Soul Science God Philosophy
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Paramatma - The True Friend of the Jivatma

When the jivatma (the living entity or the individual spirit soul) comes to this material world, an expansion of Krishna called the Paramatma or the Supersoul accompanies him in order to escort him to different bodies and to take care of him within each body. The Paramatma is situated not only in the heart of every living entity, but also within every atom.
The relationship between the Paramatma and the jivatma can be understood with the help of an analogy. Sometimes, a dog wants to wander in the street to eat bones or filth instead of the costly and delicious biscuits provided by his master. Seeing his desire, the master catches hold of the rope around the neck of the dog and escorts him for a walk. In the same way, the jivatma wants to exploit and enjoy the material world by taking on newer and newer bodies instead of enjoying unlimited happiness in the spiritual world with Krishna. Seeing his desire, Paramatma ac­companies the living entity in the material world. This is con­firmed in the Bhagavad-gita (18.61)

ishvarah sarva bhutanam hrd-dese ‘rjuna tisthati
bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya

“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine made of the material energy.”

At this point it is important to note there are two kinds of souls - namely the minute particle soul (jivatama or anu-atma) and the Supersoul {Paramatma or vibhu-atma). Jivatma refers to the in­dividual soul and the Paramatma refers to the individual Supersoul. Both the jivatma and the Paramatma are individual persons. The difference between them however is that the jivatma is present only in one particular place, whereas the Paramatma is present everywhere. This is confirmed in the Katha Upanishad (1.2.20):

anor aniyan mahato mahiyan atmasya jantor nihito guhayam
tarn akratuh pasyati vita-soko dhatuh prasadan mahimanam atmanah

“Both the Supersoul (Paramatma) and the atomic soul (jivatma) are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all ma­terial desires as well as lamentations can by the grace of the Su­preme, understand the glories of the soul.”

Transfer of the atomic individual soul to another body is made Possible by the grace of the Supersoul. The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the atomic soul as one friend fulfills the desire of an­other. The Vedas. like the Mundaka Upanishad, as well as the Svetasvatara Upanishad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Krishna) is simply watching His friend. Of these two birds -although they are the same in quality - one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree; sometimes he eats bitter fruits and la­ments, and sometimes he eats sweet fruits and rejoices, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend.

Applying this two-bird analogy to the context of the Bhagavad-gita, we can understand thai Krishna is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although the two souls are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the cause of his changing his position from one tree to another or from one body to another. The jiva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body. But as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the supreme spiritual master - as Arjuna agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Krishna for instruction - the subordinate bird im­mediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both the Katha Upanishad and the Shvetasvatara Upanishad confirm this:

samane vrkse puruso nimagno ‘nisaya socati muhyamanah
justam yada pasyaty anyam isam asya mahimanam iti vita-sokah

“Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord, at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties.”

The Padma Purana informs us that there are 8,400,000 forms of species: 900,000 species of aquatic life; 2,000,000 species amongst plants and trees; 1.100.000 species of insects: 1,000.000 species of bird life; 3,000,000 species of beasts, and 400,000 species of human life. The living entity has been transmigrating from one body to another through different species for millions upon millions of lifetimes. But the Supersoul is always patiently ac­companying him, whether he is in a human body or a worm’s body. In every body, he continues to neglect the Paramatma and forms numerous relationships with other living entities, but on every occasion, he is inevitably frustrated. Although he neglects the Paramatma life after life, still the Paramatma loves him so much that He constantly accompanies him. The Paramatma is ready to give all help to him so that he can attain true happiness and is just waiting for him to give up his false enjoyment in the material world.


Paramātmā realization is the realization of the cit (eternal knowledge) feature. But realization of the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is realization of all the transcendental features: sat, cit and ānanda (being, knowledge, bliss) in complete vigraha (form) -Bhagavad-gita intro “For material creation, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s plenary expansion assumes three Viṣṇus. The first one, Mahā-Viṣṇu, creates the total material energy, known as mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, is diffused as the all-pervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramātmā, who is present even within the atoms. Anyone who knows these three Viṣṇus can be liberated from material entanglement.” -Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972) : Bg 7: Knowledge of the Absolute : Bg 7.4 “These are Vedic instructions. One must have full faith in the words of the spiritual master and similar faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then the real knowledge of ātmā and Paramātmā and the distinction between matter and spirit will be automatically revealed. This ātma-tattva, or spiritual knowledge, will be revealed within the core of a devotee’s heart because of his having taken shelter of the lotus feet of a mahājana such as Prahlāda Mahārāja.6.23] - SB 6.1.49 “Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.” It is the special mercy of the Supreme Lord that as soon as He knows that one is glorifying His name, fame and attributes, He personally helps cleanse the dirt from one’s heart. Therefore simply by such glorification one not only becomes purified, but also achieves the results of pious activities (puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtana). Puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtana refers to the process of devotional service. Even if one does not understand the meaning of the Lord’s name, pastimes or attributes, one is purified simply by hearing or chanting of them. Such purification is called sattva-bhāvana.” -SB 6.2.12
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