Reality = Knower and Known (One Self Appearing as Cosmos) (124)


Lesson 124 concludes BG CH13, Verse 2 by showing all forms known, experienced or observed – are modifications of the One content (Kshetrajna; Knower).

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 2

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 2:

kṣetrajñam ca api mām viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata ।
kṣetra-kṣetrajñayoḥ jñānam yat tat jñānam matam mama ॥ 13-2
And know Me as the kṣētrajña (knower) in all the kṣētras (bodies), O Bharata. The knowledge of kṣētra and kṣētrajña is deemed by Me as true Knowledge.

  • LOGISTICS: This directly resumes session 122 (Verse 2). Previous session 123 was about clarifying questions.

TOPIC 1 OF VERSE 2: Know Me as The Kṣetrajña in all Kṣetras

    • Where is the CLAY in this POT?
      • The whole of POT is pervaded by CLAY.
      • At same time, CLAY remains intrinsically free from POT limitations.
    • What is the reality of POT?
      • It’s neither (1) totally UNreal, nor (2) absolutely REAL. It has in-between reality, called: mithyā (depends on something else for it’s existence).
    • There’s many undiscovered forms I don't know. But if I know the clay to be the truth of them all (and they're all modifications of clay)… then it doesn't matter how many things I don't know.
  • How do we demonstrate that Kṣetrajña is in all kṣetras?
    • First, what is nature of Kṣetrajña? Sat-cit (Existence, Awareness).
      1. EXISTENCE:
        • What is Existence (which enjoys a power within itself of limitless intelligence, called māyā)? From which time-space-objects are born of, sustained by, resolved into.
        • How do we know it’s an intelligent Existence? Because your body-mind & universe isn’t random, but operated by logically predictable orders.
        • How do we PROVE this intelligent Existence was there BEFORE manifest-universe?
          • Upon analysis, anything in existence can be reduced into a smaller mithyā forms.
          • Complexity of mithya forms increases, but “IS” (Intelligent-existence) remains in order to intelligently create-sustain-resolve each mithyā-form.
          • Ultimately we stop at Intelligent-existence which CAN NOT be further reduced.
            • Because if you reduce Intelligent-existence into nothingness, then logical problem comes:
              1. How can you create an Intelligently operated universe from absolutely nothing? Impossible.
              2. Where does the knowledge of time-space-objects come from?
          • In the entire universe we can't find a single effect without a preceding cause.
          • Anywhere we observe intelligent laws/orders. Meaning this intelligent-existence must've also existed before time-space-universe.
        • OBJECTION: There was NOTHING before everything came. Notion of “asat” (non-existence) comes from 2 schools of Buddhism. Please note, we are NOT dismissing entire field of Buddhism which is vast, sophisticated and is doing much good for seekers.
          1. Śūnyavādi is a Mahāyāna Buddhism theory of negation. Holding view that reality is empty / void / unreal.
            • School’s views is:
              • Everything is Mithyā. Things are not as real as they seem to be.
              • What is the final reality? There’s no such thing as “final reality”. Everything disappears into something else, hence world is UNREAL.
              • School's conclusion:
                1. World is unreal.
                2. I make it to be real.
                3. Hence I need to dismiss the world.
                4. I’m falsely getting attached to things which are unreal, hence I must DETACH myself.
                5. Reject everything since it’s unreal.
                6. Hence their whole life is to GIVE UP EVERYTHING.
                7. Example when one incorrect deviation is made from the truth, and so many subsequent mistakes are made.
              • Vedantic COUNTER Argument:
                • Show me one thing which came from nothing.
                • There is a presence, which is not-changing (not mithyā).
          2. kṣaṇika-vijñāna-vādi
            • School’s views is: What you believe to be the final reality (Consciousness), is actually flickers of Consciousness. Because flickers are put together, it seems like continuous stream of Consciousness. And this “Flicker of Consciousness” is changing Mind.
            • Vedantic COUNTER Argument:
              • There is a reality (Satya) because of which “Flickers of Consciousness” are known.
        • In order for Intelligent-existence to create-sustain-resolve each mithyā-form, it has to be conscious.
  • OBJECTION (in reference to CIT above): It’s easy to appreciate cit (Consciousness) in a living being, since one is alive and self-aware. But what about between 2 living beings?
    • Consciousness is also present between 2 living beings.
      • Examples:
        1. You can appreciate electricity in Fan 1 and Fan 2. Between the 2 fans, electricity is flowing through cable. But hard to appreciate because no instrument is operational.
        2. Reflected light is recognized on finger 1 & 2 (both are upādhi). Between the finger, is there light? It appears absent because there’s no reflecting medium.
        3. Dakshinamurti Stotra V4 (Paraphrased): Imagine lighted pot with 5 holes (apertures). It’s shining rays of light through the apertures and illumining whatever is in it’s path. In same way, imagine body with 5 apertures, through which light of Consciousness (kshetrajna) is illumining the world of objects. That light in your body-mind, is the same light in my body-mind. That light of Consciousness is kshetrajna.
      • From above examples, what can we conclude?
        • CONSCIOUSNESS (kṣetrajña): Consciousness is not any one particular form. Simultaneously, it’s the content obtaining in-and-through every form. EG: clay-pot.
        • MATTER (kṣetram): Matter (kṣetram) is a medium (upādhi) through which the One content (kṣetrajña) expresses or manifests itself.
        • When matter goes away, consciousness remains, but it’s expression ends.
      • STANDPOINTS: Kṣetraña has different names when looked from different angles.
        • EG: You (puruṣa) are called “daughter/son” infront of parent, etc.
        • Microcosm (vyaṣṭi): As kṣetraña is looked at from standpoint of single body-mind instrument, then kṣetraña (knower) is called: jīvātma.
        • Macrocosm (samaṣṭi): As kṣetraña is looked at from standpoint of all body-minds, then kṣetraña (knower) is called: paramātma (another name for Īśvara).
        • Adjective is jīva/parama. Noun is ātmā (kṣetrajña).
        • In other words:
          • I (kṣetrajña, the content of everything) am called jīvātma from standpoint of Andre/Your-Name.
          • I (kṣetrajña, the content of everything) am called paramātma from standpoint of entire manifest universe.
          • This what Krishna means by: Know Me as the kṣetrajña in all the kṣetras.

TOPIC 2 OF VERSE 2: The knowledge of kṣetra & kṣetrajña is True knowledge:

  • True knowledge means: Knowledge, knowing which, everything at once becomes known. Knowledge is called: Parā-vidyā, brahmavidyā, jñāna-yoga, ātmā-jñānam, Vedānta.
  • How is everything known?
    • Because kṣetra & kṣetrajña excludes nothing in existence.
    • All other knowledges focus on realities within kṣetra. Some even turn kṣetrajñā into kṣetram (an object which can be theorised about).



Keywords: atma-jnanam, jivatma, ksanika kshanika vijnana vadi, mahayana buddhism, ninayana buddhism, para-vidya, paramatma, shunyavadi

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 11 May, 2021


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