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Realizing the Atma

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

16 March 1972

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In spite of the fact that Atma is all-pervasive, it can be realized only by man and that too within his own body. Using the body as a medium for the purpose, living in it, he has to realize That which abides within it.

My dear Gurudev,

Hari Om Tat Sat. After long waiting, I received your kind and affectionate letter.

You will be glad to know that now-a-days practically every day I go to different places and recite Ram Charit Manas to the ladies in the afternoon. I do feel that they like and appreciate it.

Sometimes, I feel as if I have no mind. The feeling that I am a blessed one upon whom the Almighty has showered his Grace is getting stronger. I do feel that I have realised the Self and it is only due to your Grace. My own ‘Self’ is the eternal truth and God is the very ‘Self’ within me.

I have realised that God alone is real and this world is an illusion created by the mind. The moment there is no thought, there is no body, neither the mind nor the world. There remains only God, which is my own ‘Self’. Am I correct?

However, I have one question: Why do people say that the body is dead because Atma has left the body and it has entered another body? The truth is that Atma is immovable, because it is all-pervasive. Being everywhere it should be in the dead body too. When Atma is immovable, then what comes out of the body making the living body dead?

Another question is that my mantra merged into the sound ‘OM’. So, should I meditate on ‘OM’ or should I go on doing my mantra? The old mantra became automatic immediately and the new mantra you gave, that very day it merged into the sound ‘OM’. The new mantra has not become automatic. Why? If my questions are foolish, please do not mind, but they are genuine questions.

Respects to dear Mataji and best wishes to everybody in the Ashram.

With lot of reverence,
Your humble disciple.

*  *  *

Dear and blessed soul,

Harih Om Tat Sat.

… Atma is all-pervasive. Even an ignorant man must be the Atma, because everything is Atma. Will it not then mean that no one has to do any sādhanā for realizing the Atma, on the ground that everything is the one Atma?

It is to avoid such a fallacy that the Self is first stated to be a mystic ‘spiritual presence’ situated within the body, separate from the body. Only then, the seeker will begin to seek it as different from the body. When so sought, he will be able to overcome the body-desires, attachment and identification. You will agree that in the matter of seeking the Self the main factor to be accomplished is the overcoming of the forces which crowd round the body-consideration. It is to help this accomplishment that the ‘separateness from the body’ of the Self is first posited.

There is another reason also. In spite of the fact that Atma is all-pervasive, it can be realized only by man and that too within his own body. Using the body as a medium for the purpose, living in it, he has to realize That which abides within it. It is like using water for getting steam by heating it. The heat and expansiveness are the factors more important than the water itself. Water acts as an agent in the process. Nevertheless it is indispensable for serving the purpose desired.

The same can be said about the body. Without the body, you can’t realize the Soul within.

Once you have realized the Soul within the body as a thing mystic and spiritual, the ultimate truth that everything is that one Soul, nothing else, has also to be understood. Only then peace and salvation will come to you. The consideration of Atma as all-pervasive will come only in such a stage.

The principle is: Realize the Atma first as the body-different. Thereupon as the all-pervasive. It is a progressive process.

By disclosing the ultimate truth that Atma is all-pervasive, we do not intend to deny the basic facts of our life, namely the birth, death, etc. of the body. On the other hand, only the true perspective with regard to all these phenomena is revealed. That is all. The facts of life are facts indeed. The body is born. It will die too. Nevertheless, the all-pervasive Atma subsists in its own nature. Neither affects the other. Both subsist equally without any contravention.

The existence of the Atma is always absolute. Its manner of expression includes that which you call ‘the world’. This is the truth. But this truth will remain a mystery until the seeker’s mind becomes crystal clear, desire-free and stable under all conditions. The least trace of impurity any time will impair his vision. That is why earnest seekers go ahead and undertake any kind of sacrifices and persecutions in their efforts for self-purification and spiritual attainment.

About the chanting of mantra, I understand what you say. My answer is: do as you feel like doing. That is the best. There is no contradiction or conflict. All paths lead to the same goal.

I wish you mangala in your Ram Charit efforts. May they help you and others alike. I also wish you success in your pilgrimage. May your soul flower forth well. Be firm and fear-free, but cause no confusion or a sense of loss to anyone. That is the golden method of doing things.

Mataji sends you her warm greetings with love and blessings. So too do I. The same to your husband and others.

In the Lord,
Swamiji

16-March-1972

-From the book–“Be what you are”

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“The body is born. It will die too. Nevertheless, the all-pervasive Atma subsists in its own nature. Neither affects the other. Both subsist equally without any contravention. ”

“Once you have realized the Soul within the body as a thing mystic and spiritual, the ultimate truth that everything is that one Soul, nothing else, has also to be understood”

“About the chanting of mantra, I understand what you say. My answer is: do as you feel like doing. That is the best. There is no contradiction or conflict. All paths lead to the same goal. ”

“Be firm and fear-free, but cause no confusion or a sense of loss to anyone. That is the golden method of doing things.”

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