Question 161-162: Are Ignorance and Impurity in Atma?

The Spanish Dancer Spiral GalaxyThe young Ramachandra asks about non-existent ignorance of this very strange world. How can there be ignorance if everything is Atma? How can there be impurity in our world if the Atma itself is purity?

kalank: contamination, impurity

Atma-Sakshatkara Direct vision of Atma; Self realisation

brahman, brahma San. N. the impersonal Absolute – a supreme, unmeasurable and transcendent essence that exists simultaneously with all of creation; the ultimate Reality, the Source, Consciousness not aware of itself, all-pervasive and self-existent. (V. 663) Brahman envelopes and permeates everything: ‘Brahman is all there is’ (sarvam brahman-mayam). Creation is but a reflection in brahman.

brahm-satta the potency of Brahman

brahm-roop the form of Brahman

swarūp Hin. m. swarūpam (swa+rūpa) San. n. an image; a form assumed by a deity; one’s intrinsic nature, the expression of one’s own essential form, nature or character, including the values one represents or demonstrates. (real, actual, essential, original spiritual form, of the nature of, by nature)

swarūpaka San. adj. symbolising, representing.


Question 161: Sir, how does this non-existent ignorance of this odd world arise in Brahman that is pure, non-dual, and existence-consciousness-bliss?

Answer: Ramji, the entire Universe is an aspect of Brahman. Brahm-satta is the power in the universe and it is this power of Brahman that manifests itself as the universe. Due to the manifestations, the non-dual power is experienced as true-untrue ubniverse. Just as bubbles, ripples, waves, etc., are experienced in water due to wind, so the universe arises in Pure Consciousness due to the primeval ideation, which is its nature. This ideation in consciousness manifests itsef variously, such as actions (karma), speech, mind, stillness and the cause of birth, death and life. Thus Brahm-potency is everything; there is nothing besides it. Just as bubbles and waves merge into water and become water, so do all objects arise from Brahman, resolve back into Brahman and become Brahman itself (Brahm-roop).

Question 162: Sir, your words are very plain and easy to say, yet they are very difficult and deep, and I am not able to get the true purport. The non-dual swaroop (free from mind and senses) and the manifest universe are poles apart. An object is an aspect of what it is created from; so also is the case of effect and cause. A universe arising in pure Atma should be faultless, but it is not so. Whereas Atma is pure and tranquil, the universe is impure and is full with miseries. Kindly explain how this impure universe is a product of the pure Atma.

Answer: Ramji, undoubtedly the universe is an aspect of Brahman and the impurities which are seen are not impurities at all. Just as the waves seen in an ocean are only water and are not distinct from water, so the impure universe seen in Atma is not an impurity (kalank) at all, but is an aspect of Atma.



“Real, as used in spirituality, means that which is eternal, never changing, indestructible. This is the very definition of ‘Reality’. That which is Real never ceases to be. Anything that is impermanent, even if it lasts a very long time and seems durable, eventually changes and thus does not have true Reality. The wise ones understand the difference between the Real and the not-Real. When you fully understand this profound fact, you will have attained the zenith of all knowledge.

“One’s body, according to this logic, is not Real. And yet, there is something that dwells within the body that is Real : the Atma – which is existence itself; awareness, pure consciousness.

“Get to know this Reality. It pervades the entire cosmos and is unchanging and indestructible. No power can affect it. No one can change the changeless.

“This Atma, Arjuna, is like space or sky. Clouds appear in the sky but their presence does not cause the sky to grow apart to make room for them. In the same manner, the Atma (the True Self Within) remains ever itself. Things of the material universe come and go, appear and disappear, but the Atma never changes. –Bhagavad Gita 2:16-17
Some questions handed over to me relate to Creation and how it came into being. Well, if you can understand how your dream comes into being, you can know how this creation came into being. Sleep causes dreams; the Maya (the deluding Power) of the Divine has caused this Creation! This Universe is as unreal as the dream. It is only relatively real; it is not absolutely real.

The Vedic sages, out of the illumination of their purified intellects, declared in bliss, for all mankind to know: TAT TWAM ASI (Thou art That); Prajnanam Brahma (Wisdom is That). Ayam Atma Brahmam. (This I is That). Aham Brahmasmi (I am That); I am everything, I am the Supreme; I am the One, without a Second. When these depth-stirring declarations reverberate in the heart, men awaken to the vision of Truth. The realisation that you are the Atma and that there is nothing except the Atma anywhere at any time – this is Self-realisation; it is the Atma-Sakshatkara, the realisation of the Atma by the atma, of yourself, by yourself as the Self.

This is also called Bhoomaa, the vast limitless, the changeless, the unaffected-by-Time-and-Space; the Bhoomi (this Earth) is limited; it has a past and a future different from the present. So, it can never reveal the Truth. Bhoomaa alone can reveal it. So, live in the Bhooma, breathe the Bhoomaa, think, plan and act in the Limitless, the Changeless that is in you! –Prashanti Nilayam, 22-11-1970


The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy
NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy

Image Credit & Copyright: Mark Hanson and Mike Selby

Explanation: An island universe of billions of stars, NGC 1566 lies about 60 million light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado. Popularly known as the Spanish Dancer galaxy, it’s seen face-on from our Milky Way perspective. A gorgeous grand design spiral, this galaxy’s two graceful spiral arms span over 100,000 light-years, traced by bright blue star clusters, pinkish starforming regions, and swirling cosmic dust lanes. NGC 1566’s flaring center makes the spiral one of the closest and brightest Seyfert galaxies. It likely houses a central supermassive black hole wreaking havoc on surrounding stars, gas, and dust. In this sharp southern galaxy portrait, the spiky stars lie well within the Milky Way.



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.”