and dies. This is also Ahamkara.

Shloka # 27:

This ghost of the ego is born amidst forms, based on a group of forms, the eater of forms, who has given up and held forms, is by itself formless and runs away at the time of inquiry into itself.

In previous shlokas it was said that Ahamkara is an entity produced from Atma and Anatma. The expression “ I am “ means sentiency. A Conscious entity alone can say so. It is a borrowed sentiency from the Atma. Ahamkara comes in when you say: I am so and so. The “ I am” itself is Atma. However, when an attribute is attached to the “ I am” it becomes Ahamkara. Thus, we say: I am fat; I am angry; I am sleepy etc. The fat, angry, sleepy are all attributes borrowed from Anatma. Attributes from Anatma keep changing. The “ I am” does not change at any age. It is the attribute alone that changes. Ahamkara has many manifestations depending on properties of Anatama. It becomes a Karta and Bhokta. Ahamkara exists due to Anatma.

Ahamkara rises with rising attributes of the body, mind and thought complex. In sleep it gets resolved. Ahamkara moves in the field of attributes such as:  Body is fat, body is thin, body is born etc. When mind is awake, borrowed properties of Anatma are food for Ahamkara.  Thus the feeling: I am doer; I am dreamer etc.

In sleep, however, body and mind are resolved, hence no properties are available, and so Ahamkara is also dissolved.

In meditation, thought is eventually eliminated and one goes to sleep. However, Vedantic meditation involves Ahamkara. It has to be present.

Ahamkara takes many attributes. In front of son, it becomes father. In front of wife it becomes husband and so on. One attribute goes and another one comes in. It is like an actor in a play changing garbs one after another.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy