All the three types of bodies – gross, subtle and causal are considered as upādhi-s (discriminative appellation). In the previous verses, upādhi-s of gross and subtle bodies were discussed. This verse discusses about upādhi of causal body, which is also known as kāraṇa śarīra. “It, this Nescience is neither made up of parts, nor is it non-composite, not even both composite and non-composite. By virtue of its being unreal, it is destructible by knowledge of the identity of Brahman and Ātman” (Pañcikaraṇa-Vārttikam). The causal body not only holds the soul within, but also holds the impressions of subconscious mind and karmic account. The impressions in the subconscious mind are also known as vāsanā-s. Karmic account and vāsanā-s together decide the quality of a person, good, bad, etc. Brahman or the Self is not the three types of bodies discussed here. Brahman is different from these types of bodies. (13)

Brahman, which resides beyond five sheaths (kośa-s), deep inside the body, remains only as a witness, which is the nature of Brahman. But due to the superimposition of these sheaths, Brahman appears to have the qualities of these sheaths. It is like crystal reflecting the colour of red colour cloth on which crystal is placed. Even though, crystal is pure, it reflects the colour of the cloth on which it is placed. Similarly, Brahman, who is pure and beyond upādhi-s, appears to be limited due to the reflection of pañcakośa-s, beneath which Brahman resides. Tattvabodha asks “pañca kośāḥ ke?” meaning what are the five sheaths? The five sheaths are annamaya, prāṇamaya, manomaya, vijñānamaya and ānandamaya kośa-s. These five sheaths are translated as sheaths of food, vital air, mind, intellect and bliss. These five sheaths are related to the three types of bodies – gross, subtle and causal.

Gross body à annamaya kośa, prāṇamaya kośa

Subtle body à manomaya kośa, vijñānamaya kośa

Causal body à ānandamaya kośa

The Self within can be realized only if all these sheaths are transcended, as the Self remains encased by these sheaths. These sheaths cause illusion by making a person to identify with these sheaths. The exterior annamaya kośa is grossest of the five and the interior ānandamaya kośa is subtlest in nature. (14)

One should realize Brahman, beyond these three bodies and five sheaths. How it should be done? Ātmabodha says, it should be done very carefully with complete knowledge like removing the husk from the rice grain. If one does not possess knowledge and if one is not careful, he could break the rice grain while husking. Śiva Sūtra says, “Jñānaṁ bandhaḥ”. This knowledge is different from supreme knowledge. Supreme knowledge is the experience of the mind and not derived through sensory experience. Knowledge conceived, nurtured and manifested by the mind remains uncontaminated with temporal matters such as bondage. This is where Pure Consciousness (Brahman) is consecrated. Mala (impurity) is the cause for bondage. Ajñānaṁ (spiritual ignorance) is inborn and inherent quality. This mala can be removed only by pursuing the path of spirituality. Religious path is different from spiritual path. Spiritual path does not advocate any form. Brahman is Self-illuminating, shining from within. To attain spiritual knowledge, nothing will help, except searching and enquiring within. Śaṃkarācārya says that such knowledge can be attained only through sadgurūpadeśena, which means through teachings of a Guru. (15)

Brahman, who is omnipresent, manifest only in buddhi (part of antaḥkaraṇa). It shines in buddhi like a reflection in clear water or spotless mirror. It is said “niścayātmikā buddhiḥ” which refers to the inherent nature of the intellect viz. its form of certainty. Buddhi belongs to vijñānamaya kośa. Ever illuminating Brahman, through ānandamaya kośa, which is transparent, reflects in buddhi (Brahman is always in the state of Bliss or It is always Ānandamaya; Brahman is Saccidānanda). Buddhi reflects Brahman and this reflection is known as jīva or individual soul. Like sun reflects itself in clear water, Brahman reflects itself in buddhi. Though we see reflection of the sun in clear water, we are not seeing the real sun. If the water is not clear, we cannot see the sun. Similarly, if buddhi is not clear, we cannot see the reflection of Brahman, which is known as jīva. Buddhi can be clear only if the mind is clear and devoid of impurities. Reflection of the sun in clear water is jīva and the real sun is Brahman. Thus there is difference between Brahman and jīva. Buddhi if not afflicted by mind is sattvic in nature and only in sattvic buddhi, jīva can be realized. (16)

Brahman is not jīva; nor is it prakṛti (Prakṛti has two types of powers. One is undifferentiated and the other differentiated and the former leads to the latter. The three guṇa-s or attributes lie in equal proportion in undifferentiated nature. This is the state of Prakṛti just before the creation begins. When the equilibrium of guṇa-s is disturbed, the creation begins to happen, leading to different creatures, where one of these guṇa-s predominate), buddhi, mind or any sense organ. Brahman is simply Supreme and always witnesses. Brahman is like President of the country, who only watches the performance of his council of ministers. Brahman is Saccidānanda and It alone is Saccidānanda. By remaining in the state of ever illuminating Saccidānanda, It only witnesses all the actions happening in the material world. (17)

When the moon is hidden by transparent clouds, we will feel as if the moon is moving. In reality, the moon does not move and only the clouds move. Similarly, Brahman is covered by māyā and due to the effects of māyā, we feel that Brahman within is doing all our actions. This is known as innate spiritual ignorance or māyā, which not only hide the reality, but also projects itself as the reality. For example, rope and snake. (18)

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