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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-34

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Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)
Translation & explanation of Verse-34

Mounted on the rotating wheels of a chariot which
Have half-moments and such for spokes,
The world rolls on;
Know this to be the beginning-less divine sport
That is ever going on in knowledge.

(“Aranotiyaadiyaraaliyaarnnitum ther-
Urul athil eriyuruntidunnu lokam
Arivil anaadiyathaay natannidum than-
Thiruvilayaatal ithennarinjidenam”)

Key message:-
In this verse, the Guru brings in flux as the numerator factor, and eternity as the denominator factor. In the first half, he speaks of fleeting time, and in the second half of ‘anaadi’ the beginning-less. The numerator and the denominator are brought together in such a beautiful way, one seeking the other out, that you get a numinous presence of the whole without any confusion about the time factor.

The past is only a name for the recall of our memory, the future is the name for our anticipation. How do memory and anticipation become time? The Indian concept of the present is that which can be measured mentally or literally. We can measure space and objects in space, but we will be frustrated if we try to measure time; it always slips away. Even the whole of the moment does not present itself as a complete unit.

Aranoti = half-moment
Aadiyaraaliyaarnnitum = mounted on the wheel each of its primal spokes (A spoke is one of the bars radiating from the center of a wheel, connecting the hub with the round traction surface)
therurul athil = rolls on this mammoth chariot, whose motion depends on the transient half moment which a spoke takes to move
eriyuruntidunnu lokam = over it the world rolls on
Arivil = In the Supreme knowledge
Anaadiyathaay = beginning-less and devoid of the consciousness of space and time
Natannidumthan = going-on ever
thiruvilayaatal = Divine sport
ithennarinjidenam = this is to be understood.

We, as well as this all inclusive world are moving ahead all the time. Within this process, old forms depart and new forms arrive. This is comparable to the wheel of a chariot. In this situation, the ever moving component is chariot’s wheel. During the chariot movement, the spoke that is radiating from the center of wheel, connecting the hub touches the surface as part of the traction, and rapidly returns for the next spin. Life’s cyclic motion also has this feature. Thus when the life-cycle rotates, the moving chariot is this world.

The purpose of spokes is to support the structure of the wheel. A normal wheel set its base on the normal ground. But the wheel of life-cycle will have strength on the ground of knowledge.
Such supporting spoke is half-moment that slips away, which means the micro-aspect of time i.e. ‘Present’.
‘Present’ is the only thing we experience directly. ‘Past’ and ‘Future’ do not have that feature, as the former is only a name for the recall of our memory, and the latter the name for our anticipation.
‘Aadi’ means etcetera. We have already learnt that what we call our world experience is constituted of name and form. We hear so many names. Many are identified with forms but some are not, and they probably never will be. So there are billions of unidentified names. Also, there are many mysterious forms. We don’t exactly know what they are, but we don’t want to admit defeat, so we give them names. We don’t know what time is either. God only knows. We do know a little of space. In this context, knowledge is not treated merely as a principle, but as God. The God has a personification. Let our life be the God’s Divine sport in the eternity.

Concluding message:
Is not it strange that a universe with a history of countless billions of years is comprehended in all its seeming infinitude within the fraction of a vanishing moment? Guru humorously compares the world to a jolly ride of a mammoth chariot, whose motion depends entirely on the transient half moment which a spoke takes to move.
Well, the world may be a fleeting phenomenon; should that make the Self also fleeting? The Self is pure knowledge. However, in the experience of most people, mind becomes as restless as this rotating and revolving universe. It is hard to control the mind. There are, however, occasions when the mind is restful. Visualize such a state. When you are at peace with yourself, mind is like an expanse of consciousness. In such blessed moments, one does not say it is gone or it is coming, there is no sense of time. The breadth and the depth are also not differentiated. Peace reigns supreme, there is no limit to it. In our imagination, we can soar high, and with equal ease, we can dive deep.
In that knowledge which is devoid of the consciousness of space and time, a little bubble of motivation comes to burst on the surface. It causes a small ripple no bigger than a ring. One ripple begets another, each bigger and wider than the previous one. Very soon the mind becomes a stormy sea; it becomes eventful. In this deluge, one sits on the crest of a tidal wave and laments for the lost world of peaceful harmony. The anticipatory dream of the future comes as well. Things do not turn out as expected and that brings frustration. Life appears like an autumn leaf fluttering in the wind; one trembles with fear. The only knowledge in that moment is a sense of helplessness. The magnitude of the self has now shrunk into a torn bit of consciousness, it gets caught in the eddy of uncertainty. Where is the goal? What is life’s achievement? Nothing is known. In frustration, one gives up all hope and sits down to rest his tired limbs. Then from somewhere, like a gently breeze, peace returns. The restless world changes once again into an infinitude of silence.

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