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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

Know Thy Vedas- Atma, Jivatma and Jeev as Described in Vedas by Sh P.K.Sabhlok

Subject: Atma (Soul), Jivatma (manifested Soul) and Jiva (Spirit) as described in Vedas

Atharva Veda tells us when Soul (Atma) was provided to human being Vedic knowledge was revealed. Thus human soul contains all the knowledge of VEDAS. Rig Veda says that PURPOSE of Human Birth as already known to human soul is to assist the Grand Designer (Vishwa Karma) in the maintenance of His Grand wondrous Design. Rig Veda further enlightens us when soul administer the gross body a person moves towards self realization and he/she starts following cosmic laws of necessity (Vedic Rta) relating to iddm nan mam (nothing for self all for society), path of moderation, humility, love for the entire animate and inanimate life/things and many other such cosmic laws. However, Vedas categorically say “Alma can not be cognized by any of the senses and say sense organs.”

It is the Soul which makes a person separate and distinct individual. The Spirit is the cause of his/her social being and along with mahabhuta- five main elements and three gunas of purity, activity and stupor, is the cause of good or bad actions of the individuals. The right and virtuous path is only known to the manifested soul (jivatma), which is nearest on self-realization and farthest when phenomenal and the material worlds become the closest (A.V. X-8-8). The individuals who know and understand the Spirit as the powerhouse of creativity in them create subtle waves of nobility, love, and harmony even if they sit silently in any gathering or assembly. Chhandogya Upanishad describes Spirit as the Creative force, which hides behind all animate and inmate life/things, moves us, moves the planets and moves the universe.

Yajur Veda 34-43 refers to human beings as tri-ani pada i.e. having three bodies in one- divine (causal body where soul resides near the heart), spiritual (subtle body energized by spirit residing in shuniya (cosmic void ) and gross body where senses and sense organs reside). The soul makes a person divine animal, spirit makes a person social animal and senses and sense organs make a person material and economic man. Hence in the Vedas a man is divine, social and material animal. Many hymns in Rig-Veda 1-70-2, 1-65-1 and others mention that God lives in our souls as a true preceptor (Guru). The term Guru in Vedas is from Gu-darkness and Ru- to dispel. Thus Guru is dispeller of both inner and outer darkeness.

The souls of human beings remain immortal. Based on accumulation of past and present karma - thoughts, deeds and actions, it becomes fierce, calm, terrible, fearless, ignorant and enlightened, trembling and steadfast, forbearing and nonbearing, passionate and ascetic and a prey to bewilderment (Y.V. 39-7). Thus the quality of manifested soul is different for each individual. The purity of the manifested soul and keeping it free from the effect of bad, corrupt and evil deeds, thoughts and desires make it as our philosopher, guide and friend.

The soul has been addressed by various names and epithets in the Vedas. Samrat (the ruler of the body), Vaishva Deva, Teja, Vak, Agneye, Prajapati in chapter 39 of Yajur Veda. Each name or epithet indicates its attributes, like the controlling lord, the nourisher of human beings, the just ruler etc., It is also called Twashta - subtle soul. In Bhagavad-Gita apart from atma, jivatma, words like sah (self), dehin, deha, sharirin, shariri are used (B.G.3-42, 14-11 and 12, 2-18). All these later epithets generally mean lord of the body.

The Spirit which is the life force has also its intermediaries, mind, will, intellect and ego, which are much higher and powerful than the body self i.e. gross body consisting of senses, sense organs etc. However, the Spirit becomes more or less effective in the gross body, not so much with age but kind of activities towards perfection or otherwise. With evil activities, thoughts and desires the gross body can start degenerating even at young age and the spirit gets weaker. Many of the physical sicknesses are related to your activities and thoughts and get further aggravated with idleness that Bhagavad-Gita describes as sin. Since God is perfect, the spirit always aims at perfection and in this movement towards perfection; it helps the gross body to remain healthy.

R.V 6-47-9 mentions soul as twashta- the subtle soul shines when senses are under control and sattavic guna of purity and truthfulness is predominant. According to Atharva Veda XI-8-30, the manifested soul (jiva atma) in the body administers it. The gross body of human beings is the soul holding body. Those individuals, who do not allow the soul to administer the body, normally are devoted to the letters of the scriptures and not the spirit behind their teachings. They camouflage their materialistic outlook in the form of fake spiritualism. According to Bhagavad-Gita, such persons cannot attain Vivek (determinate intellect B.G.2-42 to 44). However, where the body is administered by the manifested soul, even the human beings become Brahma and can say “Aham Brhaman Asi”- I am Brahman. This stage of perfect control of the body by manifested soul is described as "Chhavo" or "Shava". According to Atharva Veda XI-8-34, at this stage the soul in the human body becomes the highest force and vigour.

For more details on the subject along with the relevant Vedic hymn/mantra/rik about soul (atma), manifested soul (jivatma) and spirit (jiva) kindly see chapter 7 of Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics on Website http://www,

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