(A) – Awareness of Atman
Awareness is Atman and Atman is awareness. But you have to describe it as the awareness of the Atman. In awareness, there are various levels. When one says that there is a snake, it means that he has said it with full awareness. If you doubt whether it is a snake or a rope [Baba is referring here to the popular misapprehension ‘Rajju-Sarpa Bhraanti’ in Vedantic literature known to all in modern psychological literature (an individual misconceives a rope as a snake in darkness and realises that it is a rope and not a snake in light)], it is not full awareness. Awareness is total knowledge. For example, when you see a handkerchief completely, you call it a hankie. If you fold and stuff it into your fist and then question others, “What do you see?”; they might normally respond that, it is a piece of cloth. Partial knowledge cannot be termed as awareness. Understanding everything in a holistic manner and knowing comprehensively from all possible angles would amount to awareness. Therefore, awareness of Atman means realising the nature and potential of Atman completely. It is the realisation that ‘Man is essentially a soul, which has a body’. What does Atman mean? The nature and implication of Atman can be appreciated with the help of the following sequence.
|The Panch Bhootas - Five Elements|
That is why the five elements are called Naras. Nara means Atman. As everyone possesses Atman (within the human body), he is called Nara. In the word Nara, there are two syllables Na + Ra, Na means cannot be; Raha means destroy/perish. Naraha means that which cannot be destroyed or that which is immortal. The body may perish, but the Atman is imperishable and eternal. Take for example a container like a tumbler, which contains water. When you take this tumbler containing water outside into the open space, you can see the reflection of the sky. But if you empty the container by taking the water out, you cannot see the sky any longer. Does it mean that the sky ceases to exist as it is no longer visible in the tumbler? Sky continues to exist as before. Since there is no water, the reflection of the sky is no longer visible. Similarly, Atman continues to be there as long as the physical body exists and ever after the physical body perishes. However, Atman cannot be seen or noticed indirectly through the actions when the body ceases to exist. Physical bodies may perish, but the Atman does not perish. Therefore, awareness is recognising the all-pervasive Atman in the entire manifest creation as the very essence and the driving force behind the entire phenomenal world.
Continued in Part 3
Source: The Manager and Values-Based Management: Significance and Salient Features, Chapter 9, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective