Atma Bodha – Verses 1 to 10 – Sankara
Sri Adi Sankaracharya’s Atma Bodha
Knowledge of the Self
Verses 1 to 10
1. I am composing the Atma Bodha, this treatise of the Knowledge of the Self, for those who have purified themselves by austerities, and are peaceful in Heart and calm, who are free from cravings, and are desirous of Liberation.
2. Just as fire is the direct cause for cooking so also without knowledge no emancipation can be had. Compared with all other forms of discipline, Knowledge of the Self, is the one direct means for Liberation.
3. Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance. Knowledge does destroy ignorance as Light destroys deep darkness.
4. The Soul appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed, the Self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals Itself by Itself, like the Sun when the clouds pass away.
5. Constant practice of Knowledge purifies the Self, the Jeevatman stained by ignorance, and then disappears itself, just like the powder of the Kataka Nut, that settles down after it has cleansed the muddy water.
6. The world which is full of attachments, aversions etc. is like a dream. It appears to be real, as along as it continues; but appears to be unreal when one is awake, that is, when true wisdom dawns.
7. The world appears to be real so long as Brahman, the Substratum, the Basis of all this creation, is not realized. It is like the illusion of silver in the mother-of-pearl.
8. Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything.
9. All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the Substratum which is the Eternal, All-Pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence, just like the different ornaments are all made out of the same Gold.
10. The All-Pervading Space appears to be diverse on account of its association with various conditionings which are different from each other. Space becomes one on the destruction of these limiting conditionings. So also the Omnipresent Truth appears to be diverse on account of its association with the various conditionings and becomes one on the destruction of these conditionings.