There is a new and popular concept that the atma has become the jiva due to vasanas (past impressions). The vasanas, often equated to karma-phala (the results of action), like punya and paapa, are assumed to have been gathered by the jiva who has no beginning. The exhaustion of vasanas through any of the four yogas amounts to self-realization. The self-realized person who has no more vasanas to perpetuate his life may continue to exist as a free person (jivanmukta) due to others vasanas! The problems caused by this modern prakriya are numerous.
If vasanas cause the atma to become a jiva, vasanas become a parallel reality to atma. Then atma ceases to be non-dual, and anyone who takes it as non-dual will suffer from an error. If vasanas are not an independent reality, then they are mithya (a dependent reality), depending as they do for their existence on atma. What is mithya has to be understood as mithya. Mithya does not pose any problem if it is understood as such and therefore exhaustion of vasanas is not necessary. Nor is it possible for anyone in a given incarnation to exhaust the vasanas collected in an infinite number of births. In fact, they can be exhausted only in an infinite number of incarnations. So vasana-exhaustion itself is a dream.
Even if the impossible vasana-exhaustion were achieved, the possibility of a jivanmukta is nil. When all the vasanas are exhausted the jiva ceases to be! What is left out is atma who is asangah, who is unaffected by and unconnected to anything. There is no way the asanga-atma will attract anything from samasthi-prarabdha. If a nucleous (jiva) exists, then there are vasanas to exhaust.
The sastra mentions vasana-exhaustion, but it is purely with reference to the preparedness of the mind (antahkarna-shuddhi). The vasanas that the later acharyas talk about are vishaya-vasana, deha-vasana and sastra-vasana. The fascination for an object (vishaya), thinking that it can give security and happiness, is a super-imposition called shobhana adhyasa. By vichara one has to remove this super-imposition to to become the adhikari for self-knowledge. So too, 'I am this body' vasana has to be removed by inquiry and contemplation.
A craving for the study of shastras other than Vedanta (shastra-vasana) can destroy the person in the pursuit. One has to tackle this craving through commitment to Vedanta vichara. This three-fold vasana is not presented by acharyas as a cause for the atma to become a jiva. The truth to be emphasized here is that atma has never become a jiva. Jivatva (the notion of individuality) is a superimposition upon atma due to ignorance. The pursuit is therefore to understand that the svarupa of atma is free from jivatva.
Om Tat Sat