Question 149: The Citadel of the Body

Vishnu The young Rama asks about the wise one and his body. What is the nature of such a person, what is the composition of the body and its purpose?

ajnana: ignorance Bg 16.13-15, SB 1.13.45
ajnana: nescience – ignorance (especially of orthodox beliefs) SB 3.7.7, SB 3.12.2
ajnana: of ignorance Adi 1.88-89, Adi 3.59
ajnana: ignorant Bg 18.72
ajnana: ignorance. Adi 2.96
ajnana: by ignorance Antya 2.99

jñan Hin. m. jñana San. n. (from jña – to know) true intuited understanding; spiritual wisdom; higher knowledge. ‘What use is information which does not bring about transformation?’ (SSS) ‘Jñana is that which is beyond mind and speech. What the guru says through his mouth is not jñana but ajñana. Just as one thorn removes another, the guru’s verbal teaching (ajñana) removes the veil of the disciple and the result is jñana – pure knowledge.’ ‘Jñana is not something to be attained; it is eternal and self-existent. Remove [ignorance] and what remains is jñana.’ (SSB) (pronounced gyan in Hindi)

gyan (jnana): atma-jnana: true learning.

purusha – the dweller in the citadel of the body’, ‘he who fills the body of man’ – man, the self, the individual person. By implication, purusha is used as a name for God within, the eternal witness – Consciousness, the Self, the atman (V. 14, 406). ‘You are all limbs of that one body, the purusha, who is far more expansive than this universe, which is but a fraction of his physical manifestation.’ The whole of creation is the cosmic body of God, the supreme Person, who is expressed through the medium of each created object, thus having uncountable (‘thousands’) of heads, eyes and limbs. Purusha is also the masculine principle; in one sense, God alone is purusha and all of creation is female (prakriti); ‘manhood comes with the rejection of the dual’.


Question 149: Sir, how does the yogi purusha rule in the citadel of body and partake of its pleasures?

Answer: Ramji, the citadel of a wise one’s body is very charming and beautiful and gives him bliss and pleasures. Now listen how that citadel has been built. The joints in the body are its bricks cemented with the mortar of blood and flesh, and the bones are its columns. The void (inner space) represents the mines, the hair the vegetation, and the stomach, a pit. The chest is its courtyard. The nine gates include two eyes which are its windows and through which the light of the three planes (lokas) passes. The hands are the tools with which the jiva gives and takes.

The mouth is a big tunnel, and the neck and the head are great temples. Wrinkles are the garlands and veins are the pathways where the embodied soul strolls with the aid of breath of life-force, prana. In the jewel hall of Atma (Soul) stays the lady intelligence controlling the senses representing an ape. Beautiful flowers blossom at the time of merriment. Such a citadel-like body presents great pleasures to a wise one who is not affected either by its creation or by its destruction. But to the ignorant, it is the source of great sufferings, because due to his ignorance he perceives his own destruction with the destruction of the body. But a wise one does not cognise his own destruction with the destruction of the body. As long as a wise one sports in a body, he partakes of its pleasures, such as fragrance, forms, touch, sounds, etc and he appears as charming to everybody because he reigns in that citadel without fear and illusions.

As he is without greed, he is not harmed by enemies. Foes like anger, greed, attachment and ego are the residents in the abode of ignorance. But generosity, patience, contentment, detachment, evenness, brotherhood and gentleness are the residents in the citadel of the wise; and ignorance (agyan) cannot reach there. The wise one himself stays in the hall of meditation in the company of two ladies named truth and non—duality where he appears very glamorous, remains perfect in liberation and indulgence and is not bound by actions of any kind.

The greatest obstacle on the path of Surrender is egoism, I-me-mine. It is something that has been inhering to your personality since ages, sending its tentacles deeper and deeper with the experience of every succeeding life. It can be removed only by the twin detergents of discrimination and renunciation. Devotion is the water to wash away this dirt of ages and the soap of chanting the Name, meditation and Yoga will help to remove it quicker and more effectively. The slow and the steady will surely win this race; walking is the safest method of travel, though it may be condemned as slow. Quicker means of travel mean disaster; the quicker the means, the greater the risk of disaster. You should eat only as much as you feel hunger, for, more will cause disorder. So proceed step by step in your spiritual effort, making sure of one step before you take another. Do not slide back two paces when you go one pace forward. But even the first step will be unsteady, if you have no faith. So cultivate faith.

Sathyabhama once asked Krishna, “Why are you doing things like ordinary men? Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas is the best of the brothers but you hobnob always with Arjuna, whose reputation is not above board”. Her faith was not steady! What do people know of the motives that prompt the Lord and His actions? Some found fault with Narada for repeating the name of the Lord, always, without intermission. But until mergence with the Lord, the name has to be used; the idea of separation will end only with mergence, not before that. Do not waver or doubt when once you are convinced. Seek to understand and satisfy yourself. After that, do not be misled. When the sun is over your head there will be no shadow; similarly when faith is steady in your head it should not cast any shadow of doubt.





Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”