February 25, 2024

Benjamin Better

Better Get Computer

Sharing My Knowledge on Vedanta – Distinction Between Atman and Anatman

Sharing My Knowledge on Vedanta – Distinction Between Atman and Anatman


Tãdãtmya: Tãdãtmya is the identification of oneself with the non-atman or anatman (body, mind and intellect). This is the false “I” also known as the Ego ( I say, Edged God Out)

Atma-anatma-viveka: is the ability to differentiate between Atman and anatman. (Between the Self and the non-self)

1.Svãyam-prakasa: Atman, the Self, the witness, the consciousness present in all forms is the life spark that illumines all experiences in all three states in all forms. It is Self-illumined and ever shining. (which we often do not recognize)

Since Tãdãtmya is the identification with the anatma – the body, mind and intellect, we are not what we say we are – by name, form, qualification in this material world, or based on what we possess.

The false ‘I’ need to be replaced by the ‘true, ever present, indestructible ‘I’, which has no attributes to describe, is the witness. This ‘I’ that we all are, is not a gender based, size based, location based. It is One appearing as many in different forms, shapes and sizes.

The effects of tãdãtmya (identification with the false ‘I’) leads to samsara, the temporary pleasures of joys & sorrow, accumulation of papa & punya further leading to the cycle of birth and death.

Self-knowledge is the only solution to the problem of tãdãtmya, which can be attained by atma-anatma-viveka.

The two lines of reasoning are:

a.) Tattva bodha explains in simple terms. “madyatvena jnatam atma no bhavati” in Sanskrit, simply means whatever is described as ‘mine’ is different from me. Thus pen, book, home is all different from me. So also, when I say, ‘my hand, my mind, my eyes’ simply means they’re different from me. Logically, I am not any of those. Therefore whatever is described, as ‘mine’ is different from the ‘Self’.

b.) ‘Drg-drishya-viveka – the seer subject is different from the seen object. Since ‘I’ is the witness of the body, mind, intellect, and five kosas, this ‘I’ is distinctly different from all these.

It is this knowledge to differentiate the ‘Self – I’ from the anatma destroys tãdãtmya.

One may ask, if the nature of the Self is Bliss, why am I not experiencing it?

Just because we’re not experiencing the bliss consistently does not negate its presence. The reason why we’re not experiencing is because we’re not focused on the ‘Self’.

We’re distracted by and attracted to the luring worldly objects, accept them as real, and chase the temporary pleasures, not realizing the ever-luminous ‘Self’ in us. It is our ego’s perception that disables the experience of the bliss.

Just as a well equipped computer scans every file for virus when imported or exported, we must scan every sense experience and thought flow with this anti virus program called atma-anatma-viveka. Be cautious of tadatmya virus and upgrade by logging on to the scriptures on a continuous basis.

2. The Cit nature of the Paramatman

Cit, which is consciousness, defined as ‘being’. Being is the very nature of consciousness as is sweetness to sugar, sour taste to salt and brightness to sun. A simple way of explaining ‘being’ is – the subject ‘I’ knows all objects including the known & the unknown. ‘I’ knows the body, mind, intellect, everything outside this body and also what is not known, which is the ignorance of the self. Realize that we are human beings and not human doings.

The senses, mind and intellect are inert (dead, lifeless) as they’re created by the tanmantras. They cannot reveal/expose their objects (which are emotions, thoughts and decisions) without the revealing power from the paramatman.

This is the reason why eyes and ears are able to reveal their objects (that are seen and heard) due to the close proximity with the supreme self, paramatman. Without the vision, the eyes cannot see. The vision is the power from atman, eyes are only tools.

In the waking state, one is aware of the external world, in the dream state one is aware of the internal world and in the deep sleep state one is aware of the absence of both worlds. Since ‘Self’ is present during all these three states, the nature of Self is knowledge. This ‘Self’ is known without any instrumentation to identify IT (IT refers to Self). IT is beyond any instrument. IT is self-revealing, self-luminous (svayam prakasa). Only to know objects that are separate from one, we need the instrument like eyes & ears but ‘Self’ is known through the ‘Self’ in a non-objectified way.

This ever shining (nitya-jyoti), self-shining (svayam jyothi) Principle of absolute knowledge is called Cit.

3. The Ananda nature of Paramatman

Ananda is of the nature of happiness. Everyone loves ‘Self’ at all times. If it were the nature of sorrow no one would love that much. Even the thought of a suicide is to destroy the body and mind because of the love for the ‘Self’, when there seems to be no other possible means to escape pain.

Even though ‘Self’ is a nature of ‘Bliss’, one forgets one’s own blissful nature and runs after the world of objects trying to find happiness!! This is ignorance at its pinnacle.

Gradation of happiness varies depending on the person, place or thing. Upanishads speaks about the joy of Gandharva to be greater than the joy of Devas and the joy of Devas is greater than that of a human. Whereas Bliss is it is neither conditional nor relative. It is absolute.

In the physical experience of life, there is a gradation of happiness. It moves from priya to moda to pramoda. We experience this bliss while listening to music, in temples, while meditating, when in front of nature like water, mountains and all these graded joys are modifications of anandamaya kosa. These gradations of happiness are the outcome of different births of the individuals and the accumulated effects of the karmas.

There is no gradation of the happiness of the Self. It is one uniform nature of bliss, full & absolute, same in all beings. Only when we are in deep sleep, everyone experience the same bliss. Infants and toddlers are always in bliss because they do not have the ego. We lose sense of our ‘Self’ when ‘ego’ takes over.

‘Be still and know that I am’. Know that ‘You are THAT!’ ‘Tat tvam asi!!”

PS: Your comments are sincerely appreciated.