DOES ‘ATMA’ REALLY EXIST?
No !!! It does not, the way we understand, the way we have been precepted, the way we believed so far.
‘Atma’ exists in a non-existential way !! Atma is merely a reflection of Param Brahmatma.
Maharshi Kapila has enunciated in his treatise Samkhyayoga that Atma is Sat and Cit while Param Brahmatma is Sat, Cit and Ananda too. A reflection can be Sat i.e. real and Cit i.e. conscious (it’s effulgence) but certainly not Ananda i.e. bliss. Had Atma been an entity, certainly it would have been Sat, Cit and Ananda too, like Param Brahmatma. This Ananda is the highest order of Cetana !!!
Can Atma exist independent of Param Brahmatma ? Certainly not. Then, how can we say that Atma exists at all ?
For Atma to exist independent or otherwise of Param Brahmatma, Param Brahmatma will have to be divisible. And that is just impossible. So Atma does not exist.
Atma is incapable of enacting creation or dissolution of the universe, a prerogative of Param Brahmatma alone as illustrated in Sruti. That’s yet another reason to conclude, Atma does not exist.
So the existence of Atma is merely conceptual.
If a mirror is placed before a blazing sun, burst of glow shall be reflected upon a surface of the mirror-holder’s choice. If Param Brahmatma is likened to be the blazing, effulgent sun, it’s reflection upon a surface is Atma. So now we conclude, definition of Atma as merely a reflection of Param Brahmatma.
At innumerable points in the infinite ocean of Prakrti comprising of Tanmatra-s of Sattva, Raja and Tama existing in perfect equilibrium, the equilibrium is disrupted when Consciousness of Param Brahmatma falls upon as His reflection. This reflection of Consciousness coupled with the bundle of Tanmatra-s whose equilibrium has been disrupted now, is known as JIVATMA, an animate being. Thus is the commencement of a long-drawn cosmic journey in and out of the universe transcending innumerable births and deaths in a bid to re-claim the equipoise of Tanmatra-s so as to enable it retire into it’s cause to end the cosmic journey. Then the reflection of Consciousness of Param Brahmatma known as Atma, shifts to some other point in the ocean of Tanmatra-s of Prakrti to repeat all that while Param Brahmatma remains eternally conscious of the experiences attained during the cosmic journey undertaken by the Jivatma.
It resembles the phenomenon of air-bubbles in a pool of water. Air-bubbles once created, possess instinctual tendency to drive upward, burst open on the surface, release the air trapped within, and annihilate themselves. Pool of water is the infinite ocean of Prakrti comprising of Tanmatra-s of Sattva, Raja and Tama, air-bubble is Jivatma, air trapped within bubbles is the reflection of Consciousness emanating from Param Brahmatma and the space above surface of water, infinitude of Param Brahmatma Himself.
And the cosmic phenomenon goes on eternally.
It leads to intense curiosity as to why Param Brahmatma creates and dissolves eternally. What is His objective, purpose after all ?
Nirvikalpa Samadhi is the ultimate Samadhi beyond which nothing exists to be attained to. It is the state of Ultimate, Absolute Consciousness of Param Brahmatma Himself. In the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, knower, knowable and the known, all merge into just one entity, also known as Param Brahmatma. If Param Brahmatma entirely and completely reverts into the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, He SHALL FORFEIT CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS OWN EXISTENCE !!! So to remain conscious of His own existence, He needs reference points against which He incessantly and eternally remains conscious of His own existence, AWAY FROM THE COSMIC STATE OF NIDRAYOGA. Maya enacted through Prakrti is the sole entity eligible and qualified to accomplish the cosmic role of those reference points. How could Param Brahmatma come out of His state of Nidrayoga to begin with, is absolutely unknown to anyone.
In common parlance, He possesses an excellent acumen of sportsmanship…He excels in playing Hide & Seek with His own creations.
When insisted upon several times by his disciples, Swami Ramakrshna Paramhamsa did attempt to describe the ultimate state of consciousness. He attempted several times, failed every time as the moment he attempted to describe that, Nirvikalpa Samadhi was disrupted and he was heart-broken. Then suddenely he burst into copious tears, sobbed and wept like a child and apologised to his disciples with his both palms joined for not being able to enlighten them about nature of Param Brahmatma !!
What does it symbolise ? The Supreme Existence cannot be described at all with absolute accuracy. He can be only perceived and experienced by being ONE with Him. In other words, reflection of Consciousness from Param Brahmatma i.e. so-called Atma CANNOT describe Param Brahmatma at all. Secondly, to describe Param Brahmatma, knower, knowable and the known shall have to be split apart. Quite ironically, the moment they split apart to be able to describe Him, Atma embodied as Jivatma, being a mere reflection of Param Brahmatma, is rendered incapable to describe Him, His splendour and His glory as the Infinite.
Why is that, what to speak of man, even Jivatma does not have control over birth and death ?
BECAUSE ATMA DOES NOT EXIST ON IT’S OWN.