What is Supreme?
A toddler asks about themselves (jiva)
A child asks about creation (jagat)
An adult asks about consciousness (jagadeeshwara)
Prince Arjuna’s questions flow in the same format. Each question of his evolves.
In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13, verse 1 there are six questions:
- What is Prakriti (Matter)? That which is experienced
- What is Purusha (Spirit)? The experiencer
- What is Kshetra? (Change)? Useless- use that which is changing less for your completion
- What is Kshetrajna (Changeless)? Useful- use that which is changeless fully because this will complete you
- What is Jnana (Knowledge)? Purity- whatever you know that makes you more pure is knowledge; whatever you know that doesn’t make you pure is information. Knowledge (perpetual remembrance of Brahman) is that which purifies ignorance (forgetfulness). We must perpetually practice the knowledge about who we are. Values need to be practiced until their completion into a virtue which happens when we actually live the value. Tvam + Bhagya = Bhagavan. When we live the values and they become virtues, we become Bhagavan. We will know we are knowledgeable, if we invest more in that which is kutastha or foundational instead of functional. Whatever you invest in that is what your return will be which means complete responsibility is on the individual.
Question 36 (Chapter 13, Verse 1):
“Prakriti (Matter) and Purusha (Spirit), also the Kshetra (the Field) and Kshetrajna (the Knower-of-the-Field), Knowledge and that which ought to be known –these, I wish to learn, O Keshava.
Answer 35 (Chapter 13, Verse 13):
“I will declare that which ought to be ‘known’ knowing which one attains to Immortality-the beginningless Supreme Brahman, called neither being nor non-being.”
The answer to Prince Arjuna’s question begins in verse 13 and continues to verse 18. What ought to be known is that your locus is Brahman, your locus is infinite and your locus is independent. This locus is not created and does not create. Brahman is beginningless and Supreme or the Highest and is not being (sat) nor “non”-being (asat). Brahman is beyond time (beginningless), beyond space (matpara; Supreme). Another way to understand this is to reflect on what is changing and not changing. Our body, breath, mind, intellect, and ego are all changing which means they cannot be our locus. Our locus is who we are and that is unchanging/infinite. This locus is not a concept; everything else is a concept. Brahman, the locus, is beyond knowledge and ignorance; beyond presence and absence. One cannot know Brahman or forget Brahman. Guruji said about this verse: “our problem is how do we convince ourselves of an entity that cannot be conceptualized”.
By knowing this knowledge one gains immortality, one becomes fearless as they become free from the fear of death or change.
Verses 13 to 18: Bhagavan Krishna says I am going to give you ways to contemplate on “you”. If you do this, you will be free from fear and duality and attain Brahman.
Prince Arjuna asks what is the use of this knowledge. Bhagavan Krishna says freedom.
Practical Question and Answer: What is Supreme? It is the locus; it is Being.
Reflection: Will your current purpose for living bring you to know Brahman? For Vivekji, this is ananya–there is no other purpose. This purpose has to come from each person..it is your responsibility, no one else’s. Whatever you want, you will nurture and you will grow if you are honest about self-development. Purity and discipline will develop immensely if we think of our sense organs and sense objects as a dream.
Q & A:
- Is Jagadeeshwara or Bhagavan a concept, like all other means, to reach Brahman? Yes. Adi Shankaracharya says that even God cannot destroy the Self or Brahman. The jiva needs Bhagavan and eventually needs to transcend Bhagavan. Lord Krishna came out of love for us and is not telling us to keep holding onto Him but is guiding us to go beyond Him. As long as you feel you are created, there will be a Creator. Once you internalize that you are beyond creation, the concept of a Creator goes away. There will be no limits!
For Prince Arjuna, his dharma is to fight so is his dharma also a concept for him to overcome his ego? Yes dharma is the means that Prince Arjuna must go through to overcome his ego to reach Brahman. The earlier part of the Veda teaches dharma but Vedanta or the final teaching of the Veda is Brahman. In Chapter 18 of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna teaches us to let go completely of any responsibility-letting go of all means or limits and all that remains is Existence. This requires courage. If you hold on, you will be holding yourself back