Individual's Death & Rebirth – Discerning Yogi's vs Non-Discerning (160)


Lesson 160 discusses process of death and birth; what actually happens. Reflected vs Original Consciousness. Discerning yogi's know that noone has died at time of physical death.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 15, Verse 9, 10, 11


  • PART 1:
    • Verse 1-2: Description of Samsara. For sake of objectivity. Don’t know you’re in it, until you know it.
  • PART 2: Verse 3-6: 4 Remedies:
    1. Vairāgyam / Virāga: Dispassion: reducing bondage to likes/dislikes for sake of “experiencing”. Not possible by willpower, only by seeing objective worth of the object.
    2. Bhakti / Śaraṇāgati: Whether liberated or not, remaining mindful in the hands of a larger intelligence that’s been running this world before you were born, running it now, and after you’re gone.
    3. Sadguṇaḥ / Dharma: Living an honest, virtuous life wherever possible; while actively contributing within your sphere of influence.
    4. Ātmā-jñānam: Removing the notional idea that “I” am away from the Whole.
      • If existence of Brahman can’t ever be directly proven by any pramanam, yet it exists; it can only be the conscious subject.
      • If the God is all-pervading, then any distance I experience, is merely notional.
  • PART 3:
    • Verse 7-12: Brahman (the WHOLE) is in form of the jīva.
    • Verse 7:
      • Krishna (speaking as Brahman) says, “I” appear in form of many eternal-jiva’s, just as waker appears as many jiva’s in dream.
        • Eternal-jiva: A traveling conscious subtle-body. It’s nature is to inherit physical-bodies for eternity, until liberation.
        • The conscious subtle-body further gives consciousness to physical body when inherited.
      • Meaning God (cit) is indirectly known through any sentient being.
        • Metaphor: How to prove invisible electricity?
          • Look at the bulb. Shine doesn’t belong to it, but filament. Which further borrows shining-capacity from electricity.
          • We don’t say “There is bulb/filament”, but there is power.
          • Live wire. (Because it’s pervades by invisible principle).
          • Body like fragile bulb (visible). Mind like filament (partially visible). Electricity (invisible) like consciousness. 
      • Time of death:
        • The conscious subtle-body disassociates from gross-body via udana-prana. Still aware MINUS awareness of aches-pains of gross-body / brain.
        • Can artificially keep body alive, but there’s no indweller. So no one is experiencing the body.
          • Coma = deep sleep like state.
    • Verse 8:
      • Jiva is called ishvara (also means: master), because Jiva is Lord of the body.
      • When body stop, science can only say the organ functions stopped. But don’t understand the ACTUAL reason for death: indweller (reflected consciousness + reflecting medium) left the body.
    • Verse 9, what happens upon birth…

Bhagavad Gita, CH15, Verse 9:

śrotram cakṣuḥ sparśanam ca rasanam ghrāṇam eva ca ।
adhiṣṭhāya manaḥ ca ayam viṣayān upasevate ॥ 15-9॥

Presiding over the ear, the eye, the senses of touch, taste, and smell, and the mind, this person (jéva) experiences the sense objects.

  • ESSENCE OF VERSE: The [newborn] jīva experiences the world through 5 instruments of perception; ear, eye, skin, tongue, nose and mind.
  • Since the eternal-jiva carries the template of subtle-body, which carries template for 5 sense/action-organs + mind, if it enters:
    • Tree (physical) body:
      • Only subtle-body’s organ-of-touch will align with physical instrument (tree’s skin). Others will be inactive.
    • Human (physical) body:
      • Subtle-body’s 5 organs of perception/action will align with corresponding physical instruments.
      • Upon death, subtle-body jiva EXITS from one of major nadi’s. When the subtle-body jiva is near the exit of the nadi, that nadi becomes bright (due to jiva's reflected-consciousness)
      • What gates are available for exit? (1) eyes (2) Top of the head (sahasrāra) (3) Any other point along the suṣumṇā-nāḍī.
        • Reason why some people's eyes become noticeably bright/clear moments before death.
        • Point-of-exit depends on (a) guna-dominance (b) punya-papa of this life.
  • Finally upon birth… baby/toddler slowly unpacks the subtle-body. IE: Breathing, eating, walking, thinking.
  • What’s noteworthy is every sentient jiva is a testimony of presence of God. Because God is Consciousness because of which every jiva is Conscious of one’s subtle-body in form of emotions/thoughts/memories.
    • ORDER: Sentient body > reveals > sentient mind > reveals > consciousness (Supreme Reality, Lord; whom all are seeking to know).
    • Despite the obvious proof (in mere fact of sentient being), an immature mind still asks for proof of God.

Bhagavad Gita, CH15, Verse 10:

utkrāmantam sthitam vā api bhuñjānam vā guṇa-anvitam ।
vimūḍhāḥ na anupaśyanti paśyanti jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ ॥ 15-10॥

The deluded ones do not see the one who is departing (from the body), or who resides in the body, or who experiences (objects), (and) who has guṇas. Those who have the eye of wisdom, see.

  • ESSENCE OF VERSE: The ignorant don’t know that subtle-body leaves the dead gross-body, nor do they know the same subtle-body enlivens the (dead) gross-body. While the wise “see” this through the eye-of-wisdom.
  • What is Reflected Consciousness and how is it different from Original consciousness?
    • When Original Consciousness (cit, Chaitanya, brahman, paramātmā) expresses through the subtle-body (reflecting medium), it’s then called “Reflected Consciousness” (Chaitanya pratibimba, chidabhasa).
      • When OC blesses the subtle-body with “part of itself” (V7); the subtle-body is made conscious, which in turn blesses gross-body with capacity to perceive/sense the jagat.
        • That’s why when patient comes back into gross-body (after hypnosis/NDE), immediately feels sensation of gross-body.
      • ORDER: OC shines on (sattvic, rajasic, tamasic) mind > The conscious Mind shines/pervades the body (giving it sentiency). Meaning  the functioning of body reveals the functioning of the mind. Functioning of mind reveals the presence of OC (God; Ishvara).
        • NOTE: OC can’t directly lend to gross-body, else it’ll be eternally sentient.
  • What is the relationship between OC, RC and RM (subtle-body)?
    • METAPHOR 1:
      • OC is like the One sun. RM is like the water in the bucket. RC is like the reflection of the sun on the RM-water.
        • So if water in bucket doesn’t know (owing to ignorance) that the reflection is because of the sun, then it’ll say statements like “My consciousness. My life. I am ___”.
    • METAPHOR 2:
      • Original sun is shining. Imagine a mirror (RM) in a dark room (body-world).
      • Sun shines on mirror (RM) and the mirror's reflected light illumines the dark room (body-world).
      • Similarly, OC (Brahman) gets to know about the world through the jiva (RM + RC).
        • EG: In deep-sleep, mirror (RM) is removed (dissolves into Causal Body), thus body-world is dark/unknown, even though body-world is still there.
  • vimūḍhāḥ na anupaśyanti utkrāmantam; Deluded ones do not recognise (jiva) who leaves (the body). Believe body has own consciousness, hence person is forever-gone.
    • Meaning deluded don’t understand that after physical death, what survives is the reflecting medium (subtle-body) and the Reflected Consciousness (which is still making that jiva conscious no different then while wearing a gross-body).
      • IE: What survives is: anandamaya, vijnanamaya, manomaya kosha … onto which OC is reflected.
      • In short: The ignorant jiva (without a gross body) survives.
  • jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ paśyanti: Those who have the eye of wisdom recognise (ijva).
    • Have eye of discernment.
    • EG: Invisible electricity is blessing the visible appliance.
      • Similarly, the invisible jiva which use to bless the dead body with sentiency, is still true NOW, although unseen due to medium-of-expression being unavailable.


Bhagavad Gita, CH15, Verse 11:

yatantaḥ yoginaḥ ca enam paśyanti ātmani avasthitam ।
yatantaḥ api akṛta-ātmānaḥ na enam paśyanti acetasaḥ ॥ 15-11॥
The yogins, who are making effort, see this self obtaining in the buddhi. Those whose minds are not mature and who do not have viveka, do not see this (ātman) even if they are making effort.

  • ESSENCE: The wise ones [who lived according to universal-values to purify the mind and earn Bhagavān’s grace, and applied ātmā-anātmā-viveka insistently] – come to effortlessly discern the subject (ātmā) and object (anātmā). The non-discerning ones; even though striving; Awareness (paramātmā) is experienced/known as a subtle intellectual concept only.
  • Krishna distinguishes 2 types of individuals: Discerning & non-discerning (in respect to satya-mithya).
    • Discerning: aparoksha-jnanam
      • Recognizing a Fan; one recognizes visible fan / invisible electricity.
      • Recognizing Gross body > blessed by the mind (sculpted by samskaras [sattvic, rajasic, tamasic] / environment & guided by dharma) > made Aware by cit
        • In other words, the wise recognize cit is obtaining in everyone’s buddhi. “I am the Awareness obtaining in NAME’s-intellect”. And this Awareness is not given at some point like the body-mind, because it’s upahita and not upadhi.
      • Thus, yoginaḥ paśyanti enam avasthitam ātmani: The yogis see (due to jnanam) that cit is obtaining through-and-through every mind (as reflected consciousness, enlivening the entire body).
        • Converting to sadhana: You’re saying namaskāra to RC (eternal-jīva whose enlightened but doesn’t know it).
        • They accomplish by yatantaḥ; striving (Dispassion, Devotion, Virtuous Qualities).
    • Non-discerning: samsaris / paroksha-jnanam
      • Impure minded is stuck at concept of Brahman, outer-appearance of wise person.
      • Discusses non-duality with friends and forums, as though, it’s another object-of-knowledge. Non-duality is “I”, the One without a second.
      • The unwise wants Brahman to be something special, even though teacher keeps repeating, Brahman is the most ordinary, down-to-earth, most-familiar experience of helpless-Awareness, of helpless am-ness”.
        • And the Awareness IS God. That’s why old phrase says, “God is always watching”.
        • Once this is accepted by the intellect, Vedanta pramana has done it’s job. One continues living as normal.
  • How to know if Moksha (aparoksha-jnanam) is attained / achieved?
      • If you get something, your asking and curiosity for it stops immediately. And if one continues asking, one feels silly/in-congruent because it’s obvious it’s already present.
      • No regrets of past (they belong to jiva; not Self).


Keywords: aparokṣa jnana, parokṣa jñānam, namaskara, paramatma, atma-jnana, vairagyam, viraga, sharanagati, saranagati

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

Recorded 15 Feb, 2022



  1. This one has literally saved my life! Pun intended.

    I was ignorant to the subtle body leaving gross body (upon death) and still being sentient and aware but minus the reflecting gross body medium… so can’t see, feel, walk etc.

    It’s still a bit hard to understand what that will be like when I die… Aware Jiva with no body!

    Upon death is the subtle body withdrawn back into causal body or would that make it non sentient and not aware?

    P.S. I’ve always been afraid of dying. This is helping and I need to completely remove that fear through more knowledge.

    Thanks Andre.

    1. ==========
      It’s still a bit hard to understand what that will be like when I die… Aware Jiva with no body!

      It’s experienced each day when dreaming. From standpoint of dream, there’s no gross-body. What’s it like? Sense of I is exactly the same, minus the weight/solidity that gross body gives it. It’s more thought based.

      Upon death is the subtle body withdrawn back into causal body or would that make it non sentient and not aware?

      Some Upanishads say subtle-body resolves. So its 100% identical to deep sleep. Only difference is, instead of waking to the usual familiar John body, there is waking to a brand new baby body + amnesia. Obviously spiritual tendencies are carried over.

      Yes, fear of death is natural for everyone, due to “I” being placed in the immortal gross-body, subtle-body and causal-body. As knowledge helps us to recognize “I” right now, am totally free of the 3 bodies, the fear very slowly subsides. Nothing about this is overnight. Knowledge is a growing clarity. Month by month, year by year.

    2. Please ask on website, that way others will also benefit from the answer.

      1) at point of death the subtle body (reflected consciousness right?) is ejected from the gross body.

      Correct. Don’t need Vedanta for this answer. Countless Near Death Experiences, the moment heart/brain activity stopped, “I REMEMBER seeing my body, hearing the doctors, etc”. So there was still someone to REMEMBER the experience, despite not being attached to physical brain or body.

      In short, for one who has not removed ignorance, after death, the exact same I that I know myself right now, is exactly there after passing of physical body.

      Fascinating case from initial skeptic (thinking there’s nothing after death):

      2) the subtle body stays sentient and aware with all memories of its life just the same as in the (non dead) body except for lack of reflected medium body (eyes, ears, mind etc.).

      Correct. Literally no change whatsoever. Many NDE’s report, “I actually felt even more alive after death”. This is because the gross-body is actually a huge burden onto the subtle-body., as it’s subject to countless laws like gravity, mass, hunger, etc.

      3) the subtle body is absorbed back into causal body.

      Correct. Just like in deep sleep. Meaning the subtle-body remains in potential. And what causes the causal-body to “eject” the subtle-body out of it? Pressures/desires. They can’t be contained forever. So the very pressures/desires that cause you to wake out of deep sleep, are the very same pressures that cause waking up into a new gross-body of a baby.

      4) upon new birth you get a new subtle and gross body.

      Yes. The subtle-body will be populated with tendencies from past life. So if you were a logical thinker in past life, that tendency carries over.

      And body characteristics (male/female/weak/strong/etc) is determined per mixture of past life’s moral/immoral deeds. What about deformed bodies with disabilities? Same. No body in the universe, at any time, was an accident.

      Q. causal body has to get ejected along with subtle body and stays with subtle body? Or subtle body would die so to speak because causal body provides consciousness to subtle body?

      Order is: Causal Body > Subtle Body > Gross Body. The Causal Body is the only one that’s ALWAYS true.

      For example, in waking, all 3 bodies are available. How is Causal-Body available in the waking? It’s from which your tendancies/habits come. All day long, we are thinking according to tendancies/habits.

      In dream, there is only Subtle and Causal. So your Subtle (mind) is populated by all unexpressed/unresolved tendencies stored in Causal. In fact, the dream really reveals what tendencies are unresolved. So dream can help us work out the unresolved later in the waking.

      In deep sleep, there is only Causal-Body. Meaning the person called “John” is in potential, inside the Causal.

      Q. Is that a new subtle body or just called new as it’s new to the new gross body (so it’s the same subtle body as was in the previous gross body)?

      Subtle-body is new each second. When you feel great/positive in the morning, that subtle-body is TOTALLY different from the one that bears dullness/anxiety by afternoon.

      Q. if subtle body is absorbed back into causal body and is then just potential, as causal body is potential, how can one stay sentient and aware if only potential?

      When subtle-body is resolved in Causal, obviously there’s no sentiency and awareness, as it’s in potential. One could remain like that for 1 trillion years. However upon waking into a gross-body, that 1 trillion isn’t even taken into account, as there was no subtle-body to notice the time. So might as well say, “I am > physical death > I am”.

      It’s like a coma. Person goes under anesthetic. Counts to 9. Wakes up, and says, “Have you started?”. And doctor says, “You’ve been under for 15 hours”. The patient can’t believe it!

      Q. How can you keep memories of previous earth life after death if mind is gone? 
      And in what form would those memories be? Not pictures or sounds or feelings with no mind and body???
      It says that upon birth again your memory of past life is hidden (I can understand this).

      The 3 bodies are not you. They are governed by the total order. One of the laws is, for entity to continue evolving, need to give a fresh start. Else impossible to move on, bearing all the hurt and guilt from previous lifetimes.

      Q. In one video a woman asked about hunger etc. Continuing after body death and you weren’t sure of answer… But you said it can’t be actual body hunger but probably desire to be born again to eat.

      Hunger belongs to physical body. That’s why can be starving while awake. Fall asleep, and hunger is completely gone, since the Dreamer-I has no connection to the Waker-body.

      No hunger in dream, since “I” is not identified with the gross-body. No hunger after death, as “I” is not associated to gross-body.

      Q. I’m trying to get my head around what it will be like to be a subtle body being sentient and aware of everything or anything without a gross body??? 

      Every night when you dream, there’s no gross-body. Can’t say “there is”, because you’re making that statement in the waking, which has absolutely no connection to the dream. For example, feeding a dream-body with food, doesn’t nourish John’s gross-body.

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