15th August is a day of double celebration. The first is that India got independence and the second is that it is my beloved guru Pujya Swami Dayananda ji’s birth anniversary. He taught us that we were always free and never bound by the many limitations that we identify with.
As I offer my pranaams to him I am reminded of a verse from the Sāma Veda that he used to sing which was dear to him and to all who heard it.
First a little background.
The Upanishads show us directly that our true intrinsic, unchanging nature is Brahman, the limitless. This contradicts our universal experience of everything including our body-mind as limited and changing.
We identify with our changing body-mind and experiences wanting these to last forever because we do not know the one that is the changeless.
Since self-ignorance is the cause of our problem, self-knowledge is the solution to our problem of limitation.
Self-ignorance denies us the recognition of our true nature ātmā/Brahman.
Just like the clouds seemingly obstruct the radiant sun, the clouds of the ‘I’ notion (ahamkāra), kāma (binding desire), krodha (anger) and lobha (greed) obstruct our vision of the Atma. The Rishis describe these as the obstructions in gaining self-knowledge. They provide us the means to overcome them.
Bhagavatpujyapāda A̅di Sankaracharya in his text ‘Shatashl̒okī’ (verse 18) gives us the gist of Setusāma which are the obstructions that stop us from gaining ātmajñāna as
adānam –absence of giving
krodha – Anger
asr̒addhā – lack of trust/sr̒addhā)
asatyam (that which is false – anrutam).