He who is called Brahman by the Jnanis is known as Atman by the Yogis and as Bhagavan by the Bhaktas. The Jnanis sticking to the path of knowledge always reasons about the Reality, saying, “Not this, not this.” Brahman is neither this nor that. It is neither the universe nor its living beings. Reasoning in this way, the mind becomes steady. Then it disappears and the aspirant goes into samadhi. This is the knowledge of Brahman. It is the unwavering conviction of the Jnani that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. All these names and forms are illusory, like a dream. What Brahman is cannot be described. One cannot even say that Brahman is a Person. This is the opinion of the Jnanis, the followers of Vedanta Philosphy.
Bhaktas accept all the states of consciousness. They take the waking state to be real also. They don’t think the world to be illusory, like a dream. They say that the Universe is a manifestation of God’s power and glory. God has created all these- sky, stars, moon, sun, mountains, ocean, men, animals. They constitute his Glory. He is within us, in our hearts. Again, He is outside. The most advanced devotees say that He Himself has become all this – the twenty-four cosmic principles, the universe, and all living beings. The devotee of God wants to eat sugar, not to become sugar.
The Yogi seeks to realize the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul. His ideal is the union of the embodied soul and the Supreme Soul. He withdraws his mind from sense-objects and tries to concentrate it on the Paramatman. Therefore during the first or initial stage of his spiritual discipline, he retires into solitude and with undivided attention practises meditation in a fixed posture.
“To sum up Reality is one and the same. The difference is only in name. He who is Brahman is verily Atman, and again, He is the Bhagavan. He is Brahman to the followers of the path of knowledge, Paramatman(Atman) to the Yogis , and Bhagavan to the Lovers of God.”
Originally taken from “The Gospel of Sri RamaKrishna” by Mahendranath Gupta his disciple.