Advaita terminology

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Feb 6 09:22:20 CST 2002

On Mon, 21 Jan 2002 Venkatraman.Chandrasekaran at NOKIA.COM wrote:
> Can you please elaborate on this? ie., how can ego exist
> without embodiment. For that matter I could never understand
> how the vAsanA-s transmigrate from body to body. This could be a
> stupid question. But please bear with me. This has been nagging
> in my mind.

So sorry for the long delay in responding, I was sick for a few days and
then I was busy at the LinuxWorld conference.

Anyway this topic is mentioned in Chandogyopanishad as well as puranas and
other shastras.  The Brahmasutras clarify several points of interpretation
of the Upanishad.

When a person dies and are cremated, if they have achieved moksha nothing
further happens.  They already have recognized themseleves as pervading
everything so a change in the material status of one particular clump of
organic material is unimportant.  If they have acted selfishly the atma
passes through the smoke to either naraka or the pitraloka depending on if
on the whole the balance of their deeds were evil or good.  If they acted
selflessly (i.e. did karmayoga) it passes through the smoke to the
devalokas like swarga, kailasa vaikuntha etc.  This incidently s also why
Sannyasis are usually buried.  It is assumed they have attained mukti so
there is no need to cremate them.

For those atmas still in the cycle of samsara, after they have spent some
time enjoying/suffering the result of their actions, they fall in the rain
to earth where they are absorbed by plants which are then eaten by animals
and so on up the food chain until they arive in the bodies of people who
then form eggs and sperm that give rise to a new human being.

During the intervening stages there is a body of sorts made of prana (thus
actually my characterization was inaccurate.) Actually there are several
koshas ("layers") other than the physical one and they carry the vasanas
between births.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list