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

Vishu vishu at fractalsmiths.com
Mon Oct 10 13:44:15 CDT 2005

Thank you so much Prof. Krishnamurthy. I will try to understand your
responses and follow the lead.
On the third one, my apologies for not making my self clear. I will try to
put it in a different perspective and see if I can convey my thoughts
effectively; in the end, my English is only so good :).

I will go with the pot analogy from Mr. Venkatraman.
If you consider jiva or body as pot, atman as pot space and the rest of the
space as Brahman, it can be understood that same Brahman pervades all
objects and it's just that we tend not to realize this due to avidya.
So far, it sounds good. My question is related to re-incarnation, heaven,
hell, suryaloka, chandraloka etc.
If it is true that the same Brahman exists in every body, just as the same
space exists in all pots, once the jiva or body is destroyed, the atman
becomes one with Brahman. Once the pot is broken, the space escapes and
unites with the space surrounding the pot. With this understanding, how can
the existence of heaven, hell, re-incarnation be explained? 

It is true that once atman escapes body, it unites with Brahman and then it
takes another body. But how can any attributes of previous body be
transferred to the new one in the process?
Here is another way to put it:
Jiva and atman-->jiva goes away-->atman, the piece of Brahman goes back to
Brahman, since Brahman is nirguna, this piece of Brahman that unites with
Brahman is nirguna as well-->another piece of Brahman enters another body
with clean slate.

If the above is correct, how can yet another staging area (heaven or hell)
for atman be explained? Once the pot is broken and the space is united with
rest of the space, how can one say that the space in another pot is the same
space?, (which is essentially what is conveyed by re-incarnation) especially
when we understand that the space is devoid of attributes or nirguna. 

Please clarify this apparent paradox.


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of V.
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 9:43 PM
To: advaita - L
Subject: [Advaita-l] Three Questions on Jiva, Atman & Brahma-jnAna

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.
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list