Aditya, Tuesday, March 21, 2017 3:02 am

You are That. A teacher-student dialogue

Teacher: ‘You (Jiva) and Isvara (Bhagavan) are identical’ (See –

Student: No, how can this be? It is impossible! Who says?

Teacher: The Vedas clearly say – ‘You are That’ (Tat Tvam Asi – 6.8.7 Ch Up, Sama Veda). You = Jiva, That = Isvara. This statement is called a ‘maha-vakya’, because it reveals the identity of Jiva and Isvara.

Student: But I cannot accept this statement of Veda.

Teacher: Why not?

Student: Because the differences between me (Jiva) and Isvara are so big, it is not proper for the Veda even to claim that ‘I am Isvara’. Because 2 things can only be identical if they have similar qualities. E.g. If 2 people have the same age, height, hair colour, clothing, accent; we can realistically claim they are ‘identical’ because they have identical qualities (age, height, etc). But when 2 things have complete opposite qualities, they cannot be identical. So, Jiva and Isvara have opposite qualities and therefore cannot be called identical. To be specific:

Qualities of Jiva (Me)

Qualities of Isvara

Identifies with individual body


Does not identify with an individual body (nir-ahankara)

Limited Knowledge (alpa-jna)

Unlimited Knowledge (sarva-jna)

Limited Power (alpa-shaktiman)

Unlimited Power (sarva-shaktiman)

Limited Pervasiveness confined by this body (alpa-vyapi)

Unlimited pervasiveness (sarva-vyapi)

So for this reason, I am different from Isvara, the complete opposite in fact. So I do not accept if the Veda says ‘I am Isvara’.

Teacher: No, this is not true. You have misunderstood what the Veda is saying here. When you say ‘I am different from Isvara’, what do you mean by the word I?

Because the word ‘I’ refers to 2 things: (a) Body/Mind (3 Shariras); and (b) Consciousness (Atma). See the discussion on the topic of ‘Who am I’ here:

So, if you are referring to (a) when you say ‘I’, then you are correct. We 100% agree with you. Your Body/Mind is different from Isvara. True. So from the standpoint of your 3 sharirias you are different from Isvara.

But, if you are referring to (b), then you are incorrect.  From the standpoint of consciousness, you are identical with Isvara. There are not 2 consciousnesses, only 1. Therefore the Veda is correct to say: ‘You are Isvara’, from the standpoint of ‘you’ and ‘Isvara’ as consciousness, not as the body/mind. You are That (Tat Tvam Asi).




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