Mindfulness — You (Atman) are Not-Different from Brahman — 3 Types of Knowledge (181)


Lesson 181 provides additional methods and examples to come to know one's True nature (Brahman). Mindfulness in reactions. Rajasic and Tamasic knowledge. 6 ignorant vs. 6 selfish blind men.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 20, 21, 22


  • Verse 18:  3-Components.

    • What prompts jiva into action? Desire for enjoyment (ānanda), or desire for completeness (pūrṇatvā).
      • Since every action by nature is limited, it provides limited enjoyment/completeness. Thus compelling jiva into further action.
      • Since action can’t be stopped, it make sense to uplift them to sattva-guna. Thus verse 20-40.
      • Before optimizing actions in V20-40, Krishna first pointed out the 3-factors that need to come together for action to take place.
    • But why do we need to know about 3-factors?
      • It helps us appreciate Isvara’s intelligent-order. Out of Isvara’s compassion, it supplies the 3 components: Subject (parijnanta), Object (jneyam), Knowing (jnanam) – by which the Jiva can work out one’s karma and ultimately reach the final END.
      • Being given the 3 components, the jiva is further able to uplift the 6 success-factors to Sattva-guna (V20-40, which establishes clarity of one’s True nature). IE: Helps deepen understanding of V13-17.
      • By knowing about the 3-components, you are able to OBJECTIFY them (understand they are occurring within the scope of your being).
        • If it’s not objectified, then it blends with Self, who then innocently identifies with either the Object (EG: book), Knowing (EG: contemplation of books wisdom), or the ever-experiencing-Subject (parijnata). Thereby mistaking Self for the “wise thinker”.  When in fact, Self (atman) is NOT a personal entity with a mind that thinks. Self has no power to contemplate, think, experience, worry, decide. Only in association with 3-components, does contemplation, thinking, experiencing take place.
  • Verse 20:  Sattvic Knowledge.

    • Relative to living:
      • Mindful how actions are adding/subtracting to the culture, workplace, community.
      • Always being mindful how it’s impacting others.
    • Relative to self-knowledge:
      • I am attributeless space-like Reality. My nature is non-participating, non-interfering, non-verbalized principle of Knowledge, in whose presence, anatma-attributes come to Knowledge.
      • OBJECTION: “This is all intellectual, I want to experience it!”.
        • COUNTER: You are always experiencing yourself as self-evident Existence. Reason for objection is because person is under influence of jiva-srsti (imagining/expecting liberation to be something different, amazing).   Hence liberation is owing up, what is being experienced in 3 periods of time, is the final reality.
      • QUESTION: I know who I am without doubts. But still not experiencing the cheerfulness.
        • ANSWER: Because old unconscious notions are still operating in background. Cleaned up via nididhyasanam (V50-55).
          • Even if cleaned up significantly, there is still a limit to ānanda due to the body-mind-upadhi. Thus fullness of one’s Ananda is only available once jivanmukta drops the body-mind.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 21:

pṛthaktvena tu yat jñānam nānā-bhāvān pṛthak-vidhān ।
vetti sarveṣu bhūteṣu tat jñānam viddhi rājasam ॥ 18-21॥
Know Rajasic knowledge to be that by which one sees the apparently different and many jīvas in all beings to be (really) different.

  • ESSENCE: Having partial vision, where some parts are neglected, or part is seen as the whole, as in 6-blind men-elephant-story.
  • vetti pṛthak-vidhān; Rajasic knowledge gives reality to differences, which creates division & conflicts within personality, family, society, states, and nations.
    • EG: British policy of “divide and conquer” caused partitioning of India, creating Pakistan, which is in ever-conflict with India. With USA, states are highly polarized towards Republicans/Democrats.
    • Evidently, Rajasica knowledge/vision breaks things up (compartmentalizing). Me vs You. Us vs Them.
    • Examples:
      • Extreme Vegan/Climate activists. Loud aversion towards meat/companies.
      • Thinking becoming a doctor or pursuing one’s profession is the goal of life.
      • Appearing good is more important then being good. Being good motivated by being seen.
      • Compartmentalizing: Maintain job security while neglecting needs of partner.
      • Keeping differences hidden within, but outwardly treats all as One family.
  • nānā-bhāvān pṛthaktvena; And (sees) many jivas to be different [in reference to their minds].
    • Rajasica knowledge causes jiva to see oneself as a distinct mind (with different beliefs, opinions, privileges). Hence perceives jivas as minds.
      • EG: Some fields of therapists, psychologists will perceive client as mere series of conditionings.
    • Their lack of fear of death is on bases of: I (the mind) will continue after death, so there’s nothing to worry about. However does have fear of next-life.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 22:

yat tu kṛtsnavat ekasmin kārye saktam ahaitukam ।
atattvārthavat alpam ca tat tāmasam udāhṛtam ॥ 18-22॥
(Swami Dayananda): Whereas that (knowledge by) which (one is) committed to one object, as though it is everything (and) which is illogical, without truth, and very limited, that (knowledge) is called tāmasa.

  • yat tu saktam ekasmin karye kṛtsnvat; Tamasic knowledge is committed to one object, as though it’s everything.
    • This vision makes one mistake the ‘part’ to be the whole. Or means to be the goal. It’s due to ignorance rather then self-centeredness as in rājasica vision.
      • IE: 6-self-centered men vs 6-ignorant-men.
    • Tamasic knowledge makes one believes in ONLY the body (sense organs). If it’s imperceptible or requires inference, they reject.
      • It’s like blind person wants to prove/disprove color through 4 sense organs.
        • Similarly, Veda is 6th sense organ. Thus 5 sense organs can’t prove after-life loka, punya/papa, past/future life, dharma.
        • How to trust Vedas? Because once assimilated (which requires faith), every other philosophy/wisdom makes sense, and doesn’t present contradictions.
      • Death of body = death of me. Doesn’t believe in punya/papa. License to kill, damage society.
  • ahaitukam; Tamasic knowledge is unreasonable/illogical. Because one is unable to conceive the whole, one becomes narrow minded and fanatical in beliefs.
    • EG:
      • My God alone saves! This is no God. Money is God.
      • You are my life. Without you I am nothing.
      • Flat-earthers (can’t be argued).
      • Woman should not be educated.
      • Men are superior to woman.
    • Called Carvakas. Never argue with them, because (a) they’ll only accept perception (b) their minds are closed to new ideas.
      • EG: If ask them to account for child prodigies, they’ll say it’s mere randomness/chance. They won’t even believe genetics (because it’s imperceptible).


Resources:  L181 Mind-Map

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

Recorded 30 Aug, 2022


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