Interactions between the Ātmā and the Mind

Question: Who feels pain and pleasure in the conditioned stage? Is it the soul or the mind?

Answer: The mind feels it.

Question: From where does viveka or the faculty to choose between wrong and right come? Does it come from the buddhi or ātmā?

Answer: It comes from buddhi.

Question: Does the soul have intrinsic mind, intelligence and ego?

Answer: No it doesn’t. 

Question: Does the soul act only as a source of consciousness (e.g. battery power for a car), while always needing the external mind, intelligence and ego? Is this true even in the spiritual world?

Answer: Yes. 

Question: Why can the soul not enjoy and experience pleasure as it is itself conscious?

Answer: It has no senses to enjoy.

Question: By doing sādhana, it is said that the citta gets purified. Then how are the bhajana memories transferred to the spiritual world with the soul as the citta is material?

Answer: They do not get transferred. Only the bhāva goes along with the ātmā. 

Question: Do the current material mind and ego get spiritualized and transferred into the spiritual world?

Answer: No. 

Question: As the soul does not have intrinsic mind, intelligence and false ego, why is it said that we have to watch all unwanted desires like lust, as a witness only and not entertain them? It is also said that we should think that we are totally different from the mind. Then how can a soul without intrinsic mind feel/realize that it is a soul, that it is spiritual and totally different from the material mind?

Answer: Everything is experienced only through the internal senses. There is no experience without them. In Gītā 6.12, Kṛṣṇa says that the happiness that is beyond the reach of the external senses can be comprehended only through the intellect, buddhi-grāhyam.

In Gītā 6.20, Kṛṣṇa says that when the mind, controlled by the practice of meditation, becomes still, one sees the ātmā through the ātmā (the internal sense):

yatroparamate cittaṁ niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā
yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyann ātmani tuṣyati
 

“When the mind, controlled by the practice of meditation becomes still, one rejoices only in the self and sees the self by the purified mind.”

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī makes it clear that the word “ātmanā” here means internal sense, antaḥkaraṇa.

Question: Then how is the soul responsible for controlling the mind, choosing the right desire of the mind and acting accordingly, since buddhi, the decision making faculty, is also material and different from the soul?

Answer: Because ātmā is identifying with it. The problem is the identification. Mind, intellect and ahaṅkāra function because they are empowered by the ātmā. Ātmā does nothing by itself.

Question: Kṛṣṇa advises Arjuna in Gītā 18.65: “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” So for whom is this advice given and who listens? For the soul, the mind or the intelligence?

Answer: For all three of them, because the soul identifies with the mind and intelligence. You are posing these questions with the understanding that the ātmā and the mind or intelligence are functioning independently as two separate units. The fact, however, is that in the conditioned state, the ātmā is never free of the conditioned material mind.

Question: If the advice is given to the mind, intelligence and false ego, then how is the soul responsible to accept the instruction and to act accordingly since it is different from buddhi, mind and false ego? Please explain how the soul takes this instruction.

Answer: The soul is not taking any instruction. At present, it is identifying with the mind and the instruction is for the complete unit.

Question: If buddhi controls the mind, then how is the soul responsible to get karma-phala for its next birth?

Answer: Because of the soul’s identification with the mind. 

Question: SB 11.11.29 (also quoted in CC, Madhya 22.78-80) says:

kṛpālur akṛta-drohas titikṣuḥ sarva-dehinām
satya-sāro ‘navadyātmā samaḥ sarvopakārakaḥ 

“A saintly person is merciful and never injures others. He is tolerant and forgiving, truthful, free from all envy and jealousy, and magnanimous by doing welfare to others.”

If all these transcendental qualities are the characteristics of pure Vaiṣṇavas, do they belong to the ātmā or to the mind? If they belong to the mind, then do they come under the mode of goodness?

Answer: For a devotee, the qualities manifest from bhakti

Question: When we listen to siddhānta or pastimes, how do they affect the ātmā? Or do they only affect our material mind, intelligence and ego?

Answer: There is no effect on the ātmā 

Question: Then how and when does the ātmā experience the bhajana-sukha?

Answer: All experience happens in the mind. 

Question: How do the soul and intelligence interact with each other?

Answer: There is no real interaction except that the soul makes the intelligence conscious. 

Question: If an accident happens to a jīvan-mukta, does he feel pain and pleasure? How does this feeling of pain and pleasure differ from that of a person in conditioned stage?

Answer: He feels it but is not influenced by it like a conditioned being.  

Question: In the verse: mayā-mātram idaṁ jñātvā, jñānaṁ ca mayi sannyaset, (“Understanding this to be māyā, one should surrender unto Me both that knowledge and the means by which he achieved it,” SB 11.19.1)—which knowledge has to be surrendered?

Answer: Knowledge of oneness with Brahman. 

 

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Comments ( 5 )
  1. RAJAGOPALAN. N

    EXCELLENT.

  2. Vijay

    But we have statements from Baladeva Vidyabhusana saying that Jiva is a bhokta – the enjoyer. If jiva is just powering the consciousness how can it be enjoyer?

    BG 7.5:

    eṣā prakṛtir aparā nikṛṣṭā jaḍatvād bhogyatvāc ceto jaḍāyāḥ prakṛter anyāṁ parāṁ cetanatvād bhoktṛtvāc cotkṛṣṭāṁ jīva-bhūtāṁ me madīyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi |
    (This prakrti is aparA (inferior) due to being unconscious and an object of enjoyment. However jiva is consciousness, is different and superior to prakrti since it is conscious and enjoyer (bhoktRtvAt)

    • Babaji Post author

      When you sit in a car and travel hundreds of miles, is it the car that travels or you?
      You sit in your seat and say that you travelled hundreds of miles when actually you did not move an inch (and that is safe for you).
      Yet the car could not have travelled without the driver.
      Apply this analogy to atma and body.
      For example, when you eat food, is it the body that eats or the atma?
      Is it the body that gets nourishment or the atma?
      If you do not eat, will the atma die?
      Certainly not, because the atma does not need food nor does it taste it.
      Yet, the atma is called bhokta because it is the atma that drives the body.
      The body without atma cannot eat.

  3. Debasish

    [[Question: Why can the soul not enjoy and experience pleasure as it is itself conscious?
    Answer: It has no senses to enjoy.]]

    So who is enjoying the bliss of Brahman? Is it compulsory to have senses to enjoy? In samadhi, where there is no experience of mind, the jiva is so deeply absorbed in Brahman that the jiva experiences oneness. So there must be some faculty to experience the oneness.
    Please enlighten on the mukti desired by the mayavadis.

    [[When we listen to siddhānta or pastimes, how do they affect the ātmā? Or do they only affect our material mind, intelligence and ego?
    Answer: There is no effect on the ātmā.]]

    You said bhava goes with the atma to goloka at the time of death. So if bhava is attained in the mortal world how can the bliss of bhakti and the bliss of hearing siddhanta and lila not effect the atma?

    • Babaji Post author

      “So who is enjoying the bliss of Brahman?”

      Whoever has realized it!
      I may be wrong, and forgive me if I am, but you are asking the question without first understanding what exactly Brahman realization is. I am saying so because if you knew what it is, you would not ask this question.

      “Is it compulsory to have senses to enjoy?”

      I have answered this in the main body of the blog.

      “In samadhi, where there is no experience of mind, the jiva is so deeply absorbed in Brahman that the jiva experiences oneness. So there must be some faculty to experience the oneness.”

      Do you know that there are different types of smamadhi? How do you know that there is no experience of mind? Patanjali defines it as citta-vrtti-nirodha. He does not say there is no mind. Only material vrttis are absent. But there is brahmākara vrtti. This is how oneness is experienced. When you say, “he jiva is so deeply absorbed in Brahman that the jiva experiences oneness,” can you clarify what do you mean by jiva? Is there jiva without the mind?

      “Please enlighten on the mukti desired by the mayavadis.”

      They want to realize that they are Brahman “Aham brahma asmi”.

      [[When we listen to siddhānta or pastimes, how do they affect the ātmā? Or do they only affect our material mind, intelligence and ego?
      Answer: There is no effect on the ātmā.]]
      “You said bhava goes with the atma to goloka at the time of death. So if bhava is attained in the mortal world how can the bliss of bhakti and the bliss of hearing siddhanta and lila not effect the atma?”

      Please read the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita where Shri Krishna describes the characteristics of the atma and see if there is any mention of atma experiencing anything without the senses.

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