Svarupa – The True Nature of the Self

Svarupa – The True Nature

The Atman has two natures – Sopadhika Rupa and Nirupadhika Rupa. Rupa means nature. Upadhi means an external factor whose attributes are superimposed on the Atman. For example, the limitation of a pot is superimposed on the space in the pot. Then the space in the pot is conceived as ‘pot space’. In reality the space is never limited by the pot. The space is never affected by the pot. Then the pot is upadhi (conditioning factor) and space is upahita (conditioned).

Similarly, the limitless and all-pervasive Atman is conditioned by the body, mind, senses etc. The Atman and mind are mixed up and seen to be one. Then the attributes of the body seem to be the attributes of Atman. Then the Atman is subject to limitations like height, age, gender and so on. This nature of Atman is called Sopadhika Rupa. ‘Sopadhika’ means ‘with Upadhi’.

On enquiry, one finds the true nature of Atman which is free from the Upadhi and its attributes. It is free from the limitations of the body. It is free from age, gender and so on. It is free from mind and senses and hence free from emotional issues. It is called Nirupadhika-Rupa, the nature of Atman without Upadhi.

Nirupadhika Rupa is the intrinsic nature of Atman. It is not brought about by any external factor. Therefore, it is called Svarupa. Sva means one’s own. Svarupa means ‘one’s own nature’.

As long as one identifies with his Sopadhika Rupa, he is never free from problem of Samsara. Discovering the Svarupa and shifting one’s identity to the Svarupa is the only way to Freedom.