Atma Bodha – Verses 11 to 20 – Sankara

Sri Adi Sankaracharya’s Atma Bodha

Knowledge of the Self

Verses 11 to 20

11. Because of its association with different conditionings, such ideas as caste, color, and position are superimposed upon the Atman, the Self, as flavor, color and so on are superimposed on water.

12. Determined for each individual by his own past actions, and made up of the five elements the body – the medium through which pleasure and pain are experienced, the tent of experiences, is born. So it is said.

13. The five Pranas – life forces, the 10 organs, and the Manas – the mind, and the Buddhi, the intellect, formed from the Tanmatras – the rudimentary elements, before Pancheekarana, their five-fold division and mutual combination with one another, these form the subtle body, the instruments of experience of the individual.

14. Avidya – ignorance, which is indescribable and beginningless, is the causal body. Know for certain, that the Atman, the Self, is other than these three conditioning bodies.

15. In its identification with the five coverings, the Immaculate Atman, the Self, appears to have borrowed their qualities upon itself, as in the case of a crystal, which appears to gather unto itself the color of its vicinity, like blue cloth and so on.

16. Through discriminating self analysis and logical thinking, one should separate the pure Self within, from the coverings, as one separates the rice from the husk, bran and so on that are covering it.

17. The Atman, the Self, does not shine in everything although he is all-pervading. He is manifest only in the inner equipment, Buddhi, the intellect, just as the reflection on a clean mirror.

18. One should understand that the Atman, the Self, is always like the King, distinct from the body, the senses, mind and intellect, all of which constitute matter, and that he is the witness of their functions.

19. The moon appears to be running when the clouds move in the sky. Likewise to the non-discriminating person, the Atman, the Self, appears to be active when it is observed through the functions of the sense organs.

20. Depending upon the energy or vitality of consciousness, the body, senses, mind, and intellect engage themselves in their respective activities, just as men work depending upon the light of the Sun.