I have gone through many lectures on Advait Vedanta.

Here is what I understand.


Anything you are aware of i.e. sound, signs, smells all these, they are objects of consciousness. You are aware of them and that which is aware of them is consciousness i.e. Bramhan

Consciousness is awareness in which experience becomes possible.


Bramhan is eternal, omnipresent and non-dual i.e. देश काल वस्तु परिच्छेद शून्यम्।

In other words, Brahman is the existence itself which takes the form of Maya, nama-rupa

It is everywhere living or non-living.

My question is if a living being dies, is it possible it will take the form of a non-living body?

  • The objects of consciousness don't have any conciousness of their own, so no that is not possible Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 11:30
  • @YOuwillnotknow - yes, a living being can be stuck in the body of a non-living thing. in fact, innumerable atmas are in dormant state in water, in grains etc. until they are destined to take birth in some species.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 15:21
  • Can you give some sources in support of your statement? I just want to learn more, I have other questions.
    – sujeet
    Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 15:51
  • According to dvaita soul cannot become inert and hence not converted to Jada pancha breda jiva-jiva,jiva-jada,jiva-paramatma, paramaatma-jada, jada-jadA this are five basic differences which whole universe is organized one cannot become another
    – Prasanna R
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


An interesting question.

The short answer is that in theory a jiva can become stone like in the next birth.

How does one go from a conscious being to unconsciousness?

The first step is to recall the following shloka:

Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma.

Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1

All this universe is Brahman or Pure Consciousness.

The next step is to understand how this many faceted world comes about if everything is Consciousness.

In the phenomenal world there is nothing absolutely conscious nor absolutely unconscious. Consciousness and unconsciousness are always intermingled. Some things, however, appear to be more conscious, and some more unconscious than others. This is due to the fact that Cit, which is never absent in anything, yet manifests itself in various ways and degrees. The degree of this manifestation is determined by the nature and development of the mind and the body in which it is enshrined. Spirit remains the same; the mind and the body change. The manifestation of consciousness is more or less limited as ascent is made from mineral to man.

The Serpent Power the secrets of tantric and shaktic yoga Chapter II Bodiless Consciousness by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)

What is the mechanism for variation of consciousness in the universe?

Consciousness, however, assumes the role of Prakrti - that is, creative power - when evolving the universe. So substance consists of the Gunas or modes of this natural principle which are called Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. The general action of Sakti is to veil or contract consciousness. Prakrti, in fact, is a finitising principle. To all seeming, it finitises and makes form in the infinite formless Consciousness. So do all the Gunas. But one does it less and another more. The first is Sattva-guna the function of which, relative to the other Gunas, is to reveal Consciousness. The greater the presence or power of Sattva guna, the greater the approach to the condition of pure consciousness. Similarly, the function of Tamas Guna is to suppress or veil consciousness. The function of Rajas Guna is to make active - that is it works on Tamas to suppress Satva, or on Sattva to supress Tamas. The object and the effect of evolution, as it is of all Sadhana, is to develop Sattva Guna. The Gunas always coexist but variously predominate. The lower the descent is made in the scale of nature the more Tamas Guna prevails, as in so-called "brute substance", which has been supposed to be altogether inert. The higher the ascent is made the more Sattva prevails. The truly Sattvik man is a divine man, his temperament being called in the Tantras Divyabhava. Through Sattva-guna passage is made to Sat, which is Cit or Pure Consciousness, by the Siddha-Yogi, who is identified with Pure Spirit.

The Serpent Power the secrets of tantric and shaktic yoga chapter III Embodied Consciousness (Jivatma) by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)

What happens to man in life?

The answer depends on his karma. If he does spiritual practice then his mind becomes more and more dominated by Sattva Guna, i.e. his varna changes. Ultimately he may even succeed in transcending the Gunas.

The embodied spirit (Jiva) having transcended the Gunas from which the body has sprung, gains deliverance from the miseries of birth, death and old age and attains to immortality.

Gita 14.20

Of course the opposite may happen if a man commits too much sin. His mind may get more and more veiled by Tamas Guna and after death he might even become stone like. At least that is a possibility.

An analogy

Congratulations if you have made it through. I will give a small allegory to make this even clearer. Imagine all of the universe is made up of small hollow glass balls inside of which is a source of light. Light in this allegory stands for consciousness and the glass ball is the body-mind complex. This whole complex of glass balls is in a harsh environment. As a result some of the glass balls have become opaque to the light within. These glass balls are analogous to unconscious stones. Most glass balls are somewhere between complete transparency and complete opaqueness. These balls form a spectrum from trees to ordinary man. Then some glass balls are completely transparent to the light within and they represent the God-realized or Self-realized men.

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