॥ શ્રી સ્વામિનારાયણો વિજયતે ॥


Spiritual Discourses

by Bhagwan Swaminarayan


Realizing God through the Indriyas, the Antahkaran and Experience

On Māgshar sudi 3, Samvat 1877 [8 December 1820], Shriji Mahārāj was sitting on a large, decorated cot in Surā Khāchar’s darbār in Loyā. His head was adorned with a white pāgh, from which a chhoglu emerged from one side. He was wearing a white dagli made of chhint and a white, cotton-padded survāl. He had also covered Himself with a white blanket. At that time, an assembly of munis as well as devotees from various places had gathered before Him.

In the assembly, Nityānand Swāmi brought the Vachanāmrut manuscript and presented it to Shriji Mahārāj. Shriji Mahārāj examined the manuscript and was extremely pleased. He then said to the paramhansas, “Today, please ask complex questions so that we may talk.”

Thereupon Muktānand Swāmi asked, “The Shrutis state: ‘Rute gnānān-na muktihi |1 and ‘Tam-eva viditvātimrutyum-eti nānyaha panthā vidyate’yanāya |’.2 These Vedic verses proclaim that the jiva attains liberation only when it realizes the true gnān of God. If liberation can only be attained by gnān, why do the scriptures also prescribe other spiritual endeavors for attaining liberation?”

Hearing this question, Shriji Mahārāj said, “Gnān means ‘to know’.”

At this point, Nityānand Swāmi raised a doubt, “If gnān means merely ‘to know’, then the whole world knows God through the scriptures, yet everyone does not attain liberation.”

Hearing this, Shriji Mahārāj raised a question, “Just as one does not attain liberation by knowing the previously incarnated forms of God through the scriptures, do you think all those who actually had the darshan of Rām, Krishna and the other avatārs of God with their own eyes attained liberation?”

Muktānand Swāmi replied, “Those who merely see the manifest form of God attain liberation only after several lives.”

Shriji Mahārāj added, “Those who know God through the scriptures also receive liberation after several lives. Why? Because whom these people know through the scriptures is whom the other people see with their eyes; and whom the other people see with their eyes is whom these people know through the scriptures. Thus, the resulting fruits of both are equal, and both attain liberation after several lives.

“After all, is not hearing God with one’s ears gnān? It is, but that can be said to be merely hearing God. Is not touching God with one’s skin also gnān? It is, but that can be said to be merely touching God. Is not seeing God with one’s eyes gnān? It is, but that is merely seeing God. Is not smelling God with one’s nose gnān as well? It is, but that is merely smelling God. Does not describing God with one’s tongue also constitute gnān? It does, but that is merely having described God. In this way, gnān can be attained through the physical indriyas. It can also be attained through the antahkaran as well as directly from experiential gnān of the jiva, which transcends both the indriyas and the antahkaran. Of these, which gnān are you speaking of?

“In fact, in order to create the cosmos, God assumed the form of Aniruddha, within which dwells the mobile and immobile world along with space. In the form of Sankarshan, God destroys the cosmos. In the form of Pradyumna, He sustains the cosmos. He also assumes various avatārs such as Matsya, Kachchha, etc. He assumes these forms according to whichever task needs to he accomplished in whichever place. Some of these tasks are such that they are imperceptible to the indriyas and antahkaran and can only be known by experience.3 For the successful completion of these tasks, God assumes a form accordingly. On the other hand, some of these tasks are perceptible to the indriyas and antahkaran. For the successful completion of these tasks, again God assumes an appropriate form. Thus, the gnān of which of God’s forms is instrumental in attaining liberation? Is that your question?”

Nityānand Swāmi confirmed, “We are saying that liberation is attained by the gnān of God whose form can be realized by the indriyas, the antahkaran, and experience.”

Shriji Mahārāj then explained, “That God is Shri Krishna. He has said of himself:

Yasmāt-ksharam-ateeto’ham-aksharād-api chottamaha |
Ato’smi loke vede cha prathitaha purushottamaha ||
Vishtabhyāham-idam krutsnam-ekānshena sthito jagat ||5 Mattaha parataram nānyat-kinchid-asti dhananjaya |
Mayi sarvam-idam protam sootre maniganā iva ||
Pashya me pārth roopāni shatasho’tha sahasrashaha |
Nānā-vidhāni divyāni nānā-varnākruteeni cha ||

“In these and many other verses, he describes himself as imperceptible to the indriyas and the antahkaran. Thus, knowing God perfectly means knowing the manifest form of God through the indriyas, the antahkaran, and experience. Only then can one be said to possess perfect gnān. However, if anyone of these three types of gnān is lacking, one cannot be said to have realized ultimate gnān, nor can one overcome the cycle of births and deaths. In fact, even though someone may have attained the brahmaswarup state through his personal endeavors, if he does not realize the manifest form of God in this manner, he cannot be said to possess perfect gnān. That is why it is said in the Shrimad Bhāgwat:

Naishkarmyam-apyachuta-bhāva-varjitam na shobhate gnānam-alam niranjanam |8

“The Gitā also states:

Karmano hyapi boddhavyam boddhavyam cha vikarmanaha |
Akarmanash-cha boddhavyam gahanā karmano gatihi ||

“Even in the state of non-karma, i.e., gnān, there is still something left to be realized. That is to say, even after one has become brahmarup, one still has to realize Parabrahma Purushottam. Only one who is brahmarup has the right to offer bhakti to Purushottam.

“Now, what constitutes bhakti? It is when one becomes brahmarup and performs the bhakti of the manifest form of God19 with sandalwood paste, flowers, shravan, manan, etc. - just as the niranna-muktas of Shwetdwip, having become brahmarup, perform puja of Parabrahma Vāsudev by offering various types of offerings such as sandalwood paste, flowers, etc. Thus, God has mentioned in the Gitā:

Brahma-bhootaha prasannātmā na shochati na kānkshati |
Samaha sarveshu bhooteshu mad-bhaktim labhate parām ||

“Thus, one who does not offer bhakti to Parabrahma after becoming brahmarup cannot be said to have attained ultimate liberation.


Bhoomir-āpo’nalo vāyuhu kham mano buddhir-eva cha |
Ahamkāra iteeyam me bhinnā prakrutir-ashtadhā ||

“This describes the all-pervaded jad prakruti. Also,

Apareyam-itas-tvanyām prakrutim viddhi me parām |
Jeeva-bhootām mahābāho yayedam dhāryate jagat ||

“Such is the all-pervasive chaitanya prakruti. That manifest form of God is such that He is the supporter of both the eight forms of pervaded jad prakruti and also of the chaitanya prakruti that pervades therein. For example, ākāsh is the supporter of the other four elements - pruthvi, jal, etc. Whenever pruthvi contracts, ākāsh contracts along with it. When the pruthvi expands, ākāsh also expands along with it. Similarly, ākāsh also contracts and expands along with the contraction and expansion of jal, tej and vāyu. However, pruthvi and the other elements all contract and expand within ākāsh. In the same way, God expands and contracts along with the expansion and contraction of the two prakrutis, while they themselves contract and expand within God Himself. That God is the ātmā of all. This fact is stated in the Shrutis: Antah-pravishtaha shāstā janānām sarvātmā |;13 Yasyāksharam shareeram... esha sarva-bhootāntarātmā’pahata-pāpmā divyo deva eko nārāyanaha |;14 Yasyātmā shareeram ya ātmānam-antaro yamayati sa ta ātmāntaryāmyamrutaha |;15 Yasya pruthivee shareeram yaha pruthiveem-antaro yamayati sa ta ātmāntaryāmyamrutaha |.16

“Furthermore, even food, the mind, knowledge and bliss have been described as Brahma; that is, various such types of brahmavidyā have been mentioned. What is the significance of this? Well, even those things have been called Brahma because God is the cause of all and the supporter of all. However, they are all the sharir, and their shariri is the manifest form of Shri Krishna Purushottam. Both the jad and chaitanya prakrutis, along with entities evolved thereof in their expanded and contracted states, dwell easily within God. Moreover, God dwells within them all as their antaryāmi and as their cause. It is that very God who is this manifest form. To know and see God with such an understanding of greatness is called perfect gnān.”

Thereupon Muktānand Swāmi asked, “If a person cannot experience the greatness of God in this manner, but does have a firm conviction of it in his antahkaran, then can that be said to be perfect gnān or not?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “In a dark house, one can faintly see the grain-store, the pillars, etc.; but due to the darkness, they cannot be said to have been seen totally. In the same way, both the jad and chaitanya prakrutis reside within Purushottam Bhagwān, and He dwells within them as well. But if one experiences this only by inference and does not actually see it, then he cannot be said to possess perfect gnān. Nevertheless, because he has such a firm conviction, he surely must have experienced some sort of transcendental powers of God in the past; if not, he will experience them in the future.

“Despite having such a doubtless conviction, if one does not experience that transcendence, one should think, ‘God possesses all those powers, but He does not reveal them to me because that is His wish.’ If a person offers bhakti to God with such understanding and remains fulfilled, then he can also be said to possess perfect gnān.

“Thus, a devotee with gnān is one who thoroughly knows God through the indriyas, the antahkaran, and experience. Such a devotee has been praised in the Gitā as the best of all devotees:

Ārto jignāsur-arthārthee gnānee cha bharatarshabha || ...
Teshām gnānee nitya-yukta eka-bhaktir-vishishyate |

“Such a devotee with gnān faithfully serves the manifest form of God - who eternally has a form - realizing Him as transcending Prakruti-Purush and Akshar, and as being the cause and supporter of all. Such understanding constitutes gnān, and such gnān leads to ultimate liberation. Some who do not understand this merely claim ‘Aham brahmāsmi’18 from the scriptures. They proclaim, ‘I am the form of Brahma, and Rām, Krishna, etc., are merely manifestations emanating from me.’ Such sacrilegious, unorthodox Vedāntis of today are extremely evil and grave sinners. At death, they are consigned to narak, and they will never be released from there.”

Vachanamrut ॥ 7 ॥ 115 ॥

* * *

This Vachanamrut took place ago.


1. ऋते ज्ञानान्न मुक्तिः ।

There is no liberation without gnān. - Hiranyakeshiyashākhā Shruti

2. तमेव विदित्वातिमृत्युमेति नान्यः पन्था विधतेऽयनाय ।

Only by knowing Him does one transgress death; there is no other path for attaining [liberation]. - Shvetāshvatara Upanishad: 3.8

3. Throughout this Vachanāmrut, ‘experience’ should be understood to mean ‘experiential gnān through the jiva’ because it refers to the gnān of the divine form of God, not just the form of God that is perceivable through the senses or mind.

4. यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपी चोत्तमः ।
अतोऽस्मि लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः ॥

I transcend all that is perishable and am greater than even the imperishable; therefore I am known in the Smrutis and Vedas as ‘Purushottam’. - Bhagwad Gitā: 15.18

5. विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्थितो जगत् ॥

I sustain the entire universe with a single fragment [of myself]. - Bhagwad Gitā: 10.42

6. मत्तः परतरं नान्यत्किञ्चिदस्ती धनञ्जय ।
मयि सर्वमिदं प्रोतं सूत्रे मणिगणा इव ॥

O Conqueror of Wealth [Arjun]! There is nothing at all that is greater than me. All this [creation] is strung upon me - like a series of gems on a thread. - Bhagwad Gitā: 7.7

7. पश्य मे पार्थ रूपाणि शतशोऽथ सहस्रशः ।
नानाविधानि दिव्यानी नानावर्णाकृतीनि च ॥

O Son of Pruthā [Arjun]! Behold my hundreds and thousands of divine forms that are of various types and of assorted colors and shapes. - Bhagwad Gitā: 11.5

8. नैष्कर्म्यमप्यच्युतभाववर्जितं न शोभते ज्ञानमलं निरञ्जनम् ।

Indeed, even pure gnān - wherein all karmas have been renounced - is not elegant if it is devoid of bhakti towards God. - Shrimad Bhāgwat: 1.5.12

9. कर्मणो ह्यपी बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥

[The nature of] karma should be understood, [the nature of] prohibited karmas should be understood, and [the nature of] non-karma should also be understood. Indeed, the way of karma is very complex. - Bhagwad Gitā: 4.17

10. ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचती न कांक्षति ।
समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु मद्‌भक्तिं लभते पराम् ॥

One who has become brahmarup remains joyful, grieves nothing, desires nothing, behaves equally with all beings, and attains my supreme bhakti. - Bhagwad Gitā: 18.54

11. भूमिरापोऽनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च ।
अहङ्‌कार इतीयं मे भिन्ना प्रकृतिरष्टधा ॥

Pruthvi, jal, tej, vāyu, ākāsh, man, buddhi and ahamkār - these are my eight forms of prakruti, ... - Bhagwad Gitā: 7.4

12. अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम् ।
जीवभूतां महाबाहो ययेदं धार्यते जगत् ॥

...the lower prakruti. But O Mighty-armed (Arjun)! Also know my other prakruti - the transcendental prakruti - the very element of life [i.e. chaitanya], by which this world is upheld. - Bhagwad Gitā: 7.5

13. अंतःप्रविष्टः शास्ता जनानां सर्वात्मा ।

God, who enters within all, is the controller and ātmā of all beings. - Yajur Veda: Āranyak-3.11

14. यस्याक्षरं शरीरं ... एष सर्वभूतान्तरात्माऽपहतपाप्मा दिव्यो देव एको नारायणः ।

He, whose sharir is the imperishable,... is the indwelling ātmā of all beings, is devoid of all evil, and is the one divine God, Nārāyan. - Subāla Upanishad: 7.1

15. यस्यात्मा शरीरं य आत्मानमन्तरो यमयति स त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः ।

He, whose sharir are the ātmās and who governs all ātmās from within, is your ātmā, the antaryāmi, and immortal. - Bruhadāranyaka Upanishad: 5.7.26

16. यस्य पृथिवी शरीरं यः पृथिवीमन्तरो यमयति स त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः ।

He, whose sharir is pruthvi and who governs it from within, is your ātmā, the antaryāmi, and is immortal. - Bruhadāranyaka Upanishad: 5.7.7

17. आर्तो जिज्ञासुरथार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ ॥ ...
तेषां ज्ञानी नित्ययुक्त एकभक्तिर्विशिष्यते ।

O Supreme among the Descendants of Bharat [Arjun]! [Four types of virtuous persons worship me:] one who is distressed [from having fallen from the path of attaining yogic powers, and thus still wishes to attain them]; one who seeks knowledge [of the ātmā, i.e. ātmā-realization]; one who desires material objects [i.e. material pleasures and powers]; and one who has gnān. Of these, the one with gnān is the best because he is always engaged in me and is devoted to me alone. - Bhagwad Gitā: 7.16 & 17

18. अहं ब्रह्मास्मि

I am Brahma. - Bruhadāranyaka Upanishad: 3.4.10

19. These words describing the brahmarup devotees of the manifest form of God indicates that the brahmarup devotees of Vāsudev Nārāyan who resides in Shwetdwip (mentioned immediately after) are different. Hence, Maharaj not only states there is a difference between the devotees of the manifest form of God (referring to himself) and the muktas of Shwetdwip, he also indicates he himself is distinct from Vāsudev Nārāyan residing in Shwetdwip.

Prakaran Gadhada I (78) Sarangpur (18) Kariyani (12) Loya (18) Panchala (7) Gadhada II (67) Vartal (20) Amdavad (3) Gadhada III (39) Bhugol-Khagol Additional (11) Additional Info Vachanamrut Study People in the Vachanamrut Vachanamrut Introduction Vachanamrut Principles Vachanamrut Preface Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Blessings Vachanamrut Calendar Paratharo 4: Auspicious Marks Paratharo 5: Daily Routine Appendices

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