Question 232: Seek the atmic principle within

meadow The young Rama asks “What is flesh, what is body, what are bones?” The Sage responds with an insightful explanation of consciousness, chitta, what we would know to be the body, the senses, the mind – in any other word, our consciousness, our bodily awareness, our perception of maya, this world of illusion. The solution? Seek the atmic principle within and discard everything else, the Sage advises.

prana the breath of life, life-breath, the vital force which keeps the body alive, the sustaining life-energy fig. a beloved person, dear as one’s very life. Expressed as vibration, prana is the link between the astral and the causal body. We absorb prana through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, from sunlight and the earth we live on – yet it is not vitamin, heat or light rays. It is in the air, but is not in the oxygen, nor any of its chemical components. Its movement is inward; its seat is the heart.

prana-apana: breath that is inhaled and exhaled; vital force, life-breath;

prana-yama (praanaayaama). Breath control.
prana-yama -practice by breathing exercise SB 4.1.21
prana-yama -by the practice of regulating the airs within the body SB 5.20.27

vasana: tendencies or desires

hridaya: heart = n. the heart (or region of the heart as the seat of feelings and sensations; “to take to heart “‘), soul, mind (as the seat of mental operations; the heart or interior of the body; the heart or centre or core or essence or best or dearest or most secret part of anything;

jivanmukta: permanently self-realised (or God-realised) person who no longer has any identification whatsoever with his or her body.

Atma-tattva reality of the Spirit; the primordial element; the consciousness that is the primeval element of existence;


Question 232: Sir, while narrating for spiritual understanding the story of Bhusunda, you referred to the body of flesh, blood and bones. Who made this body, from where did it arise, how has it come into being and who exists in it?

Answer: Ramji, the bones form the columns of this house – the body – which has nine gates. This body of blood and flesh has not been created by anybody; it is like a reflection or a shadow and is perceived due to false illusion. The body seems real as long as there is ignorance, and when wisdom arises the sense of reality of the body vanishes. Just as dream objects appear real in a dream and the dream appears unreal on waking, so the body and the objects appear real in ignorance, and they become unreal when wisdom is attained.

Just as bubbles in water are a form of water, so the objects and bodies are cognised in Atma. Ramji, whatever is experienced as real in the world has not been created; these are like illusions in the mind. Even this body that you are experiencing is not real but is just an ideation. Everything is experienced due to the ideation. All objects of the world vanish with the dissolution of ideation. The objects and activities experienced during a dream disappear as soon as the dream ends. If the dream were real, its objects would stay even after the dream. Likewise, the universe and its objects are experienced in the dream of ignorance, and when we rise into the wakefulness of wisdom, the universe and its objects dissolve. It shows that the universe and its objects are unreal. I and mine, you and yours are imaginary creations of the mind, and the individual consciousness is the seed or the cause of all these.

Ramji, the universe is a dream of long duration and because it is reinforced, it appears real. Know all this as an illusion in the consciousness, or an ideation, or modification in the mind. When, as a result of your practice, you realise your Supreme Self you will cognise the universe as unreal. When you have practised Atma for a considerable period, you will experience only Atma, and everything other than Atma will appear as unreal to you. The idea of a universe is strong in your mind; therefore, it appears as real. It is difficult to erase strong tendencies of the mind, but when one practises in its opposite direction, that habitual attitude can be erased. As is the nature and the strength of the attitude, so is the experiential phenomenon.

When you practise or concentrate on Atma with firm devotion, you will then become that form. It is with detachment and discipline that an individual attains to the state of pure Atma. Therefore, discriminate first between the real and the unreal, and renounce the unreal and concentrate on the truth so that you may attain the state of quiescence. When one realises, after long practice, that I am consciousness and not a body, and that consciousness is immortal, he becomes free from all sufferings.

When one discriminates between the truth and the untruth, one develops non-dual (samyak) cognition and thereafter he becomes free from all sufferings. Ramji, bear in mind that all objects in the universe are illusory, and thereafter overtly you may either act as it pleases you, or you may abandon action and remain free from all impressions. Bear firmly any of the faiths I am just going to tell you and if you practise it, you will attain to the Atmic state.

(i) I am chidakash (the Absolute Consciousness), always omniscient and free from everything.

(ii) Neither I exist, nor do the universe and its objects.

(iii) I am the perennial pure consciousness, of the nature of akash (ether, space) encompassing everything; nothing is outside me and I am always established in myself.

Having adopted any of these attitudes according to your liking, practise it, so that you may attain the supreme bliss. Carry on your daily routine, but without love and hate. Virtues like detachment, etc., cannot grow in a mind that is consumed by the fire of love and hate. That which did not exist in the beginning and will not exist in the end, but which is experienced in-between should be treated as unreal. Know the universe like that. Cognising the world as unreal and illusory, renounce it.

Ramji, the consciousness is the navel centre of the cycle of the universe. This cycle is stopped only when one remains in holy company and abides by the injunctions of scriptures, and not by any other means. Between an amoeba and Brahma, everything is in the state of flux of ignorance-like universe and is unreal. It is experienced as real because of the illusion. Strive to abandon this illusion and continue to practise with firm faith in your true Self.

Ramji, Atma does not suffer from pain or destruction with the suffering or destruction of a body which is a dream object of a long duration. The Atma within you is indestructible and does not deviate from its true nature. Atma is always pure, non-ideational and established in itself. Actions of body are cognised as pertaining to the self due to the strong practice of ignorance. When there is firm practice of Atma, then body-functions and body-ego also vanish. The body is gross and Atma is consciousness. Understanding fully that such Atma is your true self, practise to be established in That and do not cognise yourself as a body.

Ramji, ego is the cause of ignorance. This devil of ego is highly vicious, and it has been denounced by all saints. Bliss is experienced when ego disappears. He who concentrates on ego, goes to hell. Therefore, do not be a slave to ego but strive in every possible manner to destroy it. The ego is insignificant in itself, and he who seeks its association becomes insignificant like it. Ego finds its abode where holy company and contemplation on the scriptures are absent. Ego takes possession of those who are without patience and discrimination. Ego renders a person very feeble and casts him into great catastrophes. The false ideations that I am, I die, I shall go away, I am unhappy, I am a human being, etc., are all imaginations and aspects of ego. Atma is real, pure, consciousness, omniscient, being-awareness-bliss and the self in every being; that is your only true Self and you should always be established in it so that you are saved from all catastrophes. Atma is the cause of all actions, yet it is stainless and unrelated to everything. Only the unwise have the feeling of self in the absence of atmic awareness – such as body, consciousness, mind, ego, etc., but, in truth, Atma is not associated with anything. Everything other than Atma is a veil on Atma. Ramji, by following strict discipline, you should cast off this veil and realise that you yourself are Atma. Atma is omniscient, omnipresent and consciousness. Body consciousness is gross. Remove the ideation of body consciousness with the practice of Atma. If you get entangled in the ideations of body consciousness, no one will be able to save you from its noose. Only your endeavour of realising the Supreme Being will be of help to you.


The true education is the training of the mind. Life is a futile exercise if the restraint of the mind is not achieved, in spite of one’s high intelligence and status. So it is said:

“Of what use is worship, without the purity of the mind?
Of what use is cooking, without the purity of the vessel?
Of what use is spiritual practice, without the purity of
the Self?”

You cannot rest in peace in a room where venomous worms crawl; the worm should be either caught or killed. We should root out this worm from the chitta. There will be no peace for man until the worm is caught and killed.

The youth today do not know what are ‘Chitta’, ‘Hridaya’ and ‘Manas’. Man is made of mind and mind is nothing but a conglomeration of thoughts. Since thoughts determine our conduct, we should cultivate noble thoughts. Though the heart is the seat of purity, evil company infects the heart and vices arise as a consequence. If a piece of charcoal and a burning ember are brought into contact, the former loses its blackness and glows with intensity, as the heat and the fire of the latter enter into it. The charcoal turns into a totally burning ember when it is fanned. The charcoal glows as an ember to the extent it allows itself to be consumed by fire.

This is the miracle of transformation wrought by noble company. The company of a burning ember transforms a black charcoal into another ember. Hence it is said, “Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavathi” (the one who knows the Brahman becomes the Brahman). It is not enough if you are ‘Near’ noble company. You should become ‘Dear’ too, endearing yourself to it. For example: When we carry a flower in the hand, the fragrance of the flower spreads to our hands and dress. If a foul smelling flower is carried in the hand, it befouls our dress and body. Hence, good and evil are endowed with equal potency to exercise benevolent and malevolent influences respectively. You are what your company is. That is why Einstein said, “Tell me your company and I shall tell you what you are“. It is the company one keeps which makes or unmakes him.
Summer Showers, 1993




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.”

Image Credit: 653324 / Pixabay