Are the Vedas Inherent in the Heart? (4)
Articles by Satyanarayana Dasa Questions & Answers

Are the Vedas Inherent in the Heart? (4)

The only argument which remains is that śabda-brahma or the Veda is not limited by time and space, therefore it also exists in the ātmā. About this I have already written above that this is acceptable, but then you have to explain the statements that say that the jīva is ignorant of Bhagavān. You cannot just take one set of statements and neglect the other. Otherwise, you fall prey to ardha-kukkuti nyāya (example of accepting only half of a hen, the part that gives eggs and neglecting the part that needs to be fed).

In Bhagavad Gītā 9.4, Kṛṣṇa says that He pervades everything and yet He is not in everything. He also says that everything that exists is He, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti. Indeed He says that He is the ātmā in everyone (Gītā 10.20). Then by your logic, we are all Vāsudeva and certainly we have the Vedic knowledge. But this fact is not experienced by us. Otherwise why does Kṛṣṇa need to tell this? We would know it as He knows. Your logic of “all pervading” is tantamount to Māyāvāda philosophy.

By accepting the Vedic knowledge in the ātmā, there is one more difficulty that arises. According to Bhāgavatam, there are five types of mukti. One of them is called sāyujya, which is of two types, brahma-sāyujya and bhagavat sāyujya. A jīva who attains brahma-sāyujya does not have any subtle or gross body because that is the very definition of mukti: muktir hitvānyatha rūpaṁ svarūpena vyavasthiti (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.10.6). Such a jīva also does not attain a spiritual body because in Brahman there is no form or attributes. It is a homogeneous state of pure consciousness. So according to your proposition (or of BVT), such a person should be situated in Vedic knowledge, because he does not have any more conditioning by the subtle or gross body. This goes against the very principle of brahma-sāyujya, because in brahma-sāyujya there is no awareness of anything except of Brahman. There is no duality or binary thinking in brahman realization. But if one has Vedic knowledge, one must have knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, as Kṛṣṇa Himself says: vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedya. This also needs to be accounted for if you accept that there is Vedic knowledge inherent in the ātmā.

Further questions can be raised on this: Is this knowledge of the Veda in the ātmā manifest or unmanifest? If it is manifest, then it cannot be forgotten at all. For example, the ātmā has I-consciousness in it. The ātmā is the referent of the word ‘I”. This knowledge of “I” can never be forgotten in any state of existence—wakeful, dream or dreamless state. No matter what the jīva thinks of himself, the sense of “I” always exists, because it is inherent in the ātmā. It is this sense of “I” that is superimposed on the gross and subtle bodies, which makes one think, “I am the mind or the body.” In the same way, consciousness is the inherent quality of the ātmā, therefore it can never be taken away from it in any state of existence. No matter how much māyā influences the jīva, he never loses consciousness and the sense of “I.” He cannot become dead matter. In the same way, if Vedic knowledge were manifest in the ātmā, the jīva could never forget it or be unaware of it, no matter how much he is covered by māyā. Just like a bulb which has light in it cannot lose it, no matter how much the bulb is covered externally. Others may not see the light of the bulb, but the light is never lost to the bulb itself. Therefore Jīva Gosvāmī is right when he says that the jīva has beginningless ignorance, anādyavidyā. However, being a conscious entity, he has the potential to acquire knowledge.

If we consider the second option, that the knowledge is unmanifest in the ātmā, then the proponent of this idea must explain what is means to have unmanifest knowledge and how it exists in the ātmā. What is the mechanism? Does it exist by saṁyoga sambandha (relation of contact) or samvāya sambandha (relation of inherence)? The first one is not possible, because saṁyoga exist only between two substances. Knowledge is not a substance.

If the second is accepted, then the following problem will arise: The constitution of ātmā is eternal and not liable to any modification, avikārī (Gītā 2.25). When the knowledge would change from unmanifest to manifest by some practice as proposed by Anonymous, then that would make the ātmā modifiable, vikārī, like matter. One may argue that the practice of bhakti makes this knowledge manifest, as it is stated in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2. 7. That manifestation is not from the ātmā, but from Paramātma. This is stated by Kṛṣṇa in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.22.10 as cited earlier:

svato na sambhavād anyas
tattva-jño jñāna-do bhavet

“Self-realization for the jīva, who is saddled with beginningless ignorance, is not possible by his own efforts. It is possible only if knowledge is imparted to him by another who knows the reality.”

I have explained the meaning of “in” logically as by samvāya sambandha or saṁyoga sambandha. Moreover, how could it be called inherent if Kṛṣṇa has to establish it?  “Inherent” means samvāya sambandha, which is a permanent relation, like between sweetness and sugar. They are inseparable. But if Kṛṣṇa establishes it in the subtle body, then it cannot be called inherent.

Therefore, it is concluded that there is no Vedic knowledge inherent in the ātmā, who is a conscious being and the referent of the word “I”. Knowledge has to be received from an outside source from a qualified teacher.



  • vinodh r December 26, 2015

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I have never seen such a clear explanation anywhere in my life. You are doing a great contribution to the Gaudiya vaishnava samprdaya.

    I have a question that is somewhat related to the context of inherent knowledge:

    It is said “jīvera svarūpa haya-kṛṣṇera nitya-dāsa” and gaudiya vaishnavas often use the term ‘svarupa siddhi’ for the perfection of ‘realizing’ one’s svarupa (svarupena vyavastiti SB 2.10.6).

    The words ‘realization’ and ‘svarupa’ seem to indicate that there is already something inherent to be ‘realized’. What is the reason behind using such open ended terminologies in our lineage/scriptures? In other words, what is the correct meaning of terms such as ‘realization’ or ‘svarupa’?

    • Malatimanjari December 30, 2015

      Babaji’s reply:

      Realization means to have intuitive insight, direct experience.
      Svarupa means the inherent nature.
      I am not sure if this what your question is.

    • vinodh December 30, 2015

      Dear Babaji,

      You mentioned Svarupa means inherent nature.

      Some say that svarupa means inherent form (sva -inherent and rupa – form) and understand the following verses in that light. Is inherent form not a correct translation, Babaji?

      muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ
      sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (SB 2.10.6)

      jivera ‘svarupa’ haya–krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’ (CC Madhya 20.108)

    • Malatimanjari December 31, 2015

      Babaji: Such an understanding will create a problem in relation to sayujya mukti, which is one of the five types of mukti. In sayujya mukti there is no form. It is impersonal liberation.
      I do not know how the BBT translates the CC verse you have referred to but I surmise that the translation would not speak of form but of nature.

    • Vinodh December 31, 2015

      What you say makes sense. ‘Form’ translation disregards Sayujya.

      BBT translates it as ‘Constitutional form’ for SB verse and ‘Constitutional position’ for CC verse. Thank you Babaji.

  • scooty ram December 30, 2015


    “When the knowledge would change from unmanifest to manifest by some practice as proposed by Anonymous, then that would make the ātmā modifiable, vikārī, like matter. ”

    This is not true.dharma bhuta jnana contracts and expands . not dharmi jnana. Vikara doesn’t happen to dharmi jnana.

    avinasi va are ayam atmanucitti-dharma

    “The soul’s consciousness is never destroyed.”
    (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad, 4.5.14; Govinda-bhasya, 2.3.26)

    • Malatimanjari December 30, 2015

      Babaji’s comment:

      I agree with you and this is exactly what I am saying in my quote that you have cited.
      Mr. Anonymous is not arguing for contraction of dharma-bhutajnana but of dharmi-bhuta-jnana.
      In my quote that you have cited, the word “knowledge” refers to dharmi-bhuta-jnana, as used by Anonumous.
      Please read carefully.

  • vedanta dasa December 30, 2015

    Sadhu, sadhu!

    Dandavatas, dear Babaji.

    What first appeared to be the beginning of a never-ending debate has ended rather swiftly and conclusively. The opposing hypotheses where quite impressive (Harvard level, I would say), but only as long as I was bewildered in darkness watching Anonymous pointing with his small spot(ha) light towards various dedicated shastric references. In answer to this, you have effortlessly and most beautifully built a massive cathedral of coherent light, a sublime and splendorous temple of shastra! I am stunned. No more arguments or proof needed here, you yourself are proof personified. Thank you.

  • Shri January 3, 2016

    What a pleasure it is to read this succinct explanation by Sri Babaji. Even after all these years, we are still coming up with questions that actually need the time and effort that Babaji has put in to dispel misconceptions and prove the position that our Acharya’s have taken on these subtle not easily understood points of tattva-gyana.
    Is this resistance to the way the vibhinnansha Tatastha Shakti jiva’s anadi vimukhta from Bhagavana coming from the Christian story of the garden of Eden?
    It seems so to me. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are with God but they are innocent and not knowers of Good and evil. When Eve is tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit from the tree that God has forbidden them to eat from, is when they are expelled from the garden and now through penance and prayer can one day come back to the garden and be back with God.
    Whatever the real or symbolic deeper meaning of this story, it seems that many of the peole who practice bhakti in the Gaudiya Vaishnav tradition, have had Christian upbringing or if not brought up Christian have certainly had ocassion to hear these stories growing up in the West. And it seems that for them, reconciliation of this “exist from Eden” is what they are trying to dray parallels for in the way Gaudiya’s understand the Vedas.
    Except that this exercise is futile, because the tatastha jivas have never had a definitive spiritual form, never interacted or been in the presence of Bhagavan like Adam and Eve were in Gods garden, and they have therefore never “rebelled” against God for which He has cast them out of the garden.
    It seems that some of our western friends dont have an easy time letting go of this simple story to be replaced by what i think is the more logical and established siddhanta of the difference between Brahma, jiva and maya.

    • Malatimanjari January 3, 2016

      Speaking for myself, I agree. This is a deep samskara in the Western mind thathas even infiltrated Indian thinking through modern Western education.

  • purushottam das January 9, 2016

    not only this, but most of the former and current leaders of ISKCON are from abrahminic background and they have mixed understanding with these ideas using BVT’s jaiv dharma and other similar books. it is only babaji who has undergone rigerous study knows the fine line and takes trouble to explain over n over again.

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