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Definition of Jiva
Jiva is awareness with a subtle body. Jiva is a principle, a tattva, not a specific person. It is actually pure awareness, paramatma.
Jiva manifests as three “little” jivas according to the state that it experiences:
1. As viswa, the waking state entity. In this state its mind is totally extroverted. It is hypnotized by duality. It chases and consumes experiences. Viswa appears in two forms: (a) free of identification with objects (a jivanmukta) or (b) as a doer (karta), or “person,” identified with objects (a samsari). Both a jivanmukta, a liberated person, and a samsari, a bound person, have a common identity as awareness.
2. As taijasa, the “shining one,” awareness with a subtle body illumining the dream state. In the dream state the subtle body is turned inward facing the causal body, the vasanas. The experiences the dreamer has are just experiences of the vasanas. Jiva is not present in the dream state in the same way that it is present in the waking state. In the waking state jiva identifies with the doer, so the doer is not seen as an object. It is thought to be the subject. In the dream state there is also identification but the doer/ego can also appear as an object illuminated by taijasa, awareness reflected on the subtle body. For instance, in the dream you can see the waker going about its business, walking, talking, eating, etc. The doer/ego is a dream doer/ego similar in some respects to viswa but with unique powers. These powers are inherent in the dream state and do not belong to taijasa although in normal dreams it identifies with them. The doer/ego and the events appearing in the dream are just waking state events that have become vasanas that out-picture as dream events.
3. As the sleeper, prajna, in the deep sleep state. Prajna means “almost enlightened.” It is almost enlightened because it experiences the limitlessness and bliss of awareness but lacks knowledge of what it is experiencing because the intellect is not present in deep sleep.
The subtle body disappears in deep sleep state as does the microcosmic causal body (personal subconscious). The personal subconscious belongs to the jiva and produces the jiva’s karma. The deep sleep state is defined as “a state with no mental activity.” It is the same for everyone because the personal subconscious is subsumed into Isvara, the macrocosmic causal body. Deep sleep is the presence of tamoguna alone. Rajas and sattva are dormant. There is no sense of individuality (ahamkara) in this state because the subtle body of the individual is not there to be conditioned. The ahamkara belongs to the subtle body. The macrocosmic causal body, another name for Isvara, is the deep sleep state.
Although the nature of both the jiva and Isvara is awareness both the jiva and Isvara are inconstant factors with reference to awareness. Jiva is inconstant because it changes from state to state and because self-knowledge removes the notion that it is a limited entity, revealing its nature to be pure awareness. Isvara in the role of Creator is inconstant because logic and scripture – which is just science – informs us that it disappears at the end of the creation cycle; whatever is created will be destroyed. Isvara in the role of Creator is eternal with reference to the jiva but not with reference to pure awareness, paramatman, the constant factor.
The dream state has two aspects: waking dream and sleep dream. It is called the pratibasika state, the subjective state of reality. It is jiva’s creaton (sristi). It is not created directly by Isvara but is responsible for an individual jiva’s interpretation of reality. In the dream state (whether the jiva is awake or asleep) vasanas influence how reality is interpreted by the jiva. Isvara provides the raw material for the interpretation but not the interpretation itself. Ultimately, it is all Isvara but to get to that understanding – which is tantamount to moksa – the jiva has to understand what it is responsible for and Isvara’s role in jiva’s creations, i.e. projections, so that it can be free of both itself and Isvara.
Lucid dreaming is a condition that sometimes happens in the dream state when jiva is one with paramatma and the individual jiva is either absent or appears in the dream as an object. The light illumining the dream is awareness reflecting on the subtle body. It is known by paramatma, pure awareness. Moksa is dismissing appearances as “not-self” and fully embracing one’s identity as awareness, the knower of what appears.
Dream interpretation can be a useful sadhana as it provides insight into jiva’s creation which is sometimes called “shadow content” because it is hidden from the waking state jiva (viswa). Analysis of the relationship between the dream and waking states and their two experiencing jivas can free the waking state jiva of the notion that it is real, paving the way for self-knowledge.
The individual jivas and what they experience is called the dharma field because it is a field of laws. It is not under the jiva’s control but understanding its nature leads to self-knowledge because it clarifies the relative responsibilities of the jiva and Isvara. A jiva that faces Isvara without fear and total transparency (jivanmukta) is liberated here and “hereafter.” A jivanmukta worships Isvara because love is the nature of the self. He or she is totally relaxed, having understood that Isvara is awareness taking care of the total. Non-dual vision means that you see everything as non-different from you even though you know that you are not what you see. Furthermore, it means that you fully understand the three jivas and their respective states. The three jivas and their respective states are known to only be appearances (mithya) in you.