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Vijnanatman In Hindu Religion

In Hindu religion, Vijnanatman is the conditioned self (jiva) in Vedantic literature. The pure Brahman is without any adjuncts, and hence will not be performing any activities. All worldly activities are guided by the desire to attain them. Thus, the Absolute has to be conditioned by the nescience or maya. At the individual level, the consciousness has to be conditioned by the intelligence or buddhi. Thus, the conditioned self is called vijnanatman.

Just as a marakathamani (an emerald) turns milk green when put in it without actually transforming the milk itself and makes it difficult to differentiate it from the milk, vijnanatman, too, in the presence of consciousness, identifies himself with it, makes it difficult to differentiate the two and conceals successfully the consciousness. One when confuses buddhi itself as consciousness. When buddhi or vijnana attaches itself with mind, sense organs and the gross body, they too are confused to be consciousness. Thus, a common man thinks even the inert body a ‘I’ in his day-to-day activities.

All the activities of seeing, hearing, smelling etc., are the result of the attachment of buddhi with both consciousness and objects. Just as all objects are connected with light before we perceive them; objects too get connected with buddhi before we perceive them. Thus, all the activities of the conditioned self are due to the buddhi, the adjunct of ‘pure consciousness’, which makes the conditioned self defined as vijnanatman.