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Uddaret Aatmanam Aatmaanaam

"Aatma" is a technical word in the scriptures, used to indicate the "self' in me. Employed in different contexts, it is associated with different entities of my "self'. It indicates "jeeva" the little-self-in-me which enlivens the "deha," the physical body. It indicates the "Spirit" within me,which has lent me existence. awareness and bliss.

In the statement" "Uddaret Aatmanam Aatmaanam," Lord Krishna appears to suggest that "jeeva" which is referred as "aatma" is as if composed of two parts. One is "mana,"the sense-bound mind. And the other is "buddhi", the discriminative intellect. The first word "aatma" indicates the mind. And the second word "aatma" indicates the intellect. By giving the call "Uddharet" - Hold elevated!- Hold elevated!-Krishna is calling on us to hold the sense-bound mind elevated by the discriminative intellect.

In all our interactions in the world outside, our mind functions at five different levels. They are:

Dull thoughts

Thoughts scattered or agitated

Thoughts gathered or composed

Thoughts one-pointed

Thoughts concentrated.

When Tamasic tendencies like sleep, lethargy, negligence and procrastination manifest in us, our thoughts are dull, words are dull and our deeds are dull.

When Raajasic tendencies like lust, hatred, greed, jealousy, pride and ego manifest in us, our thoughts are scattered. We are agitated. We are inflammable.

When Satvic tendencies like love, compassion, friendliness, sacrifice, surrender etc manifest in us, our thoughts are gathered. Our expressions are composed.

Only from the space of composure, we can move to the space:Thoughts one-pointed. - "Chitta-ekaagrataa". For those who are dull or agitated, there can never be “ekaagrataa".

When thoughts are one-pointed the efforts are put forth in a single direction towards the defined objective. Work is then best done by us, when we forget everything except the one thing that we are doing. And now, the mind is unwavering in concentration.

Lord Krishna commands us to hold this mind elevated and not to allow it to slide down to the depths of despair and agitation. Such a mind which is mastered, is a friend of intellect, or else it remains as a foe and acts as a foe.

About the author

This article is written for the 'Vedanta Vani'magazine of Chinmaya Mission by B.Nagendra

Story first published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 17:30 [IST]
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