Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Tattvabodha - Part 21

Notes on Tattvabodha
Dr. Vishnu Bapat

Dr. Bapat (72) was the co-founder of an Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Industry and served as its Managing Director for 26 years until retirement. He is associated with several professional and spiritual bodies. He is now fully engaged in the study and practice of Vedanta.




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4. Unity of microcosm and macrocosm

4.  जीवेश्वरयोः ऐक्यम्

44. Unity of individual and cosmos

एवं पिण्डब्रह्माण्डयॊरैक्यं संभूतम् ।।

एवम् – in this way पिण्ड-ब्रह्माण्डयॊः – of the microcosm and macrocosm ऐक्यम् – union संभूतम् – takes place

Thus there is identity (Oneness) between the microcosm and macrocosm

The individual subtle body is made from the total subtle elements. For instance, the individual mind is part of the total mind. Similarly the individual gross body is made from the total gross body. Therefore the individual gross body (पिण्ड) is part of the total gross body (ब्रह्माण्ड). However the original cause of the gross and subtle elements is the truth. It is the pure self. Therefore in its essence there is identity between the total and individual. Individual physical body and the total cosmos are made out of same material of ungrossified and grossified five elements. We have discussed the creation of body and universe. With this the subject of creation is over.


45. The Jiva

जीव ईश्वर प्रकरणम्

स्थूलशरीराभिमानि जीवनामकं ब्रह्मप्रतिबिम्बं भवति ।

स एव जीवः प्रक्रत्या स्वस्मात् ईश्वरं भिन्नत्वेन जानाति ।

अविद्योपाधिः सन् आत्मा जीवः इति उच्यते ।

मायॊपधिः सन् ईश्वरः इत्युच्यते ।

ऎवमुपाधिभेदात् जीवॆश्वरयॊर्भेदद्रष्टिः यावत्पर्यन्तं तिष्टति

तावत्पर्यन्तं जन्ममरणदिरूपसंसारॊ न निवर्तते ।

तस्मात्कारणात् न जीवॆश्वरयॊर्भेदबुद्धिः स्वीकार्या ।।

स्थूलशरीर-अभिमानि – that which identifies with gross body जीव नामकम् – called the jiva ब्रह्मप्रतिबिम्बम् – the reflection or image of Brahman भवति – is there सः - he एव – alone जीवः – individual प्रक्रत्या – by nature स्वस्मात् – from himself ईश्वरम् - the lord भिन्नत्वेन - as different जानाति – knows अविद्या – by ignorance उपाधिः सन् – conditioned by आत्मा – the self जीवः – the individual इति - उच्यते – is called मायॊपधिः - सन् – conditioned by maya ईश्वरः – the lord इति - उच्यते - is called ऎवम् – in this way उपाधिभेदात् – by difference in conditioning जीव ईश्वरयोः भेद -द्रष्टिः - vision of difference between individual and lord (Jiva and Ishwara) यावत्-पर्यन्तम् – as long as तिष्टति –remains तावत् पर्यन्तम् – till that time जन्म मरण आदि रूप संसारः – samsara which is the nature of birth and death न निवर्तते – is not removed तस्मात्-कारणात् – for that reasons जीव ईष्वरयोः - the individual and lord or Jiva and Ishwara भेदबुद्धिः – difference न स्वीकार्या – should not be accepted.


That which identifies with the gross physical body and is named Jiva is indeed the image or reflection of Brahman. The jiva considers him to be essentially different from the Lord or Ishwara. The self (atma) conditioned by ignorance (avidya) is called jiva. The self when conditioned by maya is called the Lord or Ishwara. So the difference between jiva and Ishwara is due to their conditioning. As long as the notion that the individual (jiva) and the lord are essentially different remains, there is no redemption from the samsara which is in the form of births and deaths. Therefore one should never differentiate between jiva and Ishwara.

स्थूलशरीर-अभिमानि – He is a fan of gross body. That means he identifies himself with the gross body. Then what is he really? He is ब्रह्म प्रतिबिम्बम् the reflection or image of Brahman. He is called by name jiva जीव नामकम्. Although he is made in the true image of Brahman or atma (आत्मा), since he identifies with the gross body he is called Jiva.

जीवः प्रक्रत्या ईश्वरम् स्वस्मात् भिन्नत्वेन जानाति The jiva by nature considers the Lord (Ishwara) to be essentially different from himself.

अविद्या उपाधिः सन् आत्मा जीवः इति - उच्यते –An account of the conditioning (उपाधिः) called ignorance The atma आत्मा (synonyms are: truth, Brahman, consciousness, chaitanya) is called jiva or individual.

माया उपधि सन् आत्मा ईश्वरः इति उच्यते – An account of his conditioning by maya atma (आत्मा) is called Ishwara or the Lord.

ऎवम् उपाधिभेदात् जीव ईश्वरयोः भेद – द्रष्टिः –Like this there is vision of distinction between Jiva and Ishwara an account of their conditioning (उपाधिभेदात्).

यावत्-पर्यन्तम् भेद – द्रष्टिःतिष्टति – As long as this faulted vision of separateness remains

तावत् पर्यन्तम् जन्म मरण आदिरूप संसारः न निवर्तते – till that time one does not have redemption from the samsara or the cycle of birth and death. That means one cannot get God realization. Till we change our vision of difference (भेद – द्रष्टिः) between jiva and Ishwara we have no chance of realization.

तस्मात् कारणात् जीव ईष्वरयोः भेदबुद्धिः न स्वीकार्या – In view of what is said above, one should never entertain the idea of difference between Jiva and Ishwara.



Reality (Brahman, ātmā) is infinite. As creator, sustainer and destroyer of world he is all-powerful (Sarvaśaktimān), all-knowing (sarvajña), and all-pervading (sarvavyāpi). The reality enveloped by maya is called Ishwara or the Lord and enveloped by avidya is called Jiva or individual. So the difference between Ishwara and Jiva are in the nature of upādhi. Both of them are indeed reflections or image (प्रतिबिम्ब) of Brahman or ātmā.


Ishwara lives in the medium of maya. But he does not floret his true nature and keeps maya under his control. He restrains the qualities of rajas and tamas but still he is bound by the quality pure sattva. Since he has kept maya in leash he is called mayāpati. The sattva does not bind him. He does not identify with any physical body. So he is not affected by his Punya and papa karmas. So when we take refuge in him we also become free from maya and avidya. On the other hand, Jiva who also lives in the medium of maya becomes tainted by the maya. This is called avidya.


That is why we say that jiva has the upadhi of avidya. Avidya being predominantly tamasik binds the individual. He identifies with the finite gross body and subtle body. Although he is supreme infinite he lives as a finite creature. He arrogates to himself the authorship and rewards of his action.


The difference between jiva and Ishwara is from the stand point of their upadhi. If upadhi is removed what remains is Brahma chaitanya in jiva as well Ishwara. Nomenclature differs because of their medium through which they function. As long as one entertains the upadhi bheda there is no redemption.


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