You are going to read my commentary on a very important verse from Bhagavad Gita. If you have read my book, you may recall that I have talked about the discrimination between subject and object. The other terms for this include Purusha and Prakriti, Kshetrajna and Kshetra, Brahman and Maya, Shiva and Shakthi, Vishnu and Lakshmi, witness and the witnessed etc. Rig Veda says that the truth is one in spite of being called by many names by wise people (ekam sat viprah bahuda vadanti). You can apply it here. Even the concept of Yin and Yang of Taoism roughly translates to these two concepts. All these names that I just said point to two apparent realities that you see from the actual One reality.
May be the last sentence requires further explanation. We can actually divide the reality into two: the subject or the witness and the object or the witnessed. Witness is just the pure awareness and the witnessed is the contents of consciousness, including the perception of the external world. But this doesn’t mean that there are two realities. There is only one. Witness is like a screen; the witnessed is like the contents of the screen. The contents of the screen do not have any reality separate from the screen. In other words, the contents of the screen is also screen. The contents are not real but the screen is real.
From this, we can derive three statements:
- The screen is real.
- The contents of the screen are unreal.
- The contents of the screen is also the screen.
Adhi Shankara made the same statements but used different terminology.
- Brahman is real
- The world (contents) is unreal.
- The world is Brahman.
Let us now move on to the actual sloka in Gita (13.2):
(I am quoting from https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/13/verse/2 for the transliteration and translation)
इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते |
एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहु: क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विद: || 2||
idaṁ śharīraṁ kaunteya kṣhetram ity abhidhīyate
etad yo vetti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣhetra-jña iti tad-vidaḥ
śhrī-bhagavān uvācha—the Supreme Divine Lord said; idam—this; śharīram—body; kaunteya—Arjun, the son of Kunti; kṣhetram—the field of activities; iti—thus; abhidhīyate—is termed as; etat—this; yaḥ—one who; vetti—knows; tam—that person; prāhuḥ—is called; kṣhetra-jñaḥ—the knower of the field; iti—thus; tat-vidaḥ—those who discern the truth
The Supreme Divine Lord said: O Arjun, this body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.
In Gita, the Brahman, (including the aspect of Maya, the witnessed), is personified as Lord Krishna. Krishna is talking to Arjuna in the battlefield. Here the words kshetra and kshetrajna are used instead of the subject and the object. It is very important to note that Kshetrajna is not only the knower of the body but the knower of everything. No, it doesn’t mean kshetrajna is omniscient!.. It simply means kshetrajna is the knower of everything that happens in the field of consciousness: five sense perceptions, organs of the body and the body, your likes and dislikes, your thoughts, memory and intellect.
There is another word called sarvajna. It is usually understood as omniscient. But sarvajna means all knower; this actually means that it is the all knower of the content of consciousness. One who is established as a witness or the one who has realized his true nature is also called as sarvajna.
The discrimination between kshetra and kshetrajna, or the subject and object is very important in the spiritual path. You may recall my previous posts regarding this topic:
I used the tools that technology has provided to make things colorful and appealing. I have been already trying to explain certain subtle things using images, infographics, comics etc. Such a variety will help you to focus easily and remember about certain important things. This time I am trying my hands on some animated gifs. I was playing with an app today and it was really helpful for making these animations.
I have created a three level meditation by combining the concepts of classical conditioning, meditations in Vajrayana Buddhism and Dhyna, a yogic meditation. You can read the full instructions here: A Shamatha Meditation Based on Symbolism, Visualization, Mnemonics and Classical Conditioning.
There is an image which is needed as a visual meditation aid for this meditation. I have included several copies of that image in the page itself. But I am including an animated one here. You can download and see it in your phone:
By the way, do you mind if include a picture of mine? As I was playing with the app, I also tried editing one of my pictures and it was fun. This pic is just for my friends (for you, I mean ). I just wanted to say a ‘hi’ with a smile, standing before the falling waterfalls and moving clouds.