"Every moment of your life you are being carried to fulfilment, irresistibly. Everything that comes to you does so to improve, correct or alter your nature, thereby taking you nearer perfection. So, whenever agitation assails your mind, ponder over this truth again and again."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

  • Gurupoornima and Retreat 2017 30-04-2017

    Gurupoorṇimā & Annual Retreat: Sacred Gurupoorṇimā  will be observed in the Ashram on July 9, 2017. The 7-day Retreat will be during 10th - 16th July, 2017. To participate in the Retreat, the completed application form (available from ) must reach the Ashram before 14th June.

Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 17 Jan 2017 - The Purpose Of Life Is To Gain True Knowledge
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    Human life is primarily meant to gain knowledge and gain such knowledge as will fulfill completely one’s life. Knowledge alone has the power to complete and fulfill human life. In our spiritual parlance, religious parlance also we say, Brahma Jñāna is Supreme in human life. Mark! It is explained as jñāna, Brahma jñāna. Knowledge of Brahman means the Supreme Reality, the Ultimate Substance and Source. This is the basis on which our entire dharmic culture has been built. So knowledge we consider to be Supreme.

    The modern world also is interested in knowledge. There are scientists working day and night in different branches of knowledge, to add to the measure of knowledge, the variety of knowledge that they have. As a result of scientific inventions, many facilities and comforts to life have been added. In the process you will find our life has been contaminated also very seriously. The air is contaminated, water is contaminated and the earth is polluted. I think fire has not been polluted. What does it mean? In the name of knowledge, we should not strive to do anything that we want. There must be a filtration, a discrimination, a kind of a selectiveness in the approach.

    When you approach knowledge in this manner, we find that the entire gamut of knowledge can be divided into two. One is called inferior knowledge another is called superior knowledge as Mundakopanishad puts it. You will be surprised to know that all the Vedas and shastras are included in the inferior knowledge. When I first read it when I was in Calcutta in my pre-sanyaasa life, I was wonder-struck. What! We consider the Vedas to be extremely sanctifying and Vedas and shastras together are inferior? Then what is superior? So Shaunaka is told by Angiras, the superior knowledge is that by which you know….. By which you know what?

    तदक्षरमधिगम्यते ।

    Tadaksharam adhi gamyate

    Mundakopanishad - I.i.5

    By which you know the imperishable presence. Why this statement?

    It is because including our body and the senses whatever we see and interact with in the world in the form of objects - all of them are perishable. They are evanescent. They are transitory. If all of them are transitory then how is the transitoriness surviving? A changes into B then what changes B into C? There must be something that is causing the change. Wherever there is a change you should understand the change can subsist only upon a changeless substratum. Because everything is perishable there must be something imperishable. Is there anything like that? Is it only a conjecture or is there any compulsive experience for us as we experience the world? If such a question is asked, here is the answer.

    Everything is experienced by me, by us. All are objects experienced. But the subject which undergoes the experience or experiences the objects is oneself. That is what we refer to as I, I am. All other things are described with a possessive case. My, my, my. My body, my eyes, my mind, my intelligence, my ego, my knowledge, my parents, my car, my earth, my road, everything is “mine”. The “My” and the “I” are different. By the possessive case you always refer to an object which you can and you do possess. Then the subject is something different from the objects. If mind also is an object, intelligence also is an object, ego is an object, then what is this subject? Something still further within. Very inward. That I, right from the beginning till the end of our life, changelessly we have been referring to and we are not referring to an external substance or entity. When I say, “ I AM”, I have no doubt about it. I am, I am. The am-ness belongs to the I and what is this I. It is not the body, not the mind, not the intelligence, not the ego, not anything but something different from. Now we already have an indication that something imperishable is there associated with the perishable body and other things.

    Now let us go back to the two divisions of knowledge. One is the inferior knowledge which covers, including the Vedas and six shastras, everything that you learnt because it is all about the objects. The knowledge about the true subject “I” alone will become Superior. What a beautiful statement, analysis and finding. It is this subject knowledge that constitutes the spiritual pursuit in our country. The subject knowledge can come only to a seeker who seeks it and the path also is one of knowingness, knowingness. Krishna puts it beautifully in the Bhagavad Gita :

    ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यं ।

    Jnaanam Jneyam Jnaanagamyam 

    Bhagavad Gita 13.17

    It is knowledge. It is the knowable and through the path of knowing alone you can approach it. In other words the subject knowledge can be pursued and achieved only within our body by employing the instruments of mind and intelligence.

    When you start approaching the subject knowledge and you are having degrees of it, so to say, you will find your entire perception about the world, evaluation about the world, the lingering for the world, all these will change. Without any force. It is a self-transformation that takes places naturally, easily, lightly, comfortably and fulfillingly.

    Put in any manner that one likes or one can. The discussion is always around this subject knowledge, knowledge of the subject and the only subject we can think of, we feel to some extent and we can probe into and be successfully knowing in full is that I, I. The definition of the Self is actually:

    अहं प्रत्यय गोचरा:

    Ahaṁ pratyaya gocharaḥ

    That which you denote by the term I is called the Self, the Supreme reality.

    This knowledge is the one that occupies our Upanishads. It is dealt with in Ramayana. It is equally dealt with more elaborately, by Mahabharata. Whenever there is doubt and the doubt cannot be resolved the redress lies in the subject knowledge. That is why Krishna tells Arjuna:

    न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपा: ।
    न चैव न भविष्याम: सर्वे वयमत: परम् ।।

    na tvevahaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ na-eme janādhipāḥ
    na  ca-iva na bhviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayamataḥ param

    Bhagavad Gita 2.12

    “Arjuna, what you are seeing as Krishna is the body. But the Krishna proper is not body. There was no time when I was not. There was no time when you were not. There was no time when Bhishma, Drona and all the others were not. You see the body, it was born I agree but the body is not what makes itself felt. There is something besides the body which animates and activates the body. That presence is what one is and that was there even before the birth of the body”.

    All of you have come and taken your seats in Vijñāna Bhavan here. How could you come here if you were not earlier? You were earlier in your residential rooms or loitering here and there; because you were you are. If you were and you are you will also be.

    न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपा: ।

    na tvevahaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ na-eme janādhipāḥ

    “This is true not merely of me, of you, of all the people who have assembled here including Bhishma and Drona”.

    न चैव न भविष्याम:

    na  ca-iva na bhviṣyāmaḥ

    “There is not going to be a time when we will cease to exist or cease to be”.

    This is how Krishna began the discussion. What for? Not religiously liberate Arjuna but to make his mind doubtless, confident and immensely courageous and resolute. What for? To fight the war in front. Krishna did not create the war not did Arjuna; war resulted. War can be only with by two sides. So the war has come to be and it has to be fought. Arjuna found he did not have courage for it, clarity for it, confidence for it, stability for it. Now all the stability Krishna was providing but he started the discussion with the reference to the “I” and it’s infinite and eternal nature. There is a beautiful description:

    अस्थान स्नेह कारूण्य धर्माधर्म धियाकुलम्‌ ।
    पार्थ प्रपन्नमुद्दिश्य शस्त्रावतरणं कृतम्‌ ।।

    Asthaanam sneha karunya dharmaadharma dhiyakulam
    Partham Prapannam-udishya shastraavatarnam kritam 

    Arjuna’s mind was confused about the propriety and impropriety of his action, of his fighting. As a result of which he got completely confused, dumbfounded. Such a man unable to resolve the crisis, sought refuge under Krishna. So Krishna is exposing and clarifying the beautiful shastras of our country. The entire shastras are for you to gain true knowledge. The senses are there to gain knowledge of the objects but the mind and the intelligence alone are there to gain knowledge of yourself.

    God, Brahman, all these are words synonymous to the Self, the I, and from there Krishna was developing. Your fear is that so many people will be killed but I want to tell you Arjuna that the individual presence which we refer to as I, it is un-killable.

    अजो नित्य: शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे 

    ajo nityaḥ śāśvato'yaṁ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

    This presence which you refer to as I, it is ajaḥ, unborn. The body is born. When a lamp is lit by a flame, a new flame is born. Does it mean fire is born? No, No, No. It is unborn. It never gets born, it is ever present.

    Nityaḥ – constantly present.

    Shashvatah – permanently.

    Ayam puranaah – this is the most ancient. Nobody knows when it began to be.

    Na hanyate hanyamane sharire. It is true that we are going to kill a number of bodies here on both sides. When bodies are fell so to say,
    hanyamane sharire na hanyate, the imperishable presence which animates and activates the body is un-killable. It is inexhaustible. It will not disappear. It will not become extinct. Constantly this thought, this message, this knowledge, this was being driven home to Arjuna.

    My dear seekers, our ashram is a place of jñāna. Here we have Satsang. In the Satsang we, on the basis of our own experience, experiential confirmation, we are presenting the beautiful shastras which deal with Subject knowledge. One thing or the other. It may be Bhagavad Gita, it may be Upanishads, it may be Vivekachudamini. It may be another text, Srimad Bhaagavatam. Everywhere you will find, this, this indestructibility of your own identity is the subject of discussion.

    People are wondering, what is my identity. Am I an Indian? Am I an earthly denizen? Am I a human? The real identity you are already referring to as I and it is within the body not the body; and on analysis we find it is not the mind, not the intelligence, not the ego. Then what? Something beyond that. Felt by everyone. Not thought by everyone, felt by everyone. Not enquired into by everyone. So make a little enquiry.

    When you go back from the ashram, you must always understand that knowledge is Supreme in human life; that alone can fulfill a person. Any possession that you have, the body itself is left and with the body whatever you have gained will they not be left then? The house, the family, the belongings, the money, the deposit, the will you have written, everything will have to be left. The un-leavable entity if at all is the I oneself.

    So it is knowledge that we are constantly discussing in our Satsang. Devotion is part of it. Yoga is part of it. Any other form of sādhana is subsidiary to it. But the knowledge is the Supreme. Is the Supreme. Understand that there is such a knowledge. What you have is object knowledge and what you further need is Subject knowledge. This Subject knowledge can be had only by a sense of enquiry and introspection.

    You should have a life where you think about matters. Try to evaluate them from the level of intelligence. What is this life? Am I living it properly? What is the relationship around me? Is there any God? Anything, you have to enquire. Such an enquiry should be there even in your profession otherwise you will not have professional excellence. A professional should be thoughtful, thoughtful. What new plans or projects can I represent or can I think of with a view to increase the utility of our company and increase the resources and how can the resources be employed. There also it is thought and introspection.

    Am I living in the right manner? Do I need any qualities of the mind and heart? What is my life judged from the true mental and intelligential level? How to become good? How to become noble? How to become charitable? How to become amiable and loving?

    I only want you to be happy, happy, happy. Look happy, be happy, experience happiness. Interact with people in a happy manner, amiable manner. Nothing else. Mostly people carry a wry face, sunken face. I don’t know, why? For smiling and being light you need only the mind, the mind you already have. Understand the magnitude and potential of the mind. Mind has got infinite potential and infinite magnitude. With the help of the senses it sees infinitely various world. The world of infinite variety and infinite distances. All these are captured by the mind. Can you imagine then, the depth and breadth and height of the mind? It is infinitely resourceful.

    You are using some conventional notes of the mind. Believe in your mind. Have faith in your mind. Understand you mind. Mind is a treasure, treasure, treasure and make it so. Make it so. Make it so. I always say devotion is a great treasure but the devotees do not make it a treasure. A man who relies on God, I don’t think he has to worry about anything, anything. God is there to worry about and his worrying is much more efficacious, effective than your worrying about. Everywhere it is matching, matching, rubbing, rubbing your mind with the knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.

    So the take home from our ashram is the Satsang we hold, the books that we have written, you can go through them. Understand that you are not the body but something different from it. Mind, intelligence and ego are the evidence for our being something different from the body and try to feel it, want to know it and be zealous about the whole process. Be given to introspection, reflection and rumination then everything will follow.

    Hariḥ Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru!

  • PR 22 Jan 2016 - Realize that you are Taintless
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    You know that we are having an Ātma Tattva Sameeksha in Trichur. This is the third year.

    Unlike many other texts, Ashtvakra Samhita is very, very specific, pointed and concentric. The only subject it discusses, speaks about and exposes is the Self. Almost in every shloka, the reference is to the Self and descriptions and explanations are only about the Self. Very little difference in words sometimes will be there between two verses.

    Because it is the Self, I always have a reservation as to whether the listeners are able to take what is said. But when I take this text and start explaining, I cannot but be exclusive, subtle, sometimes even transcendental. I try to make it interesting by taking some divergent text, bringing this, bringing that. An enlightened audience in Kerala always have an affinity for our ancient texts, Sanskrit verses etc. They would always like to hear quotations from parallel texts and relating matters to one thing or the other.

    So yesterday I was explaining.

    अहो निरञ्जनः शान्तो बोधोऽहं प्रकृतेः परः ।
    एतावन्तमहं कालं मोहेनैव विडम्बितः २-१॥
    aho nirañjanaḥ śānto bodho'haṁ prakṛteḥ paraḥ |
    etāvantamahaṁ kālaṁ mohenaiva viḍaṁbitaḥ ||
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 2.1)

    Astavakra, as a first installment, spoke, in the dialogue, twenty verses in the first chapter. Actually it was not chapter by chapter. The conversation took place just like we will converse between ourselves, but when it was put in a text form, they were chapterized, put in a sequence. But so far as the original conversation or dialogue was concerned, it was not anything like a chapter one, two, three and the like.

    So, after Ashtavakra spoke to him that, “My dear Janaka, you are not the body. You are the Soul. You are not the world but you are a perceiver and witness of the world. Everything that is around you is only an object. You are the subject. Around you everything is inert including your body. But you are the sentient spirit. If you can realize this, catch this point, you become liberated this very moment.” This was the type of exposition he gave.

    Janaka was very studious, faithful and wholesome in receiving and absorbing, in receiving and absorbing whatever was said. And in the second chapter, it was Janaka relating his own direct, instant, intuitive experiences. Just see what he says….

    aho nirañjanaḥ śānto bodho'haṁ prakṛteḥ paraḥ.

    Aho nirañjanaḥ śānto – Oh! What a wonder is this! Ah! I am taintless. I have no stain at all! Just like the body takes food, assimilates it and in the process the body has no stain, my mind thinks, my intelligence reasons, my ego asserts. In all these processes, I don’t get anything like a stain, a dent or a color. The eyes are seeing different colors, blazing fire it sees, snow-capped mountains it sees, but do the eyes become either white or fiery orange? In the same manner, the mind thinks, the thoughts may have their effects and outcome but all of them are produced by virtue of the ability of the mind. As the eyes are not affected by the objects it sees, in the same manner, the mind is the least contaminated, affected by whatever it thinks. I am nirañjanaḥ.

    Once I realize this, I am śānta, peaceful. No agitation on any account whatsoever. What is there to be agitated about? It is after all an interaction with the world, the variety of the world. None of this variety is able to access my mind and cause its effect on the mind. It is the mind that produces the imprints of objects and the mind overwhelms everything. It is never overpowered by anything.

    Bodho'haṁ.. bodho'haṁ... bodho'haṁI am consciousness. I am sentience. I am awareness. Everything in this world including my body is matter or energy. Both of them are inert, insentient. The insentient things do not have any creativity. When the insentient things are compared and contrasted with consciousness, consciousness is superior and the inert entities are far inferior. I am bodhaḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ.

    Can you reflect upon this phrase - prakṛteḥ paraḥ? I am superior to, I transcend prakṛtih. It is ‘I’, it is I’ who witnesses the prakṛtih, observes the prakṛtih and makes it the variety that I clamp on it, I ascribe to it. I see an elephant and then I say it is an elephant. The elephant never says I am one. I see the horse and I say it is a horse. I see the earth and I say it is the earth. I see God and I say it is God. When I see, the things I see do not see me. And I pronounce, I pronounce their character, their worth, their importance. Their, their, what, what! Then, am I not superior to them? Am I not superior to them?

    Bodho'haṁ prakṛteḥ paraḥ. I transcend the prakṛtih. I see the mountain. I contain the mountain in the form of an imprint in my mind. So I have encased the mountain in me. But the mountain doesn’t encase me. Tell me just now, who is superior to what? I am superior to the mountain and not the other way. I am transcending nature with all its stupendous measure and variety.

    yathā prakāśayāmyeko dehamenaṁ tathā jagat - Can you follow the reasoning? Do you have an intelligence? Will you be guided by your intelligence or your intelligence is a pseudo one?

    If it is an intelligence, he says..yathā prakāśayāmyeko dehamenaṁ tathā jagat. Your body, your body, your body, who reveals it? I reveal it. I reveal my body. As the body of mine is revealed by me, I call it my body. Are you hearing me? My body, its presence is not revealed by another for me. When I wake up I sense my body. Because I sense my body, I call it mine. In the same manner, I sense and reveal the whole universe.

    If the body revealed by me becomes mine, the world revealed by the same revealer also becomes mine. Do you have anything to say against it? This is how the self-realized man becomes full, great and unsurpassable. He cannot be excelled by anyone or anything. There is nothing in this world to excel him because he excels the world. The world is what he reveals. As a body revealed by him becomes his, the world revealed by him equally becomes his.

    Ato mama jagat sarvam athavā na ca kiñcana – Therefore the entire world is my world, my world, my world, like my body. Otherwise there is nothing. Either it remains as mine or it remains as nobody’s. Out of the 24 hours of the day, you sleep for seven or eight hours. The comparison and worth are not on the basis of number. Who told you that sleep because it endures for seven hours, it is much less important than the wakeful hours? That conclusion is wrong. The world is there only in the wakefulness and in the wakefulness; I am the perceiver and cognizer. So I transcend the world and I possess the world. In sleep, neither the world nor the body nor even ‘I’ is there. What do you understand from this? Nothing is there. If the world is there, it is there revealed by me and possessed by me, or nothing is there as in sleep.

    You can have your identity with the sleep or you can have the identity with the wakefulness, possessiveness. Both are equally valid. In either case or in both cases, you have nothing to grumble. You are not low. You are not inferior. You are not a trifling. We are not speaking about the body. We are speaking about the indwelling presence. This is what Janaka says after listening to Ashtavakra, the Sage. This is how this wonderful knowledge works. I don’t know, one has to be fortunate and very, very intelligent to grasp it. I wish you have both fortune and intelligence.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 21 Jan 2016 - Reasoning to Deduce that World is Illusory
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru Jai Guru.

    I am going today in spite of my unwillingness to undertake a programme in the morning as well as in the evening. I dissuaded them but somehow they prevailed upon me. It is for dedicating and offering a Mahavishnu temple, the sanctum sanctorum for which has been newly built. This building which has cost about 35 lakhs of rupees, it has been sponsored by a kind of trust which is operating perhaps in UK. They are Indians. Wherever there is Mahavishnu temple requiring renovation or rebuilding, it seems they pick up some such cases and patronize it. Because it is Mahavishnu’s temple and it is the sanctum sanctorum, somehow my mind did not agree to totally refusing it though I told them many times that I cannot take up this programme.

    See, yesterday also in Ashtavakra Samhita, I was referring to one important point which I thought you being a nearer group and more intelligent group, you must be able to reflect upon and find out.

    Why this world is considered to be mithya, non-existent? We see a number of solid things here. All the celestial bodies are solid. Our body is solid. Everything is solid. There are liquid things, gaseous things, energy and other things also. Such a world including our body, our mind refuses to accept that it is something like an illusion. But the fact is that it is only an illusion provided you try to assess it from your intelligence level.

    Please listen to me. When I see an elephant, the elephant does nothing for me. I am seeing the elephant and the elephant is standing at a distance. How is it that I experience the elephant? I am distanced from it and the elephant is distanced from me. The mountain is far away from me. The sun is infinitely away from me. But I am nevertheless experiencing these objects.

    Experience you will agree is always inner and mental. Mind is within the body. The mind is within the body because it is subtle, sūkshma. The sūkshma alone can be within the sthūla, gross.; So if it is the mind that makes me experience the elephant, the mountain and sun, and the mind is subtle within the body, where is so much of space within the body for a solid object to enter my body? By what process will it enter?

    Does the elephant enter through my nose, eyes, ears or mouth? It is standing there but I am experiencing it. My experience is the only proof for the elephant to be there. And my experience is inner. And the factor that produces this experience is the mind and that is subtle. In this way you will find, including the presence of our body, all are cognitions, awareness produced by the mind. So the entire world that I see distributed encircling me, the entire world inheres its existence only because I experience it in my mind.

    My mind is subtle. The subtle mind cannot produce a gross object. A gross object will be born only from another gross object. But here is an instance where the subtle mind produces the elephant, the horse, the fire, the ocean, the mountain, the stars. Everything is produced by the mind. You people are seated at different distances. I can clearly say from here, from my experience, that each person is behind the other or in front of the other to the left or to the right. Unless I experience you in my mind, how can I say this? Because I am not coming to you.

    All these experiences are caused by contacts with the senses. Senses themselves are activated by the mind. The senses are made also by the mind, activated by the mind. That being the case, mind being subtle, the subtle mind cannot produce any gross object but all the gross objects derive their existence only because the mind experiences them.

    How does the mind experience? It produces an imprint of the gross object in itself. That imprint cannot have three dimensions. But nevertheless we experience the three dimensions. So all the three dimensions are produced by the subtle mind. And it is the subtle mind that makes the experience of gross objects.

    Now apply the principle. Can the subtle mind produce a gross object? If it cannot, whatever it produces, it is only notional, ideational. It can never be factual. So the entire world that you are experiencing in your mind can never be a factual reality. It can only be an imaginary entity which derives its existence and inherence in my mind. That there is something called the mind and it is capable of doing so is the mystery. Despite the fact that it is a mystery, it is a fact of our existence, it is an experience which can never be denied. In this way, if you look at everything you will find, how you are all-pervading, how all the things become illusory is very clearly known.

    Even otherwise, the weight of an article upon the earth is six kilograms, upon the moon it is one, in the śūnyākāśa it is zero. The weight itself is non-existent. I would like you to think about it and develop it. This is highest of reason that we can adduce with regard to what the world is. We don’t disturb anything, we don’t question the world. We only assess it as the subtle mind’s creations and being so, it is all illusory.

    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

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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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