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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-26

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Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)

Translation & explanation of Verse-26

Holding the limbs together, remaining like a bolt,
The limb owner envelops as vaporous being;
For this reason, “that man” and “this man” arise in this way-
So that man believes, due solely to the weakness of non-discrimination.

(“Avayavamokkeyamarthiyaaniyaay ninnu-
Avayavi aaviyeyaavarichidunnu;
Avanivanennathinaal avan ninaykkunna-
Avashathayaam avivekamonninaale”)

Key message:-
The Guru here compares the residual core of the unconditioned Self to mere vapor which is enveloped, as it were, by an outer covering or veil, whose tissue or stuff is none other than ignorance. The existential side of the Self here is compared to an upright bolt, and the conceptual Self, which is a philosophical experience event in the mind, is compared to the vapor of empty characterlessness. Both together abolish individual specificity which is a myth to be abolished. As a tree is supported by a stem, the limbs of man are held by a principle which supports them and keeps them straight or erect and gives unity and coherence to the parts of the integrated whole. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, because it belongs to a unitive order by itself. While the limb-owner is making the vaporous thing operate, this operation causes weakness in the power of discrimination.

Holding the limbs together, remaining like a bolt,
the limb owner envelops as vaporous being
(“Avayavamokkeyamarthiyaaniyaay ninnu-
Avayavi aaviyeyaavarichidunnu”):

We all have an experience that we all exist. At a glance, we understand our existence as our body’s existence. Everyone’s body has his/her own peculiarity. Our human body which is constituted of many parts is held together by the living entity. Everything is kept together by the agency of breath, which is vaporous. As one such constituted body looks different from another, we fail to discriminate the living entity that is pervading all beings as one and the same. We never come across two human beings who are exactly alike, although they all have the same kind of body. This can be supported by the fact that one’s finger-print will not be equal to others, though there are billions of people in this world. The police take advantage of this fact when they record people’s fingerprints for security purposes. It seems impossible that with so many billions of hands in this world, multiplied by ten for all the fingers, no two fingerprints are the same. It is a great wonder that the little breath in us is maintaining all the functions of the body. It causes us to cerebrate, circulate blood, respire, digest food, grow and change, and learn and retain our memory. All this depends on a tiny bit of vapor: the incoming and the outgoing breath.

Those who engage in micro-visualization, not only include the body aspects in their meditation, but also the vital force that unifies the body. In our body, there are many organs, which are external and internal. Every organ has its own function. But there is one thing that facilitates and coordinates the individuals’ forward action and that goes on doing everything for us, expanding and contracting the lungs, keeping up the throb of the heart. This controls all organs of the body and resembles to a king-pin.

There is a grand program going on in our human bio-computer and in this verse, the programmer is termed as ‘Avayavi’, the one who owns all the separate parts (‘Avayavam’) of the body (‘Sareeram’). It is also called ‘Sareeri’. But beyond this, no one tries to understand own Self. The one which is truly conscious of our body and the owner of limbs is ‘I’. It is a witness for both ‘Sareeram’and ‘Sareeri’. But this ‘I’ consciousness does not become a point of our thought process. That witness is the real ‘I’. It is unclear like steam (Aavi). There is a curtain or a barrier which blocks its’ attention. The dual concept of ‘Avayavam’ – ‘Avayavi’, ‘Sareeram’ -‘Sariri’ is a weakness to our thought. This weakness is the aforementioned barrier.

For this reason, “that man” and “this man” arise in this way-
So that man believes, due solely to the weakness of non-discrimination
(“Avanivanennathinaal avan ninaykkunna-
Avashathayaam avivekamonninaale”):

Human beings’ origin of life in reality, go back even before their distinctive appearance to other species. It is alien to all of us. Nevertheless, the principle of evolution of life in all of us is the same. But we do not have eyes to see it. In other words, we are too weak to discriminate that way. The Guru says ‘Avashathayaam’- we are weak so we cannot discriminate. Since we cannot discriminate, we can only take into account the immediate changes within this one system.

The complexity to reach the cause of life is immeasurable. The limited knowledge we possess can take us till the awareness level. In fact, our knowledge is coming and standing at the portals of this wonder, unable to penetrate beneath the surface. Beyond lies a great darkness. The greatest of all wisdom, all knowledge, is happening behind that door and in that darkness. It keeps the whole universe proliferating and multiplying endlessly. It is a great wonder indeed.

When we look at it this way, this very earth on which we walk is the great mother from which all this has come. How many times should we kneel with gratitude that all this was made possible from mere dust! It may look superstitious to say that out of dust, God created man, but it is the perfect truth. Seen from inside like this, we cannot be different. And yet our little pains are so very important to us. Our life is not ruled by wisdom but by pain: little, little pains and agitations.
It is foolish to discriminate between man and man. Equality is perhaps the highest contribution of modern civilization, and this notion is reiterated here and related to its proper context of non-dual philosophy. This philosophy thus becomes suited to the aspirations of all mankind treated as one.

Concluding message:
Sree Narayana Guru is lamenting the weakness which makes it difficult for us to go beyond the darkness and see the wonder of all this. He is preparing our minds to receive his definition of the Self. This is not to be known by reasoning, but you have to lay down your tools and watch the game for a little while with the attitude of a silent witness. Retire.

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