Impediments in the path of Self Realization
Though the Atman is intrinsic to all matter, it remains hidden from us. We can have its glimpses only through mindfulness. Some may ask why mindfulness is necessary for self realization and what the obstructions in achieving that state are. This section also explains how we can establish ourselves in mindfulness after removing these impediments.
The organs of perception( powers to see, smell, touch, hear and taste) are trained towards external world. This way their potential for self realization remains suppressed. In pursuit of everlasting knowledge, the wise men restrain their perceptions from material world and turn them inwards to perceive the transcendental Atman.
Ignorance is the chief impediment to self realization because it drives sensory perceptions to external world. Attention and attachment to visible and invisible pleasures of external world lead the unwise to all pervasive web of death. The wise ones, knowing immortal Self, do not fall for transient pleasures.
It is told that the knower of Atmn (Bramhan) does not strive for any further knowledge. How can this Atmn (Bramha) be perceived.
Yama replies: Nothing remains to be known after Self Realisation because the Atmn is the substance and medium of all perception through touch, smell, taste, appearance, sound and sensuous pleasures.
Atmn is extremely subtle and obscure. The omnipotent Atmn throbs in both the states of dream and wakeful reality. So the knower of Atmn does not fall in grief.
Atmn beholds life force, and in it cause & effect and time-all exist together. One who knows such Atmn does not even wish to protect it. This Absolute existence dwell within each life.
Prayerful austere practices lead the Knowledgeable to perceive Hiranyagarbha, the seed of cosmos, which is the primeval source of creation. This seed precedes the elements’(water,fire,air,earth and space) coming to existence.
This Hiranyagarbha is Atmn or Bramha. This is what Nachiketa seeks to know.
From Hiranyagarbha arises The Life Force along with the Elements and it resides within the sacred recess of cosmic intelligence. This primary life force is called Aditi.
The direct perception of Hiranyagarbha through cosmic intelligence is preserved by mindful meditation, prayer and sacred actions just as an expectant mother cares for her womb by proper diet and conduct.
This Life force is the ambit of material existence marked by food, speech and abode of gods etc. The Sun rises and sets within its confine only.
Yama clarifies that this material world is not different from the Bramha. He reiterates that the selfsame Atmn exists within the mortal body, life and also beyond it. One who sees Bramha as separate from apparent life existence, gets caught in the mire of birth and death.
The mind trained by Teacher and Scripture can achieve consciousness of Atmn before it(mind) establishes in Universal Existence. There are no separate constituents of Existence. It is one and undivided. People who do not see it as whole are condemned from death to death.
Still this primeval existence is represented in a thumb size space in heart region. Knowing it as what rules over chronological time, one becomes free from fear of destruction of body.
This thumb size element, the Bramha, remains like a smokeless flame and is not confined by limit of time.
People see different phases of the rivers from their emanation from mountains till their final merger at separate points and come to believe them as unrelated to one another. In the same way, the unaware people think of myriad lives as distinct from one another.
The knowledgeable one’s vision penetrates beyond the external attributes and perceives the universal existence throbbing in all the creations.
The wisdom of such exalted minds equipped with unified vision becomes pure as the clean droplet added to vessel of pure water
(Kathopnishad to continue)