Fragmental Partical or Absolute Whole?

(By Atmatattva dasa)

One morning my mind began quoting a verse from the Bhagavad-gita:

mamaivamso jeevaloke jeevabhutah sanatanah |
manasasthaniidriyani prakritisthani karshati ||

He then told me that the meaning was that the Supreme Brahman has become the individual jivas (living entities).

Seeing his mood, I immediately began explaining the verse as taught to me by my eternal spiritual master. I said, “In this verse Krishna says that the living entities are His eternal fragmental parts. Your speculation of “having become a soul” is not proper. Nothing “becomes” anything, that is what Krishna says in the 2nd chapter of Bhagavad-gita:

na tv evaham jatu nasam
na tvam neme janadhinapah
na caiva na bhavishyamah
sarve vayam atah param

“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.”

Krishna clearly says that the amsa is eternal, “nor in the future shall it cease to be.” The word jiva-bhuuta: and the word jiva-loke both indicate that the jIva has become conditioned, as the rest of the verse explains, conditioned by the senses including the sixth sense the mind. That is what the jiva has “become”, he has become conditioned. But it clearly says mamaivamso jiva-loke, jiva bhuutah sanatanah. The individual parts and parcels that are the living entities are sanatanah. But, due to conditional life (having come under the nature of the loka, the material world), “they have become conditioned by the senses including the sixth sense, the mind.”

My dear mind, you are trying too hard to manufacture some strange meaning from a verse that is completely clear. When studying the Gita we should see that our conclusions are in line with the verse, the chapter, and the overall conversation. Otherwise if we do not see the context of a particular verse it is likely we will misunderstand the meaning.

My mind was very stubborn, and he would not accept my answer, “The point in question and the sloka can be understood easily with the space analogy”, he said, “It is like space declaring, that a portion of myself became the space in the various rooms or compartments (rooms and compartments are not eternal). In reality, space is not divisible and I have already discussed that.”

I replied to him, “Your analogies are faulty. Please explain where the walls came from? Who made them? And the fact that the matter that makes the walls is eternal defeats the analogy. Previously you mentioned the law of conservation of energy, and that most definitely applies to the matter that makes the walls as well. You analogies imply duality at every step. If you accept the wall to refer to the body, then you are accepting the eternality of illusion.

He replied by going back to his gold analogy, “There are no two Au (gold) it is ekameva advitiyam swarnam. The same gold can declare it is my amsa that became the bangle, ring, necklace etc.”

I again challenged him, “Does the gold ring ever become the gold necklace? Does the gold ring ever become the gold mine? Does the gold ring ever cease being gold? The answer to all of these is no. Non-duality cannot be supported by your analogies.”

He replied, “The divisions are superficial, only for utility and transactional purposes, as explained using space and rooms as an example.”

I questioned him on his point, “And what is the purpose for creating the transactional divisions in the first place? Your Brahman must be a useless fellow. Why did He need to enter a transitional stage of illusion? You are implying that he must be attrated to the result of that transitional stage. How can you limit Brahman by such descriptions?”

He then answered back, “There is no question of individual soul merging with the Brahman.”

I happily agreed with my mind, “Exactly my point, they always stay as individuals.”

He replied, “It is like saying that the bangle has to merge with the gold and till then it is not gold!”

I said to him, “This is great, now you are understanding that there is truly oneness and difference. The bangle is always gold, but the bangle is never the gold mine. Even after realizing that it is gold, it remains a small fraction of the total gold. Yet, still it is one in quality with the gold mine. “

He continued, “Even if the bangle does not know it is gold and suffers as a consequence of that lack of knowledge, it was gold all the time.”

I again answered him, “Yes, in quality. Just as all the jivas are one in quality with Krishna. But we never become one in quantity. We are eternally His servants, and though some people are scared by that, that is the conclusion of the sastra. Ravana was also scared by that, so was HiranyakaSipu. A lot of people didn’t like these idea.”

He replied, “Just as the ornaments do not become gold when they realize, because they are gold all the time, whether they realize or not, jeevas do not become Brahman when they realize.”

I agreed with my mind, “The Jivas never become brahman. They are by constitution the same quality as Brahman, but they never become the para-tattva (Absolute Truth). That would be like a gold ring suddenly becoming a gold mine because it realized it was gold.”

My mind misunderstood me again, “They were Brahman all the time even when they are not realized. There are no two golds.”

I replied to him, “Now you are not sticking to your analogy. Your analogy said there is a ring, there is a bangle, there is a bracelet. Suddenly one realizes it is gold, so how do they become one gold? They _never _ become one. Even after realization the ring is a ring, the bangle is a bangle, and the necklace is a necklace. They are only one in quality.”

He went on with his analogy, “Similarly, there are no two Brahmans.”

I answered, “There is one Brahman, we are His parts and parcels (remember the verse this started with, mamaivamsah? From the begining the contention was never that we are each a seperate para-brahman, there is one brahman and we are His amsas.”

He replied by saying, “In liberation, it is not ‘knowledge of’, any more. It is knowledge itself.”

I replied to my mind thus, “Knowledge implies an object of knowledge as well as the process of knowing and the knower. Krishna says in Bhagavad- gita, “I am also the knower of all bodies.” There are two knowers in the body, not one. There is the Supersoul (paramatma) and the individual soul (jivatma). Even at the time of liberation, the two knowers exist simultaneously. The nature of this existence is eternal. Thus, never was there a time when they did not exist, each in their eternal nature.”

Hearing thus my mind silenced.