This quiz is designed to motivate you to study the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scriptures in specific, and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gauḍīya philosophy properly.
Jnana or knowledge related to bhakti is also part of bhakti. In fact, hearing, which includes studying shastra, is the first limb of bhakti. Learning, followed by consolidating and then testing our knowledge in the form of a quiz is a fun and effective way to help us retain information.
This quiz is in multiple-choice questions format. (MCQs). If you see the response that you anticipated simply click on it. The quiz will immediately show which answers are correct or incorrect so we can learn as we go.
1 / 10
What is ātma-tattva?
Ātma-tattva is the essence of all ātmās; the Supreme Self; knowledge or truth of Ultimate Reality.
2 / 10
Which potency of Bhagavān upholds the existence of the individual ātmās and prakṛti?
The internal energy of Bhagavān has three aspects: existence (sandhinī), awareness (saṁvit) and bliss (hlādinī)
The sandhinī potency is the intrinsic power of existence of the Self-existent Bhagavān, and it upholds the existence of the individual ātmās and nature.
The saṁvit potency is the power of knowledge of Bhagavān by which He is all-knowing and which enables all others to know.
The hlādinī potency is the power of bliss, which bestows bliss both to Bhagavān — who is inherently full of bliss — and to others.
These three aspects of the internal potency are the very nature of Bhagavān and thus exist eternally in Him. The saṁvit potency includes and supersedes the sandhinī potency, and the hlādinī potency includes and supersedes the other two. This threefold internal energy of Bhagavān constitutes His very nature and that of His abode and associates.
3 / 10
In Śrīmad Bhāgavata (3.26.3), Lord Kapila describes the nature of the ātmā as svayaṁ-jyoti (self-luminous). What does this mean?
Svayaṁ-jyoti means self-luminous. In other words, it describes something that illuminates itself and other things, just like a lamp illuminates itself and the objects around it.
Objects which produce no illumination (like a table, for example) require a light to shine on them before they can be perceived. But we do not need another lamp to see a lamp, it illuminates itself. It is “svayaṁ-jyoti.”
The term svayaṁ-jyoti specifies that sentience (jñāna – “knowledge, awareness”) is an attribute of ātmā. This is why ātmā can also be described as jñāna guṇaka (“an entity who possesses awareness”).
Learn more: The Ontology of the Jīva.
The term svayaṁ-jyoti specifies that sentience (jñāna – “knowledge, awareness”) is an attribute of ātmā . This is why ātmā can also be described as jñāna guṇaka (“an entity who possesses awareness”).
4 / 10
Ātmā is said to be conscious by nature and self-luminous (jñāna svarūpa and svayam prakāśa). But when it identifies with a particular body, it is darkened by ignorance. What happens to its quality of self-luminosity?
Consciousness (jñāna) as an attribute of ātmā is intrinsic and therefore eternal, but it can expand or contract in a real sense. The sentient knowledge of the self is not “destroyed,” it merely undergoes change in the form of expansion and contraction, by the influence of karma. The illusion of identifying oneself with a body needs a conscious base. Therefore, we see that self-illumination still exists in the ignorant ātmā – but to a contracted extent – as the basis for the experience of illusion.
Ātmā has two types of jñāna, namely svarūpa-bhūta and dharma-bhūta. The first is the intrinsic nature, i.e. the nature of being consciousness, the second is the quality of possessing awareness and knowledge.
The first one has no content in it except the sense of “I”. It is subjective consciousness. The second one is related to objects outside the self. It is objective awareness.
The conscious, self-illuminating nature of the ātmā (jñāna-svarūpa) is not lost. The nature of the ātmā is eternally to be full of brilliant consciousness. But the attribute of being able to use that luminous consciousness to illuminate objects (dharma-bhūta-jñāna) is covered. The attribute is covered and contracted, not the intrinsic nature which sprouts the attribute.
In summary, the ātmā inherently and eternally possesses the attribute of sentience, jñāna, and eternally possesses the constitution of consciousness. But the ability for these to shine can be expanded or contracted by the function of dharma-bhūta-jñāna.
5 / 10
In Śrīmad Bhāgavata (3.26.3), why does Śrī Kapila describe the ātmā as nirguṇa ("devoid of the guṇas of prakṛti," i.e., sattva, rajas and tamas) and prakṛteḥ paraḥ ("beyond prakṛti")?
6 / 10
The word jñāna is used both for ātmā, and for knowledge acquired as a vṛtti (specific impression or modification of the mind). What is the distinction between the two?
In Sanskrit, the word "jñānam" is derived from the root √ jña avabodhane (to know) and has three etymological meanings:
The second meaning is the most general meaning of the word jñāna. The function of knowledge, taken in this sense, is to reveal an object. It reveals an object to a conscious self, an ātmā, the bearer of knowledge signified by the third sense of “jñāna” discussed above.
Jñāna in the second sense of content-filled knowledge reveals itself as well as the object to a conscious self. It is thus described as svayaṁ-prakāśa, self-luminous. The self knows what is revealed to it by this knowledge. This knowledge, however, cannot know the object it reveals. That which knows but does not reveal the objects outside it except to itself is called pratyak or svasmai svayaṁ-prakāśa, self-luminous and self-conscious. This is the characteristic feature of the ātmā.
Learn more: What Is Jnana.
7 / 10
In Śrīmad Bhāgavata (3.26.4), Śrī Kapila describes the ātmā as vibhu ("all-pervading"). What does this mean?
Śrīmad Bhāgavata 3.26.4
sa eṣa prakṛtiṁ sūkṣmāṁdaivīṁ guṇamayīṁ vibhuyadṛcchayaivopagatāmabhyapadyata līlayā
“Although he is very powerful, that ātma became attracted to the divine qualities of subtle prakṛti, and moved towards her. Prakṛti reciprocated by approaching the ātma, as was the will of the Lord.”
Vibhu (lit., all-pervading) is an adjective describing ātmā as an entity capable to pervade all types of bodies, as a result of being very subtle. Since the ātmā is especially “subtle”, he must be distinct from the body and mind. He is not born when the body he adopts is born, nor does he die when that body dies. Only the body takes birth and dies, not the ātmā .
8 / 10
If the ātmā does not have inherent knowledge of Bhagavān, then how does it receive this knowledge?
Learn more: Are the Vedas Inherent in the Heart?.
9 / 10
If knowledge is mano-vṛtti, or a modification of the mind, and remains external to the ātmā, then how are bhajana memories transferred to the spiritual world with the ātmā, as the citta is also material?
Learn more: Interactions between the Ātmā and the Mind.
10 / 10
The ātmā is ?
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All material emotions are products of rajas and tamas. Sattvika samskaras are without emotions and thus do not give rise to desires.
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