The Soul, the illuminator
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The soul, the Illuminator – Adi Shankaracharya

The verse in the Kathopanishada, under consideration in the earlier three blogs and this one, has already told us that the objects are greater than the organs, that the mind is greater than the objects, that the intelligence is greater than the mind. Now let’s do the last part of the verse, which runs something like this:’buddheratma Mahanpara. It means something to the effect: the soul is greater than the intelligence. Why? Adi Shankaracharya has cited four reasons for it- one explicitly and the other ones implicitly. Let’s do the explicitly stated reason in this blog and the rest in the next ones.

The explicitly stated reason is that the soul is the thing that makes the intelligence in all the living beings pratyagamatmakam, related with itself, and so it is greater than the intelligence. So the soul itself draws the intelligence to itself, the soul itself establishes a relationship with the intelligence. How? By giving it instructions. Unfortunately, all these messages of the soul are lost upon the sthula buddhi. Being dominated by the stars, it always thinks and feels the way the stars want it to.

So the path of its understanding the messages are often littered with distracting doubts, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. This is not the case with the sukshma buddhi. Being closer to the soul, it is less dominated by the stars and so the path of its understanding the messages is also clear. So the sukshma buddhi can get the messages clearly and easily. Human beings and even trees and animals can have the sukshma buddhi, with which they can easily and clearly hear the voice of the soul.

When the son meets with an accident in a distant part of the world, the mother immediately comes to know that something has gone wrong with him. The dog that loves the master very much comes to know that he is no more and grows so sad over it that it refuses to eat anything for two days. The tree in the house’s courtyard comes to know that the lady of the house has died and it grows so sad over it that it stops blooming altogether. How can such things happen? The only plausible explanation of it is that the more intensely one loves someone, the subtler the intelligence gets when it comes to thinking about him and this kind of subtle intelligence can easily grasp a message of that soul-something has gone wrong with the person- and then the intelligence transmits the message to the mind.

Conclusion

In all these cases, the soul is the instructor of intelligence. The intelligence is the instructor of the mind but the soul is the instructor of the same. The intelligence-whether it is the intelligence of a mother, a dog, or a tree-is always illuminated by the soul. That is why at the beginning of the Dnyaneshwari, a famous Marathi epic, Saint Dnyaneshwar presents Lord Ganesha as ‘Atma rupa‘, a form of the soul, and refers to Him as ‘Sakal Mati Prakashu‘, the illuminator of all intelligence- all means all, the intelligence of trees and animals included. By being thus an illuminator for the intelligence in all living beings, the soul makes every intelligence pratyagamatmakam, which makes it greater than the intelligence.

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