[Advaita-l] Three Questions on Jiva, Atman & Brahma-jnAna

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 3 23:42:41 CDT 2005

Namaste Vishu-ji

I reproduce below your three questions and I try to answer
them without much elaboration. 

Your question No.1:
Why is there a concept of body (jiva) and atman in the core
of advaita – jivatma is essentially Brahman, right? Would
it not suffice to say the physical body or jiva is
manifestation of Brahman? In other words, what
is the significance of saying that there is a body and
atman and that atman is essentially Brahman? Why is there
an extra layer of atman?

VK : Jivatma is essentially Brahman; right. But neither the
jIvAtmA nor the Jiva is the physical body. The physical
body is matter. When spirit is associated with this matter
it becomes jIva. This association is the problem. This
association has to be broken to bring an identification of
the Jiva with the Atman (=Brahman) inside. Atman is not an
extra layer. It is the body that is the extra layer (of
matter). This matter envelopment has to be discarded in
order for the mind sticking to the Jiva to see the real
Truth.   This discarding has again to be done by the mind
only. Ultimately, of course, the mind also vanishes into
the JivAtma-ParamAtmA oneness.

Your question No.2:
The final realization (thou art that) is just knowledge. As
soon as avidya is burnt by brahmanjnana one tends to
perceive brahman in everything and everything in brahman –
just a continuum. How can acquiring knowledge release one
from cycle of births and deaths, for knowledge is purely
mental and not a physical phenomenon?

VK: Yes, Knowledge is a mental phenomenon, alright. Why do
you think that mental activity will not have an influence
on the physical plane? Don’t you wake up from your dream
because in the dream something shocking happened?

Your question No.3:
Is it fair to say that no soul comes back for a cycle of
births and deaths; however, acquiring the brahmanjnana
changes one’s perception of the universe, an effect that
liberates one from pain or pleasure thus attaining

VK: I don’t understand this English sentence of yours. I
think I am missing your question. What is the question here
and what is the observation? Can you please rephrase your

Feel free, Vishu-ji,  to pursue these topics before you
raise new questions. 

PraNAms to all seekers of Truth.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy

Latest on my website:  A conversation on the Concept of God in Hinduism.

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