STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
In order to clarify the relationship of "atma-Paramatma" we compare Paramatma with an infinite ocean, a limitless ocean, and the atma as a drop in this ocean. The atma is never out of this limitless ocean (Paramatma).
The atma can never be out of Paramatma because Paramatma is infinite and unlimited. How can the atma come out of, or have a place beyond, the limitlessness of the limitless? Therefore the atma is in Paramatma.
After establishing the primary fact that the atma is in Paramatma we go a step further and say that atma is Paramatma. How?
For example, let us imagine an unlimited ocean. Let us also imagine that we separate or take out one iota of ocean from the limitless expanse of this unlimited ocean. It follows then that this iota of ocean, while in the limitless ocean, before separation is ocean itself, and is not there in the shoreless ocean as an iota of the ocean, because every iota of ocean, when not limited by the limitations of a drop, is unlimited ocean.
It is only when an iota of ocean is separated from the unlimited ocean, or is taken out of the unlimited ocean as a drop, that this iota of ocean obtains its separate existence as a drop of the shoreless ocean, and that this iota of ocean begins to be looked upon as a drop of the unlimited ocean.
In other words, the infinite, unlimited and limitless ocean itself is now looked upon as merely a drop of that infinite, unlimited and limitless ocean. And in comparison to that infinite, unlimited and limitless ocean this iota of ocean, or this drop of the iota of ocean, is most finite and most limited with infinite limitations. That is, the infinitely free iota finds itself infinitely bound.
Similarly, the atma, which we have compared with a drop of the infinite ocean, obtains a seeming separate existence, though in reality it can never be out of the limitlessness of the limitless, infinite Paramatma which we have compared with the infinite, unlimited and limitless ocean.
But just as the iota of ocean acquires its limitation as a drop through being in the form of a bubble on the surface of the ocean, and the bubble bestows upon the iota of ocean an apparently separative existence from the infinite ocean, likewise the atma, which is in Paramatma and is Paramatma, apparently experiences separative existence from the infinite Paramatma through the limitations of a bubble (of ignorance) with which the atma shrouds itself. No sooner does the bubble of ignorance burst, than the atma not only finds itself in Paramatma but experiences itself as Paramatma.
Through this limitation, formed by the bubble of ignorance,
self-created by the atma, the atma apparently inherits a
separative existence from Paramatma. And because of this
self-created separativeness from infinite Paramatma, the
atma, which is itself infinite, unlimited and limitless,
apparently experiences itself as most finite with infinite
GOD SPEAKS, 2nd ed, pp. 6-8
1973 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.