Kanakadhara Stotram Sloka 4
“आमीलिताक्षमधिगम्य मुदा मुकुन्दम्_ आनन्दकन्दमनिमेषमनङ्गतन्त्रम् ।
आकेकरस्थितकनीनिकपक्ष्मनेत्रं भूत्यै भवेन्मम भुजङ्गशयाङ्गनायाः”
“Aamiilita-Akssam-Adhigamya Mudaa Mukundam_
Bhuutyai Bhaven-Mama Bhujangga-Shaya-Angganaayaah”
(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).
I seek your grace, oh Divine Mother (Bhuutyai Bhaven-Mama/Śrī Lakṣmī), who secretly watches the precious jewel (Mukunda) of joy and splendor. You watch from the corner of your eyes (Pakssma-Netram), gazing at him (Śrī Viṣṇu) as he reclines on Aadishesha (Bhujangga-Shaya) with partially open eyes (Aamiilita-Akssam) and in a deep transient state (Tantram aka Yoga:nidra) devoid of the notion of oneself (Anangga), he who is the very manifestation of joy (Aananda) and love. Oh Divine Mother, I seek your grace, may your sight fall on me as today I am eligible, with my devotion and Sādhanā.
Devi Bhagavata(m): Also known as Devi Bhagavata Puráńa(m), it is one of the eighteen primary Purana(m) and exalts the glorious accounts and manifestations of the Divine Mother or Shakti (Pāraśakti).
Vāsanā: an inherent trait (or flavor) of human nature, that clings to a Jīva and gets carried over to other lives. When one constantly strives towards a desire in one’s lifetime, that flavor adheres to the Jīva, and gets carried to the next life. Such a desire can be uttama (virtuous), like researching Śāstra(m), or a desire to indulge in bodily comfort. Each life presents an option, to either shed that vāsanā through realization and upāsanā or to ingrain new vāsanā. It is constant Sādhanā (practice) to shed and foster uttama desire that leads a being to evolve in conscience. This is the reason each individual is different by birth. Though the options and opportunities presented might be the same, the choice made usually depends on the inherent vāsanā or fear (which is also an integral part of vāsanā). Hence the phrase “Vāsanā balam”, meaning the strength of Vāsanā that controls the decisions and choices made by a being.
Upāsanā: “Upa” means to move closer and “Asana” means position, when read as one it means “to move to a position closer to Iśvara”. So a Sādhanā (practice) or to follow a regimen laid down by Śāstra to implement in one’s life is called upāsanā. Virtue and Sat:buddhi are not things that are available for purchase, nor can they be achieved in a day. They come through constant struggle. Even if the effort is small, they can grow under constant daily practice and implementation.
Upaadhi: means a form, like a human being or an animal or plant, and more. A Jīva traverses through various lives wearing a physical form called upaadhi. It is through this upaadhi that a Jīva performs karmā to both shed and gain puńya(m)/pápa(m), and strive towards Jīva Brahmā:ikya:siddhi.
Jīva: Also pronounced as jeeva, it is the innate or primordial force of a being that is devoid of a physical body. It is not bound by Kaal (kālá) (time) and is indestructible. It is an entity that inherits this body; or rather, tethers both the Sthula:shareera(m) and Sukshma:shareera(m), and wears it like a cloth. This Jīva makes one recognize oneself and one’s own existence in a given time and place, and explores its true self with its decisions and feelings like compassion. It can be interpreted as a soul, but a Jīva is nothing but an extended spark of Pāra:Brahmā that seeks a host to shed its karmā:phala. The destiny of a Jīva is to shed its vāsanā (inherent habit which constitutes the mānas(u)) and realize itself to be Pāra:Brahmā. In many cases, a Jīva falsely deems itself to be this body.
Ātman : Is the conscience that acts as an interface between this reality and the innate energy which is the Jīva, and helps the Jīva retaining an upaadhi to realize itself and, in turn, realize Iśvara who is the Pāra:matma. An Ātman is an extension of Pāra:matma.
Śrī Śankara is now opening doors towards a dramatic situation, wherein he wishes his hidden message to emerge through his hints during our Dhyāna(m) (meditation and visualization). One has to take a moment to recognize the splendid approach of Śrī Śankara. To visualize that situation, one needs to understand the above sloka. The length to which this message can enlighten us is immeasurable, from the point of fulfilling a simple desire, all the way to mokṣa (unification of conscience with Iśvara or recognition of oneself as Iśvara); hence, elders proclaimed this sloka to have the potential to grant instant results and take our visualization into dhyanam. So, let us carefully try and unwrap this essence.
He starts with the word “Aamiilita-Akssam”. This also means partially opened eyes, similar to what we discussed earlier, but not exactly the same. Earlier Śrī Lakṣmī was secretly gazing at Śrī Viṣṇu, and Śrī Śankara requests Her to give us a quick partial glance. However, “Aamiilita-Akssam” is when the eyes are opened very little as if someone is about to wake up (partial sleep) or about to close one’s eyes. Like a round bell with a bead inside, where the bead is not visible even with the curved opening.
In Sanskrit “Aamiilita-Akssam” is also known as “Ardha-Nimeelita Netra” which can be seen in Śrī Viṣṇu in His sleeping posture known as Padhmanabha pose, and can also be seen in Guru Śrī Ramakrishna Pāramahamsa in his meditating posture. This posture or situation occurs when one is detached from the outside world and drifts into a deep trance or partially conscious state.
Moving ahead, “Aamiilita-Akssam-Adhigamya” means Śrī Lakṣmī is acquiring the attention of the one whose eyes are partially open. So, who is this person who is in this partially conscious state? “Mudaa Mukundam” is none other than Mukunda or Śrī Viṣṇu.
“Aananda-Kandam-Animessam-Anangga-Tantram” wherein “Aananda” means joy, and the origin or source of all joy manifested under “Anang:ga-Tantram”. “Tantra” means state under trance or under spell, and “Anang:ga” is an alternate name for Manmatha (God of love and adoration, son of Śrī Viṣṇu & Śrī Lakṣmī). If we read this statement as a whole, it translates as “the source and manifestation of joy resulting in the state of adoration and love”.
“Aakekara-Sthita-Kaniinika-Pakssma-Netram”. Here Śrī Śankara is saying – if Śrī Viṣṇu, in His sleeping posture, is in a deep blissful trance, then what is Śrī Lakṣmī doing? She is secretly gazing at Śrī Viṣṇu’s partially closed eyes, His smile – at Him who is a manifestation of joy – from the corner of Her eyes. Well then, where are Śrī Viṣṇu and Śrī Lakṣmī located during such a delighted state? For this, he states, “Bhuutyai Bhaven-Mama Bhujangga-Shaya-Angganaayaah”, where the word “Bhujangga-Shayana” means to lie down in a reclining position on Aadishesha (king of snakes and one of the primal creations). It is to be noted that Śrī Viṣṇu is not actually asleep, He is just lying down on Aadishesha with partially closed eyes. Śrī Lakṣmī is sitting at His feet, gently pressing His feet. A similar reference can be seen in Śrī Venkateshwara Suprabhatam Prapathi, sloka 8:
“లక్ష్మీ మహీ తదనురూప నిజానుభావ నీకాది దివ్య మహిషీ కరపల్లవానామ్ |
ఆరుణ్య సంక్రమణతః కిల సాంద్రరాగౌ శ్రీవేంకటేశ చరణౌ శరణం ప్రపద్యే”
“Lakshmeemaheetha Dhanuroopa Nijanubhava Neeladi Divyamahisheekara Pallavanam
Aarunya Sankramanatha Kila Saandra Raagow Śrī Venkatesa Charanow Saranam Prapadhye”
(Vaidika Vignanam. V.P.T. 2010)
The image of Śrī Viṣṇu in a reclining posture, with Śrī Lakṣmī’s gentle hands pressing His feet, is described by Śrī Śankara as Śrī Viṣṇu being under the trance of “Anangga”. “Anangga” is an alternate name of Manmatha (God of love and adoration, and son of Śrī Viṣṇu and Śrī Lakṣmī) and “Tantram” means spell or trance. Now, before we make any assumptions, let us understand this context from Amara:Kosham, an ancient Sanātana Ḍharma work written by the scholar Amarasimha. Amara:Kosham explains the meaning of “Tantram” with an analogy of a wick made out of raw cotton grouped together and soaked in ghee (clarified butter) and dried, for usage in oil lamps back in olden times. These long wicks of cotton are similar to our reality, which is like a fabric giving various illusions entwining various phenomena and concepts within it. Hence the phrase “Anangga-Tantram” is not to be misinterpreted as Śrī Viṣṇu being under the spell of love or adoration cast by His own son Manmatha.
Manmatha is called “Anangga”, which means not having any limbs or body (similar to a plant without branches, like a creeper). Since Manmatha lost His physical form in the blaze of Śiva’s third eye, he is referred to as Anangga. Śrī Viṣṇu being in the state of “Anangga” means He is in a state of deep thought (higher state of meditation) and so is unaware of His body and limbs and His surroundings.
For the period of Dakshinayanam (six-month duration from the summer solstice to the winter solstice), on Toli-Eka:dashi (first Eka:dashi), Śrī Viṣṇu is considered to go into such a sleep (deep meditation). Not to be interpreted as similar to our sleep, which is due to Tamas (tiredness). Śrī Viṣṇu’s reclined posture is called “Nidra-Mudra”, where “Nidra” means sleep and “Mudra” means a gesture of yoga and pranayama. So He is in a Yoga:nidra (Yoga Sleep). Why does Śrī Viṣṇu go into Yoga:nidra? Because Dakshinayanam is considered to be a period for Upāsanā (practice), to train one’s mind to be calm and free from agitations. In His Yoga:nidra, Śrī Viṣṇu peeks into our hearts and thoughts to examine our Upāsanā and helps those who are trying to move closer to Iśvara; hence, Śrī Viṣṇu comes much closer to us during the period of Dakshinayanam. Therefore the sloka:
“निद्रा मुद्रम अकिलजगति, रक्षाने जागरूकम”
“Nidra mudram akilajagati, rakshane jagarukam”
What is Śrī Lakṣmī thinking while pressing His feet? She is secretly gazing with admiration and proud to be pressing the feet of the preserver of creation – who, in His Yoga:nidra, is examining and helping those in Upāsanā, making sure they receive the guidance of a Guru or the availability of books and knowledge. Literature tells us that Śrī Viṣṇu created a flower garden for Ramananda (Guru of Kabir Das), in appreciation for his Upāsanā, so that Ramananda could slip into another beautiful reality during his dhyanam.
This is the scenario Śrī Śankara wants us to visualize as we slip into dhyanam (meditation) – wherein Śrī Lakṣmī is pressing the feet of Śrī Viṣṇu, admiring His excellence and seeing through His thoughts, while Śrī Viṣṇu, in His sleeping posture (Yoga Nidra), is watching those who are in their Upāsanā. Hence, during dhyanam, when we start to reach Iśvara and visualize Him, He is watching us in His Yoga Nidra and Śrī Lakṣmī is watching Śrī Viṣṇu’s thoughts, which means She is watching us too. This is the potential of visualizing Kanakadhara.
Let us talk a little about Manmatha (son of Śrī Viṣṇu and Śrī Lakṣmī). Śrī Śankara referred to him as “Anangga”, meaning not having a body or limbs. Then how can someone without a body or limbs win and put his spell on us? Śrī Śankara’s sloka from Soundarya Lahari, Sloka 6, says:
“धनुः पौष्पं मौर्वी मधुकरमयी पंच विशिखाः
वसंतः सामंतो मलयमरु-दायोधन-रथः ।
तथाप्येकः सर्वं हिमगिरिसुते कामपि कृपां
ccc जगदिद-मनंगो विजयते”
“Dhanun paushpam maurvi madhu-kara-mayi pancha visikha Vasantaha samanto Malaya-marud ayodhana-rathah;
Tatha’py ekah sarvam Himagiri-suthe kam api kripaam Apangat te labdhva jagadidam Anango vijayate”
(Hindu Literature. S.K.K. n.d.).
The words “Apangat te labdhva” mean when the eyes of the Divine Mother when fell on Manamatha, they gave him the power to win and cast his spell on us. If that is the case, then will the spell of Manmatha corrupt us? So here lies the secret to one of the most important questions, is Kama(m) (desire) corrupting us? The answer is no, provided kama (desire) is assimilated with Ḍharma. As long as the Kama is entwined in the wheel of Ḍharma, the Kama will not corrupt us. For example, the Kama or a desire towards reaching and understanding Iśvara is a good desire, and so helps uplift us. When one realizes that one can explore Iśvara’s essence, learn a good stotram, read a good book, perform a Pooja (pūjā) with devotion, and so on, then such a desire towards Iśvara will help one towards reaching higher planes of consciousness. Śrī Śankara’s sloka from Soundarya Lahari, Sloka 5, says:
पुरा नारी भूत्वा पुररिपुमपि क्षोभ मनयत् ।
स्मरोஉपि त्वां नत्वा रतिनयन-लेह्येन वपुषा
मुनीनामप्यंतः प्रभवति हि मोहाय महताम्”
“Haris tvam aradhya pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim
Pura nari bhutva Pura-ripum api ksobham anayat;
Smaro’pi tvam natva rati-nayana-lehyena vapusha
Muninam apyantah prabhavati hi mohaya mahatam.”
(Hindu Literature. S.K.K. n.d.).
Once, through Upāsanā (worship) of the Divine Mother (Devi Pārvatī), Śrī Viṣṇu attained Her beauty. Śiva, curious upon hearing of Śrī Viṣṇu’s achievement of attaining the beauty of His (Śiva’s) wife, reached Vaikuntha (residence of Śrī Viṣṇu and Śrī Lakṣmī) and asked Śrī Viṣṇu to show His female form (the form of Mohini). Śiva, who burnt the cities of Tripurasura, a sage (Adi Yogi) whose mind cannot be moved or disturbed by any desire, a sage who burnt Manmatha (the God of kama) whose arrows of love failed to affect Him. However, on that day, His mind fluctuated by looking at His wife’s form in Śrī Viṣṇu. Now, did the Divine Mother – in this case, Devi Pārvatī, who is Śiva’s Ḍharma:patni – by granting Her beauty to Śrī Viṣṇu, cause Śiva to drift in desire and thereby blemish His character? Then why did Śrī Śankara compose such a sloka in Soundarya Lahari? Because Devi Pārvatī, who is the Mother of all worlds, created desire and love to fabricate Creation itself (which includes us) causing it to flourish by making a being strive for self preservation and progression of one’s body and mind to continue in this creation as a son or daughter. Therefore, She is the only one who can pull Śiva into the notion of Desire. She is the only one who directed Śiva to move towards Śrī Viṣṇu by cloning the latter into Herself. Since Śiva can only desire Devi Pārvatī, he desired Mohini – a clone of Devi Parvati – which resulted in the remarkable birth of Ayyappa (Manikanta), who is none other than the unified form of Śiva and Śrī Hari (technically Devi Pārvatī posing as Śrī Viṣṇu). In this unified form, Ayyappa then abolished the evil Mahishi who was threatening the worlds with her power. Mahishi was granted a boon by Brahmā Deva – that only a unified form of Śiva and Śrī Hari could kill her. This, she assumed, would never be possible, and she would be immortal. Mahishi assumed that the concepts of Preservation and Dissolution are two separate concepts and failed to recognize that it is one Iśvara who operates in two modes for creation to progress towards dissolution. We can now understand how Devi Pārvatī achieved such a unique and flavorful fabrication to save the worlds and safeguard creation from various calamities that we and other beings of this creation bring upon ourselves through our own ignorance.
Readers should note that this universe, technically many universes as explained in Lalitha Sahasranama Stotram, has innumerable flavors of life, desire, forms and fabrications that are not necessarily convincing to us with our limited comprehension. At the same time, Sanātana Ḍharma does not filter such content and abstract us from the truth. Hence one needs to understand that there are multitudes of untold flavors in the fabric of creation, which are not limited to our understanding. These must not be considered flawed or nonexistent. Many theorists today believe in not just one universe but in the existence of a multiverse or parallel universes. One lifetime is not necessarily sufficient to experience them all and a Jīva, which has no death, hops through so many lives in so many upaadhi (forms) across so many lokas.
Desire, when in line with Ḍharma, uplifts us and gives this world many great things. For example, the great Rśi Vyāsa (Maharśi Vyāsa) – who compartmentalized the Vedā, composed various Puráńa(m) and Upanishad, who bestowed the world with such truth through his literature – was one day aroused by desire for Ghritachi, which resulted in the birth of Shuka:Brahmā (Sage/Maharśi who narrated Srimad Bhagavata(m) or Śrī Bhagavata Puráńa(m)). While chanting about Iśvara, visualizing Iśvara’s beauty and greatness, Sage Shuka:Brahmā – in the trance of devotion – lost touch with the world outside and bloomed in joy, and was thus eligible to narrate Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Śrī Bhagavata Puráńa(m)). If such a great personality had not been born in this world, no one else could have taken up the legacy of such a great Maharśi like Vyāsa; and we wouldn’t have the fortune to learn and listen to the Bhagavata Puráńa(m). Sage Shuka is the one who narrated and explained Bhagavata Puráńa(m) in seven days to King Parikskhit. Iśvara invokes māyā (illusion) of desire within great Maharśis time and again, so that the world can be fortunate to receive extraordinary personalities. Rśis themselves have crossed the state of worldly desire and evolved into higher planes of consciousness. If not for Iśvara’s (Devi’s) māyā, how else can they be brought back to the simplicity of material and bodily desires? A good example of an uplifting desire would be to feel anger towards the inability to control one’s own ill temper, making such anger a better emotion to uplift us. So, it is through the same desires and emotions that we can channel them and uplift ourselves, because desires and emotions – called vāsanā – are an inherent nature of humans. One should properly channel the desires and never suppress them. In Devi Bhagavata(m) (Devi Bhagavata Puráńa(m)), King Janaka talks about desires and the greatness of Grihastha (householder) Ashram to Sage Shuka:Brahmā:
“इंड्रीयनी भलिस्तानी ननियुक्तानी मानधहा”
“Indreyani Bhalistani Naniyuktani Maanadha”
Meaning, if one forcefully suppresses one’s desires and the emotions that transpire from these desires, such desires will one day break loose and bite one’s back. Hence, these desires should be woven with Ḍharma, which results in one’s progress and upliftment. One eventually evolves to a state where one fully overcomes the desire and climbs up in consciousness. Such a state is called Vairagyam. Hence Janaka advised Sage Shuka:Brahmā to enter Grihastha Ashram.
Another vital aspect of weaving desires with Ḍharma is its result, which is called ārtha. Kama in line with Ḍharma results in ārtha (meaningful result). That ārtha can be in the form of a son or a daughter. In other words, a specific kama (like attraction towards the opposite sex) merged with Ḍharma (through vivaha/marriage) provides the potential to become a parent and hence release oneself from the Pitra Rina, where “Pitra” means ancestors and “Rina” means debt. Every person has a debt towards one’s father (and forefathers) due to having received the opportunity to exist in this upaadhi. This debt gets paid when one becomes a father oneself and performs “sachela snanam” (holy bath performed by father after the birth of a son or a daughter). Hence, such a kama results in progression of one’s family and legacy.
Then why, in a few cases, do desires and emotions lead to blemish or harm? It is those who act on their desires without incorporating Ḍharma, those who don’t gain the understanding or the significance of Ḍharma from exploring Śāstra(m) and those who act devoid of faith in Iśvara that face such a blemish in life. Let us take an analogy. Many households use knives in their kitchen. Just by having such sharp objects, are they experiencing injuries and suffering every day? As long as such tools are consciously safeguarded understanding the environment of the house (like having children), they will not result in harming anyone. The same applies to many such objects in our lives, like fire or electricity, making our negligence towards proper usage and proper safeguarding lead to harmful situations. In the same way, Kama is not the culprit, it is our inability and negligence towards Śāstra and the concept of Ḍharma that leads to unpleasant outcomes. Please note, there is a difference in possessing such tools that help our daily livelihood and those that are actual weapons which are not a part of our daily household usage.
In the above content, Iśvara is sharing a crucial message on how a man can gain happiness, reach higher planes of consciousness, and have the final question emerge within. That question is to realize and ask if these desires and emotions are real, compared to the supreme bliss (Brahmanandam) – in other words, to achieve Vairagya(m) leading to Moksha. The important thing for a man is to cherish all the desires that are in line with the Vedic (Śāstra) in respect to the Ḍharma of the ashrama, leading to happiness (like getting married, love, having children, prosperity, fame, serving one’s parents and Guru and receiving their constant blessings). It is a misconception that Śāstra(m) suppresses desire. It doesn’t. It only assimilates them based on time and in a fashion that benefits one to lead a life of content, ultimately reaching a state where one realizes the flavor of the supreme bliss, that supreme nectar (poetic nectar, not real nectar) that can be found by worshiping the feet of the Divine Mother, which is unprecedented compared to any other desires or emotion in life. A state also is known as “Punaravruthi Rahita Śiva Saahidhya”. It is a widely expressed misconception that the life in Grihastha Ashram (married stage of life) is to be avoided, as it is the cause of many attachments and sufferings. That notion is completely false, because many distinguished devotees, like Prahlada, Maharśi Vyāsa, Poet Pothana, King Janaka and Maharśi Gautama, went into Grihastha Ashram.
Earlier we talked about “Ananga Tantram” using the analogy of a wick that is made from raw cotton. Just as fluffy cotton is slowly pulled and rubbed with the fingers to form a long thread like wick, one in constant search of Iśvara will mold oneself slowly in the path of Ḍharma – reaching the real meaning of “Govinda” or reaching a state where one finds “Brahmam” (the single consciousness that is omnipresent) in everything. This state can be reached when one realizes the effects of “Māyā” (illusion). (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.11)
Māyā & Gyana(m)
Māyā, as defined by Sanātana Ḍharma literature, is an illusion that makes us associate a name (nāma) with a form (rūpa); or, in other words, an illusion of perception of this reality. A form (like a shape) is nothing but one of many phenomena in Prakriti (Prakṛti). It is ever-changing, leading to countless interpretations. This illusion of reality is also known as world-appearance. For example, the blue sky is not a real object with blue color; it is an optical illusion, an illusion of the senses due to phenomena in Prakriti. But this optical illusion has made people write poems and songs, and create paintings of the blue sky. The light that removes this illusion as a false experience is called Gyana (jnana). Gyana is to realize that all forms and names are not many but just one, and that form or name is Brahman. When one starts seeing Iśvara in everything, it is called Gyana. Never interpret Gyana as knowledge or information. Creation itself is not our creation but gives us the illusion that we are in control and are its owner. Māyā is nothing but an illusion that exists in the absence of realization (jnana); it makes one assume this creation is real and separate from Iśvara (or Brahman) and oneself. In other words, māyā is that aspect that has no real existence but the experience (influence) of that māyā within us seems real. It is like a nightmare causing us to sweat and tremble in fear, while not being real. Just like darkness is not an object that can be counted or measured but simply an absence of light, māyā is also not an object that can be measured but simply a name given to the absence of Vidya. Hence, Avidya (absence of Vidya) creates an illusion called māyā. From where does Avidya arise? It arises from three things – the Pancha Boota (5 elements) in Prakriti, the sense organs (indriya) and the Gunas (Rajas, Tamas & Satva) – that create various emotions and false identity within a Jīva, causing it to falsely perceive this reality. Because of these emotions, a Jīva simulates or projects its own version of reality within itself in countless ways, and each interpretation and its influence varies. Just because our interpretation matches with many others’, that does not make it true or real. Adi Śankaracharya explained māyā in a profound way. He said that māyā, though non-real, has its existence in Brahman; but the experience that is felt as real is not the true reality. He gives the famous example of a rope that appears as a snake in the dark, but light removes this false illusion and makes the rope apparent. In this analogy, the snake is not real, but the experience that is felt is real, at the same time this experience is false. Both the rope and the experience have their basis in Brahman. If the rope is perceived as a snake by many people, that doesn’t mean it is real. (Jinasu. 2017., Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., Swami Venkatesananda. 1993)
Mānas: Śāstra defines mānas as “Sankalpa Vikalpa Sangatham”, meaning our mānas is a reasoning which struggles between resolutions and instability towards making a resolution – or, in other words, a doubt. The mānas is the thought process of a Jīva which experiences various deformities because of its inherent vāsanā and Guṇa. A Jīva forgets its true self and keeps becoming a victim to its inherent vāsanā and constantly struggles with reasoning and decision making.
Vāsanā: is an inherent habit which constitutes the mānas. This inherent habit is an impression over a Jīva from its previous lives, which it carries over to the next.
Jīva: Jīva or jeeva, is the innate or primordial force of a being that is devoid of a physical body. It is not bound by Kaal (kālá) (time) and is indestructible. It is an entity that inherits this body; or rather, tethers both the Sthulashareera(m) (Sthula:shareeram) and Sukshmashareera(m) (Sukshma:shareeram), and wears it like a cloth. This Jīva makes one recognize oneself and one’s own existence in a given time and place, and explores its true self with its decisions and feelings. It can be interpreted as a soul, but a Jīva is nothing but an extended spark of Pārabrahmā that seeks a host to shed its karmaphala. The destiny of a Jīva is to shed its vāsanā (inherent habit which constitutes the mānas) and realize itself to be Pārabrahmā. In many cases, a Jīva falsely believes itself to be this body.
Guṇa: meaning default human nature and habits (vāsanā) based on the level of consciousness. In the process of evolving in consciousness, one strives to shed one’s inherent vāsanā. Each person is different and has a different interpretation and approach towards things, like a choice or perspective. But how can one define the reason why people are born with such interpretations? Circumstance does play a role by providing experience; however, the choice made by an individual when presented with options is defined by nature or Guṇa. Guṇa can be classified into three evolving states; they are satva guṇa, rajas or rajo guṇa and tamas or tamo guṇa. The final evolved state is the Shudha Satva Guṇa.
Atma/Ātman: is the conscience that acts as an interface between this reality and the innate energy which is the Jīva, and helps the Jīva retaining an upaadhi to realize itself and, consequently, to realize Iśvara – who is the Pāramatma. An Ātman is an extension of Pāramatma.
Let us take the example of clay, with which we can make many objects like pots, statues and sculptures. The one who sees these objects and creates a distinction among them based on their different forms, and gives them different names, is under the influence of māyā (under illusion), but when one sees the true source for all – which, in this case, is clay – one is said to have achieved Gyana. A similar example can be shown with wood, with which one can carve an animal-like shape, let us say an elephant, and present it to a child. That child calls it an elephant and not wood, but the father knows that it is not really an elephant but wood carved into a shape that gives the notion of being an elephant. The same realization, when applied to all objects in space and kaalam (time) – that everything is one omnipresent Iśvara – is called Gyana. One who refers to all objects in space and time, including ourselves, and realizes that “I” is not this physical body and that there is more to it – which is the realization of Ātman – is called a gyani. The one limiting each object as independent and different is Agyani. Hence, the sloka from Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Śrī Bhagavata Puráńa(m)) composed by a Telugu poet and scholar Bammera Pothana wherein Maharśi Shukabrahma explains to King Parikshit:
హరి విశ్వమయుండు సంశయము పనిలే దా
పరమాణువు లేదు వంశపావన! వింటే”
hari viSvamayuMDu saMSayamu panilE daa
paramaaNuvu lEdu vaMSapaavana! viMTE”
(Pothana Bagavatham Audio. P.I. 2015).
Meaning, Śrī Hari is everywhere and is everything; even the tiniest entity is Śrī Hari. When one understands this, one will not have an enemy or a friend. Such a person makes no distinction between animals and trees and humans. There is no rich or poor, the same compassion exists towards everything and everyone as everything is Śrī Hari or Pāra:Brahmā.
There is an example from Śrī Ramana Maharshi’s life (a gyani and sage from the hills of Arunachala, Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu), wherein a sick stray dog kept trying to sneak into his ashram, but was always shooed away. One night Śrī Ramana Maharshi went outside to excrete bodily waste. One of the ashram residents accompanied him up to some distance and waited while he walked into some bushes. The pupil heard some whispers of Śrī Ramana Maharśi consoling someone, but didn’t confront him when he returned. The next morning that pupil and others noticed the stray dog lying dead. They returned and notified Śrī Ramana Maharśi, to which he replied that the dog had been trying to visit him for a while as it knew it was nearing its end but wasn’t allowed to come near him. So Maharśi himself went to visit the dog to comfort it during its last moments. Śrī Ramana Maharshi, at the state of Ahaṃ Brahmasmi, saw one Pārabrahmā in all, including the dog. For him, there was no second entity to create a distinction, hence communication through linguistics was not something that needed to be learned; nor was it a miracle to be able to communicate with an animal, because it is a known fact that animals do understand and respond to affection through touch and sounds.
When one attains the realization of Pārabrahmā, one will not identify one’s body as the self, and so will dwell as an atman wearing the material body like a cloth. To attain such a state, Śrī Śankara requests the sight of the Divine Mother – in this case, the joyful eyes of Śrī Lakṣmī, which are watching Śrī Hari’s thoughts. Since He is watching those in upāsanā, this causes one to be noticed by Śrī Lakṣmī. Śrī Adi Śankaracharya is indirectly emphasizing that Śrī Hari’s means of uplifting us is through the anugraham (grace) of the Divine Mother’s eyes. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.12)
By addressing the greatness, kindness, and beauty of the Divine Mother’s sight, Śrī Śankara has now made His argument on behalf of this brahmin family – that they have not deviated from the path of Ḍharma even in such sorrow and poverty. He revealed the wife’s commitment to Ḍharma in offering the last dried gooseberry to the Brahmachari (young boy, Śrī Śankara) who came asking for alms. Hence, Śrī Śankara claims, the brahmin family has gained the eligibility for that Divine sight to fall upon them. We will keep referring to this scenario again and again since Śrī Śankara is making all his references and arguments to uplift this brahmin family and, in turn, using them as a reference for the rest of the world by giving us a solution for our sorrows. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.12)