Nothing Is What It Seems Until You See Past Illusion
The common perception of reality is that everything you see is all there is. Still, we know there are extra-dimensional fields of mysterious power we know we can’t see — like consciousness, which controls the seen world.
sadhiyajnam ca ye viduh
prayana-kale ‘pi ca mam
te vidur yukta-cetasah
sadhibhutadhidaivam — identical with the underlying controlling factor over matter and nature
mam — me
sadhiyajnam — mediator between microcosm (human) and macrocosm (the world), one with the supreme being who presides over ritual sacrificial acts
ca ye viduh — and who know
prayana-kale — at the time of departing, time of death
api ca mam — too and me
te viduh — they know
yukta — yoked, joined, union, absorbed, intent on
cetas — mind, consciousness, intelligence
“Those who know me as the underlying controlling factor over matter and nature and as the mediator of your relationship to both, depart from this world too with their mind and soul in union with Me.”
The Bhagavad Gita is considered to be a condensed version of the Upanishads. Their teachings are referred to as Vedanta.
Vedanta has an essential teaching which all the rest of the teachings revolve around:
1. From birth we gradually become deluded about how we function in relation to our mind, intellect, and actions.
2. Because of that perceptual misunderstanding of how you function, you believe others also function according to the deluded version of how you function.
3. Becoming free from that ignorant deluded state is the liberating experience we need in order to become happy and well-adjusted.
From early on we conceive of our world and our existence through a mistaken view of how people function. When we first become self-aware as we grow up, not knowing how people actually function, we become conditioned by that lack of knowledge into viewing ourselves and everyone based on a mistaken view of causality, or cause and effect.
In quantum physics we are taught that there is an invisible all-pervading causal field existing everywhere in our universe (Higgs Field). That causal field was originally assumed to exist because it must exist or our world couldn’t. According to quantum mechanics the elements our world is comprised of shouldn’t have mass but they do. Something which must exist everywhere is needed to transform sub-atomic massless energy into having mass, thereby enabling the solid world around us to exist. According to cutting edge science our world couldn’t exist and the universe would be nothing but massless particles flying around space without the all-pervading Higgs Field. Which is why the Higgs Boson which is theorized to comprise the Higgs Field has been dubbed “The God Particle.”
Like quantum physics Vedanta also teaches that there is an all-pervading field in another dimension that makes our world possible. Vedanta teaches the same basic thing as quantum physics but takes it a step further. The Higgs Field isn’t the only all-pervading field, or the Higgs Field is one aspect of a multi-dimensional field that doesn’t only cause our physical world to exist. When we see people do things we do not see the actual causal force behind their actions because the forces of consciousness and mind are invisible. They exist in dimensions we cannot see or measure but we know exist from our own experience. We know that within our bodies there are extra-dimensional fields of consciousness and mind which seemingly cause the body or thoughts to act. Vedanta teaches that there is an all-pervading multi-dimensional field that our consciousness and mind is part of and manifest from, similar to how mass is said to manifest from the all-pervading Higgs Field.
That all-pervading field is said to be a sub-quantum field of consciousness and mind which we experience in our body as our self and our mind. The Higgs Field has a cognate in Vedanta in Prakriti, or the primal fundamental state of matter which is said to be controlled by the all-pervading consciousness/mind which inhabits it — somewhat like how our consciousness/mind inhabits our body. But instead of just inhabiting matter the all-pervading field is said to transform itself into matter from a sub-quantum dimension. Which is remarkably similar to the current view of matter in quantum physics which teaches that the smallest particles of matter are not pieces of physical stuff, like really tiny rocks, but rather wave-like fluctuations in all-pervading quantum fields. What Vedanta teaches is therefore analogous to the celebrated physicist David Bohm’s popular model of quantum mechanics: The Implicate and Explicate Order. That model teaches that our experiential reality is an explicate order, or an external manifestation from an undivided unified sub-quantum dimension — the implicate order. Which is why he called his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order.
Why does nature follow mathematical rules? That’s one of the big mysteries of physics — along with not knowing what matter actually is. Labels like electrons, muons, leptons or quarks for the “fundamental particles of matter” are given to admittedly mysterious concepts that physicists say are still not understood. They say they don’t know what matter actually is nor why it behaves in such incredibly inexplicable ways.
Vedanta teaches that our experience of the all-pervading sub-quantum field of consciousness is somewhat similar to how a cell phone is able to manifest the individual information for your phone that is present in the all-pervading electromagnetic fields radiating from cell phone towers. In essence what Vedanta teaches is that our brains are devices that are able to manifest individual sub-quantum consciousness/mind signals (our own consciousness or self) from a sub-quantum or implicate unified field of consciousness/mind which exists everywhere.
The all-pervading field of consciousness and mind is said to be a combination of countless individual units of consciousness/mind within a unified field of a single consciousness/mind. A good analogy is a drop of water in the ocean. The drop exists as a part of the ocean and shares its essential quality of water, but is different from the ocean because the ocean is a distinct and different type of unit then the drop of water. The ocean has massive size and power. The ocean also contains the drop and so much more. Another analogy is the relationship between the Sun and the sunshine. The Sun and the sunshine are one because you can’t have one without the other, they share the characteristics of light and heat — but are also different because one is massively more powerful plus the source and sustainer of the other.
Vedanta gives different names to the all-pervading consciousness/mind based on the aspect of the field being described, e.g. Kshetrajna: The knower of the field; Sarva: He who is everything, etc.
Because consciousness and thoughts are immaterial and transcend matter, they cannot be grasped or weighed or even detected directly by any type of machine. Machines can only detect biosignals — biological reaction to thoughts and consciousness. That is because consciousness and mind exist in dimensions different from the 3 dimensions of matter. Similar to how ultraviolet radiation is invisible to human eyes but we know it exists from its effects — like a sunburn — so too the all-pervading field of consciousness and mind Vedanta speaks to as the motivating power behind the visible dimensions — it can also be directly experienced through its effects.
In fact we already experience it. Where do thoughts come from? Science so far has not been able to answer that question. Most people mistakingly believe that we create and control our thoughts. But science tells us that in reality we do not do anything to cause thoughts. Thoughts and memory simply appear in our mind without any apparent cause. Scientists have had many theories on the cause and origin of thoughts for a long time, but there is no consensus and no proof on how thoughts come into being. Commonly it is believed that somehow unconscious brain activity is behind the spontaneous appearance of thoughts in our mind. People commonly identify with the thoughts they experience as an extension of their control.
We can observe that the thoughts we experience are not caused by our own control. We don’t do anything to create thoughts. Thoughts simply appear in our mind without any seeming cause. We have no idea how to cause or create thoughts, or how to stop them. Try to explain how you create and control thinking. You can’t. Because we don’t. We can’t observe how thoughts are created or how memory is always available to us. Without constant memory of so many things at every moment we would be clueless about everything, we would be like newborn infants all the time. Instead, without our doing anything to cause them, memory and thoughts simply appear enabling us to exist as intelligent beings. The purpose of Vedanta is to teach you how to experience the all-pervading field of consciousness and mind underlying our world and causing our existence as intelligent life.
When you see someone do something you don’t see the motivating cause of their moving or speaking. But since you believe that your own invisible consciousness and mind is in control of what you say or do with your body, you believe others are the same. Vedanta teaches that view of causation, is an illusion. Your consciousness and mind are not under your control. You cannot explain how to create a single thought, or how to find a single memory, but still we think we are controlling the thoughts and memory we experience — and so is everyone else. Memory and thoughts simply appear in our consciousness and we then self-identify with those thoughts as if they are under our control — even though we have no clue how to create or control any of it.
sannyasyaste sukham vasi
nava-dvare pure dehi
naiva kurvan na karayan
sarva-karmani — connected to all activity
manasa — willingly, in the mind
sannyasyaste — continuously abandon and give up
sukham — ease, joy
vasi — by your will, controller
nava-dvare — of nine gates
pure — in the city
dehi — embodied soul
naiva — truly not
kurvan — the one acting
na — nor
karayan — the cause
“Giving up the sense of control you have over all actions and of the mind is joyous. The embodied soul in the city of nine gates (the body) is truly not the doer or cause.”
Here the Gita says that the self-realized person who is aware that they are not in control over anything, including their own thoughts and mind, becomes joyful. Why? When the person is no longer under the mistaken illusion where they see themselves as the cause and controller of what they experience, they experience a type of ease or joy. Distress is the result of our own fallibility and weaknesses in the face of the world around us. Vedanta is saying that by realizing that the all-powerful supreme being and controller of the universe is in complete control over everything — that brings a sense of worry-free peace and joy. The next verse says:
na kartrtvam na karmani
lokasya srjati prabhuh
svabhavas tu pravartate
na kartrtvam — not the causal agent
na karmani — nor the action
lokasya — in the world
srijati — creates
prabhuh — the individual soul
na — no
karma — action
phala — results
samyogam — undertakes, initiates
svabhavas — inherent nature
tu pravartate — but commence
“In this world the individual soul is not the causal agent behind anything nor the doer of any action. Nor the cause of the results of action, these commence due to the nature of its situation.”
nadatte kasyacit papam
na caiva sukrtam vibhuh
tena muhyanti jantavah
nadatte — not accept, not put on, not perceive, not comprehend
kasyacit — of someone, anyone’s
papam — bad deeds, wrongly
na caiva — nor also, nor even
sukrtam — good deeds, well done
vibhuh — the all-powerful all-pervading causal ruler over all
ajnanenavrtam — concealed by ignorance
jnanam — knowledge
tena — by that
muhyanti — confused and bewildered
jantavah — all beings, everyone
“The all-powerful all-pervading causal ruler over all does not accept that anyone does wrong things nor even does right things. By that knowledge being concealed by ignorance, everyone is confused and bewildered.”
Most translations of this verse translate it differently than I do, based on a different definition of nadatte — which is a compound word: na=not, adatte=accept or take, put on, perceive, grasp or comprehend, and other words. Other (not all) translations define nadatte in the verse to only mean: God “does not accept or take” the good or bad deeds of people onto himself, in the sense of not accepting responsibility, for the right or wrong, good or bad, actions of people. Some translate it to mean that: God does not accept good or bad deeds as an offering, i.e., doing something you believe will please God. Sometimes they add words to the verse that are not in the original, or they change the original definitions of nadatte to enhance what they believe the point of the verse is about. For example, these are some I found online:
The omnipresent God does not involve Himself [not involve is not in Sanskrit dictionaries as a definition] in the sinful or virtuous deeds of anyone.
The Lord does not accept responsibility [responsibility is not in the original verse] for any man’s sin or merit.
The Omnipresent neither accepts anybody’s sin nor even virtue.
I translate differently because those types of translations make the verse mean: God is not involved and or is not responsible for people’s actions. That is in contradiction with the main doctrinal thesis of Vedanta, i.e., The mind of the jivatma (human conscious self or soul) is interconnected with Paramatma (omnipresent conscious self or soul) who as the active agent within the mind is thereby enabling the human soul to exist with a comprehensible and comprehensive managed intellect, i.e., comprehending coherent thoughts and memories. Which we cannot control on our own due to not knowing how.
We have no knowledge on how to create thoughts, nor how to store and find memories, nor how to make sense of either by our own ability. We literally do nothing to create thoughts, or find memories, or comprehend anything. We just read or listen to these words. Then without doing anything else automatically understand the meaning. We have no ability or knowledge on how to process these words and sentences that we see or hear. Nevertheless, language and word meaning processing is occurring in an intelligible systematic way thereby enabling us to know what this means.
What do we experience in our mind as we read this? Because we do not have access to, or knowledge of how to process this information by our own mental ability — all we can do is look at or listen to words. The actual process that is processing these words is not perceived in our mind because we are not doing it. An unconscious brain, or collection of unconscious brain cells, lack the ability to perceive these words — brain cells do not read. What to speak of intellectually understanding this.
Therefore, I translate nadatte in the above verse so it will not be in contradiction with the rest of the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta. Nadatte can mean “not accept” and also “not notice or perceive,” and “not grasp or comprehend.” Using the latter definitions to align with “not accept” enables a translation of the verse that aligns with the basic teaching of Vedanta.
Instead of the verse saying:
The ruler of reality is not responsible for human actions…
I translate it as:
The ruler of reality does not assign causation, good or bad, to humans…
Both are acceptable translations, but only mine is not in contradiction with the rest of the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta.
Because you do not know how to create or control thoughts or memory, and therefore create and control your intellect which is based on thought and memory—whatever thoughts and actions take place in your body is not accepted as caused by you by the entity who actually knows how — and is in fact doing those things for you.
This verse is part of a line of thought on the true nature of causation. It starts with the prior verses saying you should “give up the sense that you are in control of anything.” Then, “you are not the doer or controller of what your body or mind is doing.” This verse then assures you that the person who is in fact managing your thoughts and memory — and therefore controlling your intellect and initiative — that actual controller does not blame you if you do something wrong, nor are your proper or well done actions seen as caused by you.
In the Uddhava Gita section of the Bhagavata Purana (condensed version of the Upanishads), like in the Bhagavad Gita verse above Krishna makes the same statement but more clearly:
Real wisdom arises when one no longer sees everything going on in the world as permeated by Brahman, but rather sees Brahman manifesting as everything, either occurring in nature or in people’s actions in goodness, passion, or ignorance.
Bhagavata Purana 11.19.15
One should not praise or blame a person’s character or actions; one should see all people and the world as one in substance and nature. Praising or criticizing a person’s actions or character causes you to deviate from your self-interest by accepting unreality as real.
Bhagavata Purana 11.28.1–2
In the universe a single all-pervasive infinite being is both the creator and the creation. The soul of the universe is the savior and the protector, as well as the giver or taker of ability in all.
In truth no being or occurrence can be viewed as different or distinct from that ruling controller over all manifestations in existence.
Therefore the vision of creating, maintaining or destroying by your own will is baseless. Know the apparent reality of people acting in goodness, passion, or darkness as an illusory creation.
The learned and wise who perfectly understand and realize this knowledge do not engage in blame or praise, they move like the sun.
Bhagavata Purana 11.28.6–8
The actual truth of the human condition is not understood due to people being ignorant of how people actually function in relation to their mind and body. Therefore they assign causation, blame or praise, to each other for things humans literally have no knowledge or ability on how to control. By understanding the true extent of our limited abilities, our worldview can become radically altered. Instead of seeing everyone doing and acting like they are each in control — thereby seeing the world and people interacting to produce a chaotic reality — the truth of how everything and everyone is controlled by the same source will be revealed to you through that control. It starts with understanding how little we know about controlling our thoughts and memory, and therefore our intellect and initiative.
jnanena tu tad ajnanam
yesam nasitam atmanah
tesam aditya-vaj jnanam
prakasayati tat param
jnanena — by knowledge
tu tad — but that
ajnanam — ignorance
yesam — of those, of which
nasitam — destroyed, banished
atmanah — of your self
tesam — their
aditya-vaj — like the sun
jnanam — knowledge
prakasayati — makes visible, illuminates, reveals
tat param — the highest, brahman, the supreme being
“But that knowledge of those whose ignorance of the self is destroyed, their knowledge like the sun makes visible the supreme being.”
tad-buddhayas — their intellect awake in that
tad-atmanas — their self absorbed in that
tan-nisthas — their steadfast commitment to that
tat-parayanah — their final end, last resort or refuge
gacchanty — to go, attain
apunar-avrttim — never to be reborn in samsara, never to return to ignorant existence, liberation
jnana-nirdhuta-kalmasah — whose darkness has been destroyed by knowledge
“Their intellect awake to that, their self absorbed in that, their steadfast commitment to that, their final end and refuge in that — they are liberated forever from a life lived in ignorance, their darkness having been destroyed by knowledge.”
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
vidya — knowledge
vinaya — removal, discipline, separating
sampanne — possessed of, accomplished, perfect
brahmane — a priest or theologian
gavi — a cow
hastini — an elephant
suni — a dog
caiva — and even
sva-pake — a dog eater
ca — and
panditah — the learned, the wise
sama-darsinah — sees everything the same, impartial
“Perfect in knowledge and detachment — a teacher, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and even a dog eater — are seen by the learned and wise as the same.”
ihaiva tair jitah sargo
yesam samye sthitam manah
nirdosam hi samam brahma
tasmad brahmani te sthitah
ihaiva — even here and now, in this life
tair — them
jitah — overcome, conquer, subdue, master
sargo — creation, the world
yesam — of them
samye — sameness
sthitam — fixed upon, situated, rooted
manah — the mind, perception, intelligence, understanding
nirdosam —free from defects, perfect
hi — because
samam —together with
brahma — brahman
tasmad — then
brahmani — with brahman
te sthitah —they abide in, they constantly engage with
“Even here and now they master the world whose minds are fixed upon sameness. Then they constantly engage with Brahman because of perfect togetherness with Brahman.”
sarge yanti parantapa
iccha — wish, desire, like
dvesa — dislike, aversion, hatred
samutthena — arising from
dvandva mohena — illusion of duality
bharata — arjuna
sarva-bhutani — all people
sammoham — confused, mesmerized
sarge — creation, the world
yanti — enter
parantapa — Arjuna
“Likes and dislikes arise from a deluded sense of duality Arjuna. Everyone is confused from the time of their entrance into the world, O destroyer of enemies.”
In the last verse Krishna uses irony to make his point by calling Arjuna “Parantapa.” That word is commonly used for celebrating heroes or warriors — it means “Vanquisher of Foes” or “Destroyer of Enemies.” The irony is that Krishna is saying that everything you experience in the world is caused by the same underlying causal force. Without taking into consideration the invisible inner causal force, then the cause of everyone’s thoughts and actions are not seen for the nonduality or sameness they actually are. The theme of oneness, of everything needing to be seen as manifesting from the same cause in order to attain enlightenment, is repeated many times in the Bhagavad Gita. If an actor in a movie is made to say something which appears like he is an enemy of another actor, neither actor takes it personally since they know they are not in control of their lines or the direction of the story. The main teaching of Vedanta is to teach us that everything in our world, from others and within our own mind — all of it is controlled from the same causal force.
If someone argues against you and works to prevent your goals, they can seem like your enemy — but that idea of cause and effect arises only because you think you are in control of your thoughts, and therefore everyone else is just like you. If we are not in control of our thoughts, and let’s face it, we aren’t, then according to Vedanta a worldview lacking knowledge of the nondual or same causation over everyone — that vision is like watching a movie without knowing there is a director and writer behind what the actors are doing.
It is ironic for Krishna to call Arjuna “Conqueror of Foes” after saying that a delusional view of reality is behind likes and dislikes. If you think others control what they do, like you think you control what you do, your liking or disliking of them is based on a delusional view of causation. Since everyone is controlled by the same inner causal force — we are like actors controlled by the same director — therefore there are no actual enemies. Everyone does what the director has them do. Vedanta teaches that anger, confusion, hate — these negative conditions and emotions arise when we do not understand the truth of causation. Serenity and joy arise when we do.
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
yesam tv — But those
antagata papam — finished with misfortune
jananam — people
punya-karmanam — whose actions are proper
te dvandva-moha-nirmukta — are free from the delusion of duality
bhajante mam — possesses me, participates with me, consumed by me, worships me
drdhavratah — fixed in observance, intent on conforming with
“Free from the illusion of duality, consumed and fixed in observance of Me are those who are properly situated and done with misfortune.”
Shrimad Bhagavata Purana 11.13.24
manasa vacasa drstya
grhyate ‘nyair apindriyaih
aham eva na matto ‘nyad
iti budhyadhvam anjasa
manasa vacasa drishtya — by the mind, speech, and eyes
grihyate — is perceived and grasped
anyaih — by every other way
apindriyaih — for example through limbs, organs, senses, powers, forces, etc.
aham eva na — me, indeed, not
mattah anyat — anything other than from me
iti budhyadhvam — you should all see, understand, awaken
anjasa — immediate, instantly, straightforward, quickly
“Everything perceived or understood in the mind, or through speech, or by the eyes, or in any other way — it is all Me alone and nothing but Me. Awaken to the immediacy of this understanding and vision.”
Did you know that the exact same things taught by Vedanta in the above — is also the “secret” teaching of Kabbalah?
The most respected Kabbalah tradition today is from the traditions started by HaAri, also called HaAri Hakadosh, commonly known as Isaac Luria (1534–1572). His version of Kabbalah is also known as Lurianic Kabbalah. There we see an almost exact replica of what is found in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads — which is also originally taught by a person named Hari.
In Kabbalah, as in the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita, the universal consciousness is taught as the underlying controller of all that exists, and that our purpose is to unite/yoke/yoga with the supreme through knowledge of our oneness, as well as knowledge of its oneness with everyone and everything else. Both traditions use similar ways to describe the supreme being. One example is as “the cause of all causes.” Which in Sanskrit is sarva-karana-karanam.
Isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
Krishna is the supreme controller of all. His form is all of existence, consciousness and bliss. Existing from eternity, Govinda is the origin and cause of all causes.
Both traditions teach that all you experience in life is a literal manifestation of the control and presence of the supreme being, within you and all around. They both also teach the same thing about the cause of “the material world.” Kapila teaches in the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana, which is considered to be a condensed version of the Upanishads, that the world of matter when seen as different from its controller, exists solely as a product of the ahankara, which means the false conception of your self and of your place in reality. That false ego creates a false world. The belief of yourself and others as autonomous, with you and others in control over what your body or mind is doing —that conception creates a false world. Like Neo in The Matrix before he woke up to the truth, his belief about the virtual reality world his mind lived in as “the real world,” that belief created a false world for him.
In Kabbalist teachings the process which aids in attaining the purpose of life to remove your ignorance about the true nature of the world and your relationship with the supreme being, is called Bitul hayesh, or nullifying the sense of having a separate existence from the supreme. Kabbalah teaches that to attain the highest state, you need to nullify or discard your own sense of autonomy from the supreme. You need to give up the sense that you are separate, or that anything or anyone else is separate from the supreme being. The supreme being is manifest through, and is in control over all and everything — including your own actions and thoughts. By focusing on that as reality, you qualify for the supreme being to directly show you that control over everything, all the time. Meditating on that truth in order to experience that truth (Devekut or communion in Kabbalah) is called Hitbonenut. That type of meditation is the exact same thing as taught in Vedanta.
Kabbalah also teaches about reincarnation, called Gilgul, meaning cycle or wheel — which is the same meaning of the Sanskrit word for reincarnation, Samsara.
The essential teaching and process for enlightenment is more or less the same in both traditions — to try and be aware of everything you experience, all the time, in your thoughts and actions, and through all else you experience — be aware that all you experience is a direct manifestation of the plan and control of the supreme being. That is Samadhi in Vedanta and Devekut in Kabbalah. To focus on all you experience as being its constant control in action — by that meditation, the supreme being can use your awareness of its control — to communicate with you…