Baghawad Gita, Class 176: Chapter 13, Verses 22 & 23


Shloka # 22:

13.22 Since the soul is seated in Nature, therefore it experiences the alities born of Nature. Contact with the alities is the cause of its births in good and evil wombs.

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, Sri Krishna has come to last pair of topics, namely Purusha and Prakriti. They are being discussed from shloka # 20-24. We saw both Purusha and Prakriti are two basic principles that existed even before the world came into being. This mixture of Prusha and Parkriti together is known as Ishwara. This mixture or Ishwara has several common properties:

  1. They are both Anadi, beginingless.
  2. They are both the cause of the universe.

They have at least four properties that are uncommon among them:

  1. Pursuha is the conscious principle while Prakriti is the matter principle.
  2. Purusha is changeless, while Prakriti changes all the time.
  3. Pursuha is without attributes, while Prakriti has attributes.
  4. Purusha is Satyam, while Parkriti is Mithya.

And then Sri Krishna pointed out that from this mixture alone creation evolved and in the evolution of the creation, the primary role is played by Prakrti alone, because Prakrti alone is capable of evolution; Prakrti being basic matter and as a result of this Prakrti’s evolution, otherwise called the manifestation, the pancha bhuthas have come, all the fourteen lokas have come and all the physical and subtle bodies also are born, which means my own body-mind-complex is an evolute of Prakrti.

The question then arises where is Pusrusha in all this? Body, mind and everything I experience, all change. But where is Purusha? Sri Krishna says, that Pursuha is the Experiencer in you; the Sakshi Chaitanyam; the “I”. I, the Subject, the Experiencer is Purusha and whatever I experience is Prakriti. We should remember body, mind complex belongs to Prakriti and it is the object of experience. Body and mind complex is so intimately connected with me that it appears as if it belong to the “I”. Citing an example: It is like the spectacle that I wear, it is an instrument, but I include it as part of I, the perceiver. Very often we forget to include the specs as an object. So, cause of mistake is that object used as an instrument is used as an integral part of subject. Without a pen, can you be a writer? Thus, the body mind complex is also mistaken as a subject; now for transactional purposes we can do so, but be aware that body and mind are all a part of Prakriti and “I” am different from Prakriti; I am the Sakshi Tatvam, illuminating all of them.

The word bhunkte means witnesses; even though the literal meaning of the word bhunkte is experiences; the word experiences should be understood as witnesses or illumines whatever happens to the body as well as to the mind, And witnessing or illumining the body-mind complex is an activity of Purusha, but in the presence of Purusha, the body and mind gets illumined. Just like we say, the fire burns the fuel. We use the verb that fire is burning the fuel; but if you analyze; Shankaracharya analyzes, burning is not a willful action done by the fire; if burning is an action done by the fire; the action will have a beginning, and action will have an end. But really speaking, fire does not perform the action of burning; fire just exists. When you put your finger in the fire, at that time too, fire does not do any special job. Before putting my finger, fire was fire. After putting my finger also, fire is fire. No transformation; no will; no action on the part of the fire; fire exists, my finger gets burned; but I make a statement, fire burns the finger. Here is a verb, which does not have verbal meaning. When we say the Sun illumines the earth; it is the same thing; Sun does not will or plan and perform the action of illumining. The sun just exists; in the presence of the Sun, whatever objects fall within the range, those objects get illumined; before the objects arrive, Sun is the same, after the objects arrive, Sun is the same; but still we use a verb, Sun is illumining the earth.

So also Sakshi, it is like fire, the sun, etc; it is just “is”. In its presence, body is illumined.

Sakshi experiences; experiences means changelessly witnesses; actionlessly witnesses; will-lessly without involving a will, Sakshi ‘experiences”, whatever happens in the body-mind-complex. And even when nothing happens in the body mind complex, and even when the mind is blank, the blank condition of the mind, is witnessed, experienced, known, awared by the Consciousness principle. That Consciousness am I.

Prakrti in shloka means shariram. In this context, Prakrti means products of Prakrti. Prakrti karyam is called Prakrti and what are the two products of Prakrti to be kept in mind; the body-mind-complex container is called Prakrti. Praktisthaha means enclosed within the body mind complex. I was telling you in the last class, the enclosed space is useful for living and that is why we build walls, because enclosed place is only vyavahara yogyam. Similarly, the all-pervading Consciousness, when it is enclosed within the body-mind-complex, it is called Praktisthaha Purushaha Sakshi chaitanyam.

And this I, bhunkte, experiences without action and without will. What does it experience? It experiences all the consequences, all the products of Prakrti in the form of varieties of thought, Prakrti jan gunaha means various thought modifications like pleasure thought; pain thought; raga thought; dvesha thought; kama thought; they are called Prakrti jan guna; certain types of thoughts are called Satvic thoughts, certain other types of thoughts are called Rajasic thoughts. Sukham is satvic vritti, dukham is rajasa vritti, moha or delusion is tamasic vritti, all those mental conditions, gunaha means condition, the Sakshi experiences; experiences means witnesses.

What are Sakshi’s attributes?

I don’t have any attributes. But when I illumine, I take on attribute of body, mind through a process known as transference. Transference is like when we watch a movie, I start without any attachments, but as I watch the movie I get attached, unknowingly; thus problems of hero are transferred to observer.

Anonya Adhyasaha: We know we are involved for two three hours in a movie, then we are able to detach ourselves from it. In life, attachment to body mind complex is deep and continuous that it goes on into next Janma.

Yoni, sat and Asat: Sat yoni means good body; Asat yoni means inferior body or inferior janma. Thus punarapi jananam, punarapi maranam, taking higher birth of devas, taking lower birth of animals, plants and asura, in short the entire samsara chakram.

For this samsara chakram, what is the cause? Sri Krishna says it is the attributes of the body mind complex; that belong to the Prakrti, I get attached to.

Remember the movie, totally identifying with the hero, and when the heroine dies, this person also cries as though his wife has died. And his wife has to shake him and say and I am alive. So abhimana with Prakrti is samsara karanam, Purusha by itself does not have janma; just as nothing happens to space when the walls are pulled down.

Thus, when walls are raised, akasha is the same; when the walls are removed, akasha is the same. Similarly I-the-Purusha, the Chaitanyam am the same, whether the body, mind walls continue or whether the body, mind walls, resolves. But instead of claiming this birthlessness of Purusha, I identify with Prakrti and suffer.

Shloka # 23:

He who is the Witness, the Permitter, the Sustainer, the Experiencer, the great Lord, and who is also spoken of as the transcendental Self is the supreme Person in this body.

Here Sri Krishna is training to dis-identify from the Prakriti enclosure and identity with Purusha. He says, don’t search for Purusha anywhere; he is in our body -mind container as Sakshi Chaitanyam; the I am. This Purusha’s nature is opposite of Prakriti. Sri Krishna identifies its many features as follows:

1. Paraha:

Sri Krishna says this container, the content-consciousness, is not only within the body, it extends the beyond the container body. First I say the space is within the hall; because of which alone we are all accommodated; and later I say the space is not within the hall alone, the space is outside the hall also. And finally I have to say, really speaking the space is neither within the hall nor outside the hall, the hall is existing within space.

Similarly, I say consciousness is inside the body; and then finally I say consciousness is outside the body; then finally I say consciousness is inside or outside, all the bodies are inside the consciousness and therefore where is consciousness? The answer is; you should ask a counter-question, where is it not? Therefore it is called paraha. Paraha means free from all limitations.

  • Upadrshta:

Means the consciousness alone is the intimate witness of everything happening inside you.

So here Sri Krishna says Atma is a witness, not remaining far away; but upadrashta, intimately pervading the body, mind complex, it illumines the body mind complex; just as the light illumines the hand; by pervading the hand. Bulb is far away; but the light, the prakasha is the luminosity upon the hand; therefore it is a proximate illuminator. Proximate illuminator means one who is near, pervading the hand is illumining. Similarly, Purusha pervades every cell of my body. This inert body of chemicals, which does not have consciousness of its own; this inert bundle of

chemicals is now sentient and alive, only because Purusha pervades and makes this body experience-able to me. And therefore upadrashta. Close witness.

  • Anumantha Cha: means that which blesses activities of Prakriti. It blesses the inert Body and mind. Like electricity blesses the fan and in its presence it is able to function according to its design. Similarly it is with a mike. So it is with every organ, they all perform their functions in presence of consciousness. It blesses all activities, good or bad, by its presence. Consciousness does not judge morality of actions.
  • Bhartha: does not mean husband; here it means that which lends existence. Purusha is satya; Prakriti is Mithya.
  • Bhokta :

Then the very same Purusha, I the Sakshi, is called bhokta, the experiencer, from the standpoint of an ignorant person; I am really only the Sakshi, and I am the illuminator of the pleasure, pain, envy and all that anger etc. in the minds. Anger belongs Prakrti, the mind; therefore what should I say:

I am the illuminator of the anger of the mind. But instead what do I say; I am angry. When you say I am angry, which is the attribute of the mind, I have transferred to Me, the illuminator. And with the transferred attributes, atma appears, as though it is a bhokta. bhokta means seeming bhokta, as though suffering from that attribute.

  • Maheshvara: means Free One, free entity; body is bound as matter. So body alone is a bound entity because body being Prakrti, it is affected by the other Prakrti; we have seen earlier body is matter, world is matter, therefore body will be definitely be affected by the body. Nobody can stop. In summer body will sweat; In winter, if there is one, the body will shiver. And in old age, the body will collapse. It will lose all its faculties. Similarly, mind is also matter; the world is also matter; mind, too will be influenced by the matter. If you read about the earthquake, children are starving; however great you may be, the mind is going to empathize with that situation. Nobody can stop. And therefore, Prakrti, the world, binds body; the mind is also bound; but Purusha the maheshvara, can never be affected by the matter principle and therefore Purusha is maheshvara; means Swami. Svatantra. Master. That is why as body, you are never free. Not only the world will affect, even the planetary position affects you.
  • Paramatma: I, jivatma, learn to separate from those attributes and identify with Pusursha. Attributes belong to Prakriti.

Thus: Attributed I: is Jivatma

Attributeless I: is Paramatma.                                              

This shloka is considered a mahavakya as it deals with Jivatma paramatma aikyam.

Shloka # 24:He who knows thus the Person and Nature along with the alities will not be born again, in whatever way he may live.

And here Sri Krishna points out that the clear knowledge about Prakrti and Purusha will give a person a great relief from the burden of samsara. A life which appeared a struggle till now; a life which is very big drag, which is full of cares and worries, that life gets a very great relief, if I have made this discriminative knowledge and I have learned to claim I am Purusha and that all the attributes belong to Prakrti. This is called Purusha Prakrti viveka. So the phalam is, suppose a person gains this knowledge; the first knowledge itself is that I am a mixture of Prakrti and Purusha. I have told you the example, first when you see the hand, you will only say there is a hand; I have to tell you, it is not hand alone, there are two things here; and I have to tell you that the hand is pervaded by a light principle; the light falls on the hand; it gets reflected and according to the science, the reflected light travels and hits your retina; therefore it is not one; there are two things. Similarly when I use the word I, there is a Prakrti and there is Purushaha. This is my first level of wisdom. Therefore Sri Krishna says suppose a person knows clearly that Purusha means Nirguna, Nirvikara, Satya, Chetana tatvam and Prakrti is Saguna, Savikara, Mithya, Achetana tatvam; both of them are distinctly known. The separation between the light and the hand, we do not physically do, because light cannot be scraped out of the hand;  You need not separate from outside; the separation is an internal affair. It is a cognitive separation; it is not an external event. Similarly, body and atma, physically you need not separate and you cannot. It is a cognitive separation. He also knows that there are many attributes, like fat, lean, old, bald, haired, all are physical attributes. There are subtle attributes like anger, envy, etc. They are all internal attributes, belonging to sukshma sharira, sthula sharira and karana sharira. So all the attributes I should know belong to the shariram, which is Prakrti. Whereas Purusha does not have sthula sharira attributes; body is fat, I am not fat. What a relief. Otherwise everybody will ask: Why did no you go for walking, being obese. That does not mean that tomorrow onwards, you should stop your walking. Even though you are not fat, you can keep the body in good condition and therefore you can walk; it does not require an abhimana; similarly, with all the emotions too. Thus, the one who has understood the difference between Prakrti and Purusha very clearly and also one who has learned to train his mind to identify with Purusha; that training is called nidhidhyasanam. For all transactions, you have to identify with Prakrti. In any application form, you should fill properly with correct dates. In all vyavahara-transactions, we have to identify with Prakrti.  You also put the vesham and go the green room once in a while. In the green room, learn to say life is just a drama.  And once a person knows the whole life is a drama, then what is the advantage, let him play any role in his life or in her life because life is a series of role-playing. You cannot avoid role-playing. The moment you are born, whether you like or not, you are related to your parents, as a child; you are related to siblings, as a brother or sister; and when your brother gets married, whether like it not, you become a brother-in-law or sister-in-law. So life is a series of role-playing, and it would not be a tragedy, if you were aware of the fact that it is a role-playing. When the role becomes serious; as a beggar, and take yourself to be a beggar, and after the drama is over, if you continue with the begging bowl, then there is some problem. Therefore, Sri Krishna says: You need not change your role, if you are a Brahmachari, you can continue. If you are a Grihastha, you need not change your varna, you need not change the ashrama, you do not change your profession; no external change is required; only an inner transformation is required. Once the transformation has taken place, even by taking on any role, such a Gyani does not have a rebirth at all. I do not have a punarjanma. And if somebody asks the question to a Gyani, Gyani, how do you know you do not have punarjanma? Gyani gives a very big smile; where is the question of rebirth; I have understood I am the atma, which does not have the first janma itself; janma is what? What is the definition of janma? Sthula sukshma sharira samyoga, janma. And what is the definition of maranam? Sthula sukshma sharira viyogaha is maranam. The mind is there, the body is there; now the mind and body are together; At the time of death the mind and body snap their connection; body is here, mind will go away, saying tata. This mind-body separation is called maranam, and what is punar janmam, this travelling sukshma shariram, getting associated with another sthula shariram; body-mind; new body association is called punarjanma. Is Mind Purusha or Prakrti? Prakrti. Is Body Purusha or Prakrti? Prakrti. Therefore Prakrti one and Prakrti two; Body is one type of Prakrti and mind is one type of Prakrti; two forms of Prakrti, coming into contact is punarjanma; two forms of Prakrti getting separated is maranam. And who am I; which form of Prakrti  am I? Am I Prakrti No.1 or Prakrti No.2? I am neither Prakrti one nor Prakrti two. Why should I bother about how countless bodies and mind, getting together and separated; I do not care, I am the Purusha, who does not have the first janma itself; where is the question of punarjanma. This wisdom is called mokshaha. Through this wisdom, I do not get liberated. Through this wisdom I know or I claim that I was liberated; I am liberated and I will ever be liberated. I am incapable of getting bound; and after this knowledge, even if you want to become a samsari, you cannot be a samsari.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy