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Jivatma, Shivatma and Paramatma

Wisdom of Sri Gajanana Maharaj of Nashik

gaja Those who have read some religious books and those who have listened to religious discourses must have often heard the words: Jivatma, Shivatma, and Paramatman. Jivatma is the individual soul who experiences pleasure and pain in this worldly life. Shivatma is the Paramatman who is the root cause of all the activities in the Universe. The absolute Being who pervades all things and is also beyond them is the Paramatman, otherwise known as Brahman. One and the same Being has been given these different names according to the different aspects in which He has been looked at.

Thus there is one absolute principle on which the ideas of Jivatma, Shivatma, and Paramatman have been superimposed. We get superficial, wordy knowledge of these terms from religious books and discourses, and our mind is confused. Now, where is he located who gives these different names and utters these words? He is located in this body, in the heart. This “I” located in the heart of all human beings, conceives these different aspects and gives utterance to these different names. If you search for this “I,” you will come to know it is an absolute principle having no form, no attributes, and which cannot be described in words. If it is without attributes and without form, can it ever be perceived by the eye? No.

Then if you ask about the nature of this principle, for an answer you should see what all saints have said about it. They say that the real nature of this “I” is unchangeable bliss. The everlasting bliss residing in our heart is the sign by which the absolute truth can be traced. Every human being is ceaselessly trying to get happiness. Nobody is needed to tell him to do so. The reason why every human being ceaselessly tries to find happiness is because unchanging bliss is the real nature of the “I” inside him. When a person realizes the nature of this bliss, he has nothing more to do. All his activities stop.

When the “I” has been seen by the “I,” that is, the real “I” has been realized by the egoistic “I,” the duality between the seer and the seen disappears and now nothing further remains to be seen. When this stage is reached one realizes that the “I” pervades everywhere, and that nothing has existence except this all-pervading Self. In this stage the phenomenal world has no existence. Referring to this stage, Sri Ramdas has said, “Why are you asking about the cause, etc., of this world, which, in fact, has no existence and was never born?” This state is indescribable in words. All words, therefore, are meaningless, and silence is the only eloquence regarding it.

The practice is the most important means of controlling the mind

In order to attain this natural stage, saints have prescribed a certain practice. The Soham which is in the hearts of all saints who have obtained Self-realization has manifested itself and helps the saints to realize the blissful nature of the Self.

I, too, told myself, my mind, to contemplate ceaselessly on Soham. The mind is pliable and turns towards that to which it is made to turn. When the mind, therefore, was made accustomed to the japa of Soham, the mind became one with Soham, and thus became merged in the Paramatman. Through the ceaseless contemplation of Soham, the mind became one with the Paramatman, and began to enjoy the everlasting and unchanging bliss which is the nature of the Self.

All actions that one does in this stage naturally become dedicated to God, and therefore are nishkama. There being absolutely no egotism, the idea that “I am doing the actions” is altogether absent, and therefore the karma becomes nishkama, and the apparent doer is all the while immersed in his natural bliss, and is thus absolutely detached, although leading a worldly life. I have therefore to request you all to carry on the practice of japa continuously.

Do not care to see whether your actions are sakama or nishkama; only take care to see that your attention is continuously directed to the japa. It does not in the least matter if you do not have recourse to any other sadhana. You are sure to be successful in the end.

Lord Krishna has said in the Gita that the mind, which by nature is fickle and hence difficult to be controlled, can be brought under control by constant practice (abhyasa). Thus, practice is the most important means of controlling the mind.

For unknown words, see A Brief Sanskrit Glossary on our website.

NOTE: Atmaprabha, from which this blogpost is taken can be found in Appendix One of our publication Soham Yoga. Other teachings of Sri Gajanana Maharaj can be found in Chapter Three of Soham Yoga.

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