Saturday, 19 April 2008

14. Jīva Īshvara Aikya

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14. Jīva Īshvara Aikya

In the previous sessions, we have seen the main theme of the Vedāntik Teaching – Jīva Ātmā Parama Ātmā Aikyam. The idea conveyed is that Ātmā the Chaitanyam is only Ekam. Aikyam means oneness. Therefore Ātmā the Chaitanyam is only one and that one Chaitanyam alone is expressing through the matter principle. And when that Chaitanyam is functioning through individual matter called Sharīra Trayam, then the consciousness gets the name Jīva Ātmā. And when the very same consciousness is functioning behind total matter or Prapancha Trayam, then the very same Ātmā is called Parama Ātmā.

Therefore one Ātmā alone is called Jīva Ātmā as well as Parama Ātmā from the standpoint of the medium through which it functions. Once the Anātmā medium is removed the matter medium is removed, there is neither Jīva Ātmā nor is there Parama Ātmā. There is only Ātmā which is neither called Jīva Ātmā not Parama Ātmā.Therefore one Ātmā functioning through Anātmā get the two names Jīva Ātmā and Parama Ātmā. And that one Ātmā I am.

I am called Jīva Ātmā when I am functioning behind this body. I myself am Parama Ātmā when I am functioning behind the whole universe.
This is the basic teaching of Jāgrat Avasthā Parama Ātmā Aikyam or Ātmā Ekatvam.

There is one more important topic which we will briefly go through. It is a topic by itself. That topic is the relationship between Ātmā and Anātmā. Because we say there is only one Ātmā. We know the relationship between Jīva Ātmā and Parama Ātmā as being one and the same. Now we are asking what is the relationship between Ātmā and Anātmā – the Spirit and Matter and the Vedanta point out that their relationship is Depender and Depended relationship, supporter – supported relationship. This means that matter depends on consciousness. Even to prove its existence matter depends on consciousness.

To say there is a clock in front of me, I have to see the clock to prove whether it is existent or not. To prove the existence of anything in the creation, I have to see it or know it directly or indirectly. Whereas to show or to prove that I am existent I don’t require any proof because my existence is very evident. Therefore matter depends on consciousness for both to prove its existence as well as for its functioning. Whereas consciousness does not depend upon matter for its existence. Therefore the scriptures point out that consciousness is Satyam and matter is Mithyam. Satyam means independent or Svatantraha. Whereas matter is Mithyam or Para Tantraha (opposite of Svatantraha).

The example we generally give is that of clay and pot. Clay exists independent of pot that even if the pot is broken the clay can continue to exist. Whereas the pot cannot exist independent of clay. Therefore clay is called Satyam and pot is called Mithyam. Wood is called Satyam and furniture is called Mithyam. Gold is Satyam and ornaments are Mithyam. Water is Satyam whereas waves oceans and tanks and lakes are Mithyam.

Hence Satyam means independent and Mithyā means dependent. Ātmā is one and Anātmā are many. Ātmā is Satyam and Anātmā are Mithyam. And this one Ātmā appears as Jīva Ātmā at individual levels and Parama Ātmā at total level.

Therefore the Vedāntik teaching can be presented in three statements. The whole Vedāntik teaching can be presented in
- Parama Ātmā is Satyam
- Anātmā is Mithyam
- Jīva Ātmā is identical with Parama Ātmā.

This is the Vedanta Sāraha

We will deal with the means and benefits of getting this knowledge.

14.1. Means of Acquiring Knowledge

The means is called Jnāna Yogaha. This Jnāna Yoga which is the means of getting this knowledge is presented in three stage – these are
- Shravanam means listening
- Mananam means reflection
- Nididhyāsanam means contemplation

Once I have removed doubts in the intellectual level through Mananam and removed the emotional weakness through Nididhyāsanam, then the knowledge is called assimilated knowledge – Jnāna Nishthā.

Shravanam is done with the help of the teacher. Mananam is done both independently and with the help of the teacher. Whereas Nididhyāsanam has to be done independently alone – no teacher can help. One has to apply the knowledge during the Nididhyāsanam phase. We have to remember that assimilated knowledge alone will give me benefits just like assimilated food alone nourishes me.

Krishna warns in the Gītā that any amount of study is of no use unless it is assimilated through Mananam and Nididhyāsanam.

14.2. Jnāna Phalam

The next topic is Jnāna Phalam – the benefit of this knowledge. The benefit is presented in two forms in the Shāstram
- One is the benefit while we are living i.e. before death
- The other one is the benefit after death.

14.2.1. Jīvan Muktihi

This is the benefit while we are still living. This is the virtue or Phalam enjoyed at the mental level in various forms. The problems faced at the mental level include insecurity, fear, sense of inadequacy, jealousy and anger – all these are psychological problems called Samsara. It is purely at the mental or psychological level and not at the physical level – because it is knowledge and therefore gives benefit at the mental level.

Jīvan Muktihi means that I continue to face the challenges in life. At the same time, I am free from these unhealthy responses. All unhealthy responses are emotional problems called Samsara.

The benefits of Jīvan Muktihi are :

14.2.1.1. Independence –Svatantriyam

The first and most important benefit is independence. I am mentally emotionally or psychologically an independent person. This means that the presence or absence of things will not affect me emotionally. Only when I am dependent on external factors, their presence and absence will affect me emotionally. Jnānam give me independence from all setup – whether it is a person or situation or an object. I don’t seek company nor do I feel lonely.

14.2.1.2. Fullness – Pūrnatvam

The second benefit is Pūrnatvam – sense of fulfilment in life. I know I am the Ātmā which is not confined to this body but I am the Ātmā which is Sat Chit Ānanda Svarūpaha and therefore I am free from limitation. Nothing is away from me. Everything belongs to me. There is no sense of isolation or rejection. Because if I am a person, I can be rejected. But nobody can reject me because I am all pervading. Sense of isolation, sense of rejection and sense of limitation go away just as space cannot be rejected by anyone, I the Ātmā cannot be rejected by anyone.

14.2.1.3. Balance of Mind – Samattvam

The third benefit is Samattvam. This means the emotional strength to face ups and downs of life. Jnānam becomes a great shock absorber. Similarly in life I cannot control my future situation where many things are beyond my control. But by Jnānam even the worst troubles may affect me sometimes, but not permanently.

It is to be noted that physically we will surely have to depend on the world. We require food, clothing and shelter. We will never get physical independence. But psychologically we may be able to become independent. This is called Jīvan Muktihi. The word literally means Freedom while Living.

14.2.2. Videha Muktihi

To understand this, we have to know what happens to an ignorant person after death. Then only we can understand to an Jnani after death.

In the case of Ajnani, at the time of death, the physical body is dropped. There is separation from physical body. The very definition of death is separation from physical body. That is why the physical body decays and merges into Pancha Bhūtāni or five elements.

But even thought the physical body perishes, the subtle body and causal body continue to exist. This subtle and causal body along with Ātmā – all pervading everywhere – continue to survive even after the fall of the body. It acquires another body to continue the journey. And it may acquire the body here itself or it may acquire the body elsewhere. Therefore an Ajnani travels after death. In other words his Sūkshma Sharīram and Kārana Sharīram travel and acquire another physical body and this is called Punar Janma or rebirth.

The Sūkshma Sharīram and Kārana Sharīram will again go through life and again die and again acquire another body. But death and birth is only at the level of the physical body.

In the case of a Jnani, it is said in the scriptures that at the time of death, all the three bodies merge into the Samashti. The Sharīra Trayam will merge into Prapancha Trayam. Sthūla Sharīram merges into Sthūla Prapancha. Sūkshma Sharīram merges into Sūkshma Prapancha and Kārana Sharīram merges into Kārana Prapancha. That means Jnani does not survive as an individual but he survives as the Samashti the total. And he is no more called Jīva Ātmā – because only when the body is there you can call it as Jīva Ātmā – when the Sharīra Trayam is gone, he is one with Parama Ātmā. Jīva Ātmā has become Parama Ātmā losing the individuality just as the river loses its individuality when it merges into the ocean. Also there is not question of Punar Janma . There is no Sūkshma Kārana Sharīram surviving to acquire another Sthūla Sharīram.

Therefore Videha Muktihi is freedom from Punar Janma . And who does Jnānam give the benefit of Videha Muktihi? The scriptures present this topic in a particular way. They say Jnānam stops Punar Janma by destroying all Karmas.

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