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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-35

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Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)

Translation & explanation of Verse-35
Like ten thousand suns rising all at once,
Dawns the discriminative enlightenment,
That really is the original sun that cuts through
The ephemeral ‘Maya’ darkness which puts a veil
Over the pure and unconditioned consciousness.

(“Oru pathinaayiramaadhitheyaronnaay
Varuvathu polea varum vivekavrithi
Arivine moodumanithya maayayaamee
Irulineyeernezhumaadi sooryanathre”)

Key message:-
Pure knowledge transcends the three modalities of sattva, rajas and tamas. When it comes, it is described as a flood of sound that transforms the desert land of our meaningless life into an oceanic treasury of the highest values, where every grain of the sand of our life is turned into a pearl of priceless worth. When one is tuned to it, it is as if he is sucked on the mild of the Absolute. To him, ten thousand years are just a passing moment.

We see before our eyes an enchanting world of exquisite beauty, which can also become horrid, vulgar and threatening. When our senses are possessed by the spirit of that world, mind becomes infatuated or hysterical. Similarly, there is a world within us; it is of fantasy and imagination. Sometimes it leads to the imaginary mansion of the fool’s paradise and feeds our pleasure-seeking mind with a Barmecidal feast such as Alice’s tea party with the Mad Hatter. Some unfortunate people wake up from such an illusion only to be caught in a never-ending nightmare; to them life is a pool of tears. With a smile of indifference, the Self sits unconcerned between these two worlds called the external and the internal.

The Self is pure knowledge, which transcends all specific notions. It is the supernal sun that shines in the firmament of consciousness. It is not the knowledge of anything, but the being of knowledge. It is the unlit lamp that shines as the soul of everything, which never becomes extinguished even if the body perishes. It knows no transformation. It is the secret of AUM. It is the certitude which allows no riddles of doubts. It is the witnessing consciousness that is silent by nature. It is the golden link that connects everything to give unitive understanding. It is the Absolute that transcends all the three modalities of nature. Its field is not divided into any regions in space or divisions in time. It sustains the Blessed Ones with the blissful nectar of divine wisdom. It is an all-filling symphony which opens the eye of wisdom. It is the Primal Glory which knows no modulation.

Word meanings of the verse:-
Oru pathinaayiramaadhitheyar = one thousand suns
Onnaay varuvathu polea = rising all at once
Varum vivekavrithi = comes the discriminative enlightenment, which is the knowledge of all knowledge
Arivine moodum = that which puts a veil over the knowledge
Anithya maayayaam = is the ephemeral ‘Maya’
Eee irulineyeernezhum = that cuts through over this darkness
Aadi sooryanathre = that really is the original Sun of Supreme knowledge, the pure and unconditioned consciousness.
Sree Narayana Guru describes the dawning of knowledge in this verse as the coming of ten thousand suns all at once. The intensely bright light puts a stop to the great sport of ‘maya’, which is beginning-less but not endless. It always lives only in half second increments. Half a second is converted into millennia, while the history of a millennium is squashed into a single moment in the form of memory.

Adi Sankaracharya’s work ‘Vivekachoodaamani’ opens with the insistence that one should have the power to discriminate between truth and untruth, the Self and the non-Self, and the fleeting and the eternal. As we are torn between the world outside and the world inside, we always miss this centerpiece, which is the only reality. Once in a thousand years, one among millions stumbles upon his own reality. Then it takes not even a fraction of a second for him to wake up to his own light. This knowledge is our own lifelong associate. We carry it around with us all day and sleep with it at night, not realizing that the whole cosmos is lying buried in the unknown reality within our own self. There is essentially no difference in how the light comes any of us, masters of simple folk. When we finally do discover it, it comes all at once in a flash.

Even though half moments give birth to name and form, space and time, actor and enjoyment of action, cause and effect, the universal and the particular, the five elements, the three modalities, the triple states of consciousness, the six-fold transformations of life and the duality of pain and pleasure, it takes only one quarter of a moment for all these aggregates to be blown up into a conflagration of dazzling light, as if ten thousand suns had suddenly come into being as an all embracing consciousness.

This is not just wishful thinking. It happened to Siddhartha Gautama when after five years of fruitless search and mortification of the body, he sat under a bo tree to give up his life in desperation. In a single flash, he became the Awakened One, the blessed Buddha. It happened to the son of a Nazarene carpenter called Jesus. He stood in the Jordan to be baptized by a crazy man called John, who described himself as “the cry in the wilderness”, and like lightening the heavens broke open and the spirit of God entered Jesus and made him the Christ, the Light of the world.

A simple man who did not nurture his brain by going to any school, but did humble service to a pious Arabian widow, once sheltered himself in the cool shade of a cave. There he had an encounter with the one Self, which is behind all selves. It commanded him to read the divine revelations. Poor Muhammad Mustafa lamented his fate and pleaded his ignorance of the written word. Once again a miracle happened, the ignorant Muhammad became the wisest of all prophets in the wink of an eye, an lo, he chanted to the world the nectar-like ‘suras’ of the Holy Quran.

An illiterate priest of West Bengal became infatuated with his love for a stone image of ‘Kaali’. Sri Ramakrishna wanted the stone to become flesh. The Divine will that once transformed the word into flesh came to his rescue and transformed the clod of his mind into the blissful ecstasy of the highest possible realization. In a mountain cave of South India, where the three oceans meet, Narayana Guru lived, befriending a cobra and a tiger as he found human nature no better than that of brutes. After years of penance in that solitary cave, he suddenly awakened to the one Reality that makes everything real and precious. No one is more chosen than any other. All these masters were human beings, just like you and I. Tomorrow, it can be your turn.

Concluding message:
This knowledge is our own lifelong associate. We carry it around with us all day and sleep with it at night, not realizing that the whole cosmos is lying buried in the unknown reality within our own self. There is essentially no difference in how the light comes to any of us, masters or simple folk. When we finally do discover it, it comes all at once in a flash. The wise one who knows the secret of AUM knows this knowledge. He remains as That. It is considered to be the all-verticalising knowledge which shoots down the birds of sense enjoyment. When one is open to it, the world outside ceases to have any differentiation such as here and there; or sky, atmosphere and earth. As well, the internal world no longer has any divisions like knower, knowledge and known.

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