I know that the reflecting mediums are the upadhis called mind or ego, also called subtle body or antahkarana, which is like a mirror where the cosmic Atman shines. This reflecting medium or subtle body is also called jiva.

But what exactly is the reflection then?

I mean if original consciousness is the cosmic universal atman, and reflecting medium / subtle body is the jiva, then what exactly is the reflection (also called chidabhasa and pratibimba)?

What is this reflection? Is it different from the jiva? Please help me understand it. Looking forward to Pradip's answer on this matter :)

  • I think reflecting medium is mind/intellect and the reflection is Jiva.
    – Pandya
    Jan 20, 2019 at 4:49
  • Can you please state in the question from where you came to know about this analogy. Jan 20, 2019 at 4:55
  • The buddhi is where. But don't try and stretch metaphors too much, they don't stretch. Jan 21, 2019 at 14:27
  • @SwamiVishwananda, Please elaborate on that statement of yours, where you said "The buddhi is where." Jan 23, 2019 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


Reflecting Meduim : Intellect / Mind (part of subtle body - unreal)
Reflection : Jiva (in absolute reality not different from Brahman)

As I've discussed in previous answer Jiva is the Upadhi superimposed on the intellect. So, intellect/mind (under the influence of may or due to ignorance) is the reflecting medium. And Jiva is different from subtle body.

According to Shata Shloki of Adi Shankaracharya:

50. Brahman reflected in the intellects of various bodies such as those of human beings, animals, birds, etc, takes those forms. The one person reflected in water appears as two, the original and the reflection. Similarly, the one Supreme Being (Brahman) takes on, by His power of Maya, innumerable forms because of being reflected in innumerable intellects. So says Br. Up. in 2.5.19. The all-pervading (and non-dual) Brahman appears, inscrutably, due to Maya, as the Jiva, by being reflected in the limiting adjunct (upadhi) in the form of the intellect which, being constituted of Sattva alone, is pure and so capable of reflecting Brahman.

The jiva being a reflection of Brahman, is in reality non-different from Brahman. The Jivas appear as many, different from one another and limited beings, only because of the limiting adjunct, the intellect, just as the space inside a pot, though not different from the total infinite space, appears to be limited by the size of the pot.

But here it should be noted that the Brahman isn't being distorted or transformed.

51. The men of realization perceive that the Jiva, who is a reflection of Brahman in the subtle intellect, is in the grip of the Maya of the supremely powerful Lord. The nature of the reflection of Brahman, that is to say, the nature of a particular Jiva, depends on the nature of his intellect (or mind), just as the reflection of a face in a mirror varies according as the mirror is convex or concave, clean or covered with dirt, fixed or moving. But, just as the face itself is not in the least affected by the nature of the mirror, so also, Brahman is not at all affected by the nature of the reflecting medium, the mind, and ever remains the same and immutable.

  • Jiva is the transmigrating entity. Do u agree? Jan 20, 2019 at 6:30
  • The reflecting medium is no doubt the mind, intellect aka subtle body aka antahkarana. But this reflecting medium is being animated by a reflection, just like moon is lit by sun's reflection. This reflection or chidabhasa, together with the reflecting medium is called IMO jiva. I would love to see other people's opinions as well especially that of Pradip's. Jan 20, 2019 at 8:51
  • reflecting and reflecting medium similar analogy is rainbow.. There is no reflecting medium but rainbow is appering.. from sunlight.. even if medium is not there this paramatma and jivatma are supposed to be there... jivatma is exact opposite of source so there is no tatvam asi here.. because in reflection what is right is opposite of left..
    – Prasanna R
    Jan 22, 2019 at 5:46
  • Actually reflecting medium (mind/ego also known as antahkarana or subtle body) exists in the relative state (vyavaharika satya). Jan 23, 2019 at 12:39
  • I think reflection is the universal atman or universal consciousness. Not sure if i'm right but that's just my opinion. Jan 23, 2019 at 12:50

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