3). Spiritual Suicide

असुर्या नाम ते लोका अन्धेन तमसावृताः ।
तांस्ते प्रेत्याभिगच्छन्ति ये के चात्महनो जनाः ॥ ३ ॥

asuryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasāvṛtāḥ |
tāṃste pretyābhigacchanti ye ke cātmahano janāḥ || 3 ||

Those who kill the Self after death pass into worlds with blinding darkness and evil

Q3-1). What happens to people who do not follow path of knowledge or path of action ? 

Upanishad calls the people who do not follow the path of knowledge or path of action as committing spiritual suicide.  They end up in dark worlds – animal kingdom, mineral kingdom or possibly human life where materialism and selfishness is predominant. They suffer repeated cycles of birth and death.

Q3-2). How can the eternal SELF (atma) be killed ?

Ignorance about the SELF is killing the SELF.  Due to delusion people have following illusions about the SELF.

– I am the body, mind, intellect                                                                                                           – There is no SELF.                                                                                                                                 – There are multiple Selves.

Due to the ignorance people suffer. ” I am the body” concepts brings limitation in space. Infinite SELF appears to be limited bound by body.   Since body is required for action doer ship and karma is superimposed on the SELF leading to cycles of birth-death and suffering.

“I am the mind” concept brings concept of happiness and unhappiness.  Suffering is superimposed on SELF which is of the nature of bliss (anandam).

Killing SELF is called suicide (atmahatya).  SELF cannot be slain. Wrong understanding of SELF is suicide.

Q3-3). What are dark and evil worlds ? 

Darkness refers to absence of SELF knowledge.  Regions/places where there is no possibility of gaining SELF knowledge are called “dark worlds”.  Animal kingdom, mineral kingdom and societies where ignorance and selfishness dominates are called dark worlds.  Evil stands for regions where selfishness or animal nature is predominant.

Shri Shankara has following interpretation.  Sura means place where divine beings live. – Heaven.  A person who has performed rituals without Atma gyan, may qualitfy for heaven. However, even in heaven he will suffer due to lack of atma gyan.   Andhena tamasavrata means worlds of pitch darkness. Even heaven is considered as world of pitch darkness because heaven is focused on sensual pleasures only without any scope for atma gyana.


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