This is part XII of our series on understanding our physical body. The atman can be realised within, with the help of knowledge and bliss. We are currently discussing knowledge and bliss will be discussed next. Due to the influence of buddhi or intellect, soul and atman are considered as the same. Soul transmigrates and atman exists everywhere. Without atman soul cannot exist, but atman does not depend upon anything for its existence. In fact, everything depends upon atman for existence. Atman is the God. The intellect, due to the influence of misinformed mind considers soul as atman. Intellect at this stage is badly affected by delusion or maya. That is why it considers our body as atman. It searches for atman everywhere, except looking for in the place where it can be identified. You should not get confused on this point. Atman exists everywhere and we know it is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. Atman is there everywhere, including those places where the invisible air cannot penetrate. This illusion is caused as the five sheaths superimposed on atman are identified by the buddhi as atman. The cause of this illusion is called avidya. Once avidya is removed, buddhi realises the truth. Avidya can be removed by exploring inwardly. We have to explore our inner self because we know based on our discussions that atman is covered by the five sheaths or pancha kosha. Though atman exists everywhere, and you can realise atman everywhere, it is better to find the atman in your inner self as otherwise you have to use your sensory organs. That is why in Sri vidya cult, Lalithambigai is worshiped at the centre of Sri chakra after worshiping several deities beginning from the outer avarana. After crossing nine avaranas (avaranas can be interpreted as coverings or sheaths. They are like koshas) only you can worship Lalithambigai.
Our physical body is compared to Sri Chakra. Avidya can be removed by knowledge. This knowledge is not the knowledge that you acquire by reading this article. Books do not give you the knowledge that is needed to drive away avidya. But what you read currently, will certainly tell you how to acquire the right knowledge and the ways and means of getting it. You are not given a university degree without passing out in practical examinations. Practical examinations are held to confirm that you know to implement whatever you have learnt from the books and lecturers. So practice is considered necessary. In the same way, in order to have complete knowledge you need to undergo practical sessions called meditation. Meditation means acquiring real knowledge. It does not mean controlling your breath, sitting erect for hours together, your posture etc. In a true meditation, after having plugged your sensory organs, you have to explore your inner self. When your consciousness is nearing the ever illuminating atman, your physical body starts radiating. Knowledge is an important component for exploring within. Your knowledge is considered as supreme only when your ego is removed. Knowledge is subject to change. For example, from avidya it can become vidya. It is like an illiterate becoming a literate. Secondly knowledge is not always available to you for use. In your deep sleep, knowledge does not function. Thirdly, it has to depend on mind for its functioning. Fourthly it is not self illuminating. Therefore we are negating this buddhi also as atman. We have already negated our gross body, sheath of air and mental sheath as atman. Out of the five sheaths we have so far considered four and the last is anandamaya kosha which will be discussed in the next posting.