Gita Series – 146: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. Verse 15 – 17

I am seated in the hearts of all beings. From Me alone come memory and knowledge or their absence. Truly, I am the one, who is to be known through Vedas. I am the author of Vedānta and the knower of Vedas. There are two Puruṣa-s in this world, one is perishable, and another is imperishable. All beings are perishable and the kūṭastha is imperishable. Beyond these, there exists the Supreme Soul, the indestructible Brahman, who pervades all the three worlds and maintains all.”

The Brahman is seated in the heart of all the beings. But, what Kṛṣṇa refers to, is not the biological heart. Kṛṣṇa calls this as hṛd, meaning the seat of feelings and emotions, where one’s soul and mind are seated. This can be safely referred to as the anāhata cakra (chakra), in the middle of which the soul is said to reside. This does not override the theory of omnipresence of the Lord. A soul is said to reside in a particular place, in the occult heart, merely to enable a person to concentrate within. In spirituality, concentration or awareness, which is popularly known as consciousness, is one of the important requirements to reach the logical end, the liberation. To enable the aspirants to develop the highest level of consciousness, soul is said to reside in the metaphysical heart, so that one can develop the skills of connecting his soul with the cosmos. It is easier to conceive a connection between the metaphysical heart and the Self illuminating Brahman in the imperceptible cosmos.

From this soul, the direct representative of the Lord or may even be called a part of the Lord, knowledge is derived. The impressions of the previous births are embedded in the subtle body along with one’s karma that get manifest in subsequent births. They together determine the quality of a person. Therefore, knowledge or ignorance that continue from the impressions of the previous births is derived from the subtle body and the soul, that are nothing but the Lord Himself. He is the knowledge incarnate and all the sacred teachings such as Vedas and Upaniṣhads focus their teachings only to realize Him. Vedas, though refer to a number of gods, they are nothing but the different functional energy sources of the Brahman. Therefore, all these teachings exist, only to reveal Him.

Vedānta is different from Vedas. Vedānta begins from the place where Vedas end. The teachings of Vedas and Upaniṣhads lead to Vedānta. Vedānta reduces the number of gods enumerated in the Vedas to just the Brahman and declare Him in relative term to the universe and individual souls, for easier understanding. Vedas lead to Upaniṣhads and Upaniṣhads lead to Brahma Sūtras and Brahma Sūtras lead to Vedānta. One could say that Vedānta is the extract of all these sacred scriptures including Bhagavad Gita.

The two Puruṣa-s, that Kṛṣṇa talks about are kṣara and Akṣara. Kṣara means perishable and Akṣara means imperishable. Kṛṣṇa had explained the difference between the two, perishable and imperishable, on several occasions in the earlier chapters like para and apara, adhibhūta and adhyātma, and kṣetra and kṣetrajña. The Self alone prevails everywhere and there is no second to Him. All that we see with our biological eyes are nothing but the reflections of the Brahman only. They are seen only as reflections because of māyā. The illusionary effect of the Brahman is the creation that we see.

The difference between the two can also be explained this way. The Supreme Consciousness in its purest form is the Brahman, from whom all sentient and insentient beings evolve. The sentient and insentient things put together are called matter. Matter is always subjected to changes and modifications resulting in their ultimate destruction. Whatever grows has to ultimately cease to exist one day. The universe along with all the sentient and insentient things will cease to exist at some point of time, as they are all growing. The source for their growth is derived from the Brahman, who alone remains Imperishable as He does not undergo any changes or modifications. When the Brahman has assumed the form of a matter, He becomes perishable. Beneath the matter, the soul, the imperishable remains and when the life of the matter has come to an end, the soul or the imperishable leaves and remains as imperishable till it manifests as another matter. The matter is known as prakṛti and the energizing soul is known as the Self. Kṛṣṇa calls the imperishable as kūṭastha as against the perishable prakṛti.

Beyond the perishable prakṛti and imperishable kūṭastha, there is the Brahman, from whom alone souls and prakṛti originate. This Supreme Soul or the Brahman can be realised only if prakṛti is transcended and the soul is realised. When one is able to cross these two, what remains there is the Brahman, the ultimate of the entire creation, from whom alone has come the entire creation, by whom alone the creation is being sustained and unto whom alone the creation is dissolved. When Kṛṣṇa refers to the three worlds, He means the three stages of consciousness, active state, dream state and deep sleep state. Whatever happens in these three stages of consciousness, the Lord alone prevails.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. 7 - 10

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. 11 - 14

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. 18 - 20