It is all-pervading,
it is the purest,
it is bodiless, it is indestructible,
it is without sinews, it is spotless,
it is sinless, it is all-seeing,
it is all-knowing, it is the best among the best,
and it is self-created.
This sutra gives us some indications about the nature of the atman – above all, that it is created of itself. Atman, existence, alone is self-created. The word swayambhu means self-originated. It means that which is not created by any other thing, that which is self-created. Its existence is from itself. Its existence is in no one else’s hands; it depends upon itself.
So this first point, that the atman is self-originated, should be comprehended fully. Everything we see can be produced. Whatever is produced, whatever can be made, will not be the atman. We construct a building; it is not self-originating, it is made. We manufacture a machine; it is not self-created, it is manufactured by us. Seek that element, that essence, that is manufactured by no one. This uncreated essence is the atman. In our effort to seek into the existence of the universe, if we reach there, if we can grasp that supreme substance of the universe which is not created by anyone, which is eternal, unoriginated, the self itself, then we shall attain to godliness.
The atman and the supreme atman are not two; they are the names of the same thing seen from two viewpoints. If you find it within yourself, then that unmanufactured, unborn, self-created element is called the atman. And if you seek and find it in another, then that element is called the great, the supreme atman. The atman is simply the supreme atman known from within. The supreme atman is simply the atman known from without.
If you examine yourself you will see that this body is a created thing. It could not have been produced without the cooperation of your parents. Even if, in the future, it is made in a test-tube, it remains a manufactured thing. The scientists and biologists of the West may be able, if not today then in the future, to fulfill their claim of producing a child in a test-tube. They will succeed in manufacturing a body in a test-tube, and hope thereby to finally defeat religion. But they are mistaken in their view, because the spiritual man never saw this body as the atman.