The essence of Advaita (non-dualism) is the thesis that the same spark exists inside every being. Here, being includes Jada (static), Chara (moving), and all. Discrimination and differentiation arise from the sense of separateness. People suffer from this sense of separation, isolation, and duality throughout life and often fail to reconcile even in the end.
Living and non-living originate from the same source is the understanding in the Advaita. External categorisation is created by mankind. The three immediate categories are mineral, plant, and animal. Animals again have gradation in terms of evolution and their level of consciousness. Within the animal kingdom, we have refined ones due to domestication over thousands of years. Mankind is at the top of the animal pyramid. In terms of evolution, it is said that one progresses from being a mineral to becoming a plant, and then animal.
Within minerals too not all are equal in terms of characteristics. A few are inert, many are reactive, and very few are hyperactive and ready to get triggered. This quality we may find among animals and in humans too. A few among these species are Shanta (pacific), minding their own business, many do interact and can react. There may also be very few who get triggered and classified as ‘hyper’. The Samskaras in these and the Karma they got for this lifetime called ‘Prarabdha’ decides the combination of sattva, rajas, and tamo gunas in each. The differences among the trees/plants too are noteworthy. It may appear that all trees are the same due to their inert (Jada) nature. But the nature output of plants varies and even the inputs taken by some of the plants can be different, a few being carnivorous!
The variety in nature and the surroundings is appreciation-worthy. However, the quality of the seeker gets differentiated and their quest gets classified based on whether someone is too touchy with external differences or mindful of internal divinity. Gitacharya avers that the evolved sadhaka/seeker who may be called ‘Pandita’ is one who sees the underlying ‘brahman’ in all and in everything. ‘Sama’ has many meanings such as same or similar, or balance, or inner ‘brahman’. Evolved seeker shall spot the underlying ‘brahman’ in all entities is the expectation and hence is the saying ‘Pandita Samadarshina’.
Prof S Ainavolu is a Mumbai-based teacher of tradition and management. Views are personal. https://www.ainavolu.in/blog