॥ શ્રી સ્વામિનારાયણો વિજયતે ॥


Spiritual Discourses

by Bhagwan Swaminarayan


Thinking about the Ātmā

On Bhadarvā sudi 1, Samvat 1877 [8 September 1820], Swāmi Shri Sahajānandji Mahārāj was sitting on a large, decorated cot on the veranda outside the north-facing rooms of Jivā Khāchar’s darbār in Sārangpur. He was dressed entirely in white clothes. At that time, an assembly of munis as well as devotees from various places had gathered before Him.

Thereupon Nirvikārānand Swāmi asked a question, “Which virtues constantly remain in a sādhu, and which virtues come and go?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “First, there is ātmā-realization; second, swadharma; and third, faith in God. These three virtues constantly remain in a sādhu, whereas other virtues may come and may go. Thus, while other virtues come and go, these three virtues always remain.”1

Thereafter Muktānand Swāmi asked, “Why is it that even after understanding the distinction between the body and the ātmā, one forgets that distinction and continues to identify oneself with the body?”

Shriji Mahārāj explained, “Once a person has clearly understood the distinction between the body and the ātmā, it cannot be forgotten. Even if he believes, ‘I am the body,’ he can no longer accept himself as the body. Also, once he has firmly established the conviction of God, even if he tries to discard it, it cannot be discarded. Furthermore, the notion that his realization of himself as ātmā has been lost and the belief that he is the body has begun to prevail is simply a misconception of his mind; the belief never actually returns. Such a devotee with perfect gnān is conscious only of his ātmā. Also, he believes his ātmā to be brahmarup and that Purushottam Bhagwān - also known as Parabrahma - forever resides in that brahmarup ātmā. Also, his conviction of God remains forever steady.”

Then Swayamprakāshānand Swāmi asked, “How should one think of one’s ātmā?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “When the drashtā, i.e., the jivātmā, focuses on the antahkaran, it becomes oblivious to the outer, physical body and all of the vishays related to it. Then, with the thought that rests between the antahkaran and the drashtā, one should realize the nature of the man, the buddhi, the chitt and the ahamkār. Then, observing the various thoughts within the antahkaran through such a thought process, only when those thoughts cease should one meditate on God’s form. However, as long as those thoughts and desires persist, one should keep observing them, but one should not engage in meditation at that time.

“In addition, when the five gnān-indriyas of the outer, physical body are drawn towards their respective vishays, one should think in two ways: Firstly, one should think about the vishay2 towards which the indriyas have been drawn; secondly, one should think about the drashtā3 who watches from the indriyas’ organs. Then, when the former thought of the vishay and the latter thought of the drashtā merge into one, one’s vrutti becomes completely detached from the vishays. However, if one does not think in this way and attempts to break one’s vrutti from the vishays forcefully, then the vrutti’s attraction towards the vishays will not be eradicated. On the other hand, if one withdraws one’s vrutti by applying this thought process, one’s vrutti will never again become attached to the vishays. Therefore, as long as one’s indriyas’ vruttis have affection for the vishays, one should avoid meditating on God. Only when the indriyas’ vruttis become stable should one engage in the meditation of God.

“Also, when the drashtā is active in the outer sthul body, one should be absolutely clear in making the distinction that, when one is active in the sthul body, one should never look towards the desires arising in the sukshma body; and when one is active in the antahkaran, one should become oblivious of one’s sthul body. Moreover, using the thought which rests between the drashtā and drashya, one should realize, ‘The drashtā and drashya are absolutely distinct.’ With this understanding, one should ascribe the attributes of the body unto the body and the attributes of the drashtā - which is chaitanya - unto chaitanya. Also, childhood, youth, old age, stoutness, thinness, birth and death are all aspects of the body; so they should never be thought of as belonging to the ātmā. On the other hand, being uncuttable, being un-pierceable, not aging, being immortal, being the embodiment of gnān, being the embodiment of bliss, and being characterized by eternal existence are all aspects of the ātmā; they should in no way be considered to belong to the body. Instead, those attributes should be understood to belong to the ātmā.

“Such thoughts should not be abandoned as long as desires and thoughts persist in the antahkaran. Take the example of a king: As long as he is confronted by an enemy, he cannot preside on his throne in peace, nor does he indulge in any pleasures. Only when all of his enemies are conquered does he enjoy the luxuries of his kingdom. Similarly, a devotee of God should firmly keep the aforementioned thought as long as the enemies in the form of his mind and indriyas continue to trouble him. Only when all desires of his mind and indriyas have subsided should he meditate on God.”

Vachanamrut ॥ 12 ॥ 90 ॥

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This Vachanamrut took place ago.


1. Vairāgya should be included in ātmā-realization and bhakti should be included in faith in God (nishchay). Hence, the purport is that the four aspects of ekāntik dharma - dharma, gnān, vairāgya, and bhakti - all remain constantly in a Sant.

2. That the body and the vishays are a form of misery, cause of bondage, perishable, etc.

3. That the ātmā is eternally blissful, free from all faults, imperishable, etc.

Prakaran Gadhada I (78) Sarangpur (18) Kariyani (12) Loya (18) Panchala (7) Gadhada II (67) Vartal (20) Amdavad (3) Gadhada III (39) Bhugol-Khagol Additional (11) Additional Info Vachanamrut Study People in the Vachanamrut Vachanamrut Introduction Vachanamrut Principles Vachanamrut Preface Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Blessings Vachanamrut Calendar Paratharo 4: Auspicious Marks Paratharo 5: Daily Routine Appendices

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