CHENNAl, N0V.4. The Self (Atman) is unaffected by both the good merit and sin resulting from the actions of an individual according to the scriptures. But, in common parlance a person is referred to as a "good soul" or a "sinner" depending on his conduct in life. In reality it is the body and the mind, which are involved in man's actions and also enjoy the Karma that accrues as a result; the Self is untainted by Karma. Likewise, the Self is untouched by joy and sorrow. This can be corroborated by the fact that no one enjoys joy or sorrow always. Moreover, one does not experience sorrow in sleep. Whether one enjoys joy or sorrow in the waking and dream states, the recollection about sleep is always peaceful.
In his discourse, Sri Goda Venketeswara Sastri said Mantras enabled a person to get over the agitations of the mind but they will not reveal the Self. When the Vedic Mantras and sacrifices are adopted in daily practice they enable the performer to enjoy the joys of this world and the heaven. What then is the spiritual benefit of these practices? The mind becomes calm and one-pointed in the process and this is the basic require-meni for further spiritual growth. A tranquil mind is necessary to study Vedanta, reflect on the scriptural teachings and meditate on the iruth.
ll Is thus evident that the mind is the enjoyer and not the I Self, which is the witness (I). The Self is of the nature of consciousness. No one doubts his "I" identity, as it is self-evident. It is only to get objective knowledge that the five senses and the mind are needed but not lor knowing one's identity. Self-awareness is always there and no outside means is required to gain this knowledge. Besides, the Self is blissful in nature.
Just as a person takes credit for all ihe joys he enjoys in life, so also should he understand thai he is responsible for his . sorrows. He may not have done anything to incur such tribulations in this life but he must remember that they are the result of his actions done in previous births. This human birth (body-mind-intclleci) has been given by God to enjoy the Karma of previous births, which a person enjoys during the waking and dream states. I here is brief cessation of Karim'c enjoyment during sleep because the senses and the mind [consciousness) retract into the blissful space in the heart when a person falls asleep. As there is no objective experience in sleep, the peace enjoyed in this state is a reflection of the bliss of the Self.