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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Shrimad Bhagavad Gita > Gita By Acharyas > Gita 15 Purushottama Yoga

Ch 15. Purusottama Yoga


Yoga Through Understanding the Supreme Person

This material world extends from the lower to the higher planetary systems. Jivas are separated parts or amsas of Shri Bhagavan. Those who are opposed to Bhagavan are bound by their karma and wander in various higher and lower species of life. However, one may, by great fortune attain the mercy of a sad guru, and engage in every respect in the bhajana o Shri Krishna, knowing that he alone is Purusottama. The bhaktas absorption in their performance of bhaajana makes them aware of everything. They can then easily cross over the ocean of this material world.

The Glories of Chapter Fifteen (Mahatmya)

Lord Siva said, “My dear Parvati, now I will tell you the glories of the Fifteenth Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, kindly listen carefully.

In Gaudadesa, there was a king of the name Narasingha. He was so powerful that he was able to defeat the demigods. The commander of his army was known by the name Sarabhmerund. He was very greedy and along with the prince, he planned to kill the king, and become the ruler of Gaudadesa. But before he was able to carry out his plan, he got cholera and very quickly died. After he took his next birth as a horse in the country known as Sindhu. That horse was very beautiful and was very fast at running. He had all the qualities of a prize horse, one day, the son of a very rich man of Gaudadesa saw that horse and decided to buy him with the intention of selling him to the king of Gaudadesa. After having purchased that horse, he took him to the capital of Gaudadesa, When he reached the city he went straight to the palace of the king and requested the guards to inform the king of his arrival.

When he came before the king, the king inquired from him, “What has brought you here?” That business man replied, “Oh, king, in Sindhu I found a horse of the highest quality and it’s equal cannot be found in the whole universe. I paid very much money for it”. The king ordered, “Bring that horse immediately.” That horse was very quickly brought before the king who became very pleased with the high qualities of the horse. After having examined the horse, the king paid to that businessman whatever amount he had requested without thinking twice.

After some days the king decided to go hunting. Riding that horse, he set off for the forest, where he saw a deer, to which he immediately gave chase. Following behind that deer, he followed in every direction it turned. After some time he left the rest of his party far behind. After chasing for a long time and becoming very tired and thirsty, he stopped to take rest. He tied the horse to the branch of a tree and he himself sat down on a large rock.

After a little while he saw a piece of parchment blowing in the wind and land next to him on the rock. On that piece of parchment was written half a sloka of the Fifteenth Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita. The king started to read, and as the first sound came out of his mouth, that horse fell down to the ground and gave up that horse-body. He attained a transcendental four-armed form and immediately sat down in a flower-airplane, which had come from Vaikuntha to take him to that transcendental abode Vaikuntha.

The king noticed that close by; there was a beautiful ashram, which was surrounded by fruit-trees. Sitting in that ashram was a brahmana who had complete control over his senses. The king offered respects to that brahmana and with folded hands inquired from him, “How was it possible that my horse was able to attain Vaikuntha?” The brahmana, whose name was Vishnusharma, replied, “Oh, king, previously, you had a commander-in chief of your army, who was known by the name Sarabhmerund. He had planned along with the prince to usurp you from your throne. Before he was able to, he got cholera and died, after which he took birth as that horse. By chance he heard some words from the Fifteenth Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita and attained Vaikuntha.”

The king offered his respects to that brahmana and returned to his capital and again and again read what was written on that parchment. After a short time he installed his son as the king of Gaudadesa and himself went off to the forest, where he recited regularly the Fifteenth Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita and very quickly, attained the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.


shri bhagavan uvaca
urddhva-mulam adhah-shakham / ashvattham prahur avyayam
chandamsi yasya parnani / yas tam veda sa veda-vit

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shri bhagavan uvaca---the all-opulent Supreme Lord said; prahuh--- they (the shastras) say; (there is) avyayam---an imperishable; ashvattham---banyan tree; yasya---whose; urddhva-mulam---roots grow upwards; (and) adhah-shakham---whose branches grow downwards; parnani---its leaves; (are) chandamsi---the Vedic hymns; sah yah---he who; veda---knows; tam---that (tree); (is) veda-vit--- the knower of the Vedas.

Shri Bhagavan said: The shastras describe this material world as an imperishable ashvattha tree, a special type of banyan tree with its roots growing upwards and its branches extending down, whose leaves are the Vedic hymns that establish fruitive activities. He who knows the tattva of this tree is the knower of the Vedas.


Shri Krishna cuts the bondage to material existence and is also detached (aloof) from it. The atma, or jiva, is an amsha (part) of Ishvara. Krishna alone is the purusha who is beyond both perishable (kshara) and imperishable (akshara) entities. All of this is described in the Fifteenth Chapter. In the last chapter it was said, "Those who worship Me with ananya-bhakti transcend the gunas and become qualified to experience brahma" (Gita 14.26). Now one may raise the question, "You have a human form, so how will one attain brahma-bhava (a spiritual nature) through bhakti-yoga by worshipping You?. In response Shri Bhagavan says, "In reality, I am indeed, a human being, but I am also the supreme shelter and support (pratishtha) of that brahma." The Fifteenth Chapter begins with an explanation of this point. In Gita (14.26) it was said, "After transcending the gunas, they become qualified to realise brahma." What then, is the nature of this material world consisting of the gunas? From where has it been generated? Who are the jivas who cross beyond this material world by the performance of bhakti? What is the meaning of brahma in the statement "They become qualified to realise brahma"? Who are You as the pratishtha (shelter and basis) of brahma? Expecting these questions, Shri Bhagavan uses highly ornamental language to describe this material world by saying that it is a wonderful banyan (ashvattha) tree. Satya-loka is its topmost region. "The mahat-tattva is the first sprout of the seed impregnated by Me into the womb of prakriti."

Adhah means that the branches of this tree are extended downwards to such planets as Svarga, Bhuvah and Bhu, as unlimited devatas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Asuras, Rakshasas, Pretas, human beings and animals, such as cows, horses, birds, swans, insects and non-moving living entities. For the fruitive workers (non-devotees), this tree gives the fourfold objects of dharma, artha, kama and moksha as its fruits. For this reason, it is called uttama (the best).

Another meaning of the word ashvattha is, that according to the perception of bhaktas, this material world will not exist in the future. In other words, for them it is temporary and subject to destruction. But for non-devotees, it is avyayam, eternal. Statements which establish fruitive activities are given in the Vedas. Chandamsi means that those people who desire opulence will perform yajna to Vayu-deva (the devata of air) by offering a white goat, and those who desire progeny will perform yajna to the eleven Indras. Since fruitive activities make the material world expand, they are like the leaves on the tree of the Vedas. The tree only appears beautiful due to its leaves. Those who know this are called the knowers of the Vedas. Also, it is said in Katha Upanishad (2.3.1), "This material world is an eternal ashvattha (banyan) tree which has its roots upwards and branches downwards."


In the previous chapter, it was explained that a jiva becomes qualified to experience brahma only by bhakti to Shri Krishna. This is because only Shri Krishna Himself is the shelter (ashraya) of brahma. In the present chapter, purushottama-yoga is being explained to clearly express information about Krishna's svarupa. Shri Krishna, the origin or root shelter of the material world, is the supreme tattva. His vibhinnamsha (separated parts), the jivas, not recognising Him, have neglected His service, and from time immemorial are bound in the cycle of material existence, birth and death, while wandering throughout various species of life, suffering the three-fold miseries. They are unable to get out of the cycle of material existence because they repeatedly become attached to the fruits of their actions. In this chapter, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, by His causeless mercy, is giving instruction in a very pleasing way about the nature of this material world in order to bring these helpless jivas out of the cycle of karma and create in them a feeling of renunciation towards the material world. He explains this subject very simply by comparing the material world to a banyan tree. Just as a banyan tree expands enormously with unlimited branches, subbranches, leaves, flowers and fruits, in the same way, this material world also expands itself, its various branches being the Rig, Sama, Yajuh and Atharva Vedas. Its leaves are the Vedic hymns which establish instantly pleasing fruitive activities. Thus, this tree of material existence appears as the bestower of the fruits of dharma, artha, kama and moksha to the baddha-jivas who are bound by the results of their karma. The sight of this tree is so instantly pleasing, that a baddha-jiva cannot know that its fruits are poisonous and he becomes attracted to it. However, bhaktas who realise that its fruits are poisonous, describe it as a tree that has to be cut with the weapon of renunciation. The name of this tree, ashvattha, means na shvah sthasyati (it will not exist in the future). Those who have this understanding that the material world is temporary, are the knowers of the Vedas.

Bhagavan has clearly refuted the mayavadi's understanding that this material world is false or a dream. All the statements of shastra and Shri Bhagavan clearly establish the fact that this material world is a reality, but that it undergoes changes and is periodically annihilated; therefore, it is perishable. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Shri Bhagavan as say ing, "O Arjuna, if you think that it is better to take shelter of material life by following the statements of the Vedas, then listen. This material world, which is caused by karma (fruitive activities), is a special type of ashvattha tree. For those who take shelter of karma, this tree is imperishable (everexisting) and its roots spread upwards. The statements of the Vedas which establish fruitive activities are its leaves, and its branches spread downwards. This means that this tree gives the results of the jiva's karma through Me, the Supreme Absolute Reality. Those who know the temporary nature of this tree, indeed know its reality."


adhash corddhvam prasritas tasya shakha
guna-pravriddha vishaya-pravalah
adhash ca mulany anusantatani
karmanubandhini manushya-loke

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tasya---its; shakhah---branches; prasritah---are extended; adhah--- downwards; ca---and; urddhvam---upwards; guna-pravriddhah--- nurtured by the three qualities; vishaya-pravalah---its twigs are the sense objects; ca---and; mulani---its roots; (also) anusantatani---extend; adhah---downwards; karmaanubandh ini---generating fruitive activities; manushya-loke---in human society.

The leaves on the branches of this tree of the material world, in the form of various sense objects, are nurtured by the three gunas. Its branches spread to the lower species of life, such as human beings and animals, as well as to the higher species, such as the devas. The roots of this banyan tree are the desires for sense enjoyment, which spread downwards to generate the flow of karma in human society.


The branches of this tree of the material world are spread everywhere. Adhah means in the lower species, such as animals, and urddhva means in the higher species, such as the devatas. As a tree is nourished by pouring water on it, this tree of the material world is nourished by the different tendencies of the gunas, such as sattva-guna. Sense objects, such as sound, are its shoots. Moreover, some believe that a great treasure is hidden beneath the original roots of the tree. Like the banyan tree, this tree also has branches and external tangles. Although the origin of the roots is in Brahma-loka, its other roots are in human society. These roots, which take support from karma (fruitive activities), are ever-expanding. After undergoing the result of his actions by receiving a body in any of the species, a jiva again engages in karma in the human form of life.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "The many branches of this tree take support from tamo-guna, and spread downwards. Many branches are nourished by rajo-guna and are situated in the intermediate state, meaning that they spread outward. And many branches are supported by sattva-guna and spread upwards. Material sense pleasures are the shoots of these branches. The external long tangles of this ashvattha tree, like that of the banyan tree, search for the fruit of karma and spread downwards."


na rupam asyeha tathopalabhyate
nanto na cadir na ca sampratishtha
ashvattham enam su-virudha-mulam
asanga-shastrena dridhena chittva

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tatah padam tat parimargitavyam
yasmin gata na nivarttanti bhuyah
tam eva cadyam purusham prapadye
yatah pravrittih prasrita purani

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rupam---the form; asya---of this (tree); tatha---as described above; na upalabhyate---is not perceivable; iha---within this world; na--- nor; (is) antah---its end; na---nor; adih---its beginning; na---nor; sampratishtha---its foundation; ca---and; chittva---having cut down; enam---this; su-virudha-mulam---very firmly rooted; ashvattham--- banyan tree; dridhena---with the intense (sharp); asanga- shastrena---axe of detachment; tatah---then; parimargitavyam--- one must search out; tat---that; padam---place; yasmin---whence; gatah---having gone; na nivartanti---they never return; bhuyah--- again; ca---and; eva---indeed; prapadye---surrender; tam---to that; adyam---primeval; purusham---person; yatah---whence; prasrita--- has been expanded; purani---this ancient; pravrittih---cycle of birth and death.

The actual form of this tree of material existence, as described above, is not perceivable within this world. Its beginning, end and foundation can not be ascertained. After cutting down this deeply rooted tree of material existence ( ashvattha) with the sharp axe of intense detachment, it is imperative to search out the lotus feet of that primeval person, Shri Bhagavan, which are the root of this beginningless tree of samsara, and take shelter of Him. Having surrendered to and attained Him, from whom the cycle of birth and death in the material world has expanded, one never returns to this samsara.


In this mortal world, the svarupa (actual form) of this tree, as described above, certainly cannot be understood. Many opinions on this tree are found: "It is true"; "It is false"; "It is eternal." Because this tree has no limit, it is endless, and because it has no beginning, it is beginningless. It also has no substratum or support. What then, is its basis, or foundation? What is it? A person bereft of tattva-jnana cannot understand it. However, whatever it may be, knowing asanga, detachment, to be the only remedy for the jiva's endless misery, one should cut down this tree with the weapon of detachment and search for the great wealth present at its roots.

Hence, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka describing the ashvattha tree. Here the word asanga in the third shloka means detachment from everything. Cutting down this tree with the axe of detachment, one should search for brahma, which is the great wealth and root (origin) of the tree.

"What is the nature of that origin?" In response to this, Shri Bhagavan says, "Having attained that destination, that original state, one never returns to this temporary material world." "How is one to search for this?" In response, He says, "One must take shelter of that primeval purusha and engage in bhajana to Him from whom this material world, which is without beginning, has expanded. Therefore, it is imperative to search for Him with bhakti."


Ordinary people cannot understand the reality of this tree of material existence. That is, they are unable to ascertain its beginning, end and foundation. Even after understanding the sequence of how this material world was created from the mahat-tattva to ahankara (the false ego), etc., they still remain unaware of the fact that the original support of material nature is Parameshvara, the actual shelter of everyone. Because the jiva is averse to Bhagavan, he is bewildered by maya and is bound to material existence consisting of the three gunas. Impelled by these gunas, he wanders to the lower and higher regions of this material world, and becomes completely helpless and exhausted. He feels the need to cut this tree of material existence, but he cannot find its root. It is only possible to cut attachment to the material world by practising bhakti in sat-sanga; this enables one to develop intense detachment from the world. With this understanding, a fortunate jiva surrenders to the lotus feet of paramatattva Shri Hari and begins to perform bhajana to Him. As a result, he becomes free from the clutches of the material world and attains eternal service to Shri Bhagavan in His abode. This is also described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.18):

tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah
tal labhyate duhkhavad anyatah sukham
kalena sarvatra gabhira-ramhasa

Intelligent people should endeavour only for that transcendental happiness of the self, which cannot be attained by wandering from Brahma-loka in the upper planets to Sutala-loka in the lower planets. However, as far as sense pleasures are concerned, they are automatically obtained in due course of time, just as in the course of time we receive miseries, even though we do not desire them.

Moreover, in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37) it is said:
bhayam dvitiyabhiniveshatah syadishad apetasya viparyayo 'smritih

tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesham guru-devatatma

The jiva has lost his memory due to his aversion to Parameshvara.

This aversion has directed the jiva to be absorbed in sense objects. In other words, he misidentifies his own self with the body in the external illusory energy consisting of the three gunas. The gunas arouse fear in him because of this absorption. Conditioned jivas are bound by maya. Learned persons should, therefore, take shelter of the lotus feet of Shri Guru, and perform bhajana with ananya-bhakti unto Shri Krishna. In this way, they can cross over maya.


nirmana-moha jita-sanga-dosha
adhyatma-nitya vinivritta-kamah
dvandvair vimuktah sukha-duhkha-samjnair
gacchanty amudhah padam avyayam tat

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amudhah---those who are unbewildered (liberated personalities); nirmana-mohah---who are free from pride and delusion; jitasa nga-doshah---who have conquered degrading attachments; adhyatma-nityah---who are always engaged in spiritual practices following the examples of saintly persons; vinivritta-kamah---who have abandoned the pursuit for sense pleasure; vimuktah---who are fully liberated; dvandvaih---from the dualities; sukha-duhkhasa mjnaih---known as happiness and distress; gacchanti---enter; tat---that; avyayam---imperishable; padam---abode.

Only those liberated personalities,who are free from pride and delusion, who have overcome the degradation of false attachment, who are engaged in searching for Paramatma, who are freed from the desire to enjoy the senses and the dualities of happiness and misery,attain that unchangeable, eternal abode.


What are the symptoms of people who attain the abode of the primeval purusha, Shri Bhagavan, having attained bhakti to Him? In response to this question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words nirmana-moha. Adhyatmanity ah means that those who are concerned with understanding what is eternal and what is temporary remain engaged in deliberation upon Paramatma and the search for Him.


Here the word padam avyayam means the eternal position of bliss. Prema-mayi seva to the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan is the only eternal position. To obtain service to the lotus feet of Shri Bhagavan in any one of the rasas in His dhama, it is first compulsory to surrender to His lotus feet. But it is not easy to surrender to Him. As long as a jiva remains intoxicated by the false ego related to the subtle and gross body, he thinks himself to be the controller of prakriti. In such a state, he disregards Shri Bhagavan and His bhaktas, and does not accept their instructions. But when, by the mercy of Bhagavan or His bhakta, the jiva is punished by material nature in the form of various miseries, he begins to realise that Parameshvara is the master of prakriti and that he himself is completely powerless and helpless. Birth and death, loss and gain, fame and infamy are all under the control of Parameshvara alone, and the jiva is just like a puppet in His hands. Realizing this fact, he surrenders to the feet of Bhagavan. At that time, his path of bhakti becomes blessed and excellent. The present day non-devoted person thinks that this land, country and earth belong to him, and that human society is their controller, but this is an illusory conception. Such an illusory conception is the root cause of bondage and of all miseries. Sharanagati (surrender) alone is the doorway to spiritual life, the realm of bhakti.


na tad bhasayate suryo / na shashanko na pavakah
yad gatva na nivarttante / tad dhama paramam mama

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na---neither; suryah---the sun; na---nor; shashankah---the moon; na---nor; pavakah---fire; bhasayate---can illuminate; tat---that; paramam---supreme; dhama---abode; mama---of Mine; tat---that (place); yat---whence; gatva---having gone; na nivarttante---one does not return.

Sun, moon and fire cannot illuminate that supreme realm, which is self-effulgent and illuminates everything else. When surrendered persons attain that abode of Mine, they do not return to this world.


"What is the nature of that supreme realm?" In response to this, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words na tad. That place is free from miseries, such as heat and cold, and is self-luminous. "That supreme dhama of Mine is topmost, conscious and beyond the scope of the material senses. It is tejah, all-illuminating." It is said in the Hari-vamsha Purana that parabrahma, who is superior to brahma, has divided the universe and made it appear in various forms. "O Bharata! You must know about that concentrated effulgence of Mine (brahma)." It is also said in Katha Upanishad (2.2.15):

na tatra suryo bhati na candra tarakam
nema vidyuto bhanti kuto 'agni

What to speak of fire, the effulgence of the sun, the light of the moon and stars, and the splendour of lightning, all do not exist there. Everything is illuminated by His self-effulgence only.


The svarupa of Bhagavan's dhama is explained in the present shloka. After reaching that abode, one does not have to come back again to the material world. That abode is not illuminated by the sun, moon, fire or lightning. It is selfeffulgent. That supreme abode is called Goloka, Krishna-loka, Vraja, Gokula or Vrindavana. Svayam Bhagavan, Vrajendranandana Shri Krishna, eternally performs blissful pastimes in His supreme dhama along with His associates. One can only obtain that dhama by the cultivation of prema-bhakti, that is, raganuga-bhakti which specifically follows the footsteps of the Vraja gopis. It is impossible to achieve it by any other means. Shri Krishna has indicated that very dhama by the words paramam mama.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "Sun, moon or fire cannot illuminate that immutable dhama of Mine. After reaching that dhama, the jiva attains eternal bliss. In reality, the jiva is either baddha (bound) or mukta (liberated). Due to falsely identifying the body with the self, the jiva in his bound state desires to associate with matter. In the liberated state, the pure jiva always tastes the nectar of My blissful seva. To attain this state, it is imperative for a person situated within this world to cut the ashvattha tree in the form of the material world with asanga, the weapon of detachment.

Attachment to mundane objects is called sanga. The nature of those who are able to give up attachment, even while situated within this mundane world, is nirguna, and only they achieve nirguna-bhakti. Sat-sanga is also called asanga. Therefore, a jiva who is bound in this material world should give up attachment to mundane objects and, with the help of sat-sanga (the association of bhaktas), cut his bondage to the material world at the very root. The mundane existence of those who pretend to practise vairagya (detachment) by merely accepting the dress of a sannyasi does not cut their material entanglement. When a jiva adopts My supremely blissful bhakti and gives up all desires that are separate from Me, a secondary result is that he attains mukti, or the destruction of his bondage to the material world. Therefore, that bhakti which I have described (in the Twelfth Chapter) is the ultimate goal of the jivas who desire eternal auspiciousness."

In the previous chapter, it was explained that all types of empirical jnana are saguna, and that only pure jnana which acts as an assistant to bhakti is nirguna. In this chapter, it is shown that all types of vairagya are saguna, except for that vairagya which arises as a concomitant result of bhakti. That vairagya is nirguna.


mamaivamsho jiva-loke / jiva-bhutah sanatanah
manah shashthanindriyani / prakriti-sthani karshati

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eva---certainly; mama---My; sanatanah---eternal; amshah---separated part and parcel; jiva-bhutah---who experiences conditioned life; jiva-loke---in the world of conditioned living beings; karshati---struggles; manah---with the mind; (and) shashthani---the six; indriyani---senses; prakriti-sthani---which are subject to the influences of material nature.

The eternal jivas in this material world are certainly My separated parts and parcels ( vibhinnamsha). Bound by material nature, they are attracted by the six senses including the mind.


"What is the nature of the jivas who, by performing Your bhakti, cross beyond this material world and obtain Your dhama?" In response to this question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word mamaivamshah. In the Varaha Purana it is said, "The amshas of Bhagavan are of two types, svamsha (a personal expansion or part) and vibhinnamsha (a separated expansion or part). The jivas are vibhinnamsha, separated parts." The jivas are eternal, but while living in material bodies, they are bound by mundane attraction through the mind and the five senses. Due to such an ego whereby they think, "All these things are mine," they become attracted to worldliness as if pulled by a chain bound to their feet.


In the present shloka, Shri Bhagavan is explaining jiva-tattva. The jiva is an amsha (part) of Bhagavan, but what type of amsha should be understood. Shri Bhagavan's amshas are of two types: svamsha and vibhinnamsha. Within the svamsha category is vishnu-tattva. Avataras such as Matsya, Kurma, Nrisimha and Rama are svamsha-tattva. Jivas are vibhinnamsha-tattva. When sac-cid-ananda Bhagavan is parted from all other energies and is only endowed with His tatastha-shakti, His separated parts are called vibhinnamsha-tattva. This is also explained in the following manner: The jivas who are generated from the jiva-shakti or tatastha-shakti, which is non-different from Bhagavan, are vibhinnamsha-tattva. Some of their characteristics are qualitatively the same as Bhagavan's, and other qualities are different. Hence, their relationship with Bhagavan is inconceivably and simultaneously one and different, acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva.

Jivas have two states: bound and liberated. In the liberated state, the jiva is free from illusory designations and remains engaged in service to Bhagavan, but in the bound state, he remains entangled in the material world, being covered by the illusory designations of gross and subtle bodies. In Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.11.4), this has been explained in the following way:

ekasyaiva mamamshasya / jivasyaiva maha-mate
bandho 'syavidyayanadir / vidyaya ca tathetarah

O most intelligent Uddhava, the jivas are the separated parts of Me, who am advitiya-svarupa (one without a second, the nondual Absolute Reality). Due to avidya, they have become bound, and by vidya they attain mukti.

And moreover, it is stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.5): yaya sammohito jivah. "Due to this external energy, the jiva, although transcendental to the gunas, thinks himself a material product and, thus, undergoes the reactions of material suffering.

By speaking this shloka, mamaivamsho jiva-loke, "The jiva is My separated part," Bhagavan Shri Krishna herein refutes the illusory conception of those who say that the jiva himself is brahma.

Besides this, by using the word sanatanah (eternal), Shri Bhagavan refutes the opinion of the mayavadis. They say that, when brahma accepts the shelter of maya, brahma is known as the jiva, and when freed from maya, he again becomes brahma. From this shloka, it is clear that the jiva is an eternal entity, sanatana-tattva. He can never merge into the existence of anything else, or be destroyed. The existence of the jiva is eternal, both in his liberated and in his bound state. The jiva always remains a jiva. He never becomes brahma. This fact has been established in Gita (2.23- 24). If the jiva had ever been brahma, or if he were nondifferent from brahma in all respects, he would not have had to become bound in the material world. In other words, he would not have to suffer material miseries. Satyam jnanam anantam. "The Absolute Reality is truth, knowledge and limitless." According to this statement of shastra, it is impossible for brahma to be in illusion or ignorance.

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, therefore told the famous advaita-vadi, Sarvabhauma Bhatöacarya, "Parameshvara is the controller of maya, and the jivas are under the control of maya. This has been established in shastra. But you are saying that the jiva and Ishvara are the same, which is completely against the injunctions of shastra."

The shrutis very clearly declare that the jiva is not brahma: vasanti yatra purushah sarve vaikunöha-murtayah (Shrimad- Bhagavatam 3.15.14). "People who are free from maya can acquire a form suitable to reside in Vaikunöha and serve Shri Narayana, the master of Vaikunöha." In other words, after obtaining sarupya-mukti (a spiritual nature and form) they serve Shri Narayana. Shri Krishna's words in the present shloka such as jiva-bhutah, mamamshah and sanatanah also show the futility of the opinion of those who say that this material world is false, and that the jiva and brahma are one.

Other mayavadis (pratibimba-vadis) accept the jiva and inert matter to be a reflection of brahma, but this conception is also speculative and futile for the following reasons.

1) If brahma is all-pervading, what possibility is there of His having a reflection?

2) Who is the person who sees the re- flection, and where exactly is He reflected? If the jiva is considered to be the seer, and avidya (ignorance) the place of reflection, one has to accept the existence of two objects which are separate from brahma, that is, the jiva and maya in the form of ignorance. How, then, can brahma be ekam evadvitiyam, "one without a second", and how can He be all pervading?

3) Brahma is not the object of perception, in other words, He is without energy, transformation or qualities and is nirguna-tattva. How can transcendental brahma be divided if even the material element sky, cannot be divided? Therefore, the mayavada philosophy, that brahma has divided into parts as the jiva (pariccheda-vada), is also completely baseless. Shastra says that brahma is avikari, without any transformations. This means He cannot be transformed into a jiva or into matter. We see, therefore, that both the concepts of the mayavadis: pratibimba-vada (that the jiva and inert matter are a reflection of brahma) and pariccheda-vada (that brahma has divided into parts as the jiva) are illusory. One may argue that this assertion contradicts Vedic statements such as sarvam khalv idam brahma, "Everything is brahma," and tat tvam asi, "You are that" (meaning that the jiva is brahma). However, all shastras, including the Upanishads and Vedanta, explain that it is Bhagavan's shakti, and not Bhagavan Himself, which has transformed into the jivas and the universe. Bhagavan (brahma) is non-different from His shakti, so the jiva and this material world, which are transformations of the shakti of brahma, are also non-different from brahma. That there is a difference between the jiva, brahma and Bhagavan has been established from the statements of the shrutis, such as nityo nityanam cetanash cetananam, and in various statements in Gita. For example, Gita (15.18) states: "I am purushottama-tattva, the Supreme Person, beyond both perishable and imperishable entities."

Thus, everything consists of brahma, but parabrahma is Shri Krishna Himself, and is indeed beyond everything. The mayavadis falsely assert that the statement tat tvam asi in the Upanishads means "you are that", but this speculation is against the injunctions of shastra. The real import of this statement is, "you belong to Him; you are the servant of Bhagavan." All Vedic statements have established this to be the meaning of tat tvam asi.

Shankaracarya explains the following two statements:
ritam pibanto sukritasya loke guham
pravishtau parame parardhe
Katha Upanishad 1.3.1

Having entered within the cave of the heart, both Paramatma and the vijnanatma (self-realised soul) drink the nectar of the truth for a very long time.


guham pravishöav atmanau hi tad-darshanat
Brahma-sutra 1.2.113

Certainly the two souls have entered the cave so that the Supreme Lord may reveal His glories to the jivatma. Shankaracarya, what to speak of others, has accepted the existence of two separate purushas due to the grammatical construction of the word atmanau. These two purushas are vijnanatma (the jiva) and Paramatma. In various places in the shrutis, the difference between the jiva and brahma has been shown by explaining that Parameshvara is vibhu (allpervading), and the jiva is anu (atomic). Some examples of this are as follows:
(i) yathagneh kshudra visphulinga (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 2.1.20). "...just as tiny sparks from a fire fly in all directions."(ii) balagra-shata-bhagasya shatadha kalpitasya ca (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 5.9). "A particle one hundredth the size of the tip of a hair and again divided by one hundred is considered to be the size of the jiva, and such jivas are declared to be eternal."(iii) esho 'nur atma cetasa veditavyo (Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.9). "This tiny atma, who reposes on the five kinds of vital airs, should be understood through the mind. The entire consciousness of the living beings is extended throughout by those life airs, and in the fully pure state of consciousness, that atma becomes manifest."
(iv) yatha samudre vahavash taranga (Tattva-muktavali 10). "... as in the ocean there are many waves."(v) anu hi jivam prati-deha-bhinnam (Dasha-shloki by Nimbarka). "The jivatmas are certainly of atomic dimensions and are situated in every body."(vi) hladinya samvidashlishöah sac-cid-ananda ishvarah / svavidya- samvrito jivah sanklesha nikarakarah (Shrila Shridhara Svami). "The Supreme Lord, who is the embodiment of eternity, cognisance and bliss, is embraced by full cognisance of His pleasure potency."(vii) yah sarveshu bhuteshu tishöhan sarvebhyo bhutebhyo.ntaro (Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad 3.7.15). "The jivatma, being immersed in ignorance of his true nature, experiences helplessness amidst a multitude of sufferings."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "If you doubt how the jivas attain these two states, then listen. I am Bhagavan, the complete sac-cid-ananda. I have two types of amsha: svamsha and vibhinnamsha. As svamsha, I perform lilas in forms such as Rama and Nrisimha. As My vibhinnamsha, I have manifested jivas, who are My eternal servants. In svamsha-tattva the ego of My Supreme Lordship fully exists (aham-tattva). In My vibhinnamsha, however, I do not have aham-tattva, the ego of being Parameshvara, and therefore a separate, individual aham-tattva ego appears. This jiva, vibhinnamsha-tattva, has two states: mukta (liberated) and baddha (bound). In both states, the jiva is eternal. In the liberated state, the jiva is completely dependent upon Me and has no relationship with the material nature. In the bound state the jiva accepts the six senses (the mind and the five external senses) as his own and identifies with them while being situated in the material body (prakriti), which is his designation."


shariram yad avapnoti / yac capy utkramatishvarah
grihitvaitani samyati / vayur gandhan ivashayat

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iva---just as; vayuh---the wind; (takes) gandhan---scents; ashayat--- from a container (of flowers); ishvarah---the lord (of the senses of the material body, jivatma); yat yat---from whatever (object of contemplation); utkramati---passes over (at death); apnoti---he accepts; (a new) shariram---body; ca---and; grihitva---taking; etani--- these (the mind and the six senses); samyati---he travels.

Just as the wind carries the aroma of flowers, so the embodied jiva carries the six senses and their desires from whichever body he abandons to whichever body he achieves.


"What does he do when he is attracted by the senses?"

Expecting this question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the words shariram yad avapnoti. Whatever gross body is attained by the jiva, the master of the body and senses, is controlled by karma. From whichever body he leaves, he carries these senses along with the subtle elements from his previous body. He then enters a new body, just as the wind carries an aroma along with subtle elements from its source, such as a flower garland or sandalwood, to another place.


Shri Bhagavan is explaining how a baddha-jiva achieves another body. After death, his bound state does not cease. Until a jiva becomes free from the material world by performing bhagavad-bhajana, he has to take repeated births according to the impressions of his previous actions. By using an example, Shri Bhagavan is explaining how he gets a new body. Vayu (the wind) carries the aroma from flowers but does not carry the flower, which remains where it is.

Similarly, the jiva gives up his gross body at the time of death and accepts the shelter of another gross body, carrying the mind with its desires and the senses along with him. In this way, he repeatedly accepts different bodies according to the actions he performs, based on his desires. This is also described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.22.36):

tan mamakhyahi govinda / durvibhavyam anatmabhih
na hy etat prayasho loke / vidvamsah santi vancitah

It is only the mind which has the impressions of karma, and along with the five senses, travels from one body to another. The atma is different from that, but he follows the mind because of ahankara, the false ego.
This is also stated by Kapiladeva in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.31.43):

dehena jiva-bhutena / lokal lokam anuvrajan
bhunjana eva karmani / karoty aviratam puman
Due to his particular type of body, the conditioned jiva wanders from one planet to another, following his material desires. In this way, he involves himself in fruitive activities and enjoys the result incessantly.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "It is not that one's bound state of life ends after death. The jiva gets another gross body according to his past actions, and in due course of time, he will also give that up. While going from one body to another, he carries with him desires for activities related to the body. Just as the wind travels to another place carrying the aroma from its source, such as flowers or sandalwood, the jiva travels from one gross body to another gross body along with the subtle elements and the senses."


shrotran caksuh sparshanan ca / rasanam ghranam eva ca
adhishöhaya manash cayam / vishayan upasevate

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adhishöhaya---while taking shelter; shrotram---of ears; caksuh--- eyes; sparshanam---the sense of touch; rasanam---the tongue; ghranam---the nose; ca---and; eva---especially; manah---the mind; ayam---this (jivatma); upasevate---enjoys; vishayan---sense objects.

Taking shelter of the ears, eyes, tongue, nose, sense of touch and also the mind within different bodies, the jiva enjoys various sense objects.


"What does the jiva do after reaching the next body?" In response to this question, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word shrotram. Taking shelter of the senses such as the ears and mind, he enjoys sense objects such as sound.


utkramantam sthitam vapi / bhunjanam va gunanvitam
vimudha nanupashyanti / pashyanti jnana-cakshushah

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vimudhah---fools; na anupashyanti---do not perceive in accordance with shastra, sadhu and guru; (the jivatma) utkramantam---leaving (the body); sthitam---situated (in the body); va api va---or even; bhunjanam---while enjoying; gunaanvitam ---through his senses; (but) cakshushah---those who have eyes; jnana---of divine knowledge; (actually) pashyanti--- see.

The foolish, who are bereft of discrimination, cannot perceive with their senses the jiva when he leaves the body, while he dwells in the body, or even while he enjoys through his senses. Those who are wise, however, can see all this.


If Arjuna says, "I have not understood properly the tattva of how the jiva leaves his body, how he dwells in it, and how he enjoys the sense objects while staying in it," in response, Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word utkramantam. "People bereft of wisdom cannot understand the atma along with the senses, either when he leaves the body, while he lives in the body, or while he enjoys the sense objects. But those with the eyes of knowledge, jnana-cakshu, can realise the bound state of the jiva"


yatanto yoginash cainam / pashyanty atmany avasthitam akritatmano / nainam pashyanty acetasah

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yatantah---endeavouring; yoginah---persons engaged in bhakti; ca---indeed; pashyanti---perceive; enam---him (the atma); avasthitam---situated; atmani---in the body; akrita-atmanah--- those whose minds are not purified; (and) acetasah---are unconscious; api---even though; yatantah---endeavouring; na pashyanti---do not perceive; enam---him.

Endeavouring yogis can perceive this atma which is situated within the body, but those whose thoughts are impure and who are bereft of wisdom cannot see the atma, even though striving to do so.


Only the striving yogis who have wisdom know the atma; not those with impure hearts.


Endeavouring yogis who have wisdom can experience or perceive the atma situated within the body by practising bhakti-yoga in the form of hearing and chanting. But those whose thoughts are impure and who are bereft of bhagavadbhakti cannot know atma-tattva, the science of the self. This is incomprehensible to them.


yad aditya-gatam tejo / jagad bhasayate'khilam
yac candramasi yac cagnau / tat tejo viddhi mamakam

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tejah---the splendour; yat---which; aditya-gatam---comes from the sun; (and which) bhasayate---illuminates; akhilam---the entire; jagat---universe; tat---that; tejah---splendour; yat---which; candramasi---is in the moon; ca---and; yat---which; agnau---is in fire; viddhi---you must understand; (to be) mamakam--- Mine.

Know that the splendour of the sun which illuminates the entire universe, as well as the splendour of the moon and fire are coming from Me alone.


"I alone favour the jiva in his bound state, in the form of the sun, moon and so forth, enabling him to obtain all his necessities." This is explained here beginning with the words yad aditya-gatam, and further explained in the following two Gita shlokas. "Being the splendour of the rising sun in the morning from the Udaya mountain, I illuminate the universe for the commencement of karma (action), which fulfils the jivas' overt and latent desires for sense enjoyment. The splendour of the moon and fire is also Mine. I, Myself, have the names Surya, Candra, etc. They have been counted as My vibhutis because they are parts of My splendour."


A person who is bereft of bhakti, and is thus ignorant, mistakes the body for the self. He cannot understand that Parameshvara is the original cause behind the existence or manifestation of all entities, feelings, elements, actions and qualities of this world. He thinks that the root cause of all existence is earth, water, fire, air, sky, moon, sun, electricity and so on. Here Shri Krishna clearly says that the sun, moon, fire and electricity manifest from Him alone. Bhagavan alone is the bestower of enjoyment and liberation upon the jiva. He creates seen and unseen varieties of enjoyment for the jivas by making His partial splendour enter the sun, moon, etc.

A jiva can easily comprehend the above tattva by practising bhakti-yoga. In this way, He can understand this aspect of Shri Bhagavan's splendour (vibhuti-yoga) that He is explaining. However, a jiva who is bewildered by maya can never realise this reality. Being overpowered by the mundane false ego, he endeavours in vain to establish his control over all things, such as water, air, sun, moon and wind, in order to exploit them for his own material enjoyment. It is best for him to give up these futile endeavours and follow the process of bhakti by surrendering to Bhagavan. By this simple and easy process, he can attain eternal peace and happiness, otherwise not.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "If you say, "A jiva situated in this material world is unable to deliberate on anything except matter, so how is it possible for him to deliberate on conscious reality?" then the answer is that the splendour of My spiritual existence is also in this material world. By taking support from it, it is possible to gradually attain a pure spiritual state which results in the destruction of the material state. The splendour in the sun, moon and fire which illuminates the whole world is indeed only Mine.""


gam avishya ca bhutani / dharayamy aham ojasa
pushnami caushadhih sarvah / somo bhutva rasatmakah

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ca---and; ojasa---by My potency; avishya---infusing; gam---the earth; aham---I; dharayami---sustain; (all) bhutani---beings; ca---and; bhutva---becoming; rasa-atmakah---the nectarean; somah---moon; pushnami---I nourish; sarvah---all; aushadhih--- plant life.

By infusing the earth with My potency, I alone sustain all living beings. Becoming the nectar-filled moon, I supply nourishment to all plant life.


"By infusing the earth with My shakti, I support all moving and non-moving living entities. I alone become Candra, the moon, nourishing all plant life."


aham vaishvanaro bhutva / praninam deham ashritah
pranapana-samayuktah / pacamy annam catur-vidham

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 15.14 <>

ashritah---taking shelter; deham---of the bodies; praninam---of living entities; (and) bhutva---becoming; vaishvanarah---the fire of digestion; prana-apana-samayuktah---conjointly with the out-going and in-coming airs; aham---I; pacami---digest; catuh- vidham---the four kinds; annam---of food.

As the fire of digestion in the bodies of the living entities, I combine with the out-going and in-coming airs to digest the four types of foodstuffs.


"I, in the form of the digestive fire combined with its stimulator, the prana and apana airs, digest the four types of foodstuffs that are chewed, drunk, licked and sucked." Foods that are broken with the teeth, such as chickpeas, etc., are called chewed. Sugar candy is licked, sugar cane is sucked and sugar cane juice is drunk.


All embodied beings, from the worm to humans, do not even have the independent power to digest their foodstuffs. Shri Bhagavan says, "In the form of the fire of digestion, I digest the food in the body of the jivas." What, therefore, is one who is even unable to digest his food capable of doing? It is essential that one surrender to the lotus feet of Bhagavan and give up the false ego of depending on his own strength and intelligence. It should also be understood that it is only Parameshvara who enters the earth and sustains all living entities by His potency. Nothing is possible without His potency.


sarvasya caham hridi sannivishöo
mattah smritir jnanam apohanan ca
vedaish ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krid veda-vid eva caham

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 15.15 <>

aham---I; sannivishöah---am situated; hridi---in the hearts; sarvasya---of all; ca---and; mattah---from Me come; smritih--- remembrance; jnanam---knowledge; ca---and; apohanam---forgetfulness; sarvaih---by all; vedaih---the Vedas; eva---only; aham--- I; vedyah---am to be known; ca---and; eva---certainly; aham---I (am); vedanta-krit---the compiler of the Vedanta-sutras; ca---and; veda-vit---the knower of the Vedas.

I am situated as Antaryami in the hearts of all living entities. From Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas I alone am to be known. Indeed, I am the originator and the compiler as well as the knower of Vedanta.


"Just as I am vaishvanara, the digestive fire in the stomach, I, Antaryami, have entered the hearts of all moving and nonmoving living entities as the principle of memory. From Me, one remembers those objects he has previously experienced, and when the senses contact sense objects, knowledge comes. Loss of memory and knowledge also occur because of Me." After Shri Bhagavan explains the assistance He provides to the jiva in his bound state, He goes on to explain how He arranges for the jiva to attain the liberated state. "I am the compiler of Vedanta through My avatara Veda-Vyasa, therefore, I alone know the meaning of the Vedas. In other words, nobody except Me knows the meaning of the Vedas."


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "I am situated as Ishvara in the hearts of all jivas. According to the results of the jivas' past actions, they acquire memory, knowledge to continue their deeds, and also forgetfulness of their past lives. Therefore, I am not only brahma, who pervades the whole universe, I am also Paramatma, situated in the hearts of the jivas, giving them the fruit of their karma.

Furthermore, I am not just the jiva's worshipable brahma and Paramatma, but I am also the instructor of the jivas, bestowing eternal auspiciousness upon them through the Vedas. I am Bhagavan, and I alone am to be known by all the Vedas. I am the compiler and knower of Vedanta. Therefore, I manifest as brahma for the highest eternal auspiciousness of all jivas, and as Ishvara or Paramatma, I reside within their hearts and also pervade prakriti. As Bhagavan, I bestow the supreme transcendental goal. In these three manifestations, I deliver the baddha-jivas."


dvav imau purushau loke / ksharash cakshara eva ca
ksharah sarvani bhutani / kuöa-stho'kshara ucyate

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loke---in this world; (there are) eva---only; imau---these; dvau--- two; (kinds of) purushau---persons; ksharah---the fallible; ca---and; aksharah---the infallible; ca---and; ucyate---it is said; sarvani---all; bhutani---living entities; (are) ksharah---fallible; (and) kuöastha h---the unchangeable (brahma or Paramatma); (is) aksharah--- infallible.

In the fourteen planetary systems, two purushas are famous: kshara (the fallible) and akshara (the infallible). All moving and non-moving living entities are called kshara, and the immutable purusha ( kuöastha) is called akshara.


"Since I alone am the knower of the Vedas, I will speak the essence of the Vedas briefly. Listen carefully." To explain this, Shri Bhagavan speaks this and the next two shlokas beginning here with the words dvav imau. In this universe consisting of the fourteen planetary systems, there are two conscious purushas (beings). Who are they? In answer to this, Shri Bhagavan says, "One who fails to act according to his constitutional identity is kshara (the fallible) jiva, and He who never falls from His own svarupa is akshara (the imperishable) brahma." Shruti says, "Brahmanas, the knowers of brahma, call Him akshara." Also in smriti, only brahma is called akshara: aksharam brahma paramam. Again, to specifically explain the meanings of the words kshara and akshara, Shri Bhagavan says: sarvani bhutani. Only the jiva fails to act according to his original, spiritual identity due to ignorance since time immemorial. Being bound by his karma, he wanders throughout all species of life beginning from Brahma, the aggregate self, down to the non-moving beings. However, the second purusha is akshara (infallible), and is kuöa-stha, that is, in His same infallible svarupa, He is all-pervasive. According to the Amara-kosha dictionary, kuöa-stha means one who is all-pervading, who does not change His eternal svarupa and who remains in one form.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "If you say that prakriti is one, then you, Arjuna, have understood. But if you have not understood how many conscious purushas there are, then listen. In reality, there are only two types of purushas in this world: kshara and akshara. The conscious jivas emanating as the vibhinnamsha are kshara-purusha. The jiva is called ksharapuru sha because his nature is taöastha; hence, he has the tendency to fall down from his constitutional position. The svamsha-tattva, who never fall from Their svarupa, are called akshara-purusha." Another name for akshara purusha is kuöa-stha (the unchangeable) purusha. The kuöa-stha purusha manifests in three ways:
(1) That akshara-purusha who pervades the whole universe, and is the negative aspect of the manifested universe, is brahma. Therefore, brahma is a tattva only related with the universe. It is not an independent tattva.
(2) The partial manifestation of transcendence, the refuge and indwelling witness of the conscious jiva in the universe, is Paramatma. He is also a tattva relative only to the universe, and is thus not an absolute tattva.
(3) The third manifestation of kuöa-stha is bhagavat-tattva, Shri Bhagavan Himself. This will be explained in the eighteenth shloka.


uttamah purushas tv anyah / paramatmety udahritah
yo loka-trayam avishya / bibharty avyaya ishvarah

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tu---however; (there is) anyah---another; uttamah---transcendental; purushah---personality; udahritah---described; (by the sages) iti---as; parama-atma---the Supersoul; (He is) ishvarah--- controller; avyayah---the immutable; yah---who; avishya---entering; loka-trayam---the three worlds; bibharti---maintains (them).

There is, however, another superior akshara-purusha known as Paramatma. He is Ishvara, the unchanging controller who enters and sustains the three worlds.


After explaining brahma, the worshipable reality of the jnanis, in this shloka beginning with the word uttamah, Shri Bhagavan explains Paramatma, the worshipable object of the yogis. The word tu (but) indicates a characteristic which is distinctly different from the previously described akshara- purusha (brahma). It was said in Gita (6.46) that yogis are superior to jnanis: jnanibhyo'pi mato 'dhikah karmibhyash cadhiko yogi. From this statement, it is understood that the Absolute Reality manifests in a superior and specific way according to the advancement and speciality of the worshipper.

Paramatma-tattva is being explained as He who is Ishvara, the controller, and who is avyayah, without transformation, who enters, supports and maintains the three worlds. This is Paramatma.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "The second akshara (infallible) purusha, Paramatma, is superior to the first aksharapuru sha, brahma. He is Ishvara. Entering the three worlds, He is situated as their maintainer."


yasmat ksharam atito'ham / aksharad api cottamah
ato'smi loke vede ca / prathitah purushottamah

Click here to read Shrila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is 15.18 <>

yasmat---because; aham---I; (am) atitah---transcendental; ksharam---to the fallible; ca---and; api---even; uttamah--- transcendental; aksharat---to the infallible; atah---therefore; asmi--- I am; prathitah---renowned; ca---both; loke---in the world; (and) vede---in the Vedas; (as) purusha-uttamah---the Supreme Person.

Since I am beyond kshara-tattva (the fallible jiva), and even excel akshara-tattva (the two fold purusha, brahma and Paramatma), I am well known both in this world and in the Vedas as Purushottama, the Supreme Person.


After explaining Paramatma, the worshipable object of the yogis, Shri Bhagavan describes bhagavat-tattva, the worshipable Deity of the bhaktas. Of the bhagavat-tattva forms, only His own Krishna svarupa is renowned as Purushottama. Shri Bhagavan speaks this shloka beginning with the word yasmat to explain the term Purushottama and His supremacy. This svarupa-tattva, the reality of His form, is transcendental to the kshara (fallible) purusha, the jivatma. He is also superior to akshara-brahma, and to the immutable, nirvikara Paramatma. According to Gita(6.47):

 yoginam api sarvesham / mad-gatenantaratmana.

"He who constantly performs My bhajana with full faith, always thinking exclusively of Me within himself is, in My opinion, the topmost of all yogis." The advancement of the sadhaka's worship is established by the superiority and speciality of his worshipable Deity. Since Shri Krishna is the supreme manifestation of Absolute Reality, one who worships Him is the topmost yogi. Among all supermost worshipable realities (bhagavat-tattva), the superiority of Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna is established over Vaikunöha-natha Narayana by the word ca. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28) Shri Suta Gosvami says: "Some personalities are His portions and parts of His portions, but Krishna alone is Svayam Bhagavan." According to this statement of Suta Gosvami, Krishna is the Supreme Reality.

Although the three words brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan explain the one Transcendental Reality, who is sat, cit and ananda, there is no difference in Their svarupa, true constitutional nature. Also, in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.9.35), it is said: svarupa-dvayabhavat, "You do not have two svarupas." Yet, due to the differences in sadhana and in the results obtained by those who worship brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan, there seems to be a difference in that one transcendental reality. Jnana, yoga and bhakti are the respective means for the jnanis, yogis and bhaktas to attain their particular goals of brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. In fact, the result of jnana and yoga is only moksha, whereas the result of bhakti is to become a loving associate of Bhagavan. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.12), it is said: "Brahma-jnana in the form of naishkarmya (freedom from material affinity) does not appear very beautiful or auspicious when it is bereft of bhakti to Bhagavan." And in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.5), it is said: "O great personality, in the past there were many yogis in this world who offered all their activities to Your lotus feet when they could not achieve You by the processes of yoga and so forth. Only then could they achieve bhakti to You, by which they realised Your svarupa, and very easily attained Your supreme abode."

From these statements, it is understood that without bhakti one cannot attain moksha by the processes of jnana and yoga. It is imperative for the worshippers of brahma and Paramatma to perform bhagavad-bhakti in order for them to achieve perfection in the results of their respective practices. There is no need, however, for the worshippers of Bhagavan to worship brahma or Paramatma to attain perfection in their goal. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.31), it is said: "The processes of jnana and vairagya in this world are not considered as the means to attain the highest perfection for a person who is engaged in bhakti-yoga to Me." Furthermore, Shrimad- Bhagavatam (11.20.32-33) states: "Whatever results one attains by the performance of such processes as karma, tapasya, jnana and vairagya, My bhaktas can easily attain by the process of bhakti, be it Svarga, moksha, My Vaikunöha-dhama, or whatever. A person who takes shelter of Shri Narayana achieves the four goals of human life (dharma, artha, karma and moksha) without performing separate sadhanas to achieve them."

It is seen that by the worship of Bhagavan, one can achieve the results of Svarga, mukti or prema, but one cannot attain prema by the worship of brahma and Paramatma. Even though brahma and Paramatma do not differ from Bhagavan on the basis of tattva, only the supremacy of Bhagavan is being glorified here.

A flame, a lamp and a big fire are all luminous objects and thus, non-different in nature, yet the large fire is the most effective in removing the miseries of those suffering from cold. And superior to the big fire is the sun. Similarly, Bhagavan Shri Krishna is the topmost Absolute Reality. Moksha, in the form of nirvana, attained by perfectly worshipping brahma, is granted by Shri Krishna to even those people who are envious of Him and who are highly sinful, such as Aghasura, Bakasura and Jarasandha. Therefore, Shrila Shridhara Svami has appropriately commented on the statement, "I am the support of nirvishesha-brahma." Shrila Madhusudana Sarasvati has also established the supremacy of Shri Krishna through the following statements: "Sadhakas who want to begin their eternal good fortune should constantly perform the bhajana of Shri Krishnacandra, whose form is described in the shrutis as saccid- ananda, whose complexion is the hue of fresh rainclouds, who is the very garland of the Vraja gopis, who is the means for intelligent people to cross over the ocean of the material world, and whose avataras perform lilas to remove the burden of the earth. I do not know any other reality superior to lotus-eyed Shri Krishna, who has a face like a full moon, who is adorned with a flute in His hands, who wears yellow garments, and whose lips are reddish like the bimba fruit. Various shastras give evidence of the wonderful glories of Shri Krishna. Those who cannot tolerate this are fools and destined for hell." By these statements, Shrila Madhusudana Sarasvati has established the excellence of Shri Krishna. Therefore, it is improper to voice one's disagreement with this explanation of these three Gita shlokas beginning from dvav imu (15.16).


This subject has been described more clearly in Shrimad- Bhagavatam (1.2.11):

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam / yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti / bhagavan iti shabdyate

Those who are tattva-vit call the Absolute Reality advaya-jnana, non-dual knowledge. Some know that very advaya-jnana as brahma, some call Him Paramatma, and some call Him Bhagavan. Jnanis experience that same para-tattva as brahma through their practice of jnana-yoga. Yogis realise the same reality as Paramatma, and by bhakti-yoga, bhaktas see Him as Bhagavan. By aishvarya-mayi bhakti (majestic devotion), bhaktas realise and render service unto that para-tattva as Vaikunöha-natha Narayana, and by madhurya-mayi-prema bhakti, the process of worship in the moods of Vraja (vraja-bhava), they see Him as Svayam Bhagavan Vrajendra-nandana Shyamasundara.

Realisation of brahma, Paramatma, and Bhagavan is not the same. There is a gradation. By constitutional nature, water, ice and mist are one (water), although water is not called ice or mist, nor is ice called mist or water. In the same way, Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna is the pinnacle of para-tattva. The first realisation of that para-tattva is brahma, the second realisation is Paramatma, and the third realisation is Svayam Bhagavan. These three perceptions are not the same. Therefore, in shastra, parabrahma is described as superior to brahma. This has been very clearly explained in Gita (14.27): brahmano hi pratishöhaham. "I alone am the basis of that nirvisheshabrahma. " The adjective param before brahma and before atma establishes the superiority of parabrahma and Paramatma over brahma and the atma respectively. But the adjective param is never used before the word Bhagavan. Therefore, Svayam Bhagavan alone is the topmost limit of para-tattva; Paramatma and brahma are just His two manifestations. The bodily effulgence of Krishna is called brahma, and the portion of His portion is called Paramatma.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "The third and topmost akshara-purusha is called Bhagavan. I am that very bhagavat-tattva. I am transcendental to ksharapuru sha (the jiva), and even superior to the two other aksharapuru shas: brahma and Paramatma. I am, therefore celebrated as Purushottama, both in this world and in the Vedas. This siddhanta should be understood: there are two purushas, kshara and akshara. Akshara-purusha has three manifestations. The general manifestation is brahma, a higher manifestation is Paramatma, and the supreme manifestation is Bhagavan."


yo mam evam asammudho / janati purushottamam
sa sarva-vid bhajati mam / sarva-bhavena bharata

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bharata---O scion of Bharata; sah---he; yah---who; (is) asamm udhah---undeluded; (and) janati---knows; mam---Me; evam--- thus; (as) purusha-uttamam---the Supreme Person; (is) sarva-vit--- a knower of all (truths); (and) bhajati---he worships; mam---Me; sarva-bhavena---wholeheartedly.

O Bharata, one who is not deluded by various opinions knows Me in this way as Purushottama. Such a person is the knower of everything, and he, therefore, engages wholeheartedly in bhajana to Me.


If someone disagrees with the meaning that Shri Bhagavan has established, in response He says, "They argue because they are bewildered by My maya. Sadhus, however, are not deluded. " To explain the characteristics of such saintly persons, He speaks this shloka beginning with the words yo mam.

Asammudhah means those who are not deluded by the opinions of different philosophers. "Although those who know Me as Purushottama, the Supreme Person, may not have studied the shastras, they know everything (sarva-vid) because they know the actual meaning and tattva of all shastra. However, those who study all the shastras and teach it to others, without understanding Me in this way, are deluded and completely foolish. Only those who actually know Me as Purushottama engage in My bhajana with every part of their being. Others are not really engaged in My bhajana, although it seems that they are."


After explaining paramatma-tattva, the worshipable object of the yogis, Bhagavan Shri Krishna Himself now explains His Purushottama-tattva and its glories. He is well-known as Purushottama, being transcendental to kshara-purusha (the jiva), and also superior to the other two akshara-purushas; brahma and Paramatma. He is therefore the shelter of both the jivatma and of Paramatma. This has been established in different places in the Gita. The supremacy of the worshipable Deity (upasya) is established by the excellence of the worshipper (upasaka). Gita (6.47) also states: shraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah. "Those bhakti-yogis who engage in the bhajana of Bhagavan with faith are said to be superior to all types of yogis." Therefore, the supremacy of Bhagavan, the worshipable object of the bhaktas, is established over the others. In Shrimad- Bhagavatam (1.3.28) also it is said: ete camsha-kalah pumsah krishnas tu bhagavan svayam. "Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead."

Also in Shri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu it is said that, although from the point of view of tattva there is no difference between the svarupa of Shri Narayana and that of Shri Krishna, from the perspective of rasa, the svarupa of Shri Krishna is superior.

siddhantatas tva abhede 'pi shrisha-krishna svarupayoh
rasenotkrishyate krishna-rupam esha rasa-sthitih
Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Eastern Division 2.32

Although in siddhanta there is no difference between Shri Krishna and Shri Narayana, from the point of view of rasa the form of Shri Krishna is superior. This is the glory of rasa.


iti guhyatamam shastram / idam uktam mayanagha
etad buddhva buddhiman syat / krita-krityash ca bharata

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anagha bharata---O sinless Bharata; iti---thus; idam---this; guhyatamam---most confidential; shastram---shastra; uktam---has been spoken; maya---by Me; syat---one becomes; buddhiman--- enlightened; ca---and; krita-krityah---fulfilled; buddhva---having understood; etat---this.

O sinless Bharata, I have hereby revealed the most confidential secret of shastra. One with pure intelligence becomes fully enlightened and blessed by knowing this.


Shri Bhagavan is concluding this chapter with this shloka beginning with the word iti. Shri Bhagavan says, "In these twenty shlokas, I have fully expounded the most secret doctrine of shastra." This chapter establishes the distinction between spirit and matter, and shows that among the threefold manifestations of the akshara purushas, the svarupa of Purushottama purusha Shri Krishna is the Supreme Reality.

Thus ends the Bhavanuvada of the Sarartha-Varshini Tika, by Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, on the Fifteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which gives pleasure to the bhaktas and is accepted by all saintly persons.


In concluding this subject, Shri Bhagavan has said that Purushottama-yoga as described in this chapter, is that part of shastra which contains the most confidential knowledge. The import of this statement is that no one except the bhaktas can comprehend knowledge of this tattva. Since Arjuna is a very dear bhakta of Bhagavan, Shri Bhagavan is revealing knowledge of this most confidential reality only to him. By the mercy of the bhaktas, the lives of those who are able to attain knowledge of this confidential tattva are blessed. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes Krishna as saying, "O sinless one, this Purushottama-yoga is, indeed, the most confidential instruction in shastra. After knowing this, an intelligent jiva becomes enlightened and blessed. O Bharata, all impurities in connection with ashraya (the abode, the jiva) and vishaya (the object of bhakti) are dispelled upon understanding this yoga. Bhakti is the blissful activity of the atma. To correctly execute the process of bhakti, two factors are most necessary: the purity of the jiva who is its ashraya, and the complete manifestation of Bhagavan, who is its vishaya. As long as the jiva has the conception that brahma and Paramatma are equal to Bhagavan (bhagavat-tattva), he cannot attain the process of vishuddha-bhakti (the function of his unalloyed existence). The process of bhakti is executed in its purest form only when he realises Purushottama-tattva as para-tattva.

"During the sadhana stage of bhakti-yoga, three great anarthas (unwanted things) are to be removed by the power of sadhu-sanga and by surrendering to the limbs of shuddhabhajana. The jiva's first weakness of heart is the desire to enjoy maya by misusing the freedom which was bestowed upon him in his pure stage by Bhagavan. Later on, while wandering in the material world, he developed his second weakness of heart, which is the attachment for sense objects. Among these weaknesses of the heart, hridaya-daurbalya, attachment to the material world is the third anartha. All the other anarthas are generated from these three weaknesses of heart."

The first five shlokas explain that pure renunciation is the symptom that destroys the above weaknesses. Deliberation on Purushottama-tattva along with yukta-vairagya generated from bhakti is given from the sixth shloka to the end of this chapter. This chapter describes the difference between inert matter and spirit, and the deliberation on different manifestations of conscious reality.

Thus ends the Sarartha-Varshini Prakashika-vritti, by Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, on the Fifteenth Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita.