By Swami Harshananda
Dharmabhutajñāna literally means ‘knowledge which is an attribute of the Self’.
The knowledge and details of the jīvātman or the individual soul is a subject of discussion in the darśanas or philosophical systems.
- The Advaita Vedānta posits that the consciousness is the very nature of the soul.
- The Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, expounded by Rāmānuja (A. D. 1017-1137), asserts that jñāna or consciousness is always present in īśvara (God) and the jīva (soul) as their dharma or attribute.
Characteristics of Dharmabhutajñāna
- The dharmabhutajñāna is ‘ajaḍa’.
- It illuminates itself and other objects.
- It always exists for another.
- It never prevails for itself.
- It illuminates the objects for the conscious subject.
- it is an attribute for the conscious subject.
- The dharmabhutajñāna is eternal and all-pervasive in the case of īśvara, the nityasuris (eternally illumined souls) and the liberated souls.
- In the case of the jīvātman (the soul in bondage) it is contracted or obscured.
- When the jīvātman realizes the beatific form of the Divine through the yogas of karma, jñāna and bhakti, his dharmabhutajñāna also expands to infinity and becomes perfect.
Synonyms of dharmabhutajñāna are:
- Ajaḍa is non-material and non-spiritual.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore