Relationship of Jiva and Brahman
The Reflected Consciousness with the notion of “I” or ego is the Jiva.
Let us try and understand how under the influence of ego, the Reflected consciousness identifies with the Brahman or the Self.
In this life process, the ego develops three types of connections – first with the Reflected Consciousness (RC), second with the Body, and the third with the Pure Consciousness.
A. Ego and Reflected Consciousness
The Reflected Consciousness (RC) when confers a reality to itself, becomes completely identified with the Ego. Just as a ball of iron heated in a furnace becomes red hot by acquiring the element of fire and iron, similarly the RC identifies with the notion of “I” (ego) and seems to be one and the same, which we know as Jiva.
Thus the relationship of the Ego with the RC is Sahaja or natural. Just as the mirror and the reflected face have a natural connection – the moment there is a mirror, there is a reflected image. So, as long as there is a mind/ego (Antahkarana) there will be RC.
B. Ego and Body
The second connection that ego has is with the body, and the nature of this connection is born out of Karma (KarmaJanma). According to the law of Karma, each body is a result of its past Karma. The body continues as long as there is Karma, and if the body continues, the ego will be connected to the body.
When the physical or gross body dies, the subtle body along with the notion of individuality (Jiva) transmigrates to take up another body and says, ‘Now I am this body’.
It continues to exhaust previous karma in the new body and in effect also generates fresh karma. Thus the cycle of birth and death continues as long as there is clinging to individuality and the idea of doership and enjoyership born out of desires exists in the mind of the Jiva.
C. Ego and Pure Consciousness
This is an important connection to explore and the answer is as astounding as can be, an eye-opener. The popular text called Drishya Viveka written by Shankaracharya lights up the nature of connection between ego and the pure consciousness calling it Bhranti or or there is no connection between ego and pure consciousness. The ego is just an idea born of ignorance. This is delusion.
The Vasistha Yoga, a powerful Vedanta text, says there is nothing separate from Brahman or the Self. Even if one considers the world to be substantially real, there is no connection between it and the Self. The senses function as the senses, the mind exists as the mind, and the body as the body; Pure Consciousness is untouched by all this.