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The Actor (Advaita Vedanta/Nondualism Only)

Discussion in 'Hinduism - Philosophy and Theology DIR' started by SalixIncendium, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    It is understood that the Atman is the witness, that which is aware. It does not make sense to me that the Atman can be the actor as well as the witness. In your opinion and/or interpretation of scripture, who is it that is the actor, the one that makes decisions? Is it the jiva? Jivatman? Paramatman?

    How is it that you arrived at this conclusion?

    Preemptively, yes, I am aware that making the distinction may imply duality. If that will be your only contribution to this thread, please save the keystrokes.
     
  2. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    My best explanation: Brahman is pure consciousness in sat-cit-Ananda (being-awareness-bliss). In his creative aspect he creates a play/drama where he separates himself from himself in Act I and returns Himself to Himself in Act II. A spark of paramatman (atma) animates all the finite characters and they have awareness/consciousness. Brahman imposes Maya (illusion) on the atma to experience the illusion (play/drama) as seemingly real until Moksha (realization of Oneness with Brahman) occurs at the end of the play/drama.

    In his creative drama, Brahman allows himself to experience finiteness for a time. What does one do when they are infinite consciousness but enjoy art which requires the temporary illusionary sense of duality.
     
  3. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Thanks for the response, George. I'm already aware of this view and, unfortunately, your response doesn't really address the questions posed in the OP.
     
  4. DanielR

    DanielR Active Member

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    why would Brahman need to create a play??
     
  5. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Good question. Perhaps for a similar reason that I play RPGs? ;)
     
  6. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    He doesn’t ‘need’ to. He has a creative aspect that creates the play/drama. Do humans ‘need’ to create art? ‘Need’ is not the correct word.
     
  7. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I tried. Can you maybe restate your central question for my clarification?
     
  8. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Who is it that is the decision maker as it relates to dharma? Who is it that has gunas if the Atman is the witness?
     
  9. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    Well, the Gunas are part of the illusion/play of Maya = Play = Universe. Brahman alone is sat-cit-nanda beyond duality and gunas.

    Still not sure if I understood you correctly.
     
  10. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying the gunas are exclusive to the jiva and are only present in maya...that the gunas do not extend into the jivatman.
     
  11. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    Hmm....I'm not understanding the difference between 'jiva' and 'jivatman' in your usage. The gunas are not part of Brahman or paratman if that is what you mean. Gunas are part of creation/Maya/play-drama/illusion/duality.
     
  12. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    In my usage, jiva would be the subtle body, and jivatman would be the causal body.
     
  13. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    Hmm...that is not my understanding of things. Brahman, atman, paratman, jivatman are all non-physical fundamental consciousness, The physical body, subtle body, causal body are all material things just made of dense and less dense matter. The jivatman is eternal, the bodies are all temporary and impermanent.
     
  14. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Though it is not my personal belief (which you have debarred from the discussion according to the last sentence of your post), Many Hindus make a distinction between the body (which is the actor and the one that makes the decisions) and the atman. Something like free will without it being duality. When a person engages in evil deeds, a Hindu will say 'Why are you torturing your atman?'.

    Atman has to bear the consequences for the good or evil deeds of the body.
    It suffers in hell if the deeds are evil. It enjoys sojourn in heaven if the deeds are good. The body is a temporary phenomenon, it will perish. Atman is the spark of the Supreme and will finally merge with it. But before that, it will be rewarded or punished according to the deeds of the body. People have various views. Hope it makes sense, to some it does. Atman is something like a guest in the body. :)
     
  15. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    Upasni Maharaj states thus in this regard...

    There is Atma in everybody. This Atma, enveloped in desires, is called Jivatma. It is the Jivatma that remains conscious of and about the actions, the pleasures and the pain. It is the Jivatma, with the help of the mind, the reasoning and the gross body, that does the various actions, and becomes the receiver of the fruits thereof - the pleasures and pain. It is the Jivatma that calls himself the 'Doer' of all the good and bad actions. It is the Jivatma that gets everything done through his servant - the body and mind - and enjoys or suffers the pleasures and pain himself. Such a Jiva is a Rajoguni Jiva.
    - Upasni Maharaj


    The Jivatma here is considered by Upasni Maharaj to be distinct from the pure Atman due to its body of desires, and this is also termed as ego.

    It is the ego that considers itself the doer of all good and bad actions.

    Thus the Atman stands as the witness while the Jivatman, under the influence of desire in the form of cravings and aversions ( the psychological mind), considers itself as the doer.

    When the egocentric impressions or vasanas in the unconscious, which are the source of desire in the form of cravings and aversions, are wiped out by practice of awareness/mindfulness, total love or other spiritual practices, the Jivatman realizes itself or its true nature, to be the Atman/Paramatman or Self.
     
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  16. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Atman is not the witness. Atman is Brahman (physical energy and consciousness energy with its gunas); Paramatman is the witness.
    The jiva is the human body and mind, and with the the atman it becomes jivatman, which is the Doer.
    The jivatman can communicate with Paramatman and receive back information explicitly getting the jivatman to do things. So Parmamatman is not just the witness, it is a Guide.
    This is where bhakti comes into play in the jivatman.
     
  17. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Why would the atman bear the consequences of the deeds of the body if the atman is exclusively the witness? This notion reminds me of watching my brother break something as a child and my parents blaming me for it. If the atman has no involvement in the decisions of the body, why should it bear consequences?
     
  18. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    If paramatman is the witness, which is passive, how can it become active and communicate back as the guide? That makes no sense to me.
     
  19. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    That is the Dao, the ritam, the way of the world. Who are we to ask questions? Sure, if anyone is not satisfied with the explanation, there are many others to choose from. I have not chosen this explanation for myself. :)
    Antar-atma, the inner soul. To some it speaks, some others don't listen to it, quell it. You may call it conscience.
     
  20. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Paramatman is passive until it is forced out of its passivity by intense devotion to truth seeking and truth accommodation. Then the true bhakti is rewarded with guidance.
     
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