Faith

Jivatmaa, Paramatma relationship from two angles

Those who understand the true nature of the atma are clear in their minds about the connection between the Jivatma and the Paramatma. In the Visishtadvaita school of philosophy, all Jivatmas constitute His body. We can say, “All Jivatmas are the body of the Supreme One.” Or we can say, “He is the atma of all Jivatmas.”

Now what is the difference between the two statements? They seem to say the same thing. But although they convey the same meaning, they are essentially different statements. It is like saying ‘Blue-hued Rama,’ and ‘Rama is blue in colour.’ In the first case, the emphasis is on the colour ‘blue.’ In the second observation, the emphasis is on Rama and His attribute of being blue comes later.

So we can say, “We are His devotees” or we can say “He is our God.” Both are the same, but there is a difference. In the first sentence, when we say we are His devotees, dasabhava is brought out. In other words, the fact that we are His servitors is emphasised. But in the second statement, the Lord’s ‘Swamibhava’ is emphasised. In other words, in the second statement, His Supremacy is acknowledged. Both ways of looking at our relationship to the Supreme One are acceptable in Visishtadvaita. So you can look at the Jivatma-Paramatma relationship from two angles, said Valayapet Ramachariar in a discourse. To constantly ponder over this Jivatma-Paramatma equation and to always think of the Supreme One is what those with gnana do. He who knows that the atma is the same, whether it occupies the body of an animal or a bird or a human being, is one who has gnana. A person who has acquired gnana also knows that the atma, whatever body it inhabits, is still the embodiment of gnana.


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Printable version | Oct 11, 2021 3:11:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/jivatmaa-paramatma-relationship-from-two-angles/article7655952.ece

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