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:

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 (10-35). 0.000(12x)
        • 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 centred on “I”. Thus solution is also centred 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: adhambhitam: 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: anabhiṣvangaḥ: 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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