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The progress of the aspirant is of this nature: He ruminates over what he has heard with faith and earnestness until he understands the characteristics of the Atma in an indirect way; then, to bring that knowledge into the field of actual experience, he takes up the process of Manana, i.e., revolving it in the Manas or mind.
The Atma is present everywhere and is in everything; it is unaffected; it is ominipresent like Akasa or Ether; it is even beyond the Akasa; it is the Akasa in the Chith or the Universal Consciousness; so it is referred to as 'Param' or Beyond; it is described in the Sruthis as 'Asango-ayam Purushah'. "this Purusha is unattached".
The Atma is unaffected and untouched by anything; it is beyond everything and devoid of agitation or activity. You should not doubt whether it is unlimited or not. It is beyond the three Limitations of Space, Time and Causation. You cannot state that the Atma is in one place and not in another. It is not limited by space. You cannot state that it exists at one time and not at another time. It is not limited by time. Atma is everything; there is nothing which is not Atma. Atma is All. So it has no limitation of Vasthu, (thingness), of Name or Form. Atma is Full and Free; knowing this is the Fullest Jnana, the Highest Truth.
A doubt may be raised here: If the Atma is immanent in everything, like the Akasa, is it not subject to transformation, Vikara, or change? No; existing, emanating, growing, changing, declining, dying - these are the six transformations or Vikaras; but the Atma is the universal, eternal witness cognising Akasa and the other elements and hence it has no modifications at all; it is Nir-Vikara.
When it is said that the Atma is Nir-Vikara, it means some other things have Vikara or modifications. So the question may be asked, how then can the word, Adwaitha, be used? Now, some things have Vikara and some have not. But when there is nothing besides Atma, it is wrong to speak of a two-fold entity; it is not two; it is one! There can be no doubt about this; it cannot arise.
How can it be said that there is nothing outside the Atma? For this reason:
the Atma is the Cause of all this, and there can be no distinction between
Cause and Effect. The Cause cannot be without the Effect, and Effect cannot
be without the Cause.