Chapter 13The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate ConsciousnessVerse 3


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

Thus the transmigratory nature of the jiva or embodied being has been stated by Lord Krishna. Now the non-transmigratory nature of the atma or eternal soul which is of the nature of ksetrajnam or consciousness within the physical body is being stated. This ksetrajnam is pervading the jiva and is verily the Supreme Lord Himself within all jivas as an infinitesimal fraction of His divine, immortal consciousness. As inferred in the Vedic scripture Chandogya Upanisad VI.VIII.VII with the aphorism: sa atma tattvamasi meaning Thou art that. Knowledge of the ksetra or the physical body and ksetrajnam the consciousness of the atma or eternal soul is being praised to emphasize its importance. The knowledge which differentiates the ksetra or physical body from the ksetrajnam is actual knowledge for it is relevant to existence and leads to moksa or liberation from material existence. Knowledge other than this is useless not being relevant to spiritual existence and keeps the jiva in the bondage of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Thus it has been said that real actions are only those that are relevant to spiritual development and true learning is only that which leads to moksa or liberation from material existence. Activities other than these keep one in bondage and are only useless exertions of no permanent value and knowledge being irelevant to spiritual development and only gives expertise in technical matters and excellence in mundane pursuits with no tangible results or contribution to spiritual life.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The word ksetra-jna means knower of the field of activity and denotes the material body. This refers exclusively to the resplendent Supreme Lord who is the knower of all material bodies individually and collectively and who is distinctly different from the manifest and the unmanifest being transcendentally established within and without all jivas or embodied beings simultaneously. He is present within the etheric heart of all jivas as paramatma the supreme soul and He is present within prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and He is even present within the senses although He is imperceptible to the senses being without physical sense organs. Verily He is present everywhere as the pure consciousness of the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. He exists within the total fabric of creation which was manifested by Him and He is present within even within the most minuscule part of the atom. Thus the Supreme Lord Krishna is the ultimate creator, the ultimate controller and the ultimate reality. There is nothing collectively or individually that is superior to Him. He is paramount to everything. Lord Krishna is described as being nirguna possessing no material attributes. His form is completely spiritual being sat-cid-ananda or eternal existence, unlimited consciousness and endless bliss. Since He is of all encompassing and eternal power, some aspects of His manifested potencies may appear to be contradictory but it should be clearly understood that they are never contradictory to each other.

The Bhagavat Purana states that the word ksetra-jna applies to the Supreme Lord, who being transcendentally pure and beyond any modifications is capable of creating perfectly by His will alone in the waking state, the dream state and the dreamless state. Anything contrary to Him is subject to modification and transitory and thus not eternal. Although in the previous verse the words etadyo vetti meaning those who know refers to the jiva this was used because there are some jivas who are experienced devotees of the Supreme Lord who have developed themselves spiritually and achieving atma- tattva or soul realisation possess marginal knowledge of the ksetra and thus in an individual sense they can in special instances be known as ksetra-jna as well. Otherwise to refer to Himself as the same ksetra-jna in this verse after referring to the jiva as ksetra-jna in the previous verse would be contrary. Lord Krishna is the ksetra-jna established within all ksetra-jna's, His ksetra consists of the atmas or soul of every living entity in all of creation; whereas the ksetra of the jiva consists only of their individual physical body. So for all practical purposes both specific and general the Supreme Lord is known as ksetra-jna and in special circumstances extremely rare it is possible for this term to be applied to an exceptional living entity.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The Supreme Lord Krishna is explaining that He is in fact the ksetrajnam or cognizant consciousness abiding within all jivas or embodied souls in its capacity of vivifying all tenements in deva or demigods, human, animal, bird, fish etc. and all living entities who are mad-atmakam or ensouled by Him and in possession of a soul and not those artificially created or cloned who are without an atma or eternal soul. The adverb api meaning furthermore in the expression capi mam viddhi meaning know me also, infers that the ksetra is also under Lord Krishna's complete control as well. The actual purport is that just as the ksetra or physical body is apprehended solely as the inseparable adjunct of the ksetra-jna which is designated as the atma; by the law of correlation of subject and predicate so are both the ksetra and the ksetra-jna of all sentient beings in creation to be understood as being inseparable adjuncts to the Supreme Lord Krishna. It will be pointed out subsequently that Parabrahman who is the actual source of the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and who is known as Vasudeva an expansion of Lord Krishna is a distinctly transcendental postulate of existence separate from even the ksetra-jna which is the atma and this is totally independent of the jiva in a state of moksa or baddha being liberation and bondage respectively which are also known by kshara or unliberated perishable souls and akshara or liberated imperishable souls. Later in chapter 15 verses 16, 17 and 18 Lord Krishna confirms that there are two kinds of atmas in this world the fallible and the infallible. The fallible refers to the kshara and is the sum total of all unliberated souls in existence the infallible refers to the akshara and is the eternal, infinite and sovereign param?tm? or the Supreme Soul which enters into all beings and sustains them. Since the Supreme Lord surpasses the kshara and even excels the akshara as well He is known as Purusottama the Supreme Personality.

The ksetra is the composite of the material elements of earth, water, air, fire and ether. The ksetra-jna comprises the spiritual bodies of all souls in existence which qualitatively constitute the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the Supreme Soul of all. The following Vedic scripture confirms: The Brihad-aranyaka Upanisad V.VII.III beginning yah prithivyam tishthan meaning : Who is situated in the Earth, who is the interior of the Earth, whom the Earth knows not, to who the Earth is a body, who rules the Earth from within, such a one is He the atma, eternal, immortal and sovereign. Further in the same scripture V.VII.XXII beginning ya atmani tishthan meaning: Who is situated in the atma, who is the interior of the atma, whom the atma knows not, to whom the atma is a body, who rules the atma from within, such a one is He as paramatma the Supreme Soul eternal, immortal and sovereign.

Reference to the Supreme Lord in terms of ksetra-jnam etc. are justified in acccordance with the law of correlation of subject and predicate evidenced before with the predicate signifying the abidance of the Supreme Lord as the ksetrajnam within all ksetra-jna's as the paramatma within all atma's, internally monitoring and governing at all times all beings in existence everywhere throughout all creation. This law of correlation was evidence earlier in chapter ten verse 20 where Lord Krishna reveals that He is the atma situated within the etheric heart of all jivas or embodied beings. In verse 21 He proclaims that of the 12 Adityas, He is Vishnu. In verse 39 He declares that nothing in all creation which moves or is stationary can exist without Him and in verse 42 validates that He maintains and energizes the complete creation and total cosmic manifestation with but a mere fraction of His expansion. So with this clearly in mind one should comprehend that the Supreme Lord Krishna highly esteems as worth knowing the knowledge concerning the distinction between the ksetra and the ksetra- jna and the knowledge that Lord Krishna is the atma of all beings in existence.

Contrarily some scholars and pandits interpret this verse of knowing the ksetrajna to be the Supreme Lord as a means to establish unity by the rule of common reference. In this case having to expound upon a united existence they postulate that the Supreme Lord is seen as the ksetrajna by which through ignorance duality of the cognizant and the incognizant which is implied has to be acknowledged and that the inculcation of unity is to dispel this ignorance. The explanation given is that the ignorance arising from the dualistic conception of the ksetra-jna is dispelled by such instructors interpretations of the wisdom emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Lord Himself the same as the instructor who teaches that a rope touched in the darkness is not a snake and causes the imagined snake disappears. Such interpretations must be seriously questioned as to their veracity. 1) If the instructor who teaches the unequivocal wisdom emanating directly from the Supreme Lord Himself in any of His incarnations or expansions and fully understands them, then there is no question of ignorance arising from dualistic conceptions as they are dispelled at the root and atma tattva or soul realization is soon forthcoming. 2) If the instructor whose ignorance supposedly has been dispelled on the dawning of atma tattva to then imagine that which is purely spiritual and nirvesa or without material qualities and which is pure consciousness and postulate it to be a contrary reflection of dualistic antithesis is highly objectionable in the same way as considering rain and water as dualistic. 3) If the instructor adheres to the dualistic conception of the Supreme Lord does not perceive Him as the one absolute, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent reality perpetually manifest in all creation then it is obvious that atma tattva has not consummated and been achieve and therefore His ignorance has not been dispelled. Therefore those who are in ignorance themselves have no qualification to impart knowledge of the atma or eternal soul to others because they have not realized it either.

In chapter four, verse 34 Lord Krishna states: upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah meaning saintly souls endowed with the wisdom of divine revelation will impart spiritual knowledge. So in conclusion it should be succinctly comprehended that all polemics of this nature which are opposed to the siddhanta or conclusive truth of all the Vedic scriptures as well as logic and reason and which instead ostentatiously imposes a degraded and erroneous hypothesis upon the world deserves not to be further addressed.

The factual reality of existence is found in the evidence and proofs found in Vedic scriptures which confirm distinctive characteristics of : 1) the experienced which is inherent deep within the nature of acit or non- sentient matter 2) the experiencer which is inherent deep within the nature of cit or consciousness 3) paramesvaram or the supreme controller inherent within every particle of creation

The Vedic scriptures themselves declare this as reality as the following examples illustrate from the Svetasvatara Upanisad. In verse V.IX beginning asman mayi srijate visvam means that from matter the illusory nature constructs the creation. In verse V.X beginning mayantu prakritim vidyan mayinam tu maheshvaram means that the illusory energy to be verily matter which the Supreme Lord is far beyond. In verse I.X beginning ksharam pradhanam amritaksharam means that which is perishable is matter and that which is imperishable is the eternal soul and that which rules both is the Supreme Lord. In verse VI.II beginning sa kara jam karapadhipadhipo means the Supreme Lord is the cause, He is the Lord of matter, He is the Lord of the soul, there is no other god above Him, He is the supreme ruler of all matter and all souls. In verse I.VI beginning prithag atmanam preitaram and means the soul and the Supreme Lord are distinct and different whom by serving the soul achieves immortality. In verse I.IX beginning jnanajnau dvav-ajav-isanisau means the Supreme Lord is the omniscient one and the soul is not, both are eternal but only the Supreme Lord is the controller of all. In verse I.XII beginning bhokta bhogya preritaram means one must have knowledge of matter, the soul and the Supreme Lord. In verse VI.XIII beginning nityo nityanam means the Supreme Lord is the eternal Lord of all souls, the Supreme of the Supreme, who bequeaths desires. In Mundaka Upanisad III.I.I beginning tayor anyah pippalalm svadvatti means the individual soul reaps the results of actions while the Supreme Soul reaps not and illuminates everywhere. In the Taittiriya Upanisad X.V beginning ajam ekam lohita-sukla-krsnam means verily a unliberated jiva or embodied being embraces material existence in the form of matter and enjoys light and water and food and in answer to one's wishes bestows manifold progeny while a liberated jiva discards material existence after tasting its delights. Also in the Tattiriya Upanisad XI.I beginning patim visvasy atmesvaram sasvatam means the Supreme Lord is the Lord of all creation, the Lord of all souls, eternal and everlasting. Again in the Svestasvatara Upanisad IV.VII beginning samane vrikshe purusho nimagno means dwelling in the same field of activity as paramatma the Supreme Soul, the atma or individual soul immersed in the machinations of material existence is suffering greatly oblivious; but when the atma perceives paramatma the worshipable Supreme Lord's localized manifestation in all its glory within the etheric heart of all living entities. completely transcendental to material nature, above and beyond the machinations of material existence; then all suffering ceases.

The Supreme Lord is pradhana-ksetrajnam-patir gunesah meaning He is the lord of all attributes and qualities in all fields of activity. Many verses spoken by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita corroborate this. Such as in VII.IV beginning bhumir apo'nalo vayuh referring to His eight fold energies of the material energy. In VII. 5 beginning apareyam itas te anyam referring to the atma or soul and His superior spiritual energies. In IX.VII beginning sarva bhutani kaunteya explaining how all living entities are retracted back into His nature and later distinctly created and emitted again. In IX.VIII beginning prakrtim svam avastabhya He continues explaining how His agency of material nature manifests the jivas or embodied entities again and again millennium after millennium according to their karma or reactions to their actions. In IX.X beginning mayadhyaksena prakrtih he further explains how His sakti or feminine potency creates all things mutable and immutable and thus creation is manifest again and again. Then in XIII.IXX beginning prakrtim purusam He will confirm the eternality of the atma or soul and that material nature is without beginning and later in XIV.III beginning mama yonir mahad-brahma He explains that the complete material existence is the womb wherein He germinates all souls that exist from Brahma to the lowest one-celled living entity and impels their birth into being. The yoni or womb is the vast cosmic manifestation and prakriti is the supra-subtle material substratum pervading physical existence which is achit or unconscious and inanimate. Into this the Supreme Lord by His glance projects the infinitesimal embryonic seed which is chit or conscious and animate. Thereafter by His will they are united and by this compound alone all living beings created from matter are brought into existence from the highest demi-god to lower then a one-celled amoeba are al embodied in various corporeal and subtle bodies. The word brahma or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence denotes the primal root source of all elements and is evidenced in the Vedic scripture Mundaka Upanisad I.I.IX beginning tasmad etat brahma meaning by the Supreme Lords will the unmanifested cosmic creation and the manifested cosmic creation arise.

Similarly other Vedic scriptures solemnly declare that the animate and inanimate of chit and achit and all conditions existing in relation to the experience and the experiencer both constitute the transcendental spiritual body of the Supreme Lord and subject to His will relate to Him in an indissoluble dependent and subservient position eternally and that an infinitesimal portion of the Supreme Lord is present as the atma or immortal soul within all living entities. Thus the Supreme Lord is the root cause and underlying basis for everything in existence and all living entities in both spiritual and material.

References from other Vedic scriptures confirming this are given as follows. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad V.VII.III beginning yah prithviyam tisthan meaning: Who is seated in the Earth. Whom the Earth knows not. To whom the Earth is the body. Who from inside of the Earth rules. It is the Supreme Soul, the ruler of all, immortal. Commencing thus in the same Upanisad in verse V.VII.XXII beginning ya atmani tisthan meaning: Who seated in the soul. Whom the soul knows not. To whom the soul is the body. Who from inside of the soul rules. He is the Supreme Soul, the ruler of all, immortal. In chapter seven of the Subala Upanisad we find many examples beginning with: yah prithivim antare sancharan meaning: Who moving in the interior of the Earth. To whom Earth is the body. To whom the Earth knows not; and yo aksaram antare sancharam meaning: Who moving in the interior of the soul. Whom the soul is the body. Whom the soul knows not; and yo mrityum antare sancharan meaning: who moving in the material substratum. To whom the material substratum is the body. Whom the material substratum knows not; and esa sarva bhut antar atma meaning the Supreme Lord is the Supreme Soul of all beings, immortal, immaculate, divine. The term mrityu quoted above refers to the subtle state of the material substratum within inanimate objects and substances known by the appellation tamas or darkness. In chapter two of the Subala Upanisad beginning avaktyam aksara meaning the unmanifest merges into the imperishable and the manifest merges into tamas. In the Tattiriya Aranyaka III.X beginning antah pravishta sasta jananam meaning: Existing within all, the ruler of all creatures, the Supreme Soul pervades all.

Now will be given references from other Vedic scriptures as well which confirm and explicitly express the truth that the Supreme Lord alone is the subject, predicated by the compounded bodies of all sentient beings and insentient elements existing in every condition and that the Supreme Lord is solely existent as the potential and as the actual manifestation of all creation. In the Chandogya Upanisad V1.II.I beginning sad eva somya meaning: This sat or eternal existence of the Supreme Lord was in the beginning all there was; and in VI.II.III beginning tad aikshata bahu shyam meaning: The Supreme Lord willed that He become many and multiplied and manifested illumination; and in VI.VIII.VI beginning san mulas somy emas sarvam meaning: Eternal existence of the Supreme is the root source manifesting all creation and its support and maintenance; and in VI.VIII.VII beginning aitad atmyam idam sarvam meaning: All creation is ensouled by the eternal existence of the Supreme Lord. In the Tattiriya Upanisad II.VI.II beginning so kama yata bahusyam meaning: The Supreme Lord willed may I be manifold and meditating thus He expanded creation with unlimited beings also in II.VI.III of the aforementioned scripture beginning satyan chanritali ca meaning: Both the eternal soul as well as perishable matter emanate from the ultimate truth of the Supreme Lord. This confirms what has been described in the Chandogya Upanisad VI.III.II beginning hanta ham imas tisro devatas and means: The Supreme Lord as the Supreme Soul interpenetrates all existence and material principles being fire, earth, air, water and ether as well as manifesting names and forms. This clearly illustrates the distinct differences between cit being the atma or eternal soul, acit being perishable matter and Isvara being the Supreme Lord. The Taittiriya Upanisad II.VI.II beginning tat sristi tva declares: After creating the complete cosmic manifestation comprised of all things sentient and insentient and permeating all things sentient as the atma or eternal soul and all things insentient as their eternal subatomic essence. One being constant and immutable and the other being variable and mutable both being separate manifestations of the Supreme Lord.

With the consensus of the preceding Vedic references agreeing that the Supreme Lord is manifesting both the conscious imperishable soul and unconscious perishable matter with the embodiment of both as jivas or embodied beings; it can be ascertained that the principle being established throughout is the reality of immanent co-existence between the omnipresent atma and unlimited living entities. The manifestation of all the unlimited names and forms by the Supreme Lord is confirmed in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad III.IV.VII beginning taddhedam tarhi meaning: Before all was unmanifest and later it was subsequently manifested by the Supreme Lord into names and forms.

Thus it is established and clarified that the Supreme Lord alone is the originator of all whatever is chit or conscious and animate as well as whatever is achit or unconscious and inanimate. He alone is the principle of cause when both chit and achit are unmanifest in an imperceptible supra- subtle state and He alone is the principle of effect when they are manifest in a perceptible physical state. Therefore identifying the Supreme Lord as the sole source of everything and its ancillary causes and effects one can then comprehend that knowledge of Him is knowledge of both and that only knowledge of the Supreme Lord is complete knowledge. In the Chandogya Upanisad VI.III.II mentioned previously beginning hanta ham imas tisro devatas the word hanta refers to the life force of the Supreme Soul. The word devatas refers to the three states consisting of 1) everything in masse that is achit or unconscious in substance, 2) all jivas or embodied beings in whatever form they possess gross or subtle and 3) atma being the immortal soul is a direct infinitesimal spark of the Supreme Lord Himself. By understanding this it is evident that all names are sound symbols and have a direct relationship to the Supreme Lord activated by matter and spirit or body and soul. Hence the rule of identity of substance with its adjuncts finds its primary application in terms corrollating to the Supreme Lord as cause and such appellations give reference and signifies His mode as the source of effect as well. Since the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence, being a direct manifestation of the Supreme Lord is the cause containing both the atmas and matter in their subtle state; as well as the effect containing both body and spirit in their physical manifestation; the brahman can be said to be the cause of the material manifestation of creation. Although the brahman may be considered the material cause, the brahman is not in any way material and there is no intermingling or sharing of the essences of the brahman with matter or the atma. An example is a piece of colored cloth, the material cause is the combination of multicolored threads yellow, blue and red running through it. Although the cloth is considered as a single substance constituted as a whole, the qualities of the different colored threads are confined to the area of the cloth where they occur. In the same manner when the compound of matter, the atma and the brahman is declared to be the material cause, the effect of this cause is the material creation. So their should be no confusion concerning the distinctive characteristics of the experiencer, the experieince, or the controller of all being three distinctive principles combining to manifest the entire cosmos and correlating to produce the effect of matter, soul and Supreme Lord. Yet there is a difference between the colored cloth because all of the threads are able to be separated; whereas matter and the soul in all ways and all conditions constitute the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord. It is a case where the indiscernible attributive character of matter and the imperceptible nature of the atma or eternal soul as essences are integral parts of the transcendental substantive qualities of the Supreme Lord as a compound unit. Thus the Supreme Lord alone is both the cause and effect of the conscious atma as well as insentient matter and it is He alone upon whom every verbal symbol and annotation ultimately connotes.

As for the differences in the components of the Supreme Lords manifestations and their non-interchangeable natures the analogy of the separate threads of colored cloth is applicable. When this is properly understood it is evident that the cause of all causes is the Supreme Lord Krishna and although as the source of all He enters His components into the effects there is no transformation of His essential essence and never any transmutation of His transcendental immutable nature. That He is the effect as well is understandable by He being the cause of the effect, for effect is actually the cause in a modified form. The contention that the Supreme Lord is nirguna-vada or devoid of qualities is only valid and justified when referring to material qualities. Another example is when the Supreme Lord is said to be immaculate or devoid of any sin. This does not preclude that the Supreme Lord is without transcendental attributes and divine qualities it is just that His attributes and qualities are purely spiritual. The Vedic scriptures confirm this. In the Chandogya Upanisad VIII.I-V beginning apa hata papana meaning: The Supreme Lord is destitute of sin, affliction, hunger, thirst, decrepitude and death. In the same passage beginning satya kamas satya sankalpah meaning: The Supreme Lord is without desires, self-sufficient, of infallible will and indomitable nature. So after expunging the lack of material deficiencies the virtues are expounded, affirmatively establishing the correct context of what is written in various Vedic scriptures about being devoid of qualities and that this factually means devoid of any material qualities.

Next the discrepancy that the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is not a conscious entity of the Supreme Lord who is completely omniscient and omnipotent and who is endowed with all superlative qualities and sublime attributes of goodness and is the antithesis to all that is negative and evil which is defined by the primary attribute of consciousness which exclusively categorises Him and His authorised incarnations as being Self-Illuminated. The Vedic scriptures confirm this such as: The Mundaka Upanisad II.II.VII beginning yas sarvajnas meaning: The Supreme Lord is omniscient and all knowing. The Svetasvatara Upanisad IV.VIII beginning para sya sakti meaning: The transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord is manifold and also are His divine attributes of wisdom, power and activities. The Brihadaranya Upanisad IV.IV.XIV beginning vijnataram are meaning By His transcendental qualities the Supreme Lord is to be known and proclaims Him as the most conscious of all beings. The Tattiriya Upanisad II.I.I beginning satyam jnanam meaning: The Supreme Lord is truth, wisdom and consciousness this is proclaimed by His being defined as the ultimate expression of truth and wisdom and the ultimate consciousness fully self-effulgent. In the Tattiriya Upanisad II.VI.II beginning sa kamayata meaning: The Supreme Lord willed that He become unlimitedly manifold. In the Chandogya Upanisad VI.II.III beginning tad aikshata meaning The Supreme Lord contemplated that He expand and become unlimitedly multitudinous. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad III:IV:VII beginning tanama rupa bhyam meaning: The Supreme Lord fashioned the manifold into names and forms. Again in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.V.VI beginning atmani khalv-are meaning: When the eternal soul within is perceived, experienced, witnessed, meditated upon and understood then all becomes known. Again in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.V.VII beginning sarvam tam paradat meaning: All that is witnessed is to be rejected except the witnessing of the eternal soul within. Again in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.V.XI beginning tasya ha meaning: What is the Rig Vedas except verily the breath of the Supreme Lord.

This reveals that the Supreme Lord alone is parabrahman the Ultimate consciousness permeating the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and by His self-will alone He is existent in all forms movable and immovable. Certainly it is impossible for any type of consciousness or existence singular or manifold to manifest without the brahman and the eternal soul. There is absolutely no variation or configuration of any sentient being that could exist without the atma or eternal soul and likewise nothing insentient can exist without the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. This is declared and confirmed in the Vedic scriptures that follow. In the Brihadaranayaka Upanisad IV.IV.XIX and also the Katha Upanisad IV.X:XI beginning mrityos sa mrityum meaning: Who perceives in the brahman the lack of diversity deserves to die and be bound in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Again in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.IV.XIX beginning neha nana asti meaning: Nowhere in the brahman is there limited diversity. Again in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad beginning yatra hi dvaitam meaning: Although in the brahman may appear to be duality. And finally in the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.V.XV beginning tad itana itaram meaning: All appears separate to one who does not see the soul but to one who sees the soul all is seen. Nor is the multitudinous of forms manifesting from the brahman alone as is confirmed in such Vedix scriptures as the Chandogya Upanisad VI.II.III beginning bahu syam prajayoga meaning: May I be multitudinous, may I procreate, which affirms the reality that the Supreme Lords by His own will manifests unlimited names and forms through His potency of the brahman.

So it can be comprehended that the Vedic scriptures have established that: 1) The essential difference between the Supreme Lord and brahman, chit, achit and atma. 2) The qualitative differences amongst them. 3) The law of cause and effect. 4) The relativity of cause and effect.

Thus it can be realized that a comprehensive harmony is existing amongst all the Vedic scriptures by the Vedic scriptures themselves and there is not the least contradiction to one who has received the knowledge of the Vedas from the bonafide spiritual master in one of the four authorised sampradaya's revealed in Vedic scriptures. Nor is there any necessity to hypothecate contrary conclusions or erroneous suppositions such as brahman- ajana-vada or duality of the brahman due to ignorance which was Sankara's false contention and aupadhior ka-brahma-bheda-vada meaning the brahman becomes dualistic because of limiting conditions which was Bhaskara's false contention. So in conclusion let us take leave of such faulty tenets based on fallacy and which are opposed to the reality of the eternal Vedic scriptures.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Here the Supreme Lord Krishna explains the discrimination between the two knowers of the physical manifestation which is known as the field where activities are performed and the knowers of the field, one being Himself and the other being paramatma the Supreme Soul within all living entities which contains each and every individual atma or eternal soul. It was already explained in chapter eleven, verse fifteen that the total creation with all its myriad hosts of being was within Lord Krishna's transcendental universal form; but a separate discourse on the knowers of the field of activity was not given at that time. Now Lord Krishna delineates this important understanding comprehensively. Previously in chapter seven, verse six Lord Krishna revealed that He is the origin of the entire creation and the cause of its dissolution as well. In chapter seven, verse seven Lord Krishna reveals that nothing is Superior to Him and that everything in existence is connected to Him as pearls are on a thread. In chapter nine, verse four Lord Krishna reveals that He pervades the entire creation with all living entities residing within Him. In chapter eleven, verse seven Lord Krishna reveals that the entire manifest creation with all its moving and non-moving beings is residing in just one portion of His transcendental universal form. Lord Krishna explains how it is impossible for creation to sustain itself and function without Him as His potency of brahman which is the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Yet He also spoke of His inconceivable power as being in completely separate from the creation whose beings are not within Him in chapter nine, verse five and later in chapter nine, verse ten Lord Krishna explains that by His direction His external energy prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence automatically manifests the entire creation perpetually.

Previously in chapter twelve, verse six Lord Krishna declared that He quickly rescues from samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death, all His loving devotees who exclusively strive to attain Him alone. It was explained that the knower of the field is the individual atma which is of an eternal nature and is the essential part of every jiva or embodied being. It should not be imagined that the atma is separate from the Supreme Lord in any way. That is why in this verse Lord Krishna confirms that He alone is the omniscient and omnipresent consciousness within the atma of all living entities such as demigods, humans, flora, fauna and so on of all jivas; yet He is completely different and separate from all of them. To further corroborate this we find in the Chandogya Upanisad VI.VIII.VII beginning: aitad atmayam idam sarvam meaning: This whole creation is ensouled by Him. That is reality. That is the atma. In the Mandukhya Upanisad II we find: Verily the atma is the brahman. In the Chandogya Upanisad III.XIV.XI we see: As the whole creation is verily the brahman one should tranquilly worship it as the place one manifested from and as that which one is breathing and also as the place where one will return to. Similarly although all are various manifestations of Lord Krishna's variegated avatars or incarnations, in Vedic scriptures He is categorically declared to be separate and different from all of them. In the Katha Upanisad I1.II.X and IX it states: As the one wind has entered into this world and becomes correspondingly within the form of every form, so the atma or eternal soul of all living beings is correspondingly within each and every form and yet is transcendental to it. As the sun which is the eye of the world is never compromised by the external imperfections of one's eyes, in the same way the atma is never compromised by the evil that may exist in the world being always transcendental to it.

The omnipotent, omniscient, all pervading and eternal Supreme Lord Krishna is now revealing the ultimate reality and truth: That true knowledge of Him as the complete cause and sole source of all creation is knowledge of the ksetra or field which is material existence and knowledge of the knower of the field being paramatma or the Supreme Lord in His localised aspect within the heart of all living entities. Any idea or conception contrary to this reality is illusion and ignorance.

There are those not being in authorised disciplic succession who speculate that ksetrajnam capi mam viddhi means that the Supreme Lord suggests that due to contact to His adjunct of prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence, He, Himself invariably becomes finite as the individual transmigrating atma or soul from body to body at the time of death until it becomes free from nescience. But this hypothesis is totally false because it is contradictory to the conclusion of the Vedic scriptures. The particle api meaning also in this verse denotes that the Supreme Lord is totally differentiated in nature from both the ksetrajnam and the ksetra and it is not possible to prove that the identity of the atma is synonymous with paramatma based on such statements as He is the the constant among the inconstant, the intelligent among the unintelligent. Some examples of this are given as follows in the Vedic scriptures: The Katha Upanisad II.II.XIII states: There are two unborn ones, the knowledgeable and the unknowledgeable, the omnipotent and the impotent. The Svetasvatara Upanisad I.IX states: Two birds inextricably connected reside on the same tree, one eats of the sweet fruit while the other looks on without eating. The Mundaka Upanisad III.I.I states: The ruler of prakriti and the atma is the Supreme Lord. The Taittiriya Aranyaka III.XI.II states: That who is dwelling in the consciousness and yet is other than the consciousness, whom the consciousness does not know, within whose spiritual body the consciousness resides is the inner controller the monitor, the eternal soul. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad III:VII.XXII states: The cause of reincarnation and of liberation, of freedom and bondage. Again the Svetasvatara Upanisad VI.XVI states: The Supreme Lord is higher than the highest imperishable. The controller of all and the ruler of all. Only the omnipotent all pervading Supreme Lord Krishna should be propitiated and glorified for He alone is the source of everything and has entered into the hearts of all living beings as the eternal soul. The Vedanta Sutras I.I.II confirms: On account of the declaration of distinction between paramatma the Supreme soul and atma the individual soul. The Taittriya Upanisad II.VII states: The Supreme soul consisting of bliss is next to the individual soul. Vedanta Sutras I.I.VII again states: Contrarily the individual soul is not referred to here as the qualities mentioned are no appropriate for it. When mentioning the attainee it is the localised atma and the object of attainment is the all-pervading brahman which is of paramatma. Vedanta Sutras I.III.VIIL states: On account of statements in the Vedic scriptures of distinction between the brahman and the atma the former is something more than the latter. Vedanta Sutras II.I.XXII states: Senses, mind, intelligence, prowess, might, forebearance, the physical body, the jiva or embodied being and the atma are all constituted by the Supreme Lord. In the Vishnu Sahasra Nama or 1000 names of Vishnu verse 135 it states: The entire creation comprised of demigods, humans, demons, Gandharvas, Yaksas, Raksasas, etc. are all under control of the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna declared in XII.V: That He has a superior eternal manifestation as well as a inferior temporary manifestation. His internal potency is eternal and superior to the external temporary manifestation. The soul is considered a marginal potency of the Supreme Lord because it is eternal and as transmigration from body to body is continuously transpiring incessantly and all species of life on Earth are gradually evolving up to the human species endowed with free will. Thus the fundamental questions of existence and the purpose and goal of life can be contemplated, comprehended and assimilated. There are two types of beings in creation. The perishable and the imperishable. All the innumerable bodies of jivas or embodied being are perishable but the atma within being eternal is imperishable. The sentient is the higher potency of the Supreme Lord whereas the insentient is the lesser potency. Each and every individual atma although being eternal are all part and parcel of paramatma the Supreme Soul which inconceivably comprises the transcendental spiritual body of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Other than their eternal nature and unfathomable relationship to the Supreme Lord; no other characteristic can be given regarding there bondage or liberation. The atma is of the higher potency and possesses only spiritual qualities with no material qualities whatsoever and thus being attributeless is never contaminated by material actions or influenced by their reactions; like the sun which remains pristine and pure whether shining on a soiled or clean space. The subtle and physical bodies are of the lesser potency and are connected to bondage and liberation being thus subjected to material nature and its reactions the subtle body is forced to accept samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death incessantly. The atma is the witness monitoring an individuals thoughts and actions and paramatma is the witness monitoring all the individual atmas within each and every sentient living being simultaneously; but it is imperceptible to the mind and senses.

Such being the position of the individual atma and paramatma of the Supreme Lord even if the difference is imperceptible due to both being beyond the purview of the mind and senses it can be logically understood that the difference is actual and eternal. For no jiva or embodied being can in any way possess the divine qualities and attributes declared in the Vedic scriptures such as: omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, sovereignty, eternality, origin of all, controller of all, etc. Any contrary supposition to this difference can only be based upon the machinations of the mind or impressions of the senses based on contact with sense objects which are both illusory. The individual atma is eternal and localised within a singular being and is the same qualitatively but not quantitatively as it is infinitesimal compared to paramatma who is unlimited and is comprised of and embodies all atmas within each and every living entity throughout creation. It should never be put forth that the Supreme Lord has any limitations whatsoever for this hypothesis is false. It should also never be supposed that the Supreme Lord has any adjuncts connected to Him like voidness or nescience or absence of qualities. The Supreme Lord has unlimited qualities but His qualities are all spiritual, none are material. The Supreme Lord has no connection to nescience as it is a material quality and the Supreme Lord possess no material qualities. Factual knowledge about the Supreme Lord Krishna is automatically the absence of nescience and true knowledge about Him is freedom from illusion. How can the Supreme Lord Himself not know the real nature of nescience? Since it has previously been established that the omniscient and omnipotent Supreme Lord is the knower of even more than everything in existence then how could He ever get influenced by nescience which is the root cause of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. Contrarily if He did not know the real nature of nescience then He would not be absolute and could never be identified with paramatma and the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Another way to look at this is that nescience and its effects fall into the sphere of false knowledge which is illusion and unable to ever contaminate the spiritual sanctity of the Supreme Lord. The water of a mirage may appear sparkling but by no influence in the sand will mud be created and in the same way the Supreme Lord who is the ultimate knower of the field of activity is never influenced by nescience. If nescience was benign and harmless to the living entities then there would be no necessity to remove it. Also the Vedic scriptures comparing nescience to bondage and absence of nescience to liberation would prove meaningless.

The fact must be emphasised in no uncertain terms that there is not the slightest scope for contradiction of the Vedic scriptures and what would appear to be contradictory is only a result of insufficient knowledge of the Vedic scriptures learned systematically in the proper order from a Vaisnava preceptor in one of the four authorised channels of disciplic succession. Statements such as the brahman being one without a second are significant because they establish the unity of paramatma, the atma, and the brahman as being eternal manifestations of the Supreme Lord. This also includes everything sentient and insentient which are known by various terms like spirit and matter, the eternal and the temporal, the imperishable and the perishable, etc. Yet all are pervaded by and dependent upon the Supreme Lord in His aspect of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. When one has been properly educated in the proper order into the profound depths of the Vedic scriptures one has the indispensable foundation that allows them to categorically understand the various angles of vision the Vedic scriptures present and the essential understanding that comprehensively harmonises them all with the Supreme Lord Krishna or His authorised incarnations and expansions. Passages in the Vedic scriptures refer to His supreme position. The Taittiriya Aranyaka III.II.II states: The controller of all living entities has entered into the hearts of all as the eternal soul. The Maha Narayana Upanisad XI.VI states: The Supreme Lord pervades all that is seen and heard throughout all creation. Lord Krishna confirms X.XX that He resides as the soul within the heart of all living beings. The Vishnu Sahasra Nama CXXXVI beginning indriyani mano buddhih sattvam states: The senses, the mind, the intellect, vitality, splendour, strength and courage all have Lord Krishna as their soul, along with the body and the knower of the body. In the dialogue between the life breaths and the organs of the body found in the Chandogya Upanisad V.I.XV it is stated: Verily the Supreme Lord is not referred to as eyes, or ears, or minds, etc. but He is referred to as the life breath of all for the vital breath activates all the others. The universal understanding is that whatever object is dependent upon its existence and functioning upon something else it can be designated by that somethings name. Moreover the different names have propriety according to the primary meanings of the terms and various respective forms and manifestations such as the great variety found in the physical manifestation or in the unlimited forms that embodied beings manifest that within the individual soul resides.. Contrarily the synonymous names attributed to paramatma the supreme soul and the Supreme Lord have propriety with the highest self exclusively with no division, separation or independence from Him ever. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad I.IV.II confirms: Everything for the Supreme Lord is different who all other forms constitute His Self because there is nothing existing apart from Him. So the reality that there is not even an iota of contradiction between any statement from the Vedic scriptures with any other statement from another Vedic scripture. Hence the meanings and potencies regarding different names and synonymous names in no way sublate each other.

Keeping this understanding in mind the author of the Vedas, Vedanta Sutras, Srimad Bhagavatam and the Puranas, lila avatar Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa has written in Vedanta Sutras II.III.XXXXIII: The soul is a part of the Supreme Lord due to the difference between the two and also by similarness to the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is the Supreme Lords manifestation. In Vedanta Sutras III.II.XXVII and XXVIII is stated: The difference and non-difference of the Supreme Lord and the soul as revealed in Vedic sciptures is like the relation of the sun and its rays, also on account of both being luminous. This was emphasised for two reasons. One was to validate the main theme of the Upanisads through the non-contradiction of Vedic statements which appear to differ due to variegated designations concerning the many manifestations of the one Supreme Lord Krishna. Two was to establish the causeless nature of the sentient and insentient manifestations of the Supreme Lord being naturally connected through the variable and invarible relationship. The Taittiriya Aranyaka III.XIV.I states: Although the Supreme Lord is one without a second, He manifests in unlimited places. Although He is the one indivisible Supreme Being, He has entered into the physical bodies of all living entities.

Other Vedic scriptures iterate the same such as in Manu Samhita: The brahman being absolute although one is diverse and although diverse it is one. Who can know it? In the Vishnu Purana it is stated by Prince Prahlad thus: Continuous obeisance to the Supreme Lord Krishna, whom without nothing would exist; yet He Himself is totally different from all creation. Obeisance to the Supreme Lord the atma within the manifestation of the sentient and the brahman within the manifestation of the insentient. The sole refuge beyond all manifestations. The indivisible one and the unlimited innumerable. The prime cause of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha in the Caturvyuha which manifests the three Purusa avatars of Vishnu. Obeisance to the Supreme Lord who is the greatest of the greatest and the subtlest of the subtlest, in this way His glorious effulgence manifests. From the Supreme Lord comes all of creation, He has manifested all that there is and yet He is not any element of it for He is completely transcendental to all things material and beyond even the mundane cause of creation. Ghantakarna states in the Harivamsa: We are all continuously endeavouring and dedicating our lives to associate with the Supreme Lord amongst whose devotees study the Vedic scriptures and logically declare that He is one without a second although unlimitedly variegated, unborn and primordial. In the Bhagavat Purana I.V.XX Narada speaks to his disciple Vyasa stating: The whole creation is pervaded by the Supreme Lord and He alone is the source of its origin, sustenance and destruction. Also in L.VII.II of the same purana is stated: There is nothing else other than the Supreme Lord in that which is existent and also in that which is non- existent.

So the devotees of the Supreme Lord and the followers of sanatan dharma or eternal righteousness should follow this doctrine of natural difference from and non-difeerence of the sentient and insentient nature of the brahman, paramatma and the Supreme Lord which is harmonious and not contradictory to any statements of the Vedic scriptures including the Vedanta Sutras, Puranas, Upanisads, Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. and is fully approved and sanctioned by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva the original author of the Vedas. All other conceptions that deviate and complicate this fundamental understanding are to be known as erroneous totally based on illusion and should be pre-emptively rejected and ignored. Lord Krishna's visvarupa or divine universal form constituted of elements like earth, fire, wind, water and ether is a manifestation of the Supreme Lord Himself, because it is He who is dwelling within these elements in a supra-subtle form. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad III.VII.III states: The Supreme Lord dwelling in the earth and yet is other than earth, whom the aerth does not know, whose body is the earth, who controls the earth from within is the eternal soul, the inner controller. Also in the same scripture III.VII.XXIII is stated: The Supreme Lord is dwelling with the individual soul, yet is other than the individual soul, whom the individual soul knows not, whose body comprises all souls, who controls the soul from within. He is paramatma the immortal all pervading Supreme soul.

Vedic scriptural statements like the Chandogya Upanisad VI.III.II where it states: I shall enter these three divinities with the eternal soul not separated from name and form and in the Taittriya Upanisad II.VI where it states: Having manifested creation the Supreme Lord entered into it and having entered into it, He became both the sentient and the insentient, the conscious and the unconscious, the actual and the casual, As the actual, He became all that has manifested in creation. Such statements categorically qualify the Supreme Lord's paramount position and establish His eternal presence within all insentient names and forms as well as within the sentient atma everywhere throughout all creation. The primary meaning expressing cause and effect denotes the ultimate reality and is the Supreme Lord. Therefore concerning the doctrine of specific monism of Ramanujacarya, that the Supreme Lord's manifestation as the brahman has devolved itself into subtle and gross as well as the sentient and insentient is completely tenable because the Supreme Lord is the both the cause and effect.

Some scholars by division try to omit the all comprehensive cohesiveness of the Supreme Lord by establishing that the sentient embodied soul is the enjoyer and the insentient world is the object of enjoyment with the brahman being the controller of both trying to exemplify that the form and nature of each is totally different. They quote the non-contradictory nature of the Vedic scriptures as well stating that a quantity of any substantive can be considered as being non-different from that substantive. At the same time they propose that the quantity and the substantive can also be different on the basis of not being of similar nature and form; but they fail to realise that both are nothing but different manifestations of the one Supreme Lord. They also propound that the brahman is both sentient and insentient but this is impossible as neither of them can ever be qualified quantities comparable to the brahman which is the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. By simple logic it can be seen that the quantity of any sentient substance automatically excludes it from being the same as the quantity of any insentient substance and vice versa so by definition it is clearly not possible. Once they realise the unity of difference and oneness their conceptions of separate and non-separate will be correctly comprehended according to the proper understanding of the Vedic scriptures. The Chandogya Upanisad VI.VIII.VII states: The Supreme Lord is one without a second which determines that the brahman as an absolute manifestation of the Supreme Lord is also one without a second and is one underlying energy throughout existence. Thus both the sentient and animate as well as the insentient and inanimate are included but have no influence upon the brahman in the same way as all unlimited objects that sun rays shine upon have absolutely no influence upon the sun.

In this way the doctrine of Ramanujacarya's specific monism contains not a single contradiction to any of the Vedic scriptures. Neither has he written anything that needs to be excluded for when something is excluded it can never be established. In this case there is not a single thing excluding another just a comprehensive whole. So there is no question of ever excluding anything from Ramanujacarya's writings and the only thing that may be excluded is the mundane scholars divisive interpretations of the Supreme Absolute truth.

There is also no evidence from any Vedic scripture suggesting that the sentient and insentient are wholistic qualified quantities respectively for logically each must always exclude the other. Therefore similar to the adherents of mayavada impersonalism or those who fallaciously deny that the Supreme Lord has qualities, attributes and personality and who try to impose the concept of nescience as being part of the brahman and the Supreme absolute truth fail to understand that such imposition is contrary to the Vedic scriptures and the direct perception of enlightened self- realised beings. In the same way the concept of specific and fluctuating monism is also fallacious and is hypothesised by those out of ignorance and foolish obstinacy who ignore the evidence established in the Vedic scriptures and who deny the proof of enlightened beings who perceived the same by direct perception.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 13, verse 3 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 3

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