Jiva is a combination of Chit, chitabasa and the mind. Citabasa is the reflection of Chit, the pure Consciousness, on the mind. The deeper layers of the mind have all our past karmic impressions. Mind gets activated only when the chitabasa (reflected consciousness) falls on the mind. A jiva passes through the three states namely the jagrad (waking), swapna (dream), sushupti (deep sleep) avastas, and it experiences pain and pleasure. The jiva, to experience the karmic impressions, takes a suitable body. The body and mind complex is called anatma.
Samsara, the worldly life, is the misidentification of Atma(Chit) and the anatma. Due to the close proximity between the Atma(Chit) and anatma and due to anyonya adhyasa or paraspara adhyasa (mutual superimposition), the Atma superimposes its nature of eternity on the anatma. At the same time, the anatma superimposes its nature of mortality on Atma. Therefore the anatma by time, when it approaches old age it cannot accept the aging process and its consequences because it has assumed itself to be eternal, Atma. The Atma due to the misidentification, forgetting its eternal nature, always feels that it is perishable and it does not feel its eternal nature. Here what is actually meant by Atma is chitabasa, the reflection of the Atma. Chitabasa imagines itself to be anatma and assumes itself to be mortal. Chitabasa does not know its real nature. Due to the close proximity it forgets its source. The misidentification is the root cause for bondage. Actually, a little correction in the understanding of facts leads to moksha. The truth always exists as same.
The Atma is always real and the anatma is mortal. The jiva which is the combination of chitabasa and mind, when it understands the Truth it loses its individuality and merges in Brahman. Atma is the Reality and jiva is a myth. The jiva assumes itself to be karta (doer) and bhokta (enjoyer) and leads a painful life. A jnani, who has wisdom, is well aware of the misidentification and wrong superimposition. He very well knows that chitabasa is the reflection of Brahman or Atma. He knows his real nature as eternal and remains peaceful as a witness.
The above mentioned superimposition is useful for worldly life. A person cannot transact in this material world by assuming himself as Atma. The transactional world and the world of reality are at two different levels. Therefore, a jnani while transacting in this world he imagines himself as jiva. During meditation or deep inside he is well aware of his true nature as Brahman or Atma. At the same time, a common man assumes himself as mortal jiva and assumes himself as doer and enjoyer. He is not aware of the misidentification.
Identification of ego – the I consciousness
One can analyze the I – consciousness at three levels. Each level goes deeper and deeper.
The primary level is, when I say “I”, it refers to jiva. As said earlier, jiva is the combination of Chit, chitbasa and the mind. Chit is Brahman, pure consciousness. It does not have any ego. Mind is inactive without chitabasa. Chitabasa is reflection of pure consciousness. It cannot have ego. However, when the chitabasa joins with the mind then that combination assumes ego and says “I”. Hence, jiva identifies with ego. When jiva identifies with body it says “This is my body”. When the jiva identifies with the mind it says, “My ideas”. And so on. This is the primary level of I consciousness.
In the secondary level, let us see how the ego consciousness works in a jnani. A jnani is well aware of the difference between the Chit, chitabasa and mind. When he transact with the world, and when he say “I”, he is referring to chitabasa. When he say ‘I am doing’, he is referring to chitabasa. In the philosophical sense when he say, “I am Brahman”, then he is referring to Chit. He is well aware of the difference between Chit and chitabasa and he knows when to apply them appropriately. Deep inside he is well aware that he is Chit, Brahman.
Now in the very deep third level of analysis, when a jnani says,’I am Brahman’, who is saying this? Is it the Brahman itself or the chitabasa saying ‘I am Brahman’. When we analyze, there is no need for Brahman to identify itself as Brahman. Moreover, Brahman is pure consciousness. It does not have ego. Therefore Brahman do not Self-identify as Brahman.
Chitabasa is the reflection of Brahman. It cannot identify with the reality. However, a sruti in panchadasi says, it is chitabasa saying ‘ I am Brahamn’. The sruti says, the reflection of any object is similar to that object itself. In that sense the reflection of Brahman is similar to Brahman. For example, an image of an object in a mirror is not distinct from the object it reflects. Every image requires a real base, in this context the base is Brahman. Though the reflection is not as same as Brahman, it is similar to Brahman. Therefore, only chitabasa is qualified to say, ‘Iam Brahamn’. When chitabasa says’ I am Brahamn’, it implies that jiva says,’I am Brahamn’. Once when chitabasa understand that it is the reflection of the supreme Consciousness, it is devoid of worries and this state of contentment reflects in the mind. Moreover, a jnani’s mind is filled with the impressions of Brahman. The reflected consciousness, chitbasa is no more needed to illumine the impressions of Brahman. It is at this juncture the chitabasa loses its individuality. The reflection merges with Reality, The Brahman. Since the chitabasa merges in Brahman, the mind also loses its individual identity. It is at this stage the jnani sees non-duality in the world. The world is a mere appearance in his Consciousness.
When we further analyze who gets jnana? – Is it Brahman, combination of jiva or chitabasa? The plight of the jiva is due to the chitabasa. Eventhough, chitabasa is the reflection of Brahman, due to anyonya adhyasa (mutual superimposition) it forgot its source and its real nature. It does not know that it is reflection of Brahman itself. This ignorant nature of the chitabasa is reflected in the mind.
When one gains knowledge from scriptures or Guru, the impressions are settled in the mind as Brahmakara vritti. However, these impressions are activated when the chitabasa illumines it. At one stage, chitabasa is not longer needed to illumine the Brahmakara vrittis. It can illumine, but it is not needed. It is just like seeing the hot sun with the help of a torch light. The impressions in the mind are directly illumined by Brahman. Now the chitabasa loses its identity and merges in Brahman.
For the question who gets jnana? The answer is, the chitabasa gets jnana. It is the chitabasa that is affected by lack of knowledge due to misidentification. It is the chitabasa which feels that it is bond. It is the chitabasa that undergoes change. All these transformation of the chitabasa are reflected in the mind. It is the chitabasa that gets jnana(knowledge) and chitabasa gets liberated and feels that its base is Brahman. This is reflected in the mind. Jivatma is not different from the paramatma.
When the chitabasa finds its original base the individual existence of jiva disappears. This is the liberation for jiva, meaning it is relived from its unnecessary imaginations and superimposition.