Articles By H H Maa Purnananda Ji

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Drop the Borrowed Qualities!

By H H Maa Purnananda

“Panchkoshaadi Yogena Tattanmaya Iva Sthitah; Shuddhaatma Neelvastraadi Yogena Sphatiko Yatha. (Aatma Bodh – 15)

How much am I involved and indulgent in that about which the philosophy of non-dualism termed as “Vedant” informs, instructs and alerts us that it is merely “superimposed” on Brahman, the Absolute and the One-without-a-second, our own True Self! In the given verse, Sree Adi Shankaracharya indicates this so aptly through a simple example. He says, “In Its identifications with the five-sheaths (Panchkosh), the Immaculate Aatman (Brahman) appears to have borrowed their qualities upon Itself; as in the case of a crystal which appears to gather unto itself the colour of its vicinity (blue cloth etc.).”

Even after reading volumes of Shaastra-s, why man is unable to “drop the borrowed qualities”? Why does he not understand that his inherent Guna-s (tendencies/qualities) are superimposed by himself on his own True Self, due to his own ignorance (non-apprehension of Reality)? Why is he not ready to disown that which is the impediment on the way to his Self-realisation? Why does he prefer to remain in ignorance in spite of knowing that he has owned ignorance and is trapped in his owned qualities; the qualities are the very cause of all his sufferings (misapprehensions)? His physical sufferings (cycle of birth, growth, decay, disease, death) his mental sufferings (fluctuating happiness and sorrow, peace and unrest, likes and dislikes) and intellectual sufferings (pride and prejudice, respect and disrespect, knowledge and ignorance), are all due to his unfortunate indulgence and involvement in his acquired tendencies that he is not ready to give up!

It is advisable to read and understand the Shaastra-s more sincerely and seriously for our own benefit in every way. But of course, if I like to remain ever ignorant, if I love all my sufferings, if I appreciate the fluctuations caused in my life due to my own borrowed qualities, then so be it! So the man, who loves the comfort of his ignorance, enjoys remaining in the dark cocoon woven by himself from the web of his borrowed tendencies, need not waste time in reading the Shaastra-s. The Sacred Shaastra-s are useful and most beneficial for those who aspire to come out of their own non-apprehension and misapprehensions. In fact, the Shaastra-s are the only solution for the grave problem of our “borrowed qualities”.

The Sacred Teachings that man can learn from the great compilation of worthy Words of the glorious Guru Parampara, are unfailing guide and blessings to the humanity. It would be the most unfortunate misfortune for the mankind to devalue and thereby ignore the great Teachings. To remind ourselves of the gracious Guru-s, the least we can do is to offer our sincere Puja at Their Holy-feet and put our utmost effort to learn, understand and live our life in accordance to Their Sacred Teachings.

Am I so deeply involved and terribly attached to my ignorance and borrowed qualities that even though I believe in, and therefore read, the Shaastra-s, I don’t shed my false identifications, unnecessary indulgences and horrible I-ness? What a disaster, what a tragedy, what a fiasco! If it is so, then I should seriously stop criticising and commenting over whatever is happening around me and rather should try to dive within me to sincerely and genuinely analyse and assess the reasons for my ignorance and delusion. It would not only help me profusely but it would also be the greatest “service” to the society which is suffering so badly with all kinds of grief and sorrow.

When man drops the borrowed qualities, fierce pride and the false superimpositions, he meets with his brilliant and peaceful, True and Absolute Self. What stops me, and why, from pursuing, seeking and ultimately finding my Self? Think!

(To understand further the given verse, thorough study of the book “Aatma Bodh” by Sree Adi Shankaracharya, with commentary by none other than Sree Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, is recommended.)