The self-effulgent atma

The Upanishads state that having created the world,

Brahman entered into it. The entire creation is thus divine in

essence. This inherent divine potential is at the core of every

individual being, irrespective of one’s outward form.

Realising this is atma jnana. This atma swaroopa is ever

efulgent and there is no need for another light to reveal the

atma. It is of the nature of bliss and is ever existent. But

ajnana or ignorance prevents the jivatma from accessing this

blissful truth at the heart of all existence and instead leads

him into the cycle of birth.

The Chandogya Upanishad explains the jivatma’s dilemma

in samsara as akin to that of a blindfolded man led away and

left in a strange place, pointed out Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal

in a discourse. The worldly attractions, the compulsions of

daily duties, the sway of the gunas in the life of a jivatma, the

paths of dharma or adharma, the scriptural teachings and

philosophies, etc, verily constitute a thick forest. The

confused jivatma turns in every direction and cries out for

someone to remove the bandage and show him the way

home. If by chance his cries are heard by somebody who

loosens the bandage and gives him some relief, there is the

likelihood that the jivatma can inquire and try to find the

right way out of the forest. He is then able to reach home at

last. The quest for Tatva Jnana is beset in a maze of delusion and doubt arising in the mind of a spiritual aspirant. Only an enlightened guru can guide one in this regard. Each

individual has then to engage in sravana, manana and

nidhidyasa to attain realisation.

That is the stage when he intuitively grasps the ultimate

truth that he is the self-effulgent atma. This knowledge leads

to liberation from bondage.