[Advaita-l] 'aham brahma asmi' in the Bhagavatam

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Feb 21 04:03:45 CST 2011

In the Srimadbhagavatam, there is a brahmavidyA exposition by the Sanaka,
etc. the Jnanis, addressed to King Prithu.  The following verse 4.22.37
appears in that teaching:

tat <http://vedabase.net/t/tat> tvam <http://vedabase.net/t/tvam>
jagatam <http://vedabase.net/j/jagatam> atha <http://vedabase.net/a/atha>
tasthusam <http://vedabase.net/t/tasthusam> ca <http://vedabase.net/c/ca>

dehendriyasu-dhisanatmabhir avrtanam <http://vedabase.net/a/avrtanam>

yah <http://vedabase.net/y/yah>
hrdi <http://vedabase.net/h/hrdi> visvag avih <http://vedabase.net/a/avih>

pratyak <http://vedabase.net/p/pratyak>
tam <http://vedabase.net/t/tam> avehi <http://vedabase.net/a/avehi> so 'smi

The meaning of the verse is:

tat <http://vedabase.net/t/tat> -- therefore;
tvam<http://vedabase.net/t/tvam>-- you;
nara <http://vedabase.net/n/nara>-indra <http://vedabase.net/i/indra>
-- O<http://vedabase.net/o/o>best of kings;
jagatam <http://vedabase.net/j/jagatam> -- of the moving;
atha<http://vedabase.net/a/atha>-- therefore;
tasthusam <http://vedabase.net/t/tasthusam> -- the immovable;
ca<http://vedabase.net/c/ca>-- also;
deha <http://vedabase.net/d/deha> -- body;
indriya<http://vedabase.net/i/indriya>-- senses;
asu <http://vedabase.net/a/asu> -- life air;
dhisana<http://vedabase.net/d/dhisana>-- by consideration;
atmabhih <http://vedabase.net/a/atmabhih> -- self-realization;
avrtanam<http://vedabase.net/a/avrtanam>-- those who
are <http://vedabase.net/a/are> covered in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> that
way; yah <http://vedabase.net/y/yah> -- one who;
-vit <http://vedabase.net/v/vit> -- knower of the field;
tapataya<http://vedabase.net/t/tapataya>-- by controlling;
hrdi <http://vedabase.net/h/hrdi> -- within the heart;
visvak<http://vedabase.net/v/visvak>-- everywhere;
avih <http://vedabase.net/a/avih> -- manifest;
in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> the innermost recess of one's heart;
cakasti<http://vedabase.net/c/cakasti>-- shining;
bhagavan <http://vedabase.net/b/bhagavan> -- the Supreme Personality of
Godhead; tam <http://vedabase.net/t/tam> -- unto Him;
avehi<http://vedabase.net/a/avehi>-- try
to <http://vedabase.net/t/to> understand; sah <http://vedabase.net/s/sah>
asmi <http://vedabase.net/a/asmi> -- I <http://vedabase.net/i/i>

०४२२०३७१ तत्त्वं नरेन्द्र जगतामथ तस्थुषां च
०४२२०३७२ देहेन्द्रियासुधिषणात्मभिरावृतानाम्
०४२२०३७३ यः क्षेत्रवित्तपतया हृदि विश्वगाविः
०४२२०३७४ *प्रत्यक्चकास्ति भगवांस्तमवेहि सोऽस्मि*

The teaching is: The Consciousness that is at the foundation of all the manifest
and unmanifest world, who is the Kshetrajna, the knower of the
kshetram, the prakRti that
has transformed itself as the seen/experienced universe, is the one
that is known to
everyone as one's own conscious self. One should realize that Knower
of the prakRti (universe) as one's
own Self, that is in the manner: 'I am that Kshetrajna, the Tattvam
underlying this
entire universe.

Some salient points to be noted here are:

   - The Tattvam is shown as being 'pratyak'.  This intimate consciousness
   experienced by everyone is called 'pratyagAtmaa' by Shankaracharya.  This is
   the Self, the shodhita-tvam padArtha.
   - The 'pratyagAtmaa' is none other than the one taught to be realized for
   moksha in the Kathopanishat mantra: 2.1.1

   पराञ्चि खानि व्यतृणत् स्वयम्भूः तस्मात् पराङ्पश्यति नान्तरात्मन् ।

   कश्चिद्धीरः प्रत्यगात्मानमैक्षत आवृत्तचक्षुः अमृतत्वमिच्छन् ॥

   The Creator Lord cursed/damned the sense organs to be outward-turned and
   therefore they always experience the inert world and never the Innermost
   Atman.  Some rare, daring aspirant, with the resolve to attain the Immortal,
   withdraws his attention from the outside world and succeeds in realizing the

   It is this pratyagAtman that the Bhagavatam talks about as the one to be
   realized as 'I am That'.

   श्री भगवानुवाच -
   इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते।
   एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति
   तद्विदः।।13.1।।                     The Blessed Lord said -- O son of Kunti,
   this body is referred to as the 'field'. Those who are versed in this call
   him who is conscious of it as the 'knower of the field'.

   क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत।
   क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम।।13.2।।
   And, O scion of the Bharata dynasty,* under-stand Me to be the 'Knower of
   the field' in all the fields.* In My opinion, that is Knowledge which is
   the knowlege of th field and the knower of the field.
   - Here the Knower of the field is shown to be none other than the
   individual who is the one who experiences the world of matter.
   - There is no evidence in the Scripture to show that there are two
   knowers of the kshetram.
   - There is only one Consciousness that the jiva, as a reflected
   consciousness, identifies himself with.
   - When the reflection medium, the mind, guhA, is also known to be matter,
   which also the 13th chapter teaches as the kshetram, the only Consciousness
   is realized as non-different from the Supreme.
   - That is what the Lord is teaching in the 2 verse: know Me to be the
   Knower of the kshetram in all the bodies.
   - The Bhagavatam verse too talks about this aikyam, identity, the
   non-difference of the Supreme Consciousness and the individual reflected
   - The Bhagavatam verse, like the Bhagavadgita 13th Chapter, is a fine
   endorsement of and a succinct commentary on the 'adhyAsa bhAShya' as the
   preamble of Shankaracharya to His Brahmasutra Bhashya is called. The
   Kshetrajna-kShetram pair is quite clear in the Bhagavatam and the Gita 13th
   - The word 'युष्मत्’ in the adhyAsa bhAShya denotes the क्षेत्रम्, the
   inert prakRti with its modifications.  The ’अस्मत्’ is the 'क्षेत्रज्ञः’,
   the Knower Consciousness principle.
   - As there is no proof either in experience or in yukti or in Scripture
   for two or multiplicity in Consciousness, the teaching of the Gita, the
   Bhagavatam and all other Scriptural works is that the one and Only Conscious
   Knower that has the inert prakRti as the viShaya, the known, is none other
   than the one who experiences the prakRti through the very prakRti-born
   body-mind-senses apparatus and in ignorance lives the life of a samsari.
   - The 'so'asmi' realization brings a cessation to this ignorance and no
   longer does samsara continue for such a one who has realized he is indeed
   the foundation-consciousness that has the unreal prakRti for Its viShaya.

I would like to be shown an online resource that gives the English
translation of the entire Bhagavatam.  What is most prominently seen is the
Bhaktivedanta translations.

Om Tat Sat

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