[Advaita-l] Three views about the relationship between atma and jiva

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Dec 11 10:00:58 CST 2003

There is a prakarana grantha of Advaita Vedanta called Drgdrshyaviveka or
Vakyasudha.  It has been ascribed to Adya Shankaracharya but scholars
think it is more likely to have been written by Swami Bharati Tirtha who
was Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Shringeri during the 14th century and the
Guru of the famous Swami Vidyaranya author of Panchadashi,
Jivanamuktiviveka etc.  There is an English translation published by the
Ramakrishna Mission.

The title Drgdrshyaviveka means "explanation of the relationship between
the seer and the seen."  It addresses one particular question is Advaita
theory.  how is that the pure atma which is free of maya but merely
observes it, becomes confused with a particular name and form?

Shloka 32 mentions three theories:

avacchinnashchidAbhAsastritIyaH svapnakalpitaH |

avacchinna - "limitation"

Due to the organic processes such as prAna (life force, literally
"breath") a wall is put up as it were around a particular piece of the
universal paramAtma so that it considers itself to be a seperate entity.

chidAbhAsa - "reflection"

Just as if you look into the ocean you will see a reflection of the sun so
there will appear to be two suns when there is in fact only one, the mind
also has a warping effect which causes paramAtma to be seen as two when in
fact it is only one.

swapnakalpita - "dream construction"

When you are asleep, organized conscious mental activity ceases and the
random firing of neurons causes dream images to appear.  In the same way,
the absence of true knowledge causes all kinds of erroneous data to be
perceived, leading the jiva to surmise it is seperate when actually it is

The author of Drgdrshyaviveka goes on to suggest the first theory is most
apt but all three are found in Advaita Vedanta.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list