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Is Jiva the same thing according to Ramanuja and Shankara?

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Greg Levenski, Nov 12, 2018.

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  1. Greg Levenski

    Greg Levenski Member

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    While i was going through the sample pages of Ramanuja's gita bhasya, i came across his commentary (of ch.12 v3) -
    Here's the link. Check the sample pages there. Page 173. Last paragraph.
    A Condensed Rendering of Sri Ramanuja's Gita Bhashya

    Why would Ramanuja say in his commentaries that people (advaitins) meditate on the individual self, jiva, when the truth is, advaitins actually meditate on the universal self, Atman or Brahman.

    I mean, why would anyone meditate on one's individual self (jiva/jivatman), which according to Shankara is the lower worldly self absorbed in ego, greed, hatred etc.

    According to the advaitins, jiva/jivatma is the same as Atman/ParamAtman. The same Brahman is called by two names. In its true or higher nature its called ParamAtman, even while being in the body ... and in its worldly ego driven state its called jivatman.
    Yes, its the same entity Brahman, but why anyone would meditate on this Brahman while IT remains in its lower, worldly, individual, egoistic self? It makes no sense.

    Either Ramanuja intentionally did that (wrote down wrong information on the meditative practices of advaitins) ... or Jiva probably means something else in their dvaita sampradia.
     
  2. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I will make a try. The individual atma is the same as the universal atma. What Ramanuja explains is that it is difficult to meditate on the 'Ayvakta', that is why it is better to meditate on 'me' (Krishna, the Vyakta Brahman, the manifested one) and such people are dear to him. The end result is the same in both the cases. I do not think Sankara ever said that the individual atma is any lesser than the universal atma (and you have not given any quote). Sankara said 'Jivo Brahmaiva na parah' (the Individual atma is no different from the universal atma).
     
  3. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    In order to understand this one needs to know whether Ramanuja and Shankaracharya were both preaching the existence of a Paramatma. We do not have this information. Someone who practices satya-advaita finds out eventually that the proper way to live is to be an advaitist who lives to the lower self of the person whilst knowing and communicating with Paramatma as necessary without paying devotional reverences.

    If an advaitist does not acknowledge Paramatma then he or she is an atheist who somehow connects with the universe as physical energy (Aupmanyav) or as Consciousness (ajay0) for whom Brahman is Atman (the higher self). Self is just I, who the person is.
     
    #3 Shantanu, Nov 12, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  4. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    Ramanuja mentioned 'pratyagatma' , not the jiva here.


    The pratyagatma is the inner Self or Atman.

    'The Self, our Being, is awareness.' - Sri Muruganar

    Jiva or Jivatman on the other hand, is the individual self, distinct from the pratyagatma, Self or Atman which is of an eternal and infinite nature. Jiva-atman is trapped in the earthly body until death, when it is reincarnated.

    "Jivatman is the individual soul, a reflection of Brahman in Avidya or the mind. Paramatman is the Supreme Soul, Brahman or the Atman. From the empirical viewpoint, the Jivatman is a finite and conditioned being, while the Paramatman is the infinite, eternal, Sat-chit-ananda Brahman. In essence, the Jivatman is identical with Paramatman when Avidya (ignorance) is destroyed."
    - Swami Sivananda


    Hope this is clear now.
     
  5. Greg Levenski

    Greg Levenski Member

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    Yes, they did preach about paramatman. According to Ramanuja, Paramatman is Vishnu. Same with other Vaishnava sects. For them Krishna is Brahman or Paramatman and is given a higher place than Shankara's avyakta Brahman.


    Please check the quoted texts of Ramanuja in my original post. There he says that pratyagatma is individual self. Do you think he made a mistake or could it be that, being a vaishnava he intentionally made the entity of the advaitins, look small, by calling it the lower individual self?



    When you said these two are distinct, do you mean the distinction is due to the ignorance or forgetfullness of the trapped jivatman, of its true or higher (param) nature?
    I mean, Jivatman and paramatman are the same entity and not two different souls, right?

    For example a rich millionaire. When he remains in amnesia he forgets his true identity and thinks himself as a common man. Is this how we should see jivatman and paramatman?
     
    #5 Greg Levenski, Nov 13, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  6. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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  7. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I saw that, and imo, it is a translation error. There is an ocean of difference between the individual self and the Self.

    The individual self is the false ego and the Self stands for the Atman or pure consciousness. Pratyagatma is used to refer to the Self, not the individual self or ego.

    Shankara and others have used Pratyagatma to refer to the Self or pure consciousness. There is nothing more to it.


    Yes, exactly.


    Jivatman is the entity in bondage of karma or ego-centric impressions which force it to ignore its true identity, that is the Self, in favour of external sense stimuli, through craving for the pleasant and aversion for the unpleasant.

    The Pratyagatma or Paramatman is not under the bondage of karma or egocentric impressions.


    Yeah, this is a good analogy.

    The frog in the well is an another good analogy. The frog thinks that the well is the universe and nothing is bigger than that , and holds on to this position with conviction even when an another frog reports to it about the ocean.
    It is just a sort of hypnosis effected by the external environment.
     
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  8. ameyAtmA

    ameyAtmA VAsudev-KRshNa's disciple
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    Namaste

    Kevala Advaita - AtmA which is all-pervading, sarvagatah: is One, and is Brahman'
    What Greg and Ajay have described via anologies (frog in well, king wakes up) is per this school

    VishishTa Advaita says: jivAtmA is individual to each jiva, and inside the jivAtmA is the paramAtmA which is all-pervading , the Supreme.

    SharIra-SharIrI bhAv is RAmAnujAchArya's special concept, and is relative.

    body = sharIra. jivAtmA is the sharIree of body (sharir)
    jivAtmA = sharIr with respect to paramAtmA Who is the shariree of jivAtmA

    So sharIr --- jivAtmA --- paramAtmA. If we draw a Venn diagram it will be 3 concentric circles with body as the outermost and paramAtmA as the innermost.

    At the same time, Ramanuj says, moksha = jivAtmA is pure, free of karma, and lives in sAnidhya (eternal close association) of Shriman nArAyaN, as bhakta and BhagavAn, but this mukta jIvAtmA although individual, has the potential to become sarvadnya - Omniscient, ultimately.

    This is how it is advaita, yet vishishTa

    Hope that helps.
     
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  9. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    In the Vishishtadvaita doctrine, Pratyagatma is the same as the Jivatma and therefore, Pratyagatma is not Paramatma (for it lacks Anantatva, etc).

    This would imply that there are two selves.

    So, there is only only one self, then and the question becomes moot? If you try to draw some form of distinction between the two (temporary or permanent), then it is not Advaita.
     
  10. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    If this is true, then that would mean a significant difference in the way Advaita and Vishistadvaita uses the same terminology. In the Advaitan doctrine, Pratyagatma is considered as Brahman or the inner Self.

    Understanding this difference in use of terminology can help one to avoid unnecessary confusions and misunderstandings.

    Advaita refers to Brahman in an impersonal sense, while Vishishtadvaita and other philosophies refer to Brahman in a personal sense, to better incorporate devotional sensibilities. Brahman in Vishistadvaita is described along the lines of the descriptions given in the Vaishnava texts like Visnu Purana and Pancaratra texts like the Paramasamhita. Thus, God is adorned with jewels of matchless beauty, He wears a yellow garment and is served eternally by attendants ('suris').

    Imo, Vishistadvaita revolves around Saguna or personalised Brahman, not strictly impersonal or Nirguna Brahman as in Advaita.

    However ,even in Vishistadvaita ,Ramanuja admits of the pure self becoming associated with ignorance and worldly desires through coming in contact with matter (acit). Through liberation by intense devotion, the self attains purity back along with bliss and infinite knowledge which are the traits of Brahman.
     
  11. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    The term pratyagatma is used by Shankara in his commentary on Gita 10.20, but not by Ramanuja.
    Ramanuja uses the term in his commentary on Gita 12.3, but not Shankara.

    They may have used the term in other places too, but I am not aware of them.
     
  12. Greg Levenski

    Greg Levenski Member

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    Long ago i went through an article of Mr. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada Swami who belongs from Gauda Sampradia. According to him or his sampradia, there are countless jivatmas. They are not the same as paramatma (since paramatma is Vishnu in spirit form as per their belief).
    Also, these countless jivatmas are unique and different from each other. Do you think that followers of vishishta advaita share the same view as that of gauda vaishnavas?


    ..............

    Unlike the dualistic philosophy, Shankara's Advaita states that the jivatmas ARE not different from paramatma but ARE actually Paramatma in their truest/original state.

    These innumerable jivatmas are not at all innumerable but One single spirit called Atman / Paramatma / Brahman.
    'It' appears to be innumerable since it interpenetrates innumerable bodies but actually is One single spirit Brahman. Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong here.
     
    #12 Greg Levenski, Nov 19, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  13. ameyAtmA

    ameyAtmA VAsudev-KRshNa's disciple
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    Yes, with some subtle variations. The 4 established VaishNav sampradAy agree with each other.
    Ramanuj says that the mukta jeevAtmA , in close association of the paramAtmA, Shriman NArAyaN, may gain sarvadnyatA - close-to-omniscience due to empowerment from paramAtmA , but the bhakta-bhagvAn duo remains, and bhakti continues. There is a difference and there is variety --- the the multiple jeevAtmA on the canvas called paramAtmA... depending on the devotee's bhAv towards paramAtmA.

    The clear sky is star-studded... Hence 'vishishTa advaita' qualified advaita.

    e.g. all are flowers, but this is a yellow daisy, that is a pink daisy, and ParamAtmA plays the LeelA-role of the Blue Lotus in order to interact with His devotees.

    Yes.
    The ingrained concept that "I am XYZ" is wrong thinking or mis-identification due to mAyA where the entity thinks "I am XYZ" where XYZ is an identifier for the object or body-mind.

    However, it is the Highest Brahman' that appears as individual entities.

    Brahman' does not have any such "I am XYZ" notions (Subject verb Object). It IS.

    This is kevala advaita.
    -----

    They (Shankara and Ramanuj) are both right in terms of the planes, levels or platforms of Truth that you view from. One has to understand and detect what path suits them the most.

    BG 4.11 ye yathA mAm prapadyante, tAms tathaiva bhajAmyaham |
    mama vartmAnuvartante manusyah: pArtha sarvashah: ||


    As [the extent to which and the manner in which, with what individual preferences] beings worship and surrender to Me (prapadyante) , I reciprocate accordingly. [After all], everyone follows My path(s) O son of PRuthA (pArth = Arjun = Son of PRuthA = Kunti)
     
    #13 ameyAtmA, Nov 19, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
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  14. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    As there is only one spirit called Atman/Brahman, who finds moksha in Advaita?

    Or, in other words, what is the change that occurs at Moksha and to whom?
     
  15. Greg Levenski

    Greg Levenski Member

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    I guess, the portion of Brahman that remains inside the jar and thinks itself as the jar, attains mukti. But then, after its mukti (videha mukti) IT loses it's individuality.
    After its final videha mukti, IT no longer remains a he, she, saint xyz or swami abc. When that happens, only the vast infinite ocean of One single spirit called Atman/Brahman remains.

    ....................

    Thanks AmeyAtmA, Ajay0, Aupmanyav, Shiv for all the help.

    Also when it comes to mukti, which type of mukti should be considered the true form of mukti? The mukti that the vaishnavas believe in or the kind of mukti the advaitins believe in? The vaishnavas says individuality remains after mukti but the monists says individuality ceases.

    If individuality is retained after liberation by the vaishnavas, then is that really "mukti"? Won't they again fall down to this mortal plane if the slightest desire comes in their mind to remain apart from Krishna/Vishnu?
     
    #15 Greg Levenski, Nov 20, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  16. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Greg, it is OK in Hinduism to have many kinds of Mukti according to the Sampradaya/school of philosophy which one follows. It can be a total dissolve in Brahman or 'sanidhya' (soul in presence of the deity). Some people, in their devotion, want only that, and not a merger.

    "The six major orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy offer the following views on moksha, each for their own reasons: the Nyaya, Vaisesika and Mimamsa schools of Hinduism consider moksha as possible only after death. Samkhya and Yoga schools consider moksha as possible in this life. In Vedanta school, the Advaita sub-school concludes moksha is possible in this life, while Dvaita and Visistadvaita sub-schools of Vedanta tradition believes that moksha is a continuous event, one assisted by loving devotion to God, that extends from this life to post-mortem. Beyond these six orthodox schools, some heterodox schools of Hindu tradition, such as Carvaka, deny there is a soul or after life moksha."
    Moksha - Wikipedia

    Yes, any 'Jeevan Mukta', who has attained 'nirvana' or understanding, has to guard his action carefully even after attaining that position. Because 'maya' is very strong and even the strongest and wisest have wavered. A classic example is of Sage Bharata (same as the mythical emperor after whom India is named. He relinquished his throne in old age and adopted the life of a hermit). He was a 'jeevan mukta', but he happened once to save a fawn from a flooded river. In time, he became so lost in caring for the fawn (became attached to it), that he forgot all about worship and regulations. He did not get 'mukti' and was born as a rustic in his next life. You may read his story here: The story of Jada Bharata. So, even after attaining that high status, a person may fall back. "Maya' attacks so innocuously.

    I am also a 'jeevan mukta' advaitist. There is no next life for me. What constitutes me is Brahman, now and also after what people would term as my death. Illusions.
     
    #16 Aupmanyav, Nov 20, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  17. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    Vishistadvaita, Dvaita and other philosophies see reality from a devotional pov, and deviates from the strict impersonal understanding of Advaita.

    The vaishnavas follow these philosophies of vishistadvaita or dvaita and chaitanya mahaprabhu's philosophy as well of Achintya Bhedabheda Tattva which is similar and have a devotional philosophical framework.


    ..............

    Yes, this is true. Advaita states that the Jivatma is Paramatma in essence , and the elimination of vasanas or karma by meditation or yoga enables the jivatma to attain Self-realization or liberation from the bondage of matter.
     
  18. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    Another vital difference between the Advaitan and Bhakti oriented philosophies is that there is a deep, detailed study of the mind, thought, emotion and ego in the advaitan philosophy, while the bhakti philosophies like Vishistadvaita, Dvaita and others focus on love for the personal God.

    The Advaitan approach seems cold, impersonal and clinical, and this is why some people are put off by it. The bhakti philosophies for this reason are quite critical of Advaita.

    But enlightened masters like Nisargadatta and Ramana, though mainly proficient in Advaita, have always given a place for bhakti in their teachings as well, realising that for most people, feeling is a more effective instrument to perceive Brahman than pure reason.
     
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  19. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Bhakti requires absolute proof of the existence of God as Paramatma; advaita does not require proof of God, just mere conjecture that knows that there is something present beyond our understanding and it is to be named as Brahman.
     
  20. Greg Levenski

    Greg Levenski Member

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    I have a couple more questions that are related to this topic. A few days back i was having a discussion with Mr. Dennis (of advaita-vision.org). He wrote many books on advaita. Anyway, we were discussing whether Atman dwells within us or not, and he said that according to advaita, Atman never resides IN the body. Even on quora many followers of advaita have said the same thing that Atman never remains IN the body. I guess they hold onto this view because Atman in the upanishads is described as infinite or omnipresent and so probably doesn't have a specific location.

    So my question is, if Atman doesn't reside within the subtle or gross body, then what exactly Krishna meant in Gita v2.22 by the word 'dehi'?

    Here's the word to word translation (taken from a dwaita or vaishnava site).
    According to the bhaktaas its the embodied soul.

    vāsānsi—garments;
    jīrṇāni—worn-out;
    yathā—as;
    vihāya—sheds;
    navāni—new;
    gṛihṇāti—accepts;
    naraḥ—a person;
    aparāṇi—others;
    tathā—likewise;
    śharīrāṇi—bodies;
    vihāya—casting off;
    jirṇāni—worn-out;
    anyāni—other;
    sanyāti—enters;
    navāni—new;
    dehī—the embodied soul

    .............

    Here's the word to word translation taken from an Advaita site. According to advaitins dehi is the body dweller. Not sure which body. Subtle, gross or both?

    vaasaamsi : clothes
    jeernaani : old
    yathaa : just like
    vihaaya: discard
    navaani : new
    grihnaati : wears
    naraha : individual
    aparaani: other
    tathaa : so does
    shareeraani : bodies
    vihaaya : discard
    jeernaani : old
    ayanyaani : other
    samyaati : obtains
    navaani : new
    dehee : body-dweller

    So what is this dehi? ... If its not the Atman, then what is it?
     
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