Bhagavagd Gita - Session 37- Track 3711

Question: Could you give a little more elaboration on ‘self’, because here you say ‘self’ twice?

The word ‘self’ is used in Indian thought in such a confusing manner, so let us define the word ‘self’. The word ‘self’ means basically the substance without which nothing can exists, such a substance, when…for example, when you are in tremendous love for somebody, you say “my soul, you are myself”. What does it mean?...that what I am, is derived from you: you are the real substance. And that is the real meaning in which even in philosophy, the same word is used: when you say ‘Atman’, Atman is the real substance, the real self; that from which everything derives, from which everything flows: the flow cannot exists without that. So, that is the real meaning of Atman. In India the word Atman is also used for Brahman; very often the distinction is made but actually, philosophically, there is no distinction between Atman and Brahman: the two words are the same. Brahman is Atman, or Atman is Brahman.

Comment: That is unmoving.

Don’t say ‘unmoving’. Brahman is that substance of which everything is made, the ‘stuff’ of everything. You might say ‘stuff’ which remains the same stuff even when there is a movement, so not ‘unmoving’. Even when it is not moving, or moving, it remains the same.

Question: It is different from the Sat,

It is Sat, exactly, it is Sat.

Question: What is Purushottama, the same?

Because this Purusha is also Akshara and Kshara, therefore only in psychological terms you can put the term ‘Purushottama’, but actually Sat is Purushottama.

Question: So like the self, the difference between the two selves, one is the real self, that is Purushottama, and one is the mere self, which is the Purusha.

The Purushottama is the real Atman, so therefore he is also called ‘Paramatman’, the same word is also used for Paramatman: Purushottama, Atman, Brahman, Parabrahman, all these have the same meaning: the self without which nothing can exists, pure Sat, you can use the word Sat, Atman, Brahman, Parabrahman, Paramatman, Purushottama, all these words have the same meaning basically.

You can see the self through the self, that is to say: in meditation, very often you have to have the process of movement, development of ideas, but in this second one you, as it were ‘mirror yourself through yourself’, there is no movement, you just know yourself by knowing yourself, by looking at yourself. It is also a way of knowing the Supreme, you don’t follow any particular method of movement. In Dhyana there is a movement: you sit down, be quiet, gradually develop an idea, then the idea is luminous and then in luminosity, through that luminosity, you perceive the reality: this is the process of Dhyana.

But in “ātmanā ātmānam” you just concentrate on the self, and you concentrate and you know it, through itself. The reality known through itself is the process of “ātmanā ātmānam”. Because you are yourself, how do you know yourself? Actually speaking, even in our ordinary life, we use the word “I”. How do you know “I”? Even the ordinary “I” is known only through itself. You don’t compare, contrast with something else to know yourself. “I” is known through itself.

Now, this word ‘Atman’ or ‘Brahman’ is used whenever we want to use the word ‘stuff-of -which-things-are-made’. This word is also called Purusha, but the word Purusha is reserved for another sense, (You can call it Purusha, there is no problem), but whenever you refer to Atman as the originator, the motivator, then you use the word Purusha for the same Atman. The same word Atman is used as Purusha when you refer to Atman as the originator, then you can call Purusha. When the same Atman is used in the sense of ‘Lord’, then you use the word Ishwara, Parameshwara, or Maheshwara, as it has come earlier.

So, in Indian thought, we have to see in what sense the word is used. Atman basically is used to indicate the ‘stuff’ of which other things are made. The same when used as the originator of things is called Purusha. Also, when you use the word, the same word, for witnessing what is produced, it is also called Purusha. When you use the word ‘Enjoyer’ then also it is ‘Purusha’.

When you use the word ‘Lord’, then the same thing is called Parameshwara, or Maheshwara, or Ishwara. So, it is in which sense do you use the word that makes a distinction between Atman, or Brahman, Purusha and Ishwara.

Comment: Is it the statii of the same principle.

…same reality named differently according to the sense you want to attach to it. It is the same reality, but when you want to refer to the reality of the ‘stuff’ of which everything is made, you call it ‘Atman’ or ‘Brahman’. When you use the same thing for indicating He is the originator, or witness, or enjoyer, you call it Purusha. When you use it for the Lord, as the sense of Lord of things that are produced, you call it Ishwara. It is the same reality but having these 3 aspects and therefore 3 names are given, so whenever the name is given you can find out in what context the word is used.

So, there are different ways by which the reality is known.

Then, there are others:

anye tv evam ajānantaḥ śrutvānyebhya upāsate |,

“Others who do not follow these methods they śrutvā, it is only by hearing they come to know of it, not by Dhyana, not by Karmayoga, not by Sankhya, only by hearing about Him people come to know of Him.

te ’pi cātitaranty eva mṛtyuṁ śruti-parāyaṇāḥ ||25|| (XIII)

“Even they only hear, even they can cross the death.” So, this is also a method. You just listen, by hearing about Him, also you can cross over, but they should be śruti-parāyaṇāḥ, they should be concentrated in the listening, parāyaṇāḥ, they should be…it’s not listening once and then forgetting about it. You have to become parāyaṇāḥ, you have to be absolutely absorbed in listening. Merely by listening with absorption, continuous absorption you arrive at immortality.

I think we will stop here to day; we shall finish it next time.