[Advaita-l] Jiva and Atman

Rishi Lamichhane rishi.lamichhane at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 09:36:21 CDT 2005

"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?"
 If I understand your question correctly, you want to know why we have to
talk about Atman at all since it is the same thing as Brahman. Why not just
talk about Brahman or why do we need two words?
 Well the words Atman and Brahman refer to the same "entity" but from a
different angle. Atman is that which the "I" refers to and Brahman is the
substratum of everything. It is not immidiately obvious that these two are
the same. Before one has Jnana, these two things (I and Ultimate Reality)
will be considered different things. The purpose of Advaitic statements is
that they show that the referrent of the I is the ultimate reality.
 In a sense the idea of Atman is approached from a more psychological and
subjective perspective whereas Brahman is more of a cosmological idea. Of
course when one understands both correctly, then one understands that they
are the same,

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