Concluding with the explanation that there is oneness in the existence of the physical, mental and intellectual parts of the human being and the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space, which constitute the visible world around us, Sri Adi Sankaracharya further ascertains this oneness in Tatwa Bodha.
You and I are called jivas because we identify ourselves with the gross body. This jiva is a mirror image of brahman, the total reality. The quality of the jiva is that, by its very nature, it understands Ishwara, the master of this whole universe, as different from it. There is a basic difference between jiva and Ishwara—the individual and god. The container of a jiva or life force in an individual is the thought of ignorance—the human body. The container of Ishwara is maya—the three qualities of sattva (brilliance), rajas (dynamism) and tamas (inertia).
The Acharya here warns that so long as we look at the containers and entertain a notion of difference between jiva and Ishwara, for that period of time, we will never get out of the rut of modification, change and transformation characterised by birth, death and all the different experiences that happen in between the two.
In clear terms the master says, “Therefore it is not appropriate to understand a difference between the jiva and Ishwara—the individual and divine.” How is this to be practised? To know the oneness between the individual and God, we must first establish the oneness between God and God, man and man, and this whole world.
God is one like water is one. Water is called by many names—Pani, Thanneer, Water, Aqua, Jalam, Neer, Neelu, Theertham, Agua. If I ask for a glass of water and someone gives me aqua, I am not going to reject it because I asked for water. In the same way, the life force in all of us is called God and depending on the way we look at it we call the God as Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswati or Durga to name a few.
The second step is to establish the unity of mankind and all living beings. The very simple fact that all are made of five elements and are intricately connected with the world around for our existence and functioning ascertains this oneness. When these two principles of unity are definitely established, it is very easy to ascertain the unity of man and God.
This expression of unity between the jiva and Ishwara makes an ordinary statement a maha vakya. The statement may be in any language. The message conveyed should point out that you, the individual, and God, the total, are one and the same.