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Man An Aspect Of God

Man as we know is a combination of these aspects of God, the Real and the unreal. The apparent man will vanish some day, first the gross manifestation and later also the fine or subtle manifestation. The gross body as we know may last a hundred years at the most, but the subtle body exists through ages. It comes and goes. It leaves one gross body behind and then assumes another. But this subtle body will also be dissolved when it has served its purpose, just as the gross body is laid aside after its task is finished. When both these bodies vanish, only the Spirit remains. The Real man stands naked in his own glory, the blissful Spirit. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad describes this state in two beautiful mantras:

I know this mighty Purusha, sun-like, beyond all darkness. By knowing Him and Him alone one transcends death. There is no other path.

To whom there is nothing superior, from whom there is nothing different, than whom there is nothing either smaller or greater, who stands alone, motionless like a tree, established in His own glory—by Him, the Purusha, all this (universe) is filled.

We dream. And compared with the dream state, we are real and the dream is false. From the standpoint of the Absolute, God is Real and the Spirit in man is Real; all else is false. The gross body, the subtle body and the entire universe is then no more; then on waking, the dream disappears. Similarly, in Samadhi the universe disappears. That is mukti or nirvana. But as long as we have not had that realization, we cannot deny the existence of the universe.

SourceReflections on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Atulananda published in August 2004 issue of Prabuddha Bharata magazine.