Swagata bheda: Let us take our body for illustration. Our body has many parts and each part of the body is different from the other. No part is same. God has given only one heart, mind etc., so the head is different from the heart and likewise we perceive differences we see within our own body and this called swagata bheda.
Sajathiya bheda: As an individual we have differences between man, woman, transgender, etc. even though we are of the same species, there are differences. This is sajathiya bheda.
Vijathiya bheda: We are different from a plant, tree, mountain, etc. this is called vijathiya bheda.
Avidya leads to adhyasa. Adhyasa leads to adhyaropa or superimposition. Ahyaropa leads to ahankara rising in the mind. ahankara triggers desires along with 6- afflictions if a desire doesn’t get the right result. Desires lead to karma. Karmas leading one to accrue punya and papam. When one accrues punya nad papam, a body is required to either enjoy or suffer. This is the Jiva or soul which transmigrates continuously and endlessly, till such time when the jiva drops the bheda, in the wake of knowledge. At that moment jiva resolves into paramatma and the jiva does not exist any more.
Just like a wave, even though it travels several miles and crashes on to the shore, it has no recourse other than to retreating into the water. So how can jiva have an independent existence outside of the atma?
Jiva thinks of himself as the body-sense-mind complex. ‘I have a mind’, ‘I am so & so’, ‘I have ahankara’. Aham buddhih (अहं बुद्धि: ) is making the jiva think he is the doer and makes jiva do karma generating results or karma phalam (कर्म फलं ). He lives in samsara which is an endless cycle of birth or death. Ignorance (अविद्या:) about the self is the first cause of this samsara. Avarna shakthi (आवरण शक्ति:) of maya covers and the ultimate truth is not seen. The person has erroneous perception. He has a wrong notion about himself. This is adhyasah (अध्यासा:). The wave thinks I am independent and I will go my way. Adhyasa develops into ahankara. It tells you that I am this/so &so and I am doing this. There is a superimposition on the self. Ahankara tells whether to study or not, to go out or not, giving the decision making powers. Ahankara gives power to the mind, mind gives powers to the sense powers and sense organs perform actions. They report back through sense powers to the mind which reports to the ahankara and ahnkara tells ‘I did’- ahankrith (अहंकृती:). When the pleasure is sought it is through the sense organs. You are living in a small world saying ‘I am in control and I am an enjoyer’. Desires trigger actions and if successful and able to achieve everything, you become ‘enjoyer’. Subtle body illuminates the gross body. Gross body illumines the external objects. Tracing backwards we have one illuminator. In the wake of the sun rise, all the objects in the universe are illuminated simultaneously. Likewise, consciousness illumines or shines like sun through upadhis. Sense powers illumine the mind and mind is illumined by consciousness. Ultimate truth can be arrived at by negation of all the impermanent objects.
‘I am’ ahankara and this aham budhi is making you think that you are the doer with the body-mind-sense complex. This makes you do the karma as a ‘karta’. Samsara is an endless cycle of birth and death. Good karma will reap benefits and bad karma will make you suffer. Avidya is ignorance about the self. Ignorance or avidya is something that covers the atma and is the avarna shakthi of Maya. The person does not know the truth about himself. Adhyasa means wrong notion about himself-misconception. Wave does not know its source is in the water. Avidya is ignorance and adhyasa being misconception, it is the ahankara telling ‘I am’ and that is superimposed on the atma. There is an adhyaropa of ahankara on your Self. It makes you think ‘I am separate’. Atma is one and non-dual.
Ahankara tells you whether to do or not to do. It makes choices or decisions and the person does karma. Ahankara lends power to the mind and mind gives power to the sense powers which empowers the sense organs to perform actions. After the actions are performed, the sense organs report to the mind and which gives the ahamkara the notion ‘I am enjoying’. Due to the cause of desire actions are triggered. The desires are achieved, you are happy. If the desire is not achieved, all the six afflictions will arise. From a simple thought of not being able to know his own self, Jiva gets stuck further and further into different afflictions, unable to come out of it. For thinking peacefully, mind must be focussed and stable. If there is jealousy or attachments towards one person, then all the thoughts are focussed on that one person alone. The reason for jiva to exist is because of this notion.
When the Jiva drops this notion and develops a vision and understands that everything is preordained and ‘I am not doing anything’ and only all the upadhis are doing it, he no longer remains a jiva. Wave has no other place to go but surrender to the water and it becomes one with the water losing its existence. Likewise, in the wake of knowledge, we go to the paramarthika model and become one with paramatma. Due to upadhis we get a feeling we are different. Consciousness which is entering the mind is called Jiva who is a person in the transactional model.
In reality our swarupa is calm and tranquil and thoughts –like ripples in still water, are considered the real nature of the Atma, which is untrue. There are three types of realities: paramarthika-absolute reality, vyavaharika reality-transactional, pratibhasika reality-reflectional (परमार्थिका, व्यवहारिका, प्रतिभासिका ).
अस्य जीवत्वमरोपत्साक्षिण्यप्यवभासते l
आव्रुत्तौ तु विनष्टायां भेदे भातेSपयाति तत् ll
अस्य Of this (empirical/embodied self); जीवत्वम् the nature of being a jiva; आरोपात् through superimposition; साक्षिणि in the sakshin (witness); अपि also; अवभासते appears; आव्रुत्तौ the veiling or concealing power तु but; विनष्टायां by disappearance; भेदे the difference; भाते having become clear; तत् that (the idea of being jiva) अपयाति disappears.
The nature of the embodied(with upadhi of body) self appears through false superimposition (vikshepa/projection power of maya) on the sakshin. Also with the disappearance of the veiling power, the distinction between the seer and the seen/object becomes clear. With this the jiva character of the sakshin also disappears. (This is possible only through the study of scriptures.)
The jiva’s nature has superimposition of attributes on the atma-‘I am short’, I am rich’, etc. He will speak only in terms of vyavaharika. In reality atma is only a pure witness and only a sakshi. In the presence of witness everything gets carried out. Due to transactional nature of the jiva, there is superimposition on the atma of attributes on his true Self.
Pot cannot say it is different from clay. A pot is a modified form of clay. Pot always existed in the clay, in an unmanifest form. Potter knows to create a pot from the clay. Actually there is no creation involved. Clay always existed and only the nam rupa changed to pot. Similarly, Jiva is a manifest form of consciousness. Atma does not create anything because it is a non-doer. Sun’s rays do not do anything. Its nature is to illumine. Fire’s nature is to heat and they are inseparable. We only see the fire but do not feel the heat. Sun and its rays are inseparable. We too, do not have an independent existence as Jiva. Our own swarupa is to illumine. Without body-mind-sense complex, we exist as true consciousness in an unmanifest form. Just like a pot and clay being the manifest of same thing, jiva is also a manifest form of consciousness and an intrinsic part of paramarthika reality. If the pot breaks, then the clay is in unmanifes form again. Only the thought of making a pot brings a pot into existence. Due to varied upadhis, jiva looks different with every upadhi. The essence of wave depends upon the water. If water is not present then wave also disappears. In deep sleep state, your mind is resolved and therefore, you do not do any karma. Therefore there is no papam or punyam.
Body is not required for the person who understands that ‘I am not the body’. One has to know this only in the wake of knowledge. Person who knows brahman will never say ‘I know brahman’ but will say ‘I am brahman’. Atma cannot be talked about because it does not have attributes. No words can describe it. If you speak about a cow, you have a vision of the cow with a fixed description. Jiva thinks and has a view-‘I know this’ and superimposes everything on atma/consciousness. It appears as though atma is doing activity or karma. A gold bangle – nama rupa superimposes on gold. Its truth is gold. There is a distinction between substance-vastu and substratum.
When the covering disappears, true self is revealed. Due to the superimposition of jiva upon atma, in the process, there is avrutou – power of maya. Maya has two powers, avarna and vikshepa Shakti. When the covering of ignorance is removed and real truth comes to light, all bhedam disappear. Truth becomes evident.
In the ocean, we see foam, waves, all are water only. It is not having any separate molecular property other than water’s property. If we test samples of wave and foam from the same water, in the wake of gyanam/knowledge, we know foam and wave are nama rupa for the water. Likewise jiva is a nama rupa and there is only one atma.
Jiva is an enjoyer and therefore karta and bhokta. He is ignorant of self. Jiva comes into existence due to avidya and from avidya gives rise to adhyasa, from adhyas arises an adhyaropa on sakshi, then he gets ahankariti leading to karma which becomes as ‘I am the doer’. Papam and punyam requires a body. When the covering is removed, in the wake of knowledge, all the bheda or differences disappear. Then there is only ONE and that is YOU. No more swagata, sajathiya, and vijathiya bheda exist in the wake of knowledge.