Mananam, Nididhyasanam, Brahman is Neither Sat-Asat (143)


Lesson 143 speaks of other schools of philosophies. End of 20 values. What is Brahman NOT?

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 11, 12.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 11:

adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvam tattva-jñāna-artha-darśanam ।
etat jñānam iti proktam ajñānam yat ataḥ anyathā ॥ 13-11 ॥
…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: Commitment to Self-Knowledge: 3 Pillars. Intimately discerning limits 3 puruśārthas. Reminder to remain focused on 4th (least popular goal)… inquiry into 3 pillars and devotion.
  • Value 20: Understanding the Validity of Self-Knowledge: Knowing what objective scriptures play in reference to 4th goal. They are a compass how to navigate complex world of duality, and interpret existence.
    • Sacred texts (upon inquiry can’t be contradicted). Only misinterpreted by novice minds (not trained to think beyond the words).
      • EG:
        1. Spouse (seemingly) compliments you, but underlining intention is to gently bring light to a sensitive matter.
        2. Insect in jungle, shape of a stick (phasmids). Why a stick? Infer: To camouflage into forest.
        3. Why do sea turtles lay over 100 eggs on beach? Hint: Seagulls/ocean.
  • 3 Processes for Self-Knowledge / Scriptures to Work:
    1. Śravaṇam: Temporarily suspending one’s sense of “I heard this before and like / didn’t like it”, and listening from freshness.
    2. Manana:
      • You are not expected to understand all at once.
      • What is manana? You voice out doubts to improve the understanding of mahavakyas. What kind of doubts?…
      • 3 Kinds of doubts are brought up:
        1. Own doubts.
        2. Others doubts.
        3. Doubts of scholars. Those who interpret Vedas. EG:
          • Pūrva-mīmāṃsikā:
            • Say moksha is going to a better place, then coming back to earth.
          • Viśiṣṭādvaita:  
            • Basis: There is only one entity, Ishvara. And you are part of Ishvara.
            • When you understand you're not apart from Isvara, then upon videha-mukti is being in Vaikuntha with Ishvara forever.
            • It stops at final reality being Ocean. Vishva-rupa (in CH11 of B.G) shown to Arjuna, is the final reality to Vishishtadvaitans.
          • Dvaitains:
            • Basis: I am separate from you / world / Bhagavan.
            • Mindset, “I want to be reborn over and over so I can be Krishna’s loving devotee, pleasing Him“. EG: ISCON.
            • Every religion operates within Dvaita.
            • NOTE: Both Dvaita and Advaita teachings are coming from Lord.
              • Hence Advaita doesn't negate Dvaita. But it's the final culmination of all your sincere Dvaita efforts. Meaning all the dvaita prayers, devotion one did… ultimately got you to Advaita.
              • Thus to come to Advaita, one need (1) grace (2) tremendous punya, to embrace and accept Advaita teaching.
      • Considering many schools, how to know who is interpreting Upanishads correctly?
        • Through analysis (mimamsa). Engaging with scholarly people and have to defend what you're saying (instead of saying “I'm right“).
        • Whoever is capturing what Upanishads are saying, that view can't be contradicted.
        • If someone is adding personal spin to Upanishads, at some point a fallacy of logic will be exposed.
    3. Nididhyasanam:
      • Required because for lifetimes jīva lived as individual, “I have to be enmeshed in this world, I have to get stuff to be happy”.
  • With respect to all 20 values: Knowing what I now know, how can I incorporate these values into thoughts, emotions, words and actions?
    1. When unsure how to respond appropriately: Pause.
    2. Attempt to remember the teaching.
    3. Reply or act in accordance to your memory of the teaching.


    • 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.




Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 12:

jñeyam yat tat pravakṣyāmi yat jñātvā amṛtam aśnute ।
anādimat param brahma na sat tat na asat ucyate ॥ 13-12 ॥
I shall teach you that which is to be known, upon knowing which one attains immortality. It is the supreme Brahman which has no beginning (unborn) and is limitless. And is neither (a) an effect / existent (as a manifest object), nor (b) a cause / non-existent (potential).

  • So far Krishna completed 3 topics:
    1. kṣetram:
      • World. Matter.
      • In CH7 = aparā-prakṛti.
    2. kṣetrajña:
      • Awareness shining through the gross-subtle-causal body.
      • Brahman from microcosm standpoint > Ātmā.
      • In CH7 = parā-prakṛti.
    3. Jñānam:
      • 20 values. V7-11.
      • In most cases, jñānam refers to self-knowledge, but in CH13, V7-11 context, it means: Values.
  • 3 More topics remain:
    • Jñeyam:
      • “That which is to be known”.
      • Similar to kṣetrajña. Difference?
        • Kṣetrajña = Brahman from standpoint of microcosm (individual), otherwise called ātmā.
        • Jñeyam = Brahman from standpoint of macrocosm (world). V12-18.
    • prakṛti / puruṣaḥ: Similar to kṣetram / kṣetrajña. V19-23.
  • What is jñeyam?
    • yat tat pravakṣyāmi; that which is to be known, eventually (after qualified mind of 20 values). It’s synonym for kṣetrajña.
  • What specifically is to be known? Brahman.
  • What is Brahman?
    • Brahman means Consciousness.
      • 2 types of Consciousness:
        1. Empirical: state of mind (biological/physiological/psychological processes).
        2. Absolute: witness of empirical. Brahman refers to #2.
  • Brahman is:
    • Neither sat nor asat.
      • EFFECT: Sat(Not referring to sat of satcitānanda)

        • 2 meanings. Both defined as “IS”.
          1. Manifest (effect / present here-now). EG: Manifest body. Glass (sat) is in my hand.
          2. Existing as an object of knowledge. EG: Pumpkin is evident as an existent object of knowledge.
      • CAUSE: Asat.
        • 2 meanings. Both defined as “IS-NOT”.
          1. Unmanifest (absent / in causal-potential state). EG: Boss (asat) is not in office. Inherent tendencies (EG: eating style).
          2. Non-existing: EG: Pumpkin-beard. Rabbits-horns. Sky flowers. Square-circle.
    • Brahman is neither. It illumines the presence of both EFFECT (existent as an individual object) and CAUSE (non-existent; in unmanifest potential).
      • EG: Pumpkin (sat) is evident as an existing thing (in presence of Brahman). Absence of pumpkin (although in seed form) is also evident as a non-existing thing (in presence of Brahman).
      • Meaning, IS and IS-NOT… are evident to Brahman, and do not condition Brahman. Why can't Brahman be sat/asat? Logic in NEXT SESSION….


Keywords: purva-mimamsa, purva-mimamsika, Vishishtadvaita


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

Recorded 14 Sept, 2021


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