What is Brahman, Atman, Karma, Maya, TOTAL Mind? And Why Creation? (65)
What is Brahman, Atman, Karma, Maya, TOTAL Mind? And Why Creation? (65)

Summary:

Lesson 65 answers important Vedantic terms which further remove false notions of Creation on macrocosmic and microcosmic picture. Example why we get exactly what we deserve based on our daily actions. And how Karma is cause of entire creation. Also Brahman (the Supreme Ultimate Truth) is introduced.

Source: Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 8 – verse 1, 2, 3, 4.


Introduction:

  • 8th CH based on last CH7 last 2 verses.
  • Krishna introduced 6 terms: Brahma, karma, adhyātma (adhi ātma), adhi bhūtam, adhi daivam, adhi yajñam, Remembering Bhagavān at time of death.
  • Krishna utilizes Arjuna’s curiosity to answer 7 questions by introducing topic of Upāsana. Also called: saguṇa īśvara dhyānam (Meditating on God with attributes).
    • For context, CH2-6 highlighted Karma-Yoga sādhana. While CH7-12 highlights Upāsana sādhana.
  • Begins now verse 1, addressing Arjuna’s questions…

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 8 – Verse 1:

kiṃ tad-Brahma kimadhyātmaṃ kiṃ karma puruṣottama|
adhibhūtaṃ ca kiṃ proktamadhidaivaṃ kimucyate ||

Arjuna asked – What is that Brahman? What is adhyātmam? What is Karma? What is said to be adhibhūta? What is said to be adhidaiva, O Krishna!

 

  • Arjuna asks questions pertaining to verse 29/30 of CH7.
  • Q1: tad brahma kim. What do you mean by Brahman?
  • Q2: kim adhyātmam. What is meaning of adhi ātma?
  • Q3: kim karma. What is significance of word karma in every day life?
  • Q4: adhibhūtam kim proktam. Do explain adhi bhūtam.
  • Q5: puruṣottama adhi-daivam kim ucyate. O Krishna, best of puruṣās, answer what is adhi daivam.

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 8 – Verse 2:

adhiyajñaḥ kathaṃ ko'tra dehe'smin madhusūdana |
prayāṇakāle ca kathaṃ jñeyo'si niyatātmabhiḥ ||

Who is adhiyajñaḥ? How does (he remain) here in the body? And how are you to be remembered at the time of death by the self-disciplined ones, Oh Madhusūdana.

 

  • Q6: adhiyajñaḥ kaḥ. Who or what is adhi yajñaḥ?
    • Arjuna adds 2nd part to question: katham atra asmin dehe. How does adhiyajñaḥ reside in the body? (Implying he probably heard this elsewhere to ask such Q).
  • Q7: 2 parts:
    1. What is significance of remembering God time of death?
    2. How to remember God time of death?
      • Because difficult to remember God even during Meditation. Mind goes to worldly objects. Memory.
      • If there is technique, teach me Krishna.
      • How is Bhagavān to be remembered by niyatātmabhiḥ, committed/integrated/disciplined/self-controlled people.
  • Madhusūdana: destroyer of Madhu (asuras)
    • Philosophically, Madhu symbolizes ALL karmās. So madhusūdana means: destroyer of all sanchita, prārabdha, āgāmi karmās.
    • Therefore Krishna is one who GIVES mokṣa.
    • Also in Muṇḍaka upaniṣad, karma phalam is equated to Madhu. So Madhu is destroyer of karma, leading to mokṣa.
  • NEXT VERSE: Krishna addresses each question…

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 8 – Verse 3:

akṣaraṃ Brahma paramaṃ svabhāvo'dhyātmamucyate |
bhūtabhāvodbhavakaro visargaḥ karmasaṃjñitaḥ ||

The Lord answered – What is limitless and not subject to change is Brahman. The self is said to be adhyātmam. The sacrificial offering which brings about the origin of beings is known as Karma.

 

  • Q1: What is Brahman? paramam akṣaram Brahma. Supreme imperishable Truth.
    • akṣaram: imperishable. Can’t be created-destroyed, expanded/contracted, abiding eternally as itself.
      • Changeless substratum.
      • PRECAUTION: Because akṣaram could be taken as imperishable matter, Krishna precedes word with: paramam, the GREATEST imperishable principle is Brahman.
      • Also in Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, Brahman is called akṣaram. Which is caitanya tatvam (consciousness principle).
    • akṣaram CAN NOT be referring to matter, because matter perishes in terms of manifest/unmanifest.
      • Manifest/unmanifest depends on (1) reality FROM which it manifests, and (2) reality INTO which it unmanifests.
    • Also akṣaram can’t be referring to time, because sense of time perishes (kṣara) in deep sleep, coma, faint.
      • Time concept is not SAME for everyone. Dream time different to Waking time. Child/Adult.
    • In short:
      • akṣaram (imperishable) = parā-prakṛti / caitanya tatvam.
      • And kṣara (perishable) = aparā-prakṛti.
    • akṣaram: Interpretation #2:
      • akṣaram: refers to any alphabetic letter.
      • akṣara-mālā: Garland of letters. Alphabet.
        • Put together create meaningful words, from unchanging akṣaram sounds.
        • But even sounds are changing. Manifest/unmanifest.
        • Thus they all resolve to: SILENCE (the TRULY imperishable akṣara). (Caution: Don’t now equate Brahman to silence. This is just an implied meaning to help point to nature of Brahman).
      • Indian ceremony “akṣara-abhyāsa” initiates child read/write. OM written on tongue. Signifies education not just for degrees/job, but to KNOW akṣara-brahman.
    • Brahman: derived from Sanskrit root √bṛh. BIG.
      • How big? Unconditionally, infinitely BIG.
        • bṛhattvād brahma: all-pervasive BIG.
      • Therefore what is Brahman? Limitless, all-pervading Consciousness.
      • NOTE: Krishna doesn’t say much about Brahman, because covered CH7, as parā-prakṛti.
  • Q2: What is adhyātmam (adhi ātma)? svabhāvaḥ adhyātmam ucyate (said to be)
    • If akṣara-Brahma (Consciousness) is all-pervading, then it SHOULD be available all the time in jīva’s body-mind.
      • Thus adhi ātma (adhi: corresponding to) refers to: That which is self-evident (svabhāvaḥ).
        • What is self-evident? I AM Conscious of Aliveness/Sentience. I effortlessly, awarefully AM.
          • (Not talking about existence of states of minds).
    • DIFFERENCE: Brahman / adhyātman (ātman)
      • ONE SAME Consciousness from angle of:
        • samaṣṭi (macro/total/not-excluding anything): Brahman
        • vyaṣṭi (micro/body-mind): adhyātma, jīvātma (because ātma is essence of jīva).
      • QUESTION: Why two different words for ONE SAME Consciousness?
        • Depending on which order of reality speaking about, the name changes.
        • EG: A general person (puruṣa) from standpoint of:
          • Expressing with wife, gains name husband.
          • Transacting with children, gains name parent.
        • SUMMARY: When point of reference changes, the NAME correspondingly changes.
  • Q3: What is Karma? (entire 2nd line): bhūtabhāvod bhavakaro visargaḥ karma saṃjñitaḥ
    • visargaḥ: lower (sakāma). Refers to all performed actions/activities of human beings.
    • What defines an action of TODAY? Actions of YESTERDAY. (texture, quality, personality)
      • Meaning life of TODAY is defined/shaped/influenced by YESTERDAY.
      • Meaning TODAY’s actions, shape TOMORROW.
    • So what is Karma?
      • Any activity produced by a human being, which is RESPONSIBLE for his/her future. (Thus nothing is already scripted.)
      • “My life is my life because of actions I put out into the field, on a daily bases” – is karma.
      • Meaning every action put out (kartā) today, REQUIRES a tomorrow. Why?
        • So one CAN enjoy/suffer (bhoktā) the results of actions which ALREADY modified the field.
        • Hence to enjoy/suffer, one NEEDS a WORLD/Creation to continue reaping what it sown.
      • Thus Creation is a beginingless cause/effect (called Karma) phenomena. Creation is not an accident.
        • EG: You/I are born on Earth, in a certain country, certain parents… NOT because of accident. But our life perfectly matches our individual past karma.
    • Krishna (Īśvara) answers what is karma:
      • bhūtabhāvodbhavakaraḥ: Karma is principle which BRINGS existence to ALL living beings.
        • EG: Even bee enjoys “bee body” because of karma.
      • Therefore, karma determines what KIND of Creation is created/supplied for each vyaṣṭi object.
        • Since many vyaṣṭi objects make up TOTAL samaṣṭi Universe… it means:
          • Present Universe is also result of the previous Universe.
          • Creation result of past creation. Etc.
          • And present creation gives way to future creation.
      • This means Creation did NOT come because of Īśvara. God didn’t create anything, nor wish, nor desire it. Meaning, Īśvara has NOTHING to do with creation. Explained…
        • FIRST ACKNOWLEDGE: Īśvara is sarvam-jñānam, sarvam-śakti. All knowledge/power.
          • Meaning presence of Īśvara = presence of all knowledge/power.
        • NOW RAISE OBJECTION: If Īśvara didn’t wish/desire/instigate the Creation, why is there Creation?
          • Does “all knowledge/power” exclude possibility of Creation? No.
          • Example: A woman. Power/knowledge to dance. She dances.
            • For dancing to manifest, a corresponding world is created.
            • Her dancing (CAUSE) has produced EFFECTS.
              • EG: Man is smitten. Approaches and marries her. Children.
              • Now world keeps being sustained for BOTH.
    • SUMMARY OF KARMA:
      • Why is there necessity for Creation? Because I have ASKED FOR IT.
        • Asked how? By putting out appropriate/inappropriate/mixed actions. Puṇya/pāpam.
      • Thus what kind of Creation do I get?
        • Whichever suits the combination of past puṇya/pāpam mixture.
        • Owning to various combinations, we have 14 lokās, and not because God wants 14.
          • EG1: Lots of pāpam = hellish lokā.
          • EG2: Plenty of upāsana/dharma = heaven/svarga/brahma-loka.
          • EG3: Mixture of puṇya/pāpam = manuṣya loka. (Earth)
        • Therefore, creation is NOT because of way God wants it, but to ACCOMODATE karma, being a by-product of all knowledge/power. That’s why there is order/logic in universe.
      • Therefore, karma is defined: sṛṣṭi kāraṇam. Cause of Creation.
    • What is reason for jīva re-birth? (to give some context to Karma discussed above)
      • So it can continue reaping what it sown in previous life in beginningless CHAIN of events.
        • Because instrument wore out, it gotten another body to finish unfinished business.
      • Only mokṣa can break this process of finding myself in the limited world.
        • Meaning after death, an aparokṣa-jñāni doesn’t find self again enveloped by 5 sheaths.
        • Jñāni, as though, sleeps (free of creation), yet FULLY AWARE as limitless Brahman.
          • Nirvikalpa-samādhi gives glimpse of this, but it’s still subtle māyā. Not limitless.

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 8 – Verse 4:

adhibhūtaṃ kṣaro bhāvaḥ puruṣaścādhidaivatam |
adhiyajño'hamevātra dehe dehabhṛtāṃ vara ||

The perishable creation is adhibhūta and Hiranyagarbha is adhidaiva. I myself, (who reside), in this body, am adhiyajñā. O Arjuna, the best of the embodied.

 

  • Q4: What is adhi bhūtam?
    • kṣaraḥ bhāvaḥ: Everything perishable in creation. Matter. Aparā-prakṛti.
    • Anything experienced/witnessed/known.
    • 5 elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth.
    • Periodic table of elements.
    • Manifest/unmanifest.
    • Body also. Reason why we look for security/well-being in body. Thinking body is self.
      • Meaning to give importance to body-mind (looks, strength, profession) – exposes avidyā:
        • “I don’t have knowledge of paramam akṣara (imperishable)”.
  • Q5: What is adhi daivam?
    • Krishna defines “adhi daivam” as: puruṣa.
      • Another name: hiraṇyagarbha, meaning: Total consciousness (Īśvara) associated with TOTAL MIND.
        • What is TOTAL MIND? Macrocosmic subtle body (samaṣṭi sūkṣma-śarīra).
      • Meaning, Hiraṇyagarbha / puruṣa is Īśvara associated with total knowledge (sarvam-jñānam).
    • And this Hiraṇyagarbha (TOTAL MIND) is a presiding deity of every organ, for every individual.
      • EXPLANATION:
        • Just like individual mind (subtle body) is a presiding deity over individual’s organs.
        • In same way, Hiraṇyagarbha / adhi daivam / puruṣa – is the presiding deity for everything/everyone in cosmos (vyaṣṭi/samaṣṭi).
  • Q6: What is adhi yajñaḥ?
    • Krishna says: aham eva, I (Īśvara) myself am adhi yajñaḥ. Explanation…
      • What is Īśvara?
        • Consciousness (satcitānanda) AND māyā śakti = Īśvaraḥ
        • What is māyā śakti? Whole universe existing in potential form.
          • And Consciousness associated with WHOLE universe in potential form = Īśvara.
        • Meaning:
          • Consciousness AND potential (māyā) = Īśvaraḥ.
          • In Science language: Consciousness AND energy = Īśvaraḥ.
        • So Īśvara is the SEED of the universe. Seed which fructifies into a result: adhi yajñaḥ.
        • And where is this Īśvara? Where can I find God?
          • atra dehe dehabhṛtāṃ vara: Lord resides in every human being. Sinner/saint.
            • Also called: nārāyanaḥ: Residing in all living beings.
            • Meaning no need to look for God in special temple, aśram, heaven.
            • Īśvara is ONE Self of all beings. Including YOU.
    • Why is Īśvara called adhi yajñāḥ?
      • Firstly let’s define yajña: ANY ACT of prayer, worship, pūyā, ritual. Both sakāma or niṣkāma.
      • Meaning Īśvara, in form of laws/orders is IN your every ACTION/ritual (yajña).
        • But also God is the very principle which gives/outputs CORRESPONDING karma phalam (giver of results according to your chosen actions/yajñā).
      • So yajñā has 2 meanings:
        1. The consciousness (parā) because of which the body-mind can perform the yajña.
        2. Karma phala dātā of jīva’s yajña. Giver of results of persons rituals.
    • So what does “I am adhi yajña” mean?
      • Īśvara is karma phala dātā. One who gives enjoyment/suffering/consequences based on person’s yajña (actions).
      • Thus can’t blame Bhagavān for gotten results. Because they’re based on person’s past actions. Law of Karma.
      • Sometimes person justifies, “I don’t remember what was done to deserve THIS!”. Point is: We don’t even remember what was said 2 classes ago, let alone remembering events years ago, like Jan 5th, 2:52pm.
    • Conclusion:
      • Whatever results gotten from our actions, is given by “adhi yajña” (deliverer of our actions, ACCORDING to our dharmic/adharmic actions.)
      • So God’s laws/orders DELIVERS results, which REFLECT types of actions we do on DAILY bases.

 

Keywords: abhyasa, adhi atman, adhyatma, agami , aksara, aksaram, akshara, aksharam, apara-prakriti, aparoksa , aparoksha, atma, avidya, bhagavan, bhagavan , bhokta, bhutabhavod, bhutam, brhattvad, dhyana, dhyanam, hiranyagarbha, ishvara, isvara, jiva, jivatma, jnana, jnanam, jnani, karana, karmas, karta, ksara, kshara, lokas, madhusudana, manushya, manusya , maya , moksa, moksha, mundaka, mundaka , niskama, niyatatmabhi, papa, papam, para-prakriti , prarabdha, punya, purusas, purusha, sadhana, saguna, sakama, sakti, samashthi, samashti, samasti, sanjnita, satchitananda, shakti, srshti, srsti karanam, sukshma, suksma-sarira, svabhava, svabhavah , upanisad, upanishad, upasana, visarga, vyashti, vyasti, yajna, yajnam

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Chinmaya Int. Foundation & Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 10 Sept, 2019

 

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