The Atman or I is compared to a king and his army in the Vivekachoodamani of Sri Adi Sankaracharya. The king is well protected by the army and all the soldiers draw their power from him, even though he may not be working as hard as the frontline warriors.
In the same way, the Atman actually does not do anything. It just exists.
However, by its sheer presence, the mind, intellect, breath and body get the power of consciousness. Resting in that Atman at all times, roam around the whole world established in the knowledge of Brahman as one’s own self, says the Master.
In the cave of the intellect where the discrimination between the reality and the ephemeral is very clear, the Brahman or reality shines as the truth supreme which is non-dual.
When one resides in the Self as the Atman, is not born again in the womb of a mother. Such an individual is liberated in this lifetime itself.
Having spoken about the Self and liberation from the cycle of birth and death, the Acharya talks about the means to attain that state of mind and the obstacles en route.
Even after realising that Brahman as one’s own self, there is a strong force within each individual which is called Vasana. Vasana literally means smell. Smell is a reminder for a thought.
A fragrant smell reminds one of a fragrant flower and a foul smell reminds one of something undesirable. In the same way, Vasanas are strong thoughts of memory, which keep one in the limited understanding of the body. In such a person where the tendencies of mind called the Vasanas are strong, the feeling of, “I am the doer of this work and the enjoyer or sufferer of the results,” is very strong.
This feeling is the cause for one to remain in the cycle of birth and death called Samsara or complete change.
That thought and feeling can go only when the mind turns inward and abides in the Self. This does not happen naturally.
The seeker has to put considerable effort in the form of rigorous and diligent practice or Sadhana. Such a person attains what is called Mukti or liberation when the Vasanas or mental tendencies, particularly the identification as the doer-enjoyer-sufferer of actions and results, are gone.
Through abidance in one’s own self, the one who has studied the scriptures well has to come out of the superimposed idea of the Self in the notions of I and mine in the body and sense organs, which are not the Self.
Give up the notion of I in what is not I by knowing the Self as the perceiver of the thought waves in the intellect.
Through this right thought, give up the wrong thought of identification with the mistaken notion of I as the body.