The vaishnavas or dualists claim that souls/jivatmas are separate sparks of light that are distinct from the subtle body and resides within the cave of subtle body/antahkarana/hridaya and upon mukti these souls spend time in vaikuntha keeping their individualities and thus they are eternal.

The advaitins on the other hand holds onto the view that souls/jivas/jivatmas are not just the fragmental spark but includes the subtle body as well. Here the fragmental spark and subtle body together forms the entity called soul/jiva. And this entity keeps on transmigrating until it attains mukti. Mukti is attained, when all the mental impressions that are stored in the subtle body are burned out and then only atman remains. In other words, when these imprints are burned out, the subtle body which is the soul or jiva stops existing. The moment that happens our individuality stops existing. And then only atman remains.

These two views contradicts each other.

The vaishnavas says individuality remains after mukti but the monists says individuality ceases. The vaishnavas says jiva is just a spark but the monists says, jiva comprises both the spark & the reflecting medium called subtlebody. 

Which one is true? Need some serious answers here.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury, Suresh Ramaswamy, Sarvabhouma, sv., Vineet Nov 20 '18 at 4:37

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • There is spark of light inside your body even now......They term it as Jyoti in Tamil.! I – Parabrahman Jyoti Nov 16 '18 at 14:20
  • Best answer would be to find this answer by yourself through experience :) Or else there is no other way! – Parabrahman Jyoti Nov 16 '18 at 14:24
  • But individual perceptions can differ. One yogi percieves one reality and another yogi perceives something else. That's why the views of tantra, advaita and yoga won't completely agree with each other and yet all these 3 sects practices meditations. – The Crimson Universe Nov 16 '18 at 14:33
  • Kindly add @username before your comment. But yes individual perceptions differs based on one's eligibility and compassion, devotion, etc.... How many souls are in this planet = that much ways of reaching the supreme! – Parabrahman Jyoti Nov 16 '18 at 14:44
  • Its impossible to say conclude this one and only is truth because there are infinite glories of supreme Lord, and because of his infinite qualities above Maya, each souls have their own path... For eg.. even if you take path of Rishis, there would be subtle differences in the path they went and understanding about Brahman. – Parabrahman Jyoti Nov 16 '18 at 14:53

The Atman of advaita and jivatma of dualists have the same nature i.e satchidananda then how do other differences matter in so far as jivatma is concerned. The main difference of essence is that advaitins claim there is no separate paramatman from jivatman, so jivatman itself is everything 'jivo brahmaiva na parah'. But dualists accept another reality called paramatman who is satchidananda as well as having infinite auspicious eternal attributes above prakriti.

And that which is accepted by dualists as paramatman is called ishvara by advaitins. Advaitins consider ishvara to be result of Maya and some advaitins consider ishvara itself as unreal which is not considered so by traditional advaitins like smarthas who do accept ishvara as real because of numerous references in scriptures.

Regarding the question of individuality the goal of advaitins is to reach the turiya state described in Mandukya Up.

The fourth aspect of Atman or Self is Turiya, literally the fourth. In this fourth state, consciousness is neither turned outward nor inward. Nor is it both outward and inward; it is beyond both cognition and the absence of cognition. This fourth state of Turiya cannot be experienced through the senses or known by comparison, deductive reasoning or inference; it is indescribable, incomprehensible, and unthinkable with the mind. It is serene, auspicious, and non-dual.

Clearly this is an indescribable state which Adi Shankaracharya has likened as most close to deep sleep. This is free from sorrow.

On the other hand goal of Vaishnavas is to attain eternal servitude to paramatman. The Brahma Sutras describe such a destination as

Equal to brahman only in terms of joy

Both these states are characterized by absence of sorrow and perfect self-satisfaction hence its not different fundamentally.

  • I'm totally aware of that bro (about the same nature of Atman and jivatman). But that's not what this topic is about. If you go through my original post again you'll see that this discussion is about whether the jiva/jivatman retains its individuality after liberation or not. The vaishnavas says individuality remains after mukti but the monists says individuality ceases. The vaishnavas says jiva is just a spark but the monists says, jiva comprises both the spark & the reflecting medium called subtlebody. Would be great if more people take part in this debate & share their views. – The Crimson Universe Nov 16 '18 at 15:26
  • Sure but both states being free from sorrow and a natural state does it matter? Still I will add another answer about individuality. – subash rajaa Nov 16 '18 at 15:32
  • I edited the answer to best of my knowledge. Hopefully it helps. Hinduism has different philosophies but when we distill down to essential things scripture is authority and then things become very similar. – subash rajaa Nov 16 '18 at 15:54
  • Ah thanks :) And yes, it kinda matters. Simply knowing that liberation is the end of suffering is not enough if u ask me. That's half the knowledge bro. – The Crimson Universe Nov 16 '18 at 16:01
  • 1
    Kaivalya as described by Acharya Ramanuja is enjoyment of one's own self. As described by advaita it is being in the state of turiya or pure self. Similar definitions. – subash rajaa Nov 16 '18 at 16:42

Individuality depends on the existence of the ego. Does ego remain after mukti? The answer is that it depends on the spiritual aspirant.

AMRITA: "Sir, how do you feel in samadhi?"

MASTER: "You may have heard that the cockroach, by intently meditating on the brahmara, is transformed into a brahmara. Do you know how I feel then? I feel like a fish released from a pot into the water of the Ganges."

AMRITA: "Don't you feel at that time even a trace of ego?"

MASTER: "Yes, generally a little of it remains. However hard you may rub a grain of gold against a grindstone, still a bit of it always remains. Or again, take the case of a big fire; the ego is like one of its sparks. In samadhi I lose outer consciousness completely; but God generally keeps a little trace of ego in me for the enjoyment of divine communion. Enjoyment is possible only when 'I' and 'you' remain.

"Again, sometimes God effaces even that trace of 'I'. Then one experiences jada samadhi or nirvikalpa samadhi. That experience cannot be described. A salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean, but before it had gone far into the water it melted away. It became entirely one with the water of the ocean. Then who was to come back and tell the ocean's depth?"

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, The Master’s Birthday Celebration at Dakshineswar, March 29, 1883

It is possible to choose one's own state.Those who choose to remain at the level of the Absolute do not have individuality. Those who prefer to stay in the relative plane retain individuality.

MASTER (to the devotees): "Ordinary people do not recognize the advent of an Incarnation of God. He comes in secret. Only a few of His intimate disciples can recognize Him. That Rama was both Brahman Absolute and a perfect Incarnation of God in human form was known only to twelve rishis. The other sages said to Him, 'Rama, we know You only as Dasaratha's son.'

"Can everyone comprehend Brahman, the Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute? He alone has attained perfect love of God who, having reached the Absolute, keeps himself in the realm of the Relative in order to enjoy the divine lila. A man can describe the ways and activities of the Queen (Queen Victoria.) if he has previously visited her in England. Only then will his description of the Queen be correct. Sages like Bharadvaja adored Rama and said: 'O Rama, You are nothing but the Indivisible Satchidananda. You have appeared before us as a human being, but You look like a man because You have shrouded Yourself with Your own maya.' These rishis were great devotees of Rama and had supreme love for God."

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, The Master’s Birthday Celebration at Dakshineswar, March 11, 1883

People who follow Bhakti Yoga prefer to remain in the relative plane and so retain their individuality. People who follow Jnana Yoga prefer the Absolute and give up their individuality.

There is thus no contradiction between the Vaishnavas and the Advaitists. They are talking of two different things.

  • So after attaining the absolute (losing one's individuality) there's no coming back in the human form again? ...... There's a belief among the hindus that if they desire, they can again come down in human form to elevate the masses ...... Does this mean, such advanced souls who come down again and again, don't merge with the absolute after mukti but usually dwell in higher lokas like saptarshi or tapaloka (retains individuality)? – The Crimson Universe Nov 18 '18 at 14:30
  • The person who prefers the Absolute can of course take a human form if he wants, if he thinks it is necessary to do so. He is free after all. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Nov 19 '18 at 10:53
  • But there exists no he, she, i or you upon attaining the Absolute. There should remain a certain amount of individuality in order to have that desire to take human form again, don't u think? ... Advaita states that a videha mukta upon attaining the absolute completely discards his individuality (i.e. his subtle, causal bodies stops existing) and then only the ocean of atman remains ... If these bodies/baggages that carries one's ego or individuality stops existing, then how can that person (who no longer remains that person) desire to be reborn again? This is something i don't understand. – The Crimson Universe Nov 19 '18 at 15:17
  • 1
    Yes, what you are saying is true for a Jiva. Here we are talking of someone who has attained the Absolute and prefers not to have individuality after death. Such a person can after death again take a human form.if he thinks it to be necessary. His ego will be ego of knowledge since he will remember his connection to the Absolute. Our ego is ego of ignorance since we are cut off from the Absolute. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Nov 20 '18 at 14:39
  • 1
    No, that is not what I meant. I said that if a person who has attained moksha decides after death to take a human form then he will operate as a human with an ego of knowledge. His ego is called ego of knowledge because he will remain aware of his connection with the Absolute.Ramakrishna has not taken a human form after death. We simply don't know how he operates. The scriptures don't really talk abut it since they are written for ordinary people with ego of ignorance. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Nov 21 '18 at 10:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .