After rAma killed the lord of tArA, the vAnara chief vAlI, she was overcome by sorrow and begged rAma to end her life too as He did vAlI's. But rAma consoled her with words filled with wisdom and compassion. Thereafter, tArA, desirous of knowing more about jiiva and Atman (the Self), questioned rAma as follows:
deho .achitkAShThavadrAma jIvo nityashchidAtmakaH |
sukhaduHkhAdisaMbandhaH kasya syAdrAma me vada ||
O rAma! The body is without consciousness (insentient) just like a piece of wood. But the jIva (individual soul) is eternal and of the nature of Consciousness. Whose is this relation to happiness and sorrow? Please tell me, O rAma!
shrIrAma uvAcha :
ahaMkArAdisaMbandho yAvaddehendriyaiH saha |
saMsArastAvadeva syAdAtmanastvavivekinaH ||
As long as there is the relation of "I and mine" with the body and senses, there will exist saMsAra (phenomenal existence) for the person who lacks viveka (discrimination between eternal and non- eternal things).
mithyAropitasaMsAro na svayaM vinivartate |
viShayA dhyAyamAnasya svapne mithyAgamo yathA ||
This saMsAra is falsely superimposed (on the Self) and does not go away on its own for a person who broods over the objects of the senses. This samsAra is just like a dream which too does not end on its own (but ends when one wakes up.)
saMsAro .apArthako .api syAdrAgadveShAdisaN^kulaH ||
By the relation (association) with beginningless avidyA (ajnAna, ignorance) and with the effect of avidyA - ahaMkAra (ego), the saMsAra, characterized by attractions and aversions, exists even though it is meaningless.
mana eva hi saMsAro bandhashchaiva manaH shubhe |
AtmA manaH samAnatvametya tadgatabandhabhAk.h ||
The mind (manas) alone is (subject to) saMsAra and bondage, O Auspicious One! The Atman gets identified with the mind and shares the bonds affecting the mind.
yadA vishuddhaH sphaTiko .alaktAdisamIpagaH |
tattadvarNayugAbhAti vastuto nAsti raJNjanaM ||
Just as a clear crystal placed near red dye, etc., appears to be tainted with color, but in reality there is no stain (in the crystal),
buddhIndriyaadisAmIpyAdAtmanaH saMsR^itirbalAt.h |
AtmA svaliN^gaM tu manaH parigR^ihya tadudbhavAn ||
kAmAn.h juShan.h guNairbaddhaH saMsAre vartate .avashaH |
Adau manoguNAn.h sR^iShTvA tataH karmANyanekadhA ||
shuklalohitakR^iShNAni gatayastatsamAnataH |
evaM karmavashaajjIvo bhramatyAbhUtasaMplavaM ||
Due to the proximity of the Atman with the intellect (buddhi), senses, etc., It (Atman) is forced into saMsAra. The Atman identifies Itself with its own reflection (in ) the Manas, and enjoys the desires arising from that (ie. the mind). It (the Atman) thus becomes bound by the guNas qualities) and remains helpless in saMsAra. First the mind creates the guNas white (Sattva), red (rajas), and black (tamas), and then creates the works and their results according to those guNas. Thus, under the control of karma, the Jiiva revolves (in the cycle of transmigration, ie. repeated births and deaths), from the beginning of creation to the end of the cosmic cycle (pralaya).
sarvopasaMhR^itau jIvo vAsanAbhiH svakarmabhiH |
When the whole cosmic cycle winds up, the jIva along with its latent tendencies (vAsanAs) and karmas (which are yet to fructify) remains submerged in the beginningless avidyA (ignorance) and under its control.
sR^iShTikAle punaH pUrvavAsanAmAnasaiH saha |
jAyate punarapyeyaM ghaTIyantramivAvashaH ||
At the time of the cosmic creation, this Jiiva, once again, is born along with its prior vAsanAs and the mind. The Jiiva thus keeps revolving in saMsAra helplessly like the bucket that is used to draw water from a well.
The simile here is explained as follows. In India, where there is only well water available, but no electricity, water is lifted out of the well by means of a bucket attached to a rope. Just as the bucket is repeatedly immersed in water and then pulled out to draw water, the Jiiva too revolves in the universe alternating between being submerged in avidyA with its latent vAsanAs and karmas, and being thrust into the transmigratory process again at the time of cosmic creation.