The only argument which remains is that śabda-brahma or the Veda is not limited by time and space, therefore it also exists in the ātmā. About this I have already written above that this is acceptable, but then you have to explain the statements that say that the jīva is ignorant of Bhagavān. You cannot just take one set of statements and neglect the other. Otherwise, you fall prey to ardha-kukkuti nyāya (example of accepting only half of a hen, the part that gives eggs and neglecting the part that needs to be fed).
In Bhagavad Gītā 9.4, Kṛṣṇa says that He pervades everything and yet He is not in everything. He also says that everything that exists is He, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti. Indeed He says that He is the ātmā in everyone (Gītā 10.20). Then by your logic, we are all Vāsudeva and certainly we have the Vedic knowledge. But this fact is not experienced by us. Otherwise why does Kṛṣṇa need to tell this? We would know it as He knows. Your logic of “all pervading” is tantamount to Māyāvāda philosophy.
By accepting the Vedic knowledge in the ātmā, there is one more difficulty that arises. According to Bhāgavatam, there are five types of mukti. One of them is called sāyujya, which is of two types, brahma-sāyujya and bhagavat sāyujya. A jīva who attains brahma-sāyujya does not have any subtle or gross body because that is the very definition of mukti: muktir hitvānyatha rūpaṁ svarūpena vyavasthiti (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.10.6). Such a jīva also does not attain a spiritual body because in Brahman there is no form or attributes. It is a homogeneous state of pure consciousness. So according to your proposition (or of BVT), such a person should be situated in Vedic knowledge, because he does not have any more conditioning by the subtle or gross body. This goes against the very principle of brahma-sāyujya, because in brahma-sāyujya there is no awareness of anything except of Brahman. There is no duality or binary thinking in brahman realization. But if one has Vedic knowledge, one must have knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, as Kṛṣṇa Himself says: vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedya. This also needs to be accounted for if you accept that there is Vedic knowledge inherent in the ātmā.
Further questions can be raised on this: Is this knowledge of the Veda in the ātmā manifest or unmanifest? If it is manifest, then it cannot be forgotten at all. For example, the ātmā has I-consciousness in it. The ātmā is the referent of the word ‘I”. This knowledge of “I” can never be forgotten in any state of existence—wakeful, dream or dreamless state. No matter what the jīva thinks of himself, the sense of “I” always exists, because it is inherent in the ātmā. It is this sense of “I” that is superimposed on the gross and subtle bodies, which makes one think, “I am the mind or the body.” In the same way, consciousness is the inherent quality of the ātmā, therefore it can never be taken away from it in any state of existence. No matter how much māyā influences the jīva, he never loses consciousness and the sense of “I.” He cannot become dead matter. In the same way, if Vedic knowledge were manifest in the ātmā, the jīva could never forget it or be unaware of it, no matter how much he is covered by māyā. Just like a bulb which has light in it cannot lose it, no matter how much the bulb is covered externally. Others may not see the light of the bulb, but the light is never lost to the bulb itself. Therefore Jīva Gosvāmī is right when he says that the jīva has beginningless ignorance, anādyavidyā. However, being a conscious entity, he has the potential to acquire knowledge.
If we consider the second option, that the knowledge is unmanifest in the ātmā, then the proponent of this idea must explain what is means to have unmanifest knowledge and how it exists in the ātmā. What is the mechanism? Does it exist by saṁyoga sambandha (relation of contact) or samvāya sambandha (relation of inherence)? The first one is not possible, because saṁyoga exist only between two substances. Knowledge is not a substance.
If the second is accepted, then the following problem will arise: The constitution of ātmā is eternal and not liable to any modification, avikārī (Gītā 2.25). When the knowledge would change from unmanifest to manifest by some practice as proposed by Anonymous, then that would make the ātmā modifiable, vikārī, like matter. One may argue that the practice of bhakti makes this knowledge manifest, as it is stated in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2. 7. That manifestation is not from the ātmā, but from Paramātma. This is stated by Kṛṣṇa in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.22.10 as cited earlier:
svato na sambhavād anyas
tattva-jño jñāna-do bhavet
“Self-realization for the jīva, who is saddled with beginningless ignorance, is not possible by his own efforts. It is possible only if knowledge is imparted to him by another who knows the reality.”
I have explained the meaning of “in” logically as by samvāya sambandha or saṁyoga sambandha. Moreover, how could it be called inherent if Kṛṣṇa has to establish it? “Inherent” means samvāya sambandha, which is a permanent relation, like between sweetness and sugar. They are inseparable. But if Kṛṣṇa establishes it in the subtle body, then it cannot be called inherent.
Therefore, it is concluded that there is no Vedic knowledge inherent in the ātmā, who is a conscious being and the referent of the word “I”. Knowledge has to be received from an outside source from a qualified teacher.
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