Bhagavad Gita Lessons

Lesson 2: Through Knowledge (Stage 5)            
Session: 227 – 228

This is the final stage in the Bhakthi Yoga. At this stage, the devotees strive to gain the knowledge on the inconceivable Brahman. Since Brahman lies beyond the reach of our five senses, logic and inference, only those with high level of intelligence can enter this stage.

The goal of this final stage is to merge with God. Merging with God can happen only when we truly know God. God has two parts, Brahman and the illusion. The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. Therefore, it can be said that it is not possible for anyone to claim, ‘I know Brahman’. The only possibility is to realize, ‘I am Brahman’.

Brahman is the reality and illusion is false. Illusion is names and forms. People are distracted by names and forms. It is very difficult to discount the illusory names and forms and perceive the reality, which is the substratum of the illusion.

 Example: While watching a movie, the screen is not perceived.

Only those who have the highest devotion to God can perceive this real nature of God. This is very difficult for most people because they are under the impression that they are the body/ mind complex. They are lost in the names and forms of the world and it is very difficult for them to comprehend the formless and nameless Brahman.

People in this stage perform prayers in the conventional sense only as a formality. The real prayer for them is to study the Holy Scripture with an objective of understanding the underlying message.

Qualifications required for reaching this stage

1. Complete control over sense organs
2. Ability to control the mind
3. Understanding that there is no happiness in the objects of the world
4. Power to discriminate between the illusion and the reality
5. Ability to disregard the names and forms and see the substratum
6. Engaged in selfless action, with the primary interest on the welfare of all the living beings
7. Complete mental maturity attained through selfless service to God.
8. Deep desire to know God
9. Willingness to surrender to a teacher for guidance
10. Sharp intelligence to absorb the teaching
11. Ability to logically question the teaching
12. Capability to meditate on the knowledge

Process of completing this stage

Those who are in this stage will have no goal in life other than knowing God. All the actions in life will be done with that single purpose of knowing God. Whatever they do, they do it for knowing God.
Example: If one has to reach the railway station to take a early morning train, all the actions (like brushing the teeth, drinking coffee etc) done by him has one underlying thought of reaching the station in time.

Similarly, those who seek God for merging with him may do business and earn money to enable him to reach the only goal of knowing God.

Since they have completed the previous four stages, they are aware there is nothing in the universe that is not God. Therefore, to achieve their goal of reaching God, the means is also God for them. They trust in the words of God in the form of Holy Scriptures and strive to understand them with the guidance of qualified teachers.

Most of the time and effort is spent on studying the Scriptures. They need to get a doubtless knowledge on God. They should also learn the reasons for misunderstanding by others. In the final step, they need to meditate on the newly acquired knowledge so that they become steady on the knowledge.

The benefit of completing this stage

Knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. Life will become joyful to those who complete this stage.

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga             
Verses: 03 – 05

12.3-4 But those who fully worship the Brahman, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed and immovable--the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth--by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, attain Me.

12.5 For those whose minds are attached to the Brahman, impersonal feature of the supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are attached to the world.

Lesson 3: Through Devotion (Stage 4)            
Session: 229

Lord Krishna recommends this fourth and penultimate stage for Arjuna. After explaining the glories of God, Lord Krishna demonstrated the universal form to Arjuna. He found it to be difficult to comprehend. Therefore, this is the right stage for him. He should try hard and progress towards seeing God in every form in the universe.

The goal of this stage is to see the world as God. Once the ability to perceive God in all forms is gained, it will be possible to proceed to the next stage of worshiping the formless God through knowledge.

There is no specific time, place or method to offer prayers to God. At this stage, people are devoted to God all the time and all their actions are considered as prayer. They are in constant communication with God. Since they see God in everyone, they cannot communicate anyone other than God. All actions are seen as prayers.

The whole world is a temple for them.

Qualifications required for reaching this stage
1. Mind should be relatively free from desires.
2. The objects of the world should not have undue influence on the mind
3. Surrendering to God in the universal form
4. Should not be involved in any action that are selfish in nature
5. To know the meaning of God
a. As an intelligence cause of creation
b. As the material cause of creation
6. Logical mind to see that God cannot be constrained to a particular place

Process of completing this stage
One should understand the glories of God as described by Lord Krishna. As derivation to this, one should strive to see that there is nothing but God in this universe.

Step 1: Understand intellectually, the meaning of God being the material cause.

Step 2: Make the mind steady on this knowledge. One can do meditation of the Universal Form of God to achieve this.

Step 3: Avoid hating or having any negative feeling towards anyone.

Step 4: Redirect all the likes and desires towards God instead of objects of the world.

By following these steps, one will function with god consciousness all the time. Their focus on God will rarely be distracted by the objects of the world. Through practice, they will reduce the frequency and influence of such distractions.

The benefit of completing this stage

A person will be fully qualified to progress to the next level of worshiping formless Brahman. He will gain the mental maturity to understand the meaning of the Vedanta.

Soon a true devotee of the God in the universal form will merge with God.

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga             
Verses: 06 – 08

12.6-7 Keeping Me as the primary goal and dedicating all actions unto Me, some devotees worship, meditating upon Me, with undivided attention. For them, whose minds are set on Me, Oh Arjuna, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

12.8 Just fix your mind upon Me alone. Fix your intelligence upon Me alone. Thereafter you will live in Me always, without a doubt.

Lesson 4: Through Upasana (Stage 3)             
Session: 230

Lord Krishna has suggested that Arjuna should join Bhakthi Yoga in the stage of devotion. However, Arjuna had difficulties in comprehending the universal form of God. Therefore, if he thinks that he is not yet ready for that stage, he can opt for this third stage. It is normally recommended that one tries a higher stage and if it is found to be too hard, one can come down to the lower stage.

It may be impossible for some to attempt to see God in all forms.

Example: One is not able to take the car out because the neighbor has parked his vehicle in the wrong position.

It is difficult for many to neither see the neighbor as god nor perceive his action as God’s action. This means they are under the strong influence of likes and dislikes and not yet qualified to attempt the fourth stage. The world continues to attract or repeal these individuals due to the presence of strong preferences. Therefore, they cannot treat everything/ everyone around them as God. They do not have enough mental strength to be conscious of God all the time. They can be devotees only for some part of the day.

Such people should choose a form of God that is desirable for them and pray to the chosen form. This is their Personal God. It does not matter which form of god they choose. They can even choose a form of god that is outside Hindu religion and follow the tradition and custom associated with that god.

As far as such people are concerned, their personal god is the only god. According to them, those who do not pray to their chosen god are ignorant. Therefore, normally they choose a form and name of a god that is popular. People whose family god or goddess is not popular may convert to other religion or switch their Personal God within the religion to be with the majority.

They have a specific time, specific place and specific method to offer prayer to their Personal God. Temple is a place where God resides. This is prescribed by their tradition/ custom. They try to spend as much time with the Personal God as possible. They may offer various food items to their Personal God before consuming them.

Their emotions are also shared with the Personal God as if he is a member of the family. If they are upset, they may show their anger to God. They may seek emotional support from their God.

They pray to God for giving them good qualities in addition to praying for material prosperity. They believe that their Personal God will not want them to do any bad actions and therefore if they commit any bad actions, they confess their mistakes at the time of prayer. They also ask for boons from God to remove their sufferings in life.

Qualifications required for reaching this stage

1. Should be able to sit in prayer for the prescribed time
2. Should be able to devote time for God as frequently as dictated by their custom/ tradition
3. God should rank among the top priorities in life.
4. Spiritual pursuit should be more important than material pursuit
5. Ability to concentrate on God while doing Upasana

Process of completing this stage

In order to reach the fourth stage of seeing the God in the Universal Form, one should become a true devotee of their Personal God. All the religious practices in the world expect their devotees to develop positive qualities and reduce negative qualities. There are many practices prescribed to train the devotee to become broad minded to accept all religions / all forms of God as one. This maturity in mind will come after sufficient practice. Initially, they are advised to allocate as much time as possible in prayer to Personal God and follow the suggested steps in Upasana.

Step 1: To sit in a group and repeat the name of the Personal God loudly
Step 2: To sit alone and repeat the name of the Personal God softly
Step 3: To sit alone and repeat the name of the Personal God in the mind without any physical action or movement of lips.

The benefit of completing this stage
If they practice the prescriptions of the chosen tradition/ custom and please their Personal God for a length of time, their mind will gain enough intelligence to see that all forms and names refer to the same God.

They will start seeing that every devotee in the world is worshiping to the same God. Slowly they will see the possibility of God being the material cause of the creation and this makes them eligible to move on to the fourth stage of worshiping the God in universal form.

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga                      
Verse: 09

12.9 My dear Arjuna, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulated principles of bhakti-yoga. You will develop a desire to attain Me.

Lesson 5: Through Action (Stage 2)             
Session: 231

Some people are so active that they cannot sit quietly in meditation. They are not yet ready for reaching God through Upasana. Therefore, Lord Krishna offers them the second stage of Bhakthi Yoga. He says that it is possible to reach him even though the devotee is engaged in various activities.

Many people are driven continuously by their Energy element. They do not have enough time to spend for God. They do not have patience to sit through a long session of prayer or meditation. At the same time, they do not crave for the comforts and entertainment that are offered by the material pursuit. They are clear that they want a peaceful and happy life and in addition, they know that the material pursuit will not offer these to them. Since they know the limitation of the objects of the world to offer lasting happiness, they have turned their attention to God. However, due to their inherent Energy, they would like to keep themselves busy with activities in the external world.

They are interested in action and not keen on the results. Lord Krishna suggests this stage for such people and tells them that they should dedicate all their action for God.

Qualifications required for reaching this stage

1. Should not have strong desire to pull them towards worldly objects
2. Should not get immersed in entertainment like movie, club and parties
3. Should be interested in social service or service for God

Process of completing this stage

People will be actively involved in the affairs of the world. They chose the type of action according to their skill, capability and interest. The objective of their action will not be to earn name, fame, money, power, position and such. They should dedicate all their action to God and not work for results.

They can work for a social cause or help a religious cause in the interest of others. There is no selfish interest for them. Their only interest is to be in action. They will do their chosen action to the best of their abilities since they will be doing it for the sake of God.

The benefit of completing this stage

After prolonged exposure to selfless action, one will gain the balance of mind. Mind will not oscillate between the pairs of opposites and slowly will become ready to concentrate. It will then be possible to move away from physical action to mental action, namely Upasana.

Graduating to the next stage can happen only when the desire to be continuously busy is removed through selfless action.

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga                      
Verse: 10

12.10 If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.

Lesson 6: Through Enjoyment (Stage 1)            
Session: 232

World continues to be a source of entertainment to many people. They are not yet fully attracted to God. They do acknowledge the presence of God and they would like God to help them in their material pursuit. Their goal in life is to acquire name, fame, money, power, position etc for the sole purpose of enjoying life. They would like to party as frequently as possible. They want to visit places, do shopping, acquire properties and be comfortable in life.

They are willing to put in the required action to fulfill their desires. Those who want to enjoy life but not willing to work for it are not included in this stage. They cannot join the path of Bhakthi Yoga. It is not that people should work hard to be in this stage. They can have less number of desires and accordingly work less. While they desire for the objects of the world, they should also desire to reach God. They just do not have enough strength to discard all their other desires for reaching God.

Lord Krishna offers this stage of Bhakthi Yoga to such people. He says that as long as one is attracted by the world, they should continue to indulge in sense pleasures. They can still join the path of Bhakthi Yoga. God will treat them as equal to others in the path provided they follow the prescriptions.

Teaching 117: We can reach God through entertainment

Lord Krishna is conveys his special congratulations to those who join Bhakthi Yoga in this stage.

Example: A welcome party is organized and new entrants are congratulated in any organization/ institution.

Similarly, God encourages people who have joined Bhakthi Yoga by showing their willingness to follow his prescriptions while enjoying the world. Another incidental purpose of his special congratulations is for emphasizing that there is no need to have a guilty feeling while enjoying life. It is not a sin to enjoy life. One can enjoy life as much as possible without any feeling of guilt. The only condition is to accept them as gift from the God.

Majority of people are in this stage and it is much better to be in this stage than pretending to be in a higher stage. As long as the desire for the objects of the world lasts, one should not quit the life of enjoyment. Nothing should be given up for the sake of reaching God.

Only when the desires are dropped naturally, one can graduate to the next level. It will be dangerous to attempt a higher stage of Bhakthi Yoga without possessing the required qualifications.

Qualifications required for reaching this stage

1. Willingness to work hard to fulfill their desires
2. Have the skills and capability to fulfill their desires.
3. Have enough knowledge to differentiate between good and bad entertainment.

Process of completing this stage

Lord Krishna prescribes the following steps to progress in this stage.

1. Should follow Dharma in all actions
2. Should offer all the results to God as an acknowledgement before enjoying the same
a. If a new vehicle is bought, the first destination should be to a temple. One should then take the vehicle as a gift from God.
b. If a new house is built, installing the God in the house should be the first task. One should then start living in that house as a tenant of God.
c. The salary received should be offered to God and taken for use as his gift.
3. Should thank God for all the success and enjoyment in life and never blame God for failures and sufferings.

The benefit of completing this stage

If one indulges in sense pleasures for a length of time, slowly he will get the maturity to see that there is no lasting happiness in them. Since one is following Dharma in all the actions, he will get many opportunities to gain more mental strength and knowledge to move up to the next stage.

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga             
Verses: 11 – 12

12.11 If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.

12.12 If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.

Lesson 7: On completing Bhakthi Yoga 
Session: 233 – 234

After enumerating the five stages in Bhakthi Yoga, Lord Krishna starts describing a Pious Person who has completed all the stages. The description of the qualities and mental status of such a person is given with following intentions.

1. This is the final chapter in the second part of Gita. Lord Krishna has started the teaching of Bhakthi Yoga in Chapter 7 and has now completed the teaching. Logically it is expected that the second part be concluded with the benefit of following the path of Bhakthi Yoga.

2. The description of the person who has reached the destination will serve as a motivation to others who wish to join the path of Bhakthi Yoga.

3. For those who are already following the path, it will be a prelude to what is in store for them.

4. This description serves as a scale to measure our personal growth in the path of Bhakthi Yoga.

5. One can put conscious effort to improve the personal score comparing the same with the ideal as described.

6. To clarify all misconceptions which are widely prevalent on the meaning of the destination ‘merging with God’.

This description cannot be used to judge others. It is not possible to assess these qualities in others and come to a judgment whether they have reached the destination or not. The description is not about external activities. Although the actions of the Pious Person can give an indication of his mental qualities, one cannot conclude for sure. It is possible only to observe one’s own mind and assess the additional effort required to reach the goal.

The description may appear to be highly ideal/ theoretical and not practicable. Depending on the stage one is, the task ahead might look very formidable. One should not lose heart and give up the pursuit to merge with God. The intention of Lord Krishna is to help us to reach the destination. One should have faith in his words and join the prescribed path of Bhakthi Yoga. Lord Krishna assures that everyone who has joined Bhakthi Yoga will reach the destination ultimately.

It should be noted that only very few people can reach this destination. It is very rare and requires enormous time and effort spreading over many lifetimes. Therefore, there is no point in developing a feeling of guilt, if we find ourselves at a very low level compared to the description provided by Lord Krishna. Everyone is equal in God’s eyes and all that is required is to do our part sincerely and with devotion. Therefore, it is important that we join Bhakthi Yoga and it does not matter which stage of Bhakthi Yoga we are joining.

Our duty is to join the path of Bhakthi Yoga and follow the prescription given by Lord Krishna. He will take care of the rest and ensure that we reach the destination soon.

Description of Pious Person
The following qualities come to him without any additional effort. This is the natural outcome of completing all the five stages of Bhakthi Yoga. These qualities will be present at a lower degree for those who are traveling in the path of Bhakthi Yoga at the lower stages.

Example: Geography is known at varying levels among the students of various grades in the high school.
Similarly, the following qualities will vary in different degrees depending on the stages in Bhakthi Yoga.

Quality 1: Hates no one
A Pious Person does not hate anyone. This is possible because there are no desires in his mind. He is not trying to achieve anything in life. There are no goals since he has already reached the destination. Therefore, no one can be seen as a hurdle. Therefore, there is no hatred for anyone.
Supposing his wife elopes with his friend, he will hate neither his friend nor his wife. This is because he has no attachment to anyone.
He treats his ego as his shadow. If someone insults him, the insult is attributed to his ego and not to his real self. It is like someone stepping on his shadow. It does not matter to him and therefore he does not hate. Finally, he is aware that there is no one in the world existing for real. The whole creation is an illusion. It is not possible to hate a movie character.

Quality 2: Friendly to everyone
Since it is said that he does not have attachment to anyone/ anything, it does not mean he will run away from the society. He will love everyone and be friendly in all his dealings with others. This is possible for him due to following reasons.
1. He knows how to love without being attached.
2. He has no expectation from anyone
3. Everyone is accepted as they are without expecting any change in them.
4. He knows that the real nature of everyone is identical and is not distracted by the superficial differences.
5. He treats everyone equally and does not differentiate based on wealth, power, position or status.
6. He does not feel that he is superior to others because they are not different from him. They may not know who they are as he does and that does not make them any different from his point of view.
7. He does not get offended if others do not treat him as a friend.
He has his likes and dislikes. However, he will not seek anyone to be his friend because he does not need anyone. Since others may need friends, they may like to be his friends.
He will continue to be an extrovert or an introvert. His personality on this count will not change because he has reached the destination of merging with God.

Quality 3: Kindness to everyone
Since everyone who has not reached the destination is suffering or prone to suffering, he is will be kindhearted to everyone. He is aware that most of them are not yet qualified to reach the final destination. Therefore, he will be kind to all of them and help them to progress in their respective stages, at their own pace.
In fact, he will have additional kindness to all human beings because he knows that they do not even know that they are suffering. Even if they are under the assumption that they are enjoying life, they are actually being caught more tightly. Since the process of enjoying binds them to the objects of the world, they increase the potential for their suffering without being aware of it.
He would like to help anyone in distress. However, he will not have empathy with anyone. He will not take others suffering as his own.
He does not have any desire of his own to be in action. Therefore, the only motive for all his actions is his kindness to others.

Quality 4: Freedom from ownership
A Pious Person may own a house, car and such properties. However, he will not have the feeling of ownership. He does not feel, ‘they are mine’. Freedom of ownership is in the level of mind. He is aware that nothing belongs to him.
If his property is stolen, he takes the required steps to retrieve it. However, he does not have any hatred for the thief, sorrow of losing, anxiety for regaining or worry of the consequences since he has renounced the mental ownership.
His own body/ mind complex is considered as a gift from God. He is aware that all his possessions belong to God and he is using them as a trustee. He does not depend on any of his possessions (including his body/mind complex) for his happiness.
As a natural extension, he does not think even his family members belong to him. He is aware that his newborn child is an individual who has chosen to arrive in this world through him after many cycles of birth and death. Therefore, he treats the child as his guest.

Quality 5: Absence of ego
This is nothing to do with the egoistic attitude that is normally attributed to those who behave arrogantly with a sense of pride.
A Pious Person may appear to be arrogant or proud. For example, he may not visit temples to offer his prayers (since he has already merged with God) and others might assume that he is arrogant.
The ego referred here means the assumed meaning of the word ‘I’.
He no longer thinks the meaning of the word, ‘I’, to mean his body/mind complex. He is aware of his true nature. He uses ego and he is no more the ego. Those who have not reached the destination are under the assumption they are their ego. They think that they are independent of the world.

Quality 6: Lives with equanimity
A Pious Person treats the pairs of opposites offered by the world appropriately. Even after reaching the final destination, he will still be controlled by his past impressions. The experience gained from the world will continue to oscillate between Gain and Loss, Pleasure and Pain, Prosperity and Poverty, Fame and Blame, Honor or Dishonor, Love and Hate, Victory and Defeat, War and Peace, Health and Ill health, as it happens for all others. All others will be affected by these experiences and their mind will oscillate between happiness and sorrow. However, a Pious Person will remain neutral all the time. He will not be elated at the arrival of a pleasant experience nor will be upset at the unpleasant experience.

Quality 7: Has patience and forgiveness
He is aware that everything that happens is the will of God. He has no expectation on the outcome of his actions. Therefore, whatever happens in his life (or does not happen) he remains unaffected. He does not wait for anything. He has nothing to achieve. Therefore, he will be the hallmark of patience.
He will not have any enemies. Even if others treat him as if he is an enemy, he will not be affected by their behavior. If someone spits on his face, he will forgive instantly. He is aware that not everyone has enough intelligence to understand him. He is also aware that people hurt him or behave rudely because they do not have enough strength to be nice. They are bound by their accumulated preferences/knowledge and therefore they cannot but behave in the undesirable way. If he has to face hardships due to them, he knows that the real cause is his own impressions and therefore will not have any reason to blame anyone else.
He will try to avoid unpleasant situations. However, if others cause him suffering which could not be avoided, he will be patient. He will forgive them for their actions.
Example: Jesus Christ said, “Oh Lord, please forgive them. They do not know what they are doing” referring to those who put him on the cross.

Quality 8: Sense of fulfillment
He has complete contentment in life. He will always have more than enough of everything. He does not lack anything nor long to achieve anything in life. He is quite happy with all his relationships, possessions, knowledge, attitude and emotions. He does not wish to augment or reduce them.
He does not even require or expect recognition from others. This is because of his understanding that others cannot understand him prior to reaching the destination in the path of Bhakthi Yoga. To become a Pious Person is very rare and majority is still traveling at the lower stages of Bhakthi Yoga. Therefore, he cannot expect everyone around him to recognize his achievement of reaching the destination.
He has no ambition in life. He has reached the destination and there is nothing more to achieve. He has no sense of inadequacy or insecurity.
He is aware of the inherent nature of insufficiency of the material pursuit. It is impossible for anyone in the world to have enough of something. There will always be a possibility of gaining little more. This futility of the prosperity is fully understood by him.
Further, he is aware all the experiences are within the realm of illusion and therefore will always be inadequate. Since he is aware of his real nature of blissfulness, he does not associate himself with the illusion and feel insecure or inadequate.
The feeling of inadequacy pushes the people towards Bhakthi Yoga. People try to get fulfillment in their material pursuit. Those who are intelligent among them realize that they are chasing a mirage. They will turn towards Bhakthi Yoga for their fulfillment. Once they reach the destination, they will be fully contented.

Quality 9: Ability to use the mind as a tool
Prior to merging with God, the mind assumed itself as a doer. On reaching the destination, the mind is understood to be a tool. A Pious Person knows that the mind does not deserve the higher status of ‘doer’ and uses it as a tool to deal with life.
By definition, mind is attracted by the objects of the world. The knowledge that there is no happiness in the world restrains it from chasing the mirage. The Pious Person has gained enough control over the mind to use it as an efficient tool since he is aware of the true nature of the world.
Example: While riding a horse the rider should have enough control over the horse. Only then, the horse can be used to go to the desired destination. Else, one will be carried by the horse, according to its wishes.
Similarly, if we do not have enough control over the mind, it will be pulling us towards the objects of the world. We might be lead to what is attractive which may not be good. A Pious Person is free from desires. His mind will continue to experience the world but such experiences do not give rise to desires.
Problems of the mind continue to remain as the problems of the mind. They are not owned up as the problems of the self by the Pious Person.

Quality 10: Control over expression of negative preferences
Preferences are accumulated over many previous births. Preferences filter our vision and instead of seeing the world with neutral eyes, we see them through colored vision of likes and dislikes.
A Pious Person is an exception to this rule. Although he may also continue to have his preferences, they are under his control.
The likes and dislikes, which are the result of accumulated preferences, will continue to prompt him with suggestions. However, such likes and dislikes, will not force him to act in an undesirable manner. While others remain mute spectator to their own actions driven by their preferences, he will act strictly according to his intelligence. This will suppress the expression of any negative preferences in him.

Quality 11: Gained the conviction on the reality
The Pious Person knows the true meaning for the words, ‘I’ and ‘God’. He also has conviction about the true nature of the world. He has acquired the doubtless knowledge that the world is the lower nature of God, which is an illusion. The higher nature of God is Brahman, which is the only reality. By crossing all the five stages of Bhakthi Yoga, he has merged himself with God.
His love for God is complete. Only those who have crossed all the stages of Bhakthi Yoga can love God as he does. It is declared in the Vedanta that everyone primarily loves only the self and it is not possible to love anyone else. Since the Pious Person knows that the true identity of God and him are same, he alone can love God completely.

Quality 12: Surrendered his mind and body to God
He knows that his body/mind complex belongs to the lower nature of God, namely the Illusion. Therefore, he will surrender his body/ mind complex to God willingly. This means he will not be worried about the aging, ill health, disease or other deterioration of the body, including death. Similarly, he will accept the mood swings of his mind as its nature. Even if the mind is affected by the events of the world, he does not care about it. According to him since he has already surrendered his body/ mind complex to God, he uses them as a trustee.
Example: When the wall of the house develops a crack, the tenant will not be worried about it. He knows that he can always move out and take another house on rent.
Similarly, a Pious Person knows that his body/ mind complex is a temporary vehicle given to him to transact with this world. If they become unusable, he can always move out. Therefore, there is no cause for concern to him.

Quality 13: No Suffering
He is not affected by the presence of the world. Since he is aware that the world is illusion, he interacts with it as if he is acting in a drama. For him, everyone that he meets is a character in the play of life. Thus, he knows that life is an entertainment for all concerned. However, other than the Pious Person, no one will know that the life is a drama and therefore get affected by the experiences.
There is no reason for him to scare or hurt anyone. He will be conscious of not scaring any living being. He is aware since the world is a reality to others, his transactions with others will always be non-violent. He will ensure that his actions do not hurt anyone.
He will not cause any suffering to his own body and mind as well. He will never have any guilty feeling. Even if he unintentionally caused misery to others, he will not feel bad about it. He will not have any negative feelings and therefore his mind will be free from any suffering.
At the physical body level, he will keep it in a good condition. One will be careful and maintain the car well, even if it is a rented car. Similarly, the Pious Person will not allow his body to suffer in any way. He does not have any ego to prevent him from begging for food, cloth or shelter to protect and feed his body.

Quality 14: Free from elation, jealousy, fear, upset
A Pious Person does not expect any happiness from any object of the world. A stroke of luck or pleasant news has no special meaning to him. He will accept whatever comes in his way. If any good thing comes, he will be happy and even if it does not come, he will be equally happy.
He will not have any jealous feeling about anyone’s progress. A Pious Person has reached a stage that can never be overtaken by anyone. He has crossed all the five stages of Bhakthi and reached the peak. This is the highest point anyone can dream to achieve. After reaching that position, whatever progress made by others will not appear to be great. It is like looking down at the climbers from the top of a mountain.
At the same time, the Pious Person will tolerate the imperfection and limitations of others. He does not allow or acknowledge such limitation or imperfection as a positive factor but he accepts them in his mind because he is aware it is impossible for others to be perfect. He has reached the perfection and everyone is trying to come there knowingly or unknowingly.
He does not have any fear from anyone or anything in the world. He does not fear death or fear for suffering. He has no anxiety about the future. The life is in the hands of God and the Pious Person knows that God will do his job well. He will function as His tool. Therefore, there is no anxiety in him.
No one can upset him. He is aware that there is nothing permanent in the world except change. He knows everything will be changing and it is not necessary that all the changes are conducive or positive. Therefore, he accepts all changes without getting upset about anything.
It is not possible for anyone to upset him or irritate him. He understands that everyone is behaving in line with his or her accumulated preferences and knowledge. It is like dealing with machines. It is not possible to develop hatred towards a robot.

Quality 15: Independent
A Pious Person is free and independent. He does not depend on the world for peace, security and happiness. His body and mind complex is part of the world and therefore it is impossible for it to be independent. He will continue to depend on the world for food, shelter, living etc. It is not possible for anyone to do anything without depending on others. However, most people depend on others for their peace, security and happiness. A Pious Person does not depend on the world for these.
He does not even need recognition from others. Even if the whole world does not understand him, he will not be upset. This is so because that he is aware that he is living in a different plane after merging with the God. Others cannot comprehend this fact.

Quality 16: Maintains purity
The universe is a work of perfection. It functions in a systematic way. As a part of the creation, a Pious Person keeps his environment orderly and clean. He maintains both external and internal purity without any additional effort.
Since the Pious Person has the ability to control his mind and make it as a tool to serve under his intelligence, he can direct it to maintain orderliness. For others, they may want to be systematic, orderly and maintain purity in their lives. However, they may not be able to achieve such goals because their mind is not under the complete control of their intelligence.

Quality 17: Highly capable, alert in completing unselfish tasks
A Pious Person is sufficiently trained to be highly capable while pursuing the path of Bhakthi Yoga. His dedication to a chosen task is fully tested and when he completes the path, he becomes a symbol of perfection.
Example: In an army training school, the candidates are trained rigorously. When they successfully complete the course, alertness and the readiness to perform will be a natural part of them.
Similarly, a Pious Person is rigorously trained in the path of Bhakthi Yoga and he will be highly capable and alert in completing all the tasks that come in his way.

Quality 18: Non Aligned
A Pious Person does not take sides except that he functions in line with Dharma.
Example: A young parent will attempt to resolve the conflict between his children without taking anyone’s side.
Similarly, a Pious Person behaves impartially towards all the living beings. He cannot be partial to anyone because he does not have any attachment.

Quality 19: Free from depression, mental pressure, feeling of guilt
Prior to reaching the destination of Bhakthi Yoga, one feels oneness with the mind. People claim, ‘I am depressed’. A pious person treats his mind as his tool. Afflictions to his mind do not affect him. Therefore, he is never depressed or under mental pressure.
It is quite possible for him to make mistake of judgment or take a wrong decision. Such actions do not cause a feeling of guilt in him. He functions as an extension of God. He sees that all his actions as that of God. Therefore, he does not feel that the mistakes and errors in judgment are his responsibility.
He does not take credit for the positive outcome as well. Everything belongs to God.

Quality 20: No long-term project
The Pious Person will not plan his future. All his actions will be motivated towards helping others. This does not mean that he will plan to build a global organization for eradicating poverty. He is aware that the world will always remain as a mixture of positive and negative aspects. It is not possible to make a perfect world.
Therefore, he will do those tasks that come by his way. He will not have his own agenda how he can make the world a better place to live. He will not take any initiative and plan any long-term project that stretches beyond a day.
However, he may support such efforts of others. He may even offer his suggestions in conceiving and planning a long-term project for others.

Teaching 118: The Pious Person enjoys life with twenty qualities

Chapter 12: Liberation through Bhakthi Yoga             
Verses: 13 – 20

12.13-14 One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied is very dear to Me.

12.15 He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me.

12.16 A devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result, is very dear to Me.

12.17 One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me.

12.18-19 One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoise in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in any activities, is very dear to Me.

12.20 He who follows this imperishable path and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me.

Unit 18: Jnana Yoga       
Number of Sessions: 25
(236 – 260)
Number of Lessons: 13
Verses: 13.01 – 13.35
14.01 – 14.27

On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) See how wisdom leads to joyful living.

Unit Test:                 
Session: 260
1. What are the differences between the observer and the observed?
2. Define a good value and a bad value.
3. List the three natures and seven descriptions of Brahman
4. What are the seven differences that are absent in Brahman?
5. What are the three possible answers to the question, ‘Who is the observer?’
6. What are the five steps that constitute Bhakthi Yoga?
7. Compare the nature of the three elements Aura, Energy and Matter.
8. Describe the symptoms of the three binding elements.
9. What are the seven steps to be followed to go beyond the dominance of any of the three elements?
10. Write short notes on the following statements.
a. ‘Observer is the Observed’
b. ‘Ego does not exist’
c. ‘Wise person lives joyfully’
d. ‘Bondage and Liberation are in the mind’

Lesson 1: Who am I?                                   
Session: 236 – 238

Arjuna wants Lord Krishna to explain the difference between the observer and the observed. The answer to this question is the essence of the Vedanta. Lord Krishna has already taught most parts of this answer in the preceding twelve chapters and therefore, he gives the summary here.

We can comprehend the answer through the following stages.

Stage 1: ‘I am the observer and I observe the world’

This leads to the conclusion ‘I am different from the world’. This understanding, which is based on our experience, is wrong. It is similar to wrong knowledge that we gain from our experience that the earth is stationary and the sun and the moon are moving around it.

The purpose of all the Holy Scriptures is to correct this misunderstanding.

Stage 2: Observer is different from everything that is observed.

This could be concluded logically.

I, the observer am different from whatever I observe. I am the subject and whatever I observe are the objects. Subject cannot be the object.

Since I am able to observe my body, mind and intelligence, they are different from me.

Stage 3: The nature of observer is different from that of observed.

All the experienced attributes belong to the objects experienced and they do not belong to me, the observer.

I observe changes. Therefore, change is an attribute that belong to the observed and I am changeless.

I observe forms. Therefore, form is an attribute that belong to the observed and I am formless.

I observe inert objects. Therefore, I am the consciousness.

I am the consciousness. I am not limited by time, space and object. Therefore, I am the only reality and the observed is an illusion. From these derivations, we can list the differences between the observer and the observed.

The differences are:

Observer Observed
Conscious being Inert Object
Changeless Changing continuously
Immortal Mortal
Formless, Infinite and all pervading,  Limited to a form
One Many
Attributeless whose nature is
Truth/ Awareness/ Happiness Comprised of three attributes
(Aura, Energy, Matter)
Real Illusion
Independent Dependent

Stage 4:  The observer is the observed

Lord Krishna gives this conclusion saying, “I am the observer and the observed”.

He has already explained (in the seventh chapter) that God has two parts, the higher part, Brahman and the lower part, Illusion. Similarly, it is also explained (in the second chapter) that the Atman is the indweller of the body mind complex. Now Lord Krishna says Atman is Brahman and the body/ mind complex is the illusion by saying, ‘I am the observer and the observed’.  This is the essence of Vedanta: “You are that”

Teaching 119: The observer is the observed because there is only one reality.

From our experience we assumed that there are many living and non-living beings in the universe and we are different from them. Lord Krishna introduced the concept to God to explain that there is only one entity. Prior to knowing about God, it was assumed that the observer is different from the observed. After the understanding of the nature of God, it can be seen that the observer is the observed since there is just one entity, God.

Teaching 120: God unites the individual observer with the vast universe inseparably

This relationship between the multiple living beings and God is similar to that of waves and the sea. There are multiple waves and one sea. The waves are created, sustained and dissolved in the sea. It appears that waves are changing and sea is unchanging.

Both the waves and the sea are just names and forms. In essence, there is only one substance, water. Similarly, there is only one entity, Brahman.

To answer the question, ‘who are you?’ the wave has two options. If it identifies itself with the form and name, it is mortal, ever changing and limited. If it identifies itself as water, then it is immortal and unlimited. (It cannot say ‘I am sea’. Similarly we cannot say ‘I am God’)

Stage 5:  Gaining steady knowledge that the observer is the observed

We have two options to choose from to answer the question, ‘who are you?’

Option 1: I am the body/ mind complex

Option 2: I am the consciousness

If we are to choose Option 1, then the results are as follows.

- We are  created by God.
- We are insignificant, mortal being while God is omnipotent and omnipresent.
- We are caught in this life, which is alternating between the pairs of the opposites and we will undergo the pleasure and pain accordingly.

If we are to choose Option 2, then the results are as follows.

- I am Brahman and therefore I am immortal.
- My nature is Ever Witnessing Joy.
- I live my life joyfully.

Although it appears that, we have choice to select either of the two options, in reality there is no choice. The fact is we are the observer and therefore we cannot be the observed.

Besides, the body/mind complex is an illusion and the consciousness is the only reality. We need to understand the essential knowledge given in the Vedanta that Brahman is the only reality and the universe is a mere illusion.

If we understand this, then there is no choice but to gain liberation. If we do not understand this truth, we will continue to associate ourselves with the mortal body/mind complex and suffer in life. When we understand this vital knowledge that we are the consciousness, we are liberated.

While understanding the word, ‘I’, we have included both the observer and the observed. This combination constitutes our ego. When we understand the teaching of Lord Krishna, the observed part, our body/mind complex, merges with the illusion and the observer part, consciousness, merges with Brahman. As a result, our ego disappears. It does not have a place to hold on to.

The ego is the doer and the enjoyer in life. Since, there is no more ego, we do not have any sufferings in life.  This is the ultimate knowledge, which will not change with time. Since the subject matter of this knowledge is changeless, this knowledge will also remain superior. We were suffering in life due to our ignorance with respect to ourselves. This knowledge sets us free.

Glory of this knowledge

1. It is the ultimate knowledge.
a. There is nothing more to be known, if this is known.
b. It is the essence of Vedanta, ‘knowledge-end’, the last word in knowledge.
c. It is given as the central message of the user manual, which comes with the creation of this universe on how to live this life joyfully.
d. It is unchanging. All other knowledge will continue to be improved all the time, which means the current version of ‘truth’, will be proved wrong soon.
e. This knowledge accepts the conclusions of all the religions and philosophies in the world as partial version of the truth. The one who has seen the elephant will accept the variations in the different versions of truth described by blind men, since he knows both the truth and the limitations of the blind men in perceiving the truth.

2. It leads to Joyful Living
a. There is nothing more to do to gain the benefit of this knowledge. Mere knowledge leads to Joyful Living.
b. No other knowledge can give everlasting security, non-diminishing happiness and undisturbed peace.
c. It quenches the everlasting thirst of the mind. The mind becomes fully contended and there is no more the feeling of inadequacy.

Chapter 13: The Observer and the observed                   
Verses: 01 – 03

13.1 Arjuna said: Oh my dear Krishna, I wish to know about nature, Brahman, the field and the knower of the field, and of knowledge and the end of knowledge.

13.2 Lord Krishna said, This body, Oh Arjuna, is called the field, and one who knows this body is called the knower of the field.

13.3 Oh Arjuna, you should understand that I am the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its owner is called knowledge. This is My teaching.

Lesson 2: What is creation?                                            
Session: 239

The observed includes the entire universe. Lord Krishna explains the process of creation of this universe.

The higher nature of God is Brahman, which is the only conscious entity. The lower nature of God is the Illusion, which is the inherent power of Brahman. The illusion is made up of three elements called Aura, Energy and Matter. These three elements in various proportion, is projected as this universe.

All that is observed is made up of these three elements. The observer is not the part of the creation as already explained. There is no consciousness in the creation. This is the logical conclusion. However, we experience that the living beings are conscious. This can be explained through the following steps.

Step 1: Living beings consist of two aspects, consciousness and a body/mind complex.

Step 2: Consciousness is not created and it is the creator, Brahman.

Example: There is no difference between the space inside the pot and space outside the pot, although we talk about space and pot-space as two different entities.

There is no difference between Atman and Brahman. The enclosed space within the pot is called pot-space. Similarly, the Brahman that enlivens a particular living body is called Atman.

Step 3: The body of the living being seems to be conscious.

The physical body does not have any inherent consciousness. We feel that the physical body is conscious because of its association with the mind. Mind lends the consciousness to the physical body as it can be proved by the absence of consciousness during deep sleep and on death.

Step 4: The mind seems to be conscious.

The mind does not have any inherent consciousness. We feel that the mind is conscious because it reflects the consciousness of the Brahman.

Example: Just as a mirror reflects the light, mind reflects the consciousness.

Illusion comprises of three elements namely, Aura, Energy and Matter. Everything in the creation is made up of Illusion.

However, all the non-living things in the creation comprise of mainly two elements of the Illusion, namely, Energy and Matter. Aura is present in them in negligible quantity.

Mind is also an inert object but unlike other inert object it has significantly more Aura. Aura has the capability to reflect the consciousness of the Brahman. This reflected consciousness is called ego.

Thus, in creation, everything (including the body/mind complexes of the living beings) is inert. The ego (reflection of the Brahman) and the mind (reflecting medium), are jointly known as ‘life’ in common parlance.

Illusion is projected as the creation. Creation is not a one-time event. It is a continuous process of manifestation, sustenance and resolution, very similar to our waking up in the morning, living the life and going back to sleep. We wake up from the bed in the morning and face the world with all our accumulated knowledge, preferences, impressions and some part of our memories. This memory part is excluded when we die and wake up in a new body.

This cycle of creation and dissolution continues eternally. The order in which the creation happens is not important since whatever be the order it should be understood as illusion.

Example: A magician shows an empty box. When he closes the box and opens it, we see many articles in the box. It does not matter in which order he has placed the articles inside the box.

Similarly, we the observer sees the observed. On enquiry, we find the observed is an illusion. All that matters is that we understand that the illusion cannot be explained.

Chapter 13: The Observer and the observed                  
Verses: 04 – 07

13.4 Now please hear My brief description of this field of activity and how it is constituted, what its changes are, whence it is produced, who that knower of the field of activities is, and what his influences are.

13.5 That knowledge of the field of activities and of the knower of activities is described by the sages variously. This is revealed distinctly in Vedanta.

13.6-7 The five subtle constituents, false ego, intelligence, the unmanifested, the ten senses, the mind, the five sense objects, desire, hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and convictions--all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of activities and its interactions.

Lesson 3: What are the values?                         
Session: 240

Lord Krishna has taught the essence of Vedanta. This knowledge is very complicated and not everyone will be able to comprehend the same. Therefore, Lord Krishna prescribes certain values to facilitate the comprehension of this knowledge.

Those who are not able to understand the teaching can work towards gaining these values in life.

Example: If a student is not able to complete his PhD, he can attempt to qualify for MS by writing the exams on the prescribed papers.

Similarly, Lord Krishna has given a sample list of twenty values that can be attempted. Everyone inherently knows meaning of good values and bad values.

A good value is one, which is pleasant to ourselves and liked by others.

Example: Forgiveness is a good quality. If one forgives, it gives peace of mind to the self. It also benefits others.

A bad value is one, which affects others and us.

Example: Short-temperedness will affect us. When we are angry, we are quite upset and unhappy. When we show our anger on others, they are also affected.

We should attempt to increase our good values and reduce or eliminate bad values. For example, we should consciously work towards eliminating short temperedness and increase the forgiveness.

We should reflect and find out the list of good values that are lacking and identify the bad values that are present. It is advisable to have an open mind on this and receive the suggestions / criticism from others with respect to the values.

We should then use one or more of the following tips to improve ourselves.

1. Understand the benefit that will accrue to us if we increase the good values.
2. Understand the loss that is caused due to the absence of a good value.
3. Associate ourselves with those with good qualities so that we can learn from them.
4. Set an achievable target.
5. Give a present to ourselves if we achieve our target or undergo a punishment if we make a slip.
6. Do Value Meditation.
7. Pray to God to help us develop good qualities

If we are successful in our attempt, our mind will become more matured. The Aura element will become more dominant than the other two elements. Just as our physical body requires right food and exercise to maintain health and fitness, our mind requires a good set of values to be fit enough to receive the knowledge on the essence of Vedanta.

If we improve our personality by increasing all the good values and decreasing all the bad values, we will gain the following:

1. We will be a better person. Our thoughts, words and deeds will be aligned.
2. All the five layers of our personality will be working together as a team. This will help us to work towards gaining the knowledge given in Vedanta
3. We will realize that we are not the owner of any part of the world. We cannot control the results. We are part of the world and we can only contribute towards it. We will be doing our best and will gain a matured mind
4. We will know that God is not a means for us to gain material benefits. Instead, we will start using our efforts on material pursuit as a means to reach God.
5. We will become qualified to identify a right teacher who will be able to guide us in our spiritual path and ultimately understand the essence of Vedanta.

Thus, Lord Krishna has given a path of cultivating good values for those who are not yet matured enough to receive the knowledge imparted in Vedanta. They will also reach the destination soon by following the advice given by Lord Krishna on improving the qualities listed in the verses 8 to 12.

Chapter 13: The Observer and the observed             
Verses: 08 – 12

13.8-12 Humility, simplicity, non-violence, forbearance, uprightness, service to the teacher, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, absence of false ego, the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; nonattachment to children, wife, home and the rest, and even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization, and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth--all these I thus declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to these is ignorance.

Lesson 4: Who is Brahman?               
Session: 241 – 243

Lord Krishna reveals the knowledge about Brahman, knowing which one can move from mortality to immortality. The fact is every one of us is immortal and we do not know that. It is possible to know this fact if we understand Brahman.

We experience the world. Lord Krishna says that the universe rests on Brahman and then describes it as follows:

1. Beginning less
It has no beginning and no ending. It does not have a cause. It is beyond time.
Teaching 121: Brahman is eternal and causeless

2. Unlimited
Everything we know is limited by time, space and object.
Time Limitation: A car has a date of manufacture and it will not be there after certain number of years. Therefore, the car is limited by time.
Space Limitation: If a car is here, it cannot be anywhere else
Object Limitation: if it is a car, it cannot be a bus.
Brahman has no such limitations. It is present all the time. It is present at all places. It is not limited by a boundary. It has no forms.
Teaching 122: Brahman is not limited by time, space or object

3. Absolute truth
Everything we know exists as specific object during a specific period of time. We are aware that everything we know was not existing one time and will not exist after certain time. Therefore, when we say something exists for real, we mean it is relatively real. What we say as real is not real for all the time. Brahman does not come into this spectrum of relative reality. It exists as an absolute reality since it is beyond time.
Teaching 123: Brahman alone exists. It is the only reality

4. All the living beings are Brahman
All the sense organs like eyes and ears of all the living beings function due to the presence of Brahman alone. All the action organs like hands and legs of all the living beings function at the will of Brahman. We do not do anything. The Brahman appears as multiple living beings in the world.
Brahman uses neither the action organs nor the sense organs. Brahman does not cause the functioning of the living beings nor is it affected by it.
There is no contradiction.
Example: Water in the sea appears to be blue in color because it reflects the color of the sky. However, sky is colorless. It only appears to be blue. Therefore, if we say that sky does not make sea blue, there is no contradiction.
Similarly, Brahman is attributeless. It does not do anything. However, it appears to be multiple living beings with various attributes due to illusion.
Teaching 124: This Atman is Brahman

5. Brahman supports both the moving and nonmoving
The universe consists of inert objects and living beings. The physical bodies and mind of the living beings are also part of the inert objects. The inert objects of the universe are an illusion sustained on Brahman. They do not exist in the absolute sense.
The consciousness that differentiate the living beings from the inert objects is the result of having a mind that has the capability to reflect the Brahman.
Thus, Brahman supports both the moving and nonmoving parts of the universe.

6. Brahman exists everywhere
Brahman is not restricted to a place. There is no place in the universe where Brahman is not present. For the ignorant people Brahman is far away. For the wise, he is very close. Brahman is the indweller of the body/mind complex and the body/mind complex is an illusion.
 Example: A movie with multiple colors is shown on a blank TV screen.
Brahman is like the TV screen that sustains all the illusory characters of the movie. The blood of the hero does not strain or stain the TV screen. Similarly, all the actions of the living beings are sustained by Brahman and it remains unaffected. People who are absorbed in the movie do not see the screen.
Brahman is the indweller of everything. The ignorant people cannot know Brahman because they cannot comprehend such a complex entity. The wise people also cannot know because the knowing consciousness in them is the Brahman. Brahman is the knower, knowledge and the instrument of knowledge. Therefore, the knower of the Brahman becomes Brahman himself.

7. Brahman is one undivided whole
Brahman cannot be explained through an example since nothing similar to Brahman exists. Therefore, we should explore the dissimilarity or differences of Brahman comparing it with any known objects. Every object known (except space) will have seven differences as explained below but Brahman has no such differences. This can be understood by analyzing the differences between the following two statements.

There is only one tree in my house

There is only one Brahman.

Difference 1: In the first statement, there is a qualification to the tree ‘in my house’. The tree is limited by space. The tree is in my house and it cannot be elsewhere. Brahman can have no such qualifications. It is present at all places.

Difference 2: The tree is limited by time. The tree exists now. There was a time when it did not exist and there will be a time when it will not exist. However, Brahman is present at all times.

Difference 3: Tree keeps changing. Brahman does not change at all.

Difference 4: Tree has many parts whereas Brahman has none. Any object in the creation is made up of many components / parts / ingredients. If we start removing them one by one, the object shall no longer exist.  For example, the tree has branches, leaves, flowers, fruits etc. Brahman is just one. It does not have any parts or components. Nor it has any ingredients.

Difference 5: This tree is different from other trees. Brahman has no such others. Any object in creation belongs to a class (Like Human beings, Animals, Rocks etc) and the individual member is different from the rest of the members in the same class. For example, this tree belongs to a class called ‘mango trees’ and it is different from other mango trees. Brahman has no such class.

Difference 6: Mango Tree is different from Apple tree. Brahman has no such competing class. Although both Mango Tree and Apple Tree can be called as trees, they belong to different class. Brahman has no such differences.

Difference 7: Tree is different from non-tree like animal. Brahman has no such Non-Brahman. Any object in the creation is one among many other objects. There are animals, insects that are different from the tree. Brahman has nothing else to cause such differences.

After hearing the description of Brahman, we have theoretical knowledge about it as explained in Vedanta. However, we may feel that do not experience it the way we experience the world.

Example: A sugar candy is sold in the various shapes of animals. Children are fighting for an elephant candy although the deer candy is available in plenty.

We can resolve the fighting among the children if we can educate them to see the truth. We can attempt to educate them through the following steps.
1. There are many animals like elephant, deer, tiger etc
2. All the animals taste the same.
3. What is important is the sweetness of the candy.
4. The size and weight belongs to sugar and not to the animals.
5. Animals are just name and form and the substance is sugar.
6. There are no animals outside the sugar.
7. Apparently, there are many animals like elephant, deer, tiger etc. There is one more object called sugar. In fact, there is nothing else other than sugar.
8. The only reality is sugar and the existence of animals is a lower version of reality.

In the same way we can learn about Brahman
1. There are many objects in the world.
2. All the objects are made up of Energy appearing as Matter.
3. What is important is the source of Energy, which is Brahman.
4. The size and weight belongs to Brahman and not to the objects of the world.
5. The objects of the universe are just name and form and the real substance is Brahman.
6. There are no objects in the universe outside Brahman.
7. Apparently, there are many objects like plants, stars etc.
8. The only reality is Brahman and the existence of the universe is a lower version of reality.

Chapter 13: The Observer and the observed                
Verses: 13 – 19

13.13 I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will taste the eternal. This is beginning less, and it is my higher nature. It is called Brahman, the spirit, and it lies beyond the cause and effect of this material world.

13.14 It has hands and legs everywhere. His eyes, faces and mouths are everywhere. In this way the Brahman exists.

13.15 The Brahman is the original source of all senses, yet He is without senses. He is unattached, although He is the maintainer of all living beings. He transcends the modes of nature, and at the same time He is the master of all modes of material nature.

13.16 The Supreme Truth exists both internally and externally, in the moving and nonmoving. He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know. Although far, far away, He is also near to all.

13.17 Although the Brahman appears to be divided, He is never divided. He is situated as one. Although He is the maintainer of every living entity, it is to be understood that He devours and develops all.

13.18 He is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of Matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone's heart.

13.19 Thus the field of activities [the body], knowledge and the knowable have been summarily described by Me. Only My devotees can understand this thoroughly and thus attain to My nature.