3 Pillars of Vedanta (Jiva-Jagat-Brahman) & Purpose of Self-Knowledge (142)


Lesson 142 is shows the value of self-knowledge, 3 pillars, and wave-ocean-water analogy.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 11.


  • No revision as we revised 18 values in last session.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 11:

adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvam tattva-jñāna-artha-darśanam ।
etat jñānam iti proktam ajñānam yat ataḥ anyathā ॥
…always (dwelling upon) knowledge centred on the self, keeping in view the purpose of knowledge of the truth—(all) this that was told is the means to knowledge, what is opposite to this is ignorance.

Value 19: tattva-jñānārtha darśanam: Commitment to Self-Knowledge

  • According to Vedānta, for understanding oneself as the whole, 3 pillars needs to be ascertained:
    1. Jīva:
      • Looking into it’s various components, we’re unable to find the final building block.
        • EG: Body is made of parts. Mind is changing according to the environment / memories / saṃskāras.
      • Upon analysis, jīva discovers that every form/experience (mithyā) resolves ultimately into satyam (ever-true-fresh-new Awareness). And it’s because of this Awareness, “I” get to tell the story of this person.
    2. Jagat:
      • Time-space-objects. Past-present-future. Like the jīva, we can’t find the final building block. EG:
        • Time is units within units.
          • 1 year = 365 days > 1 day = 24h >1h = 60min > 1 min = 60 sec > Planck time: 10-44
        • Space is units within units.
          • Distance between A & B = 1m. 1m = 100cm. 1cm = 10mm > Planck length (1.6 x 10-35 metres). 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 016 meters.
        • Time-space eventually reduce into “concept” of time-space. EG: Concept of time-space is different in dream. And in sleep it’s unmanifest.
    3. Īśvara: Cause of the universe.
      • Who/what is the cause of jīva/jagat? Īśvara.
      • Ishvara is defined as all-knowledge-power, being the efficient and material cause of everything.
      • This Intelligence manifests the tiniest particles, and intelligently organizes them into next assembly.
        • Since every assembly is pervaded by the SAME Intelligence, each assembly helplessly takes on an intelligent role… in reference to it’s relationship with other assemblies. IE: All-knowledge-power doesn’t make mistakes.
      • QUESTION: How can limitless Intelligence organize? It can’t, unless it is blessed by Brahman (which is defined as sat-cit).
        • For knowledge-power to exist, it needs Existence (sat). Meaning, in presence of Existence… Knowledge-Power IS.
        • In order for knowledge-power to put together, it needs to be Aware (cit) of itself.
  • What is “Commitment to Self Knowledge”? Value for primary goal in life, being tattva-jñāna (knowledge of the 3 pillars). Also called: self-knowledge / ātma-jñāna.
  • Why should I assimilate self-knowledge? How is it relevant?
    • Mind asks this Q to retain it’s individuality. Hence we must show that individuality is limiting (since jīva forgot since beginningless time).
    • On surface, many different goals/passions. But behind it all, the search is the same: freedom from any kind of limitation. Unbeknownst how to attain, we subscribe to 3 options to free ourselves from limitation:
      1. Artha: We have defined what “security” means. Then pursue things which we think will fulfill our definition of “security”.
        • EG: Stocks, partnership, position/title. Behind all of it, motive is self-fulfillment.
      2. Kāma (delights):
        • Physical, emotional, intellectual comforts.
        • EG: Games, entertainment, spas, sports.
      3. Dharma (ethical standards):
        • Wishing to contribute ethically. Nobility. Generosity. Compassion. Joining organization for good cause in world.
        • If jīva doesn’t know nature of oneself, then every “noble” cause is done for one’s own sake (self-fulfillment).
    • NEXT QUESTION: If fundamental search is for permanent/unwavering/unsurpassed fulfillment… is artha/kāma/dharma bringing me closer to this goal? No, because…
      1. Artha:
        • Whatever goal, it’s bound by time/mood/values.
        • Insecurity from it’s loss.
        • Concerned about maintenance.
      2. Kāma: Bound by mood/environment/body health.
      3. Dharma: You join organization of human rights. Eventually realize how little difference it’s making. Unhappy.
    • NEXT QUESTION: If 3 can’t deliver permanent fulfillment, what can? Mokṣa.
      • Former 3 optimize saṃsāra. 4th is seeing through saṃsāra.
      • What is involved in pursuit of mokṣa?
        • Inquiring non-stop into the 3 pillars.
        • Person starts with jīva, “What is the ABSOLUTE nature of this individual?”.
          • Soon discover problem is centered on “I”. Thus solution is also centered on “I”. Hence the fullness “I” am searching, happens to be this very “I”. Jijñāsu > mumukṣu.
    • NEXT QUESTION: Do I have to give up artha, kāma, dharma… in order to pursue mokṣa? No.
      • EG: If go to mountain, you’ll rely on someone for food. Or see kids not going to school, and get agitated.
      • Proper attitude: Honour artha/kāma/dharma as MEANS to an end. Don’t give up duties, because for most, mind can’t settle unless it’s exhausting it’s svadharma within society.
        • EG: Ramayana: King Janaka was a liberated king. His job was to be a king.
  • SUMMARY of (tattva-jñānārtha darśanam: Commitment to Self-Knowledge): Every breath serves as reminder for your ONLY purpose of being alive… knowing thyself.

Value 20: adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvam: Understanding the Validity of Self-Knowledge

* Starts at: 54:29

  • What is it? Healthy addiction to the śāstra, knowing it’s place relative to your search. Thus engaging in constant and systematic study of vedāntic scriptures for a length of time, under guidance of competent ācārya.
    • What is śāstra? Statements about reality, which upon their investigation, can’t be contradicted.
      • To demonstrate the non-contradictory nature of scriptures:
        • Your sentences are nothing but words put in logical order which give meaning to a sentence. And word is nothing but letters put together logically to create sounds. Any change in word-order within a sentence, and the sentence falls apart; it can no longer reveal a fact.
      • For example, to create an intelligent/logical sentence, it has to consist of 4 parts. Notice how you can’t contradict any of them, because your very argument/debate is employing these 4 principles…

        1. Expectancy: One word like “bring” naturally expects another word after it, like “…the jar“.
        2. Mutual fitness: The words in sentence should not contradict themselves.
          • EG: The fire has frozen the water.
        3. Proximity of words: Spoken words don’t make sense if separated by long-time intervals.
          • EG: “Bring a cow”, uttered 10 minutes apart.
        4. Intention of the words: To understand the sentence/context, must understand intention of the author/book.
          • EG: “Bring a bat”, interpreted as (A) To knock someone out (B) To show features of a (wooden) bat.
    • What purpose does ācārya have?
      • Because he/she adds context to the teaching, removes the unintended meanings, resolves contradictions of various verses.
      • Metaphor showing relationship between scriptures, sishya, guru:
        • Eyes = pramāṇa. Color = ātma. Light = teacher + qualified mind. To see color with the eyes, light is needed.
  • 3 Processes Involved For Vedanta to Work:
    • Śravaṇam:
      • First putting your own thinking aside. Then while listening/reading, reflect on the words of Upanishads. Should NOT personally interpret in light of what you heard before.
      • EG: Tat Tvam Asi. Formula for: Isvara / jiva / point of resolution for both sides.  How to understand it?
        • STEP 1: Relatable Analogy using: Wave / Ocean / Water.
          • Wave is nothing but Water. (Only brings in jiva.)
          • Wave and Ocean have their being in Water. (Bringing in Ishvara)
          • All that is here, is Ocean.
          • Only after understanding the former 3, then we can make statement: Wave of past, present, future is Ocean And you are the truth of the Ocean. And wherever Ocean is, it carries it's Truth with it.
        • STEP 2: Let's tie Step 1 with mahāvākyaaham brahman asmi“.
          • This mahavakya equates You to Water.
          • It's knowing, “I am water, the truth of the Ocean“. Because before wave came, there was water. While wave is there and after it goes, there is only water.
        • STEP 3: Let's tie Step 1 with mahavakyatat tvam asi“.
          • This mahavakya says You (wave) and Ishvara (Ocean) are one Brahman (water).
          • You and Ocean enjoy one final reality, Water.
        • STEP 4: Let's tie Step 1 with mahavakyaiśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvaṁ” (Lord pervades Everything).
          • Wave is told, “All that is here is Ocean“. Because every wave of past, present, future is included in the Ocean… only ever resides in Ocean.
          • But this Ocean also has it's own truth, which is water. So wherever you are, there is Ocean, and wherever Ocean is, it enjoys it own Truth (water).
    • Mananam/Nididhyāsanam: Next session…


    • Value 1: amānitvam: Absence of demanding validation/respect.
    • Value 2: adambhitvam: Absence of pretense (making up stories).
    • Value 3: ahiṃsā: Deliberation of thought/word/action.
    • Value 4: kṣānti: Accommodation / Glad Acceptance of WHAT-IS.
    • Value 5: ārjavam: Straightforwardness (Alignment of thought/word/action).
    • Value 6: ācāryopāsanam: Service to teacher.
    • Value 7: śaucam: Inner & outer cleanliness.
    • Value 8: sthairyam: Steadfastness (Persistence).
    • Value 9: ātmavinigraha: Mastery/Management of the Mind.
    • Value 10: indriyārtheṣu vairāgyam: Dispassion Through Objectivity.
    • Value 11: anahaṅkāra: Healthy “I-Sense”.
    • Value 12: anudarśanam: Reflecting on 5-fold limitations.
    • Value 13: asaktiḥ: Absence of Sense of Ownership.
    • Value 14: anabhiṣvanga: Absence of Obsession over Wife, Son, House.
    • Value 15: nityam samacittatvam: Constant Equanimity.
    • Value 16: ananya-bhakti: Unswerving Devotion to Lord.
    • Value 17: vivikta-deśa-sevitvam: Preference for Solitude.
    • Value 18: aratiḥ jana-saṃsadi: Absence of Craving for Social Interactions.
    • Value 19: tattva-jñānārtha darśanam: Commitment to Self-Knowledge.
    • Value 20: adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvam: Understanding the Validity of Self-Knowledge.


Keywords: isavasyam idam sarvam, ishavasya idam sarvam, jijnasu, mumukshu, pramana


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

Recorded 7 Sept, 2021


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