One of the questions the Yaksa asks Yudishtra, in the Yaksa Prasnam episode of the Mahabharata, is about how the Sun rises, sets etc. The word used by the Yaksa for Sun is ‘Aditya.’ Yaksa could as well have used the word Surya, but that would have meant only the Sun, whereas the word Aditya also indicates the jivatma. So Yaksa’s question could also be taken to mean the jivatma. Yudishtra’s answer is cleverly worded, so that his reply is equally applicable to the Sun and the jivatma, said V.S. Karunakarachariar, in a discourse.

The Sun causes water to evaporate and rise up, and this falls again as rains. The jivatma is born in this world, dies and is born again, in a repeating cycle. It is the Parabrahma which causes the Sun to rise and set. So also it is the Parabrahma which ultimately lifts the jivatma out of the repeating cycle.

In fact, the Supreme One goes one step further. He accompanies the jivatma on its last and final journey to His abode. A jivatma on this journey noticed the imprint of two pairs of footsteps. One pair of footprints belonged to the jivatma. The other belonged to the Paramatma. But after sometime, only one pair of footprints was noticed. The jivatma wondered what had happened to the other pair. The Paramatma answered that the pair of footprints visible was that of the Paramatma Himself. But why had the footprints of the jivatma disappeared? The reason was that the Supreme One was no longer just accompanying the jivatma, but had hoisted him on to His shoulders, and was carrying him along.

The Supreme One makes the Sun set. Likewise He also causes a jivatma to lose its identity, which is what distinguishes it on this Earth from other jivatmas. All jivatmas are the same, and there is no difference between them. An identity is something we have only on this Earth. By liberating the jivatma, the Paramatma takes it to Sri Vaikuntha, where there are no distinctions between one jivatma and another. One of the many names of Lord Narayana is ‘Dharma.’ It is dharma which gets rid of the identity of a jivatma, which in turn is caused by its karma. It is Dharma, in other words, Lord Narayana who lifts up the jivatma from this worldly life.

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