"Our body and this complex world around us is meant to reveal and display the Self variously. Spiritual seeking lies in looking for That which animates the body. Turn the mind and intelligence inward to their very Source. Let the thoughts make you search for the thinking substance, the thinker.  Only then the mystery of the Self will be unveiled."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 20 Jan 2016 - World Experiences are Only Mental Imprints - III
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    Harih Om Tat sat. Jai Guru.Jai Guru.

    I thought I would speak to you again on Ashtavakra Samhita. There is a verse which I explained yesterday. 

    साकारमनृतं विद्धि निराकारं तु निश्चलम् ।
    एतत्तत्वोपदेशेन न पुनर्भवसम्भवः ॥ १.१८ ॥
    sākāram-anṛtaṁ viddhi nirākāraṁ tu niścalam |
    etat-tattvopadeśena na punarbhavasaṁbhavaḥ ||  1.18 ||

    sākāram-anṛtaṁ viddhi nirākāraṁ tu niścalam. The word ākāra means shape, form. Sākāram, anything that has a shape and a form, anṛtaṁ viddhi, consider that to be unreal, untrue.

    Nirākāraṁ tu niścalam. That which is devoid of shape is niścala, immovable, motionless. Will you think about these propositions? As long as a devotee is not able to entertain this thought and spend enough time to understand it, he will not improve in his devotion at all.

    Sākāram.  Anything that is shapeful and formful, it is unreal. How do you understand this? Ākāra or shape will be there only when the object is sthūla, gross. Earth is gross, the grossest that we can think of. Then, even water is also gross. But it is fluid. In a way, the air also is gross, fire is gross. If at all you can say, space or ākāśa is sūkshma, subtle. Whenever there is a shape or a form, that object has to be sthūla, gross. Anything that is gross, he (Ashtavakra) says is unreal. How to accept this?

    Nirākāraṁ tu niścalam. The moment one becomes nirākārah, devoid of shape and form, it becomes niścala, stationary. What does it mean? What is meant by nirākāra? Ākāra means shape. Nirākāra means shape-free, shapeless.

    All our senses get their experiences only through contacts. When I see you, don’t think that I have no contact with you. I see you because the light rays falling on you get reflected and the rays reflected from you, your body, they touch my cornea. When they touch my cornea, that touch is my experience. In the same manner, I touch an object physically with my hand. There also it is contact, sparśa. A sound comes and touches my eardrum. That is also sparśa. The smell, the smell enters the nostrils. There also it is contact. Don’t think that in the case of the eye it is not contact.

    You think of wind, wind (Vāyu). We are able to understand the movement of the wind. We cannot see the wind. We can only feel it with our touch. If the wind blows and touches your body, the skin, then you are able to say “Something comes and touches and it is wind.” Suppose the wind does not blow and does not touch you, even slight movements, the leaves of trees will start shaking or vibrating. Seeing the movements of leaves we say there is wind. Generally there is a proverbial statement, ‘Today no leaf moves at all. The wind is still’.

    What you understand from this? We are trying to judge the presence of wind only by skin and eyes. Suppose the wind does not move and does not produce any movement in the leaves, it also does not blow to touch your skin to give you an experience, do you think you will ever understand that there is a movement? Wind becomes nirākāra provided there is no movement of leaves or any other article and there is no touch in the skin. Now such a thing namely wind, if these two are not there, we have to assume and find out that it is motionless.

    So anything that is un-sensory has to become motionless he (Ashtavakra) says.

    Etat-tattvopadeśena. Only by this tāttvic instruction.

    Na punarbhavasaṁbhavaḥ. You will not be born again.

    After birth till death we are having a number of movements. If nirākāra is non-moving, then where is the question of getting born and dying? Whatever is within our body in the way of chetana or consciousness, it is not sthūla, it is sūkshma.  It is only nirākāra. If it is nirākāra, it is niścala.

    The mind may produce seemingly many number of thoughts. In spite of these thoughts, the mind does not move from its base, it is within the body. Then how are thoughts produced? Thoughts are not produced by any movement or vibration. How can the mind vibrate, it is full in the body? If it is full, can it vibrate or move? Then without moving and without vibration, if activities are caused, those activities cannot be physical in character. They can only be imaginary, illusory. That is how all the inner processes become illusory, imaginary.

    The mind imaginarily can produce many things as in dream. Whatever it produces, nothing is there and by producing them, nothing has happened to the mind also. One has to think about it to understand. So this was a phrase which always arrests my attention.

    sākāram-anṛtaṁ viddhi nirākāraṁ tu niścalam |
    etat-tattvopadeśena na punarbhavasaṁbhavaḥ ||  1.18 ||


    Na punarbhavasaṁbhavaḥ. Now can you regard knowledge for what it is worth or you will only hear it as an intellectual pastime? This one śloka should keep you occupied if necessary for hours, days, weeks, months and years.

    sākāram-anṛtaṁ viddhi nirākāraṁ tu niścalam |
    etat-tattvopadeśena na punarbhavasaṁbhavaḥ ||  1.18 ||


    I would like you to think about it and discuss it.

    Harih Om Tat sat. Jai Guru.Jai Guru.

  • PR 19 Jan 2016 - World Experiences are Only Mental Imprints - II
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    I was continuing the discussion on Ashtavakra Samhita for the Atma Tattwa Sameeksha last evening. I discussed only two verses. The first verse was

    tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yathārthataḥ || 1.16 ||
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 1.16)

    “Janaka, the entire world is pervaded by, all the objects that you are perceiving and interacting with, are woven in you.” My dear children, you have to think a lot to make this proposition clear to you and make it acceptable to your system. It is our eyes that reveal the objects, the whole universe. Whether it is a minute object or a major one or a collection of objects, a huge expanse of amazing variety and distances, understand that it is your eyes which reveal these to you. In the process of revealing these, all the objects are experienced by you as imprints in your mind within the body. Will you spend time to understand this?

    You don’t experience anything other than your own mind’s imprints. The mind uses or employs the eyes to see the objects, to grasp them. At the grasping level, the mind is the source and cause. Then after or in the grasping process, all these objects are imprinted by the mind in itself. It is these imprints that you are experiencing. Otherwise you have no experience of any object.

    When these imprints are in your mind, it is very clear, just like waves in the sea, all the waves are pervaded by the sea which is water. There is nothing like a wave which is not watery, watery, watery and the whole ocean, that is watery. So the water pervades every wave and water itself, its collection is the sea. So there is nothing anytime in the sea other than water and it is the same water that pervades the depth, the vastness and the wavy surface. Exactly same is the truth about your perception of the world, interaction with the objects.

    Tvayi protam yathārthataḥ. All these are interwoven in your being. Yes, the world is interwoven in your mind. Once you understand this, he says,

    निरपेक्षो निर्विकारो निर्भरः शीतलाशयः ।
    अगाधबुद्धिरक्षुब्धो भव चिन्मात्रवासनः ॥ १.१७ ॥
    nirapekṣo nirvikāro nirbharaḥ sītalāśayaḥ
    agādha-buddhir-akṣubdho bhava cin-mātra-vāsanaḥ
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 1.17)

    Nirapekṣa. I don’t know whether you have a mind and an intelligence to think. What will you seek? If the mountain that you see, the ocean that you see, the sun, moon and stars that you see, all of them are actually your own mind and mental imprints, is there anything anywhere other than your mind and mind’s imprint? Can the mind desire its own imprint? Is there anything other than the mind’s imprint in the perception of the objects, in the perception of the world?

    Even if God were to come and stand before you and you see Him, that God also is an imprint in your mind. If thus everything is mental, mind-born, mind-imprint, what is there to be desired by you? Everything is the mind, consciousness and consciousness alone is there as imprints. So can mind and consciousness desire imprints, its own imprints? So the apeksha drops.

    Nirvikāraḥ. What change can you have? When the mind forms its own imprints like the elephant, the horse, the rat, the sun, the moon, the child, the old man, birth, death, everything is mind-born and mental alone. Can the mind be affected by its own imprint? Can the ocean be the least affected by its own waves however huge they are? When the water drops from a huge height as in a river, a waterfall, does the water gets affected though it splashes frighteningly? So there is no modification for consciousness anytime taking place.

    Nirbharaḥ sītalāśayaḥ. Now this kind of a reflection makes the mind calm, cool and comfortable. Your mind can never be comfortable unless this understanding dawns in you, you are governed by it.

    agādha-buddhir-akṣubdho bhava cin-mātra-vāsanaḥ

    Let your buddhi become deep by this understanding. What is the understanding? There is no world or object besides my consciousness, my mind. So there is nothing for me to desire here. Let anything be displayed, but all the display, if it becomes an experience for me, that experience is personal, inner, mental, in the consciousness. This understanding makes you excel and transcend the world. You become bigger than the world.

    In a vessel, one litre water is contained by a one litre vessel. So if the whole universe is contained in your mind, what should be the depth and dimension of the mind? So your intelligence is no more a puny intelligence, mustard intelligence. It become very deep. And in that depth, you become unshakeable. What will happen? Nothing will happen. The consciousness will remain the same. Akṣubdhaḥ

    Bhava cin-mātra-vāsanaḥ. If at all you have a desire, you have a desire for becoming the cin-mātra. You can only desire the chit. Let all your desire be for the self, for this understanding, for the consciousness that you are, besides which there is no world, there is no object, there is no experience. So the desire if at all can only be for knowing the consciousness, becoming the consciousness, remaining unaffected, understanding its unaffected nature.

    To me, it appears these are not words. These are truth-full, full of truth ideas. And these ideas, when they are revolved in the mind, the mind becomes enriched by the ideas. And the mind becomes every one of them. So it is a process of becoming as I always say.

    Pouring drop after drop milk into a pool of water. With every drop added to the pool, the water will change its colour. And after some time, there will be no water, only milk. These ideas, when they are assimilated by the mind, the mind will loose its mindness and it will become the self. That selfness will be felt, experienced. You will start floating in the ecstasy of the self. The whole wonder is worked by your intelligence and focusing it on the mind, the level in which you have the experience.

    We have the five senses, they don’t see. They are only used for seeing. They cannot see. Actual seeing if at all is done by the mind. The mind uses the eye, takes an imprint of the object and the imprint is what the mind sees or feels, senses or cognizes. So what a great statement is this!

    nirapekṣo nirvikāro nirbharaḥ sītalāśayaḥ
    agādha-buddhir akṣubdho bhava cin-mātra-vāsanaḥ

    Every verse thus in Ashtavakra Samhita is nothing but an exposition and revelation of the consciousness, of the mind in you employing the tool of the intelligence.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 18 Jan 2016 - World Experiences are Only Mental Imprints
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    Whenever I started reading about our spiritual philosophy, I always wondered whether the truly spiritual truths… The spiritual truths are those truths which are based upon one’s own inmost being. Otherwise it cannot become a spiritual truth.

    Our mind is not a material product nor is it an energial something. Though the mind is associated with the body which is matter and energy, mind itself is not a physical part of the body because the body is an inert aggregate. It does not have the power or property to know, to sense, to remember, to understand, to enquire into. But these are the functions which the mind and the intelligence do. So obviously, in terms of logic and reason, we cannot say mind and intelligence are the physical parts of the body like any other organ or cell. This is the mystery of creation. How is it that within the material matter-energy body, there can be something totally different? It is there. This is the mystery of creation.

    So whenever I used to read about the spiritual truth that the whole world is an illusion, illusion, illusion, the self alone is the reality, the truth, I was always wondering. I never gave any place for māya as such. The manner in which I explain māya is different. Generally people understand by māya something that is totally non-existing. If something was non-existing, why should we say it is māya? First of all, there is something to be referred to. After referring to it, after experiencing it, we assess it as māya. So there is a great confusion about these matters. So I always wondered what could be the truth? So it was really a consistent research I was going into which I even now do.

    Yesterday I was referring to the verse to be taken this year, first, that is.

    त्वया व्याप्तमिदं विश्वं त्वयि प्रोतं यथार्थतः ।
    शुद्धबुद्धस्वरूपस्त्वं मागमः क्षुद्रचित्तताम् ।। १.१६ ।।
    tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yathārthataḥ |
    śuddha-buddha-svarupas-tvam māgamaḥ kṣudra-cittatām || 1.16 ||
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 1.16)

    Tvaya vyaptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yatharthatah.See the way I look at it is, the literal meaning of the line is,

    Tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam - “My dear Janaka”, Ashtavakra says that “The entire universe is permeated by you.”

    Tvayi protam yathārthataḥ - In truth, the world is woven in you, woven in you, woven in you. You are permeating the whole world and the world is woven in you.

    See, either I read it, I accept it and I act upon it and I realize it or I totally cross it. There is no in-between position. So the reading of spiritual truths will not give you any other choice than to accept it and realize it. So what is that realization which will completely vindicate the statement? So listen to what I say.

    It is a very, very logical and scientific proposition but unfortunately even if people listen to the proposition, their minds and intelligences will somehow create some obstruction. I don’t know why. This is where, what shall I say, only fortunate people can take to this wonderful path and come to the pinnacle. What else can be done and said!

    Whenever you refer to the world, you are referring to the world which you see and perceive. You cannot refer to something which you are not perceiving or experiencing. So I from here look in the eastern direction through the door and I find a number of trees are present before me. If my vision is unobstructed, I can see the Western Ghats in my front. The distance to that mountain is quite huge. In spite of it I see it.

    When I look at the sky during night, a number of stars, celestial bodies are there. All of them are seen by me. Please come along with me when I say. When I see them, it is not just seeing. It is experiencing them. And this experience is only inner and inward and mental. Whatever be the distance, seeming distance of the object and whatever be the variety of the objects I see like the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountain, the sea, the number of trees, all these are experienced by me, in me. I am using my eyes, not the world’s eyes. And in reality, the eyes have been made by the power within me that has shaped the eye.

    So I am using my own eyes to see the objects. But the seeing process is not taking place in the eye’s level. The actual seeing process is inside me in the level of my consciousness or mind. So whatever may be the objects, their multitude, their distances, their sizes, their distinctions, all of them are experienced by me in my mind.

    With the eyes when I focus in a certain direction, what happens? The eye helps me to take imprints. The mind is forming the imprints of objects in itself with the help of the eye. It is these imprints that I am seeing. So the moon, the sun, the stars, the mountain, the sea, all the variety of objects lying around, all of them are experienced by me in my mind as mental imprints.

    If you agree that these are mental imprints and these imprints alone I experience… I don’t go to the mountain. I remain here and see the mountain. And what is it that I see? I see the imprint my mind makes through the eyes about the mountain.So the eyes are mine. The seeing is mine. The outcome of seeing is mine. And the imprints are all in my mind. So the mind forms the imprints. So are not the imprints woven in the mind? And more important, am I not in all the imprints that I see? I cannot feel the imprint unless I am involved in it.

    So the word tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam, I am referring to a viśvam which I see, the universe which I see. And that universe is in the form of an imprint in my mind. So the universe I am seeing imprinted in my mind, I am permeating in that and the whole sights and objects are woven in me. What further proof do you want for this?

    All of you are seated in my front. When I look at you, none of you comes into my mind nor do I go to you. You are there, I am here. But I am seeing every one of you. I can count them, I can tell you what kind of a distance you are in, what is the dress that you are wearing, how bulky you are, whether you are a man or a woman, every detail I am able to say remaining here. I don’t come to you and you don’t enter into my system. Nevertheless, I can give you a full account of the presence before me. So this is only because of the imprints my mind makes. And except the imprints, I cannot experience or realize anything about the world.

    So the world I see is my imprint. And these imprints are in me in all the thoughts, in all the thinking processes, in all the thinkerhood, in everything. I, my mind is permeating, permeating, permeating. Can u ever deny that the thinking process is in you? So all the thinking processes are just like a net woven by a thread. The mind is the thread and all the net is woven by it. The whole process is inside.

    So when we say, “I am permeating in the whole universe”, it is not an imaginary statement. It is a fact, a fact greater than the solid objects of the world. It is a fact greater than the rock, It is a fact greater than earth, the ocean. The earth and the ocean also are perceptions for me. I say this is ocean, I say it this is earth. I experience it in my mind and that is what makes me say.

    So for all the words and the pronouncements I make, my experience is the ground factor, foundation. And that experience is inner, inner, inner. It is mental, mental. It is in the consciousness. And consciousness pervades everything that it produces. It has got no external focus. Thought is not external, experience is not external, memory is not external, wakefulness is not external, sleep is not external, dream is not external. What is there external? Everything is inward, inner, and being so, I am pervading in whatever I experience and perceive and all the perceptions are woven by me, in me into me.

    And you, śuddha-buddha-svarupas-tvam māgamaḥ kṣudra-cittatām. So many forms and shapes are arising in the mind and all of them are wiped off also in the mind. At the end of the day, you sleep wiping the entire wakeful impressions. And you get up in the morning. What does it mean? You are not tainted by, you are not smitten by, colored by any of the impressions. You may have seen an elephant, a dog, a dead body, you may have seena huge fire, all these things are experienced by you but none of the experiences has affected you, it has not colored you. So are you not pure consciousness?

    Māgamaḥ kṣudra-cittatām. Being so, never become small-minded, little-minded. To say that I am this, I am that, I am poor, I am rich, I am aggrieved, I have this loss, that loss, what loss can you have? Even if you have the entire world around you, nothing is going to enter your inner system. Neither your son nor the property nor the house, no object will ever enter your mind. Mind remains inaccessible to the outside world. So what you mean by “I have lost”? What have you lost? And what have you gained? So do not be small-minded , little-minded.

    See, what a wonderful statement is this! This is the greatest form of research that you can think of. Through the telescope and microscope also, it is human eyes that see and it is the human mind and intelligence that infer. The microscope and the telescope do not do anything. They are inert. Our eyes also are inert. The only sentient factor is within the body in the way of the mind, intelligence and ego.

    So this is such a wonderful philosophy. I am becoming almost speechless because this philosophy or this truth when I say, I don’t think people will like to hear or even if they hear, they will like to understand and be guided by it. To me it is the best and the absolute form of science. The scientist also is operating with the same senses, with the same mind and intelligence. All the models he think of, all the conclusions he arrives at are helped by only his senses, then the mind, then the intelligence. Now, this is a very science of the mind and its imprints, mind and its processes. How can it be wrong? So I am wondering whether any one of you will be able to rise up to this wonderful statement, the spiritual philosophy and make use of it.

    Tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yathārthataḥ. The entire universe is permeated by you, pervaded by you. In truth, everything is woven in you.

    Śuddha-buddha-svarupas-tvam. you are not what is woven. You are not what is imprinted. You are the imprinting, pure, colourless, odourless, unborn, undying, untransforming consciousness. Do not become small-minded to dispose off this truth. This is the śloka I will explain this evening to begin with and then continue the session.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.



Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

Swamiji's Teachings


Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.


NSJi-HmPgSwami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirthaji, a renunciate disciple of Poojya Swamiji, is known for his scientific expositions which are a source of inspiration to seekers.  Read More...


Ma Gurupriya

A disciple of Poojya Swamiji, Ma is the loving mother of Poojya Swamiji's devotees around the world. Devotion and service remain the predominant forces shaping Ma's life.  Read More...

The dialogue now takes us to the fourth chapter, marking a significant phase in the whole text. Whatever Krishna had to convey as an eternal message, a timely instruction for what Arjuna – or any one for that matter – should do when faced with an interactional crisis as in Kurukshetra, has all been stated with clarity, precision and persuasiveness. Krishna now wants to conclude the dialogue by relating the source and lineage of the instructors, who embodied and imparted the message right from the beginning. Narrating thus the parampara (the lineage of instructors) marks the finale of instruction, according to tradition.

But in the course of divulging the message, as is unique with whatever Krishna does, he reveals some lofty dimensions of his perception, thereby bestowing a note of eternality and beginninglessness to what he says. This is, in fact, characteristic of real Knowers of Truth of this land. Only in the jnanins, Knowers, one can find this kind of an ageless identity. It makes them and their message ancient and unnegatable as the very creation itself, as true as the Supreme Reality.

Apart from what many regard Krishna to be, he was verily a unique Self-knower, a matchless Teacher of Yoga. This human excellence of Krishna should not be missed. Only then both Bhagavadgita and Sri Krishna become accessible and actualizable to the seekers and students.

इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम् ।
विवस्वान्मनवे प्राह मनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत् ।।
एवं परम्पराप्राप्तमिमं राजर्षयो विदुः ।
स कालेनेह महता योगो नष्टः परन्तप ।।
स एवायं मया तेऽद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः ।
भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ।।

I alone imparted this instruction to Vivasvan, the Sun. Vivasvan instructed it to Manu (the first man), Manu handed it down to Ikshvaku. From Ikshvaku dynasty of Treta Yuga, it was in succession imparted to those of Dvapara Yuga. Thus the great bequest was always held by the Seer Kings (rajarshayah), as an inevitable complement to their ruling skill and excellence. Due to the passage of Time, the all-powerful, this great possession went out of vogue. It is the same generally hidden, Brahmavidya, Yoga, that I have imparted to you today, considering you to be a devotee as well as an intimate friend.

Why does Krishna refer to Sun as the first recipient of Brahmavidya from him? Can this be a merely eulogistic reference? Or, is there enough of depth and purpose in what Krishna states?

Normally any human lineage or heredity will be traced up to the first human. Whereas Krishna, not stopping even with mother earth from which mankind as well as the rest of the beings have emerged, goes back to the Sun and claims his identity to be as old and ancient as to be the Instructor for the Sun! Is he merely driving home how ancient is Brahmavidya, or is there something more for the seeker to reflect upon?

Spiritual words and expositions always have a hidden, profound import. Spiritual truths are experiential, realizable. Thus, what exactly is the experiential link in Krishna’s enunciation is something that we cannot afford to miss.

The only subject exposed in Bhagavadgita is Brahmavidya. Whether explained as sankhya-yoga first and karma-yoga next, or dhyana-yoga subsequently and bhakti-yoga still later, the theme Krishna discusses in all chapters is essentially the same, namely Brahmavidya. That is why all the chapters carry the colophon “Brahmavidyayam yoga- sastre……”. What is this Brahmavidya? Where lies its source?

Brahman denotes the Supreme Reality. Vidya means knowledge. Brahmavidya is that unique knowledge which relates solely to the Supreme Reality. Even though the knowledge is conceived and expressed by humans, the fact remains that Brahmavidya is not restricted to any particular creature or to any specific age or period.

Thus, when Krishna conveys to Arjuna that he first imparted this Brahmavidya to Vivasvan (Sun), he apparently wants to impress on Arjuna that the source of Brahmavidya, if properly reflected upon, is not any one person in particular. Man’s personality itself, is not something bhautik, physical; it is completely spiritual. Sushupti (deep sleep) is a regular instance, when everyone verily experiences extinction of his body, and instead feels the presence of something else. In fact during deep sleep, the Real Subject is realized by all doubtlessly. The experience of deep sleep, wherein bodily existence ceases to be, is obviously not had by the body or its part. It is an experience that the Subject alone gains, all by itself, without any object medium whatsoever. Body is actually an object, which the Subject experiences, in wakeful hours alone.

Even a bacterium has its experience and knowledge or awareness. Or else how does it move and react? It may not have the mouth and tongue to speak. Speaking and expressing are a pronounced display of Consciousness which goes inseparably with existence. It is the self-revealing property of existence. In fact, any form of existence is but a becoming or manifestation of Consciousness itself.

Rigveda, the oldest of Vedas, reveals this truth in its mahavakya (cardinal statement): “Prajnanam Brahma”. This means “Brahman, the Supreme Reality or Ultimate Existence, is no other than Knowledge itself”. That Knowledge is the ultimate source of existence itself, is a unique revelation. Whether anywhere in the world a similar revelation has been made either in religious literature or even in the field of science, remains to be seen.

It is this truth – “Prajnanam Brahma” – that Krishna too discusses as Brahmavidya in the whole dialogue. Krishna wants Arjuna to grasp this fundamental point. Arjuna should not think that Krishna has discovered something new or is imparting an altogether new message, with a view to somehow appease and embolden the listener’s enfeebled mind. The message is the only truth of life, or existence, at any time. It is the only knowledge worth gaining, and which, when gained, will wipe off all psychological ills. As for the authenticity of this Brahmavidya, Krishna wants Arjuna to understand that it is as ancient as existence itself.

“Ajo nityah sasvato’yam puranah” (unborn, eternal, ever-the-same, ancient) were the words he had used in the second chapter (verse 20) while describing the Self. Brahmavidya rests upon Brahman itself, the only Subject in creation, not on any object at all. As is heat inseparable from fire, brilliance from the sun – the independent luminary nearest to earth – so is this Brahmavidya inseparable from Brahman, from existence as such.

People generally think that sentience is evolved from the earth alone, as we find sentient beings only upon the earth. In beings, we generally recognize only the evolution of materiality. The panca-bhutas are combined and evolved into beings, which display a certain sequence, order and gradualness. But even behind this orderliness or evolution, there is the power and presence of original sentience, but for which the insentient matter would not have been animated and organized into any viable, sustainable biological process or aggregate.

Our earth, when we look at it, seems to be insentient, judged on the basis of the sentient-insentient division of existence. But is that so? Think deeply about its place, potential and nature. Then the initial idea is bound to change. On the earth so many sentient beings have emerged and have been surviving. Being the cause and support for all these, can it, the causal source, be insentient? So sentience goes back to the earth, and for the same reason further beyond.

Sun is a luminous body. Its luminosity is inseparable from itself. That brilliance is a becoming of the Consciousness, which Brahman is. Self is Consciousness. Whoever realizes his identity with Consciousness, becomes verily the essence of the Sun’s brilliance (chapter 10, verse 21). The words revealing that he had taught Brahmavidya first to Vivasvan (Sun) are to be understood in such a perspective. Instead of tracing the antiquity to some human in Krtayuga, or even to a sage of the Vedic period, Krishna confidently asserts that any one can go back to any length of time and evolution and identify the source with anything in the universe. You will find that every existence carries knowledge in its core. In fact, Brahman, in other words Prajnanam, is the only Source, the causeless Cause.

At no time can knowledge of any kind emanate from any object whatever. When Newton saw the apple fall and began to wonder why it did so, was it not the Subject in this body that made the enquiry, and that too into its own within? And the answer that he finally found was also not from the apple or its fall, nor from the air or earth around, but from his own Consciousness, Prajnanam. To seek or search is the Subject’s task and to get illumined in the process is also its own fruition. The source, medium and the outcome are all unmistakably the Subject itself.

Does not Krishna say later, in chapter 15: “I alone am the source of memory, forgetfulness as well as wisdom – mattah smrtir jnanam- apohanam ca”? Is this not a clear reference to the Self of man being the real source of all processes of experience as well as knowledge? Whether it is existence or knowledge, or the expression of either or both, understand that Brahman, which is Prajnanam (knowledge), is the source, content and expression. The Teacher-taught relationship is only relative and occasional. There are many instances of original discoveries in science. Is there any Teacher as such in those cases, coming in the actual discovery? The searching individual, his consciousness alone, acts as the enquiring part first, and thereupon as the enlightening counterpart next, to become the discovery and discoverer ultimately.

This impersonality of man, along with the sentient nature of the whole existence, is the one ultimate message of Brahmavidya. In asserting “Aham Brahmasmi”, the Yajurvedic mahavakya meaning “the ‘I’ alone is the Supreme Reality”, is not such an absolute, indivisible, unnegatable position made clear? A seeker of Brahmavidya will complete his seeking and become a knower of Brahman only when he traces Consciousness as the only source, content and medium of whatever he is, irrespective of what he encounters during his life of experience and interaction. And this Consciousness is not alone in the beings of the earth, like cells, animals, birds or mankind. It is there far beyond. It was still earlier, in fact ever and ever.

Krishna wants the Bhagavadgita students to break all the barriers in their perception and visualize the singular subjective fullness of the whole creation. Knowledge is the only content of this fullness. Brahmavidya stands to represent and convey this and this alone.

The reference Krishna makes to the line of heredity and Maharshis equally calls for special attention. Krishna reminds Arjuna that the heritage of Brahmavidya rested specially with the Raarshis. A Raja (King) will become a Rishi (Seer) only when he possesses Brahmavidya and is enriched by its power and lustre. This confirms again that the ascetic sages were not the only custodians of spiritual wisdom of the land. The administrators or rulers were also equally well versed in this knowledge. In fact, to sit on the throne verily meant the compulsion to gain the treasure of spiritual wisdom.

The righteous ruler’s mind must have the sharpness of a sword as well as the softness of butter. He must be as stern with the wicked as he is kind to the virtuous. To punish the cruel and to reward the virtuous, remaining free of either weakness or pride, the royal mind should display exemplary vastness and impersonality.

To rule a whole multitude of people, even today, calls for immense self-control. Self-pity or carelessness has no place in a King’s life. One who is watchful about his own thoughts, actions and behavior can alone be so with regard to the ways and movements of his subjects. How many mutually opposite qualities together must adorn the throne to make it worthy of its task! When Krishna enumerates the spiritual qualities of the seeker and Knower, do they not aptly fit in with those of the throne?

Thus the great rulers of this land took special pains to gain spiritual wisdom and be under its unique grace. Janaka was an illustrious King of this great dimension. Ikshvaku dynasty had preserved a distinguished spiritual heredity, says Krishna. But in Dasaratha was a gloomy contrast. His son, Sri Rama, like Sri Krishna himself, excelled in the merits of spiritual wisdom, shining always with his timely resolve, wholesome resignation and stunning renunciation, whereas his father in crucial moments crumbled with indecision, attachment and possessiveness, the noted curses of ignorance.

Dasaratha was equally present when Sage Vasishthadeva instructed Sri Rama, sitting in the palace of Ayodhya, about the science of the Immortal Soul. But it was of no avail to the elderly King! When Kaikeyi, his Queen, claimed the boons promised to her by him in the past, the King lost his heart and mind, fell on the ground, drenching himself in tears and showering abuses on Kaikeyi!

In utter contrast, when the step-mother confessed her heart to Rama, the prince with no doubt or remorse instantly resolved to abandon the palace and live in the forest for any length of time. Who won in the encounter and who lost? Unable to resist the evil counsel of Manthara, Kaikeyi presents a more illustrious contrast in front of Bharata, her son. Bharata condemned his mother, refusing to imbibe her wicked heredity.

Are these not enough instances to make any one think of the truth of what Krishna states? The great heritage was available to all, but some neglected its bounties altogether.

Krishna points out that such deviations are havoc worked by time. Time, the inexorable force, is noted to cause sometimes grave deviations or even perversions in whatever is present. Even the great legacies prove no exception to the invasions of Time. Thus the good is forced to change into bad in the powerful hands of Time. Sri Rama, when called upon by Vasishthadeva to relate the sufferings of his heart on looking at the complexities of the world, says, in Yogavasishtha Ramayana, that the course of the world is immensely intriguing. He states: “prakrtah prabhrtam yatah, sarvamavartyate jagat – the undeserving rustics suddenly become lordly and resourceful; everything in the world is given to cyclic changes.”

In fact, the nature of events that overtook the Kuru dynasty resulting in the unprecedented Kurukshetra war leading to the emergent scene that evoked the Bhagavadgita dialogue, is itself immensely revealing. Was it not under the same great Bheeshma, with his self-imposed life-long celibacy as well as matchless spiritual wisdom, that the Pandava and Kaurava brothers grew up alike? While the Yudhishthira brothers wanted to be scrupulously governed by the resolve of righteousness and sacrifice, why did the Duryodhana brothers insist on following the accursed path of greed, possessiveness and stealth? Did not both of them have the same great legacy? The conflict and confrontation only grew in intensity as decades passed.

Krishna was equally related and available to both the groups; but his greatness was spurned by Duryodhana. Instead of welcoming him and listening to his wise words when he arrived in Hastinapura with the message of a peaceful pact from Yudhishthira, Duryodhana wickedly hatched a plot to bind Krishna and take him a captive. What except the sheer ravage of Time is at the back of all these developments?

Though Arjuna was righteous and moral in his thoughts and views, he still lacked Brahmavidya, which his grandfather and other elders were amply gifted with. Krishna significantly points out that what he was instilling in Arjuna was thus the same vision and strength which the best of rulers in his own clan had gained and which he failed to imbibe in time.

The effort Arjuna should have made earlier, in a quiet atmosphere of study and seeking, he was now forced to undertake in total haste and strife. Even then, better late than never. As Krishna has already clarified in the last verse of the second chapter: “sthitvasyam anta-kale’pi brahma-nirvanamrcchati – even if one is able to stabilize himself in this knowledge at the fag end of his life, he will still be benefited by its grace and merits, and enjoy the relief and ecstasy they offer”.

Krishna brings in another dimension in the dialogue. He says: “bhakto’si me sakha ceti rahasyam hy-etad-uttamam – you are devoted to me, and you are equally an intimate friend; that is why I disclose to you this highest secret.” What does he highlight in these words? Is not spiritual wisdom, like any other knowledge meant for man, to be openly laid before the seeker? What secrecy does Krishna allude to in imparting it? Where comes the relevance of devotion in receiving the message?

To impart the Soul-science is not a commonplace task. Nor is it easy to do so effectively. The atmosphere calls for the most sensitive response from the bestower as well as the receiver. Krishna emphasizes that it means disclosing or divulging a great secret from its guarded source. The message will have its destined effect only when the giver and the receiver have a full bond of fondness, trust and confidence. It is meant to lead man to the very core of his being – the impersonal, neutral and unaffected identity that he verily is – lifting him away from the sensory and sentimental ties and relationships.

The supreme reliance which adorns the mind and heart of a devotee, the unshakeable trust and confidence which governs the relationship between him and the Teacher, will alone make true spiritual instruction wholesome, powerful and ready to assimilate.


(From Essential Concepts of Bhagavad Gita - Book 2)


In this discourse based on Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha outlines the destination of every Human Being.


Recordings of Poojya Swamiji's Talks

Evenness of the Mind : Way to Self-Knowledge

Independence from Unhappiness and Happiness


Vicharasethu is a monthly journal in English and Hindi, edited and published by Poojya Swamiji. It is also published in Malayalam by the name Vicharasarani. With Articles, Correspondance, Guidance for Sādhana and News updates from the Ashram, these monthly publications are a great guide for the earnest sādhaka. 

Devotees hold periodic meetings at their own locations wherein the teachings and messages of Swamiji are heard, read and discussed with a view to comprehend and arrive at their essence and make it a functional note in their life. This section provides resources to facilitate the proceedings at such gatherings. Read More ....

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