VIII:22 Purusha and the Real You

Previously, we learned that there is another non-manifest state called “The Imperishable”. Here, there is no death and no returning to undesirable temporal worlds. This deathless place is Lord Krishna’s “Highest Abode”. We have been told by Him, that we can also reach this state.

That Highest Purusha in whom all beings exist, and by which all this universe is pervaded, is attainable by devotion not directed elsewhere.

In this verse, Lord Krishna refers back to Himself as Purusha, whose Highest Abode is the Imperishable. He could have called it by other names, but Imperishable conveys His deathless state, and keeps us on target with the subject of achieving this state ourselves.

  • “Devotion not directed elsewhere” – The attention remains on the object of one’s devotion. 

This is also the definition of meditation, and refers back to verses 5-7 and 8 -1o calling for singular attention directed only to God. By constantly thinking of God, the attention is always on God and only God—worshipping God, surrendering to God. By this devotion, this ‘Highest Purusha’ is attained. For this reason, yogis protect themselves from distraction by not living a worldly life where one constantly encounters the many demands of society. Instead, constant awareness of Absolute God is sought.

Through meditation, a steady flow of attention to a single object, one reaches God by making God the object of one’s meditation.

The Sanskrit for Highest is para, which also means ‘beyond’. Looked at in this way, we might read: That which is beyond Purusha … is attained by devotion not directed elsewhere.

In this case, ‘beyond Purusha’ indicates a state that is higher than, or beyond Purusha. You will recall that this was earlier referred to as Adhyatma, the Real You in your natural, divine situation (verses 1-4) before Creation. 

  • Adhyatma – ‘original self’, a Divine Individual in the Absolute

So why not just say, Adhyatma? Because Adhyatma had not chosen to engage the ability to be conscious of anything. Once Adhyatma chose to engage this power, he became known as Purusha. Now he can only be called Purusha, but once he achieves the “Highest Abode” again, he will not cease to be conscious of otherness, but will be conscious of everything that can be known—conscious of All That Is. Now Purusha is at his highest: the Highest Purusha.

In the Absolute situation before Creation, Purusha is only one step down from Adhyatma, the Real You, before having engaged your power of choice to know of the existence of others like You. Once this took place, You encountered a point of view, and became known as Purusha. But now you are here, living in this relative, illusory world, in a body, and now you have the opportunity to recapture your natural state of Imperishableness and Eternal Happiness. 

Purusha is Adhyatma with a point of view.

It is difficult to imagine the idea of not having a view point, a place from which you perceive things other than yourself. But when this viewpoint is expanded in all directions, what can be known is not limited either in what is known, or where it is know from. One is all-pervasive and all-knowing.

Consciousness is an inherent ability of the Real You. But once You engaged this ability to seek out otherness, you had a view point: you. Your consciousness then became ‘consciousness of‘, and your inherent abilities to know, such as seeing, hearing, etc., became manifest as sense organs.

Now that we have been through all this business of Creation, indirect perception via the senses, birth, death, suffering and happiness, we have come around full circle to our original state, but now with full consciousness. This is Purusha without the limitation of a single point of view: The Highest Purusha, the Real You. You have recaptured your original state of all-pervasiveness, all-knowingness and bliss. You are perfect, beyond birth and death, Imperishable, abiding in Eternal Happiness.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

2 thoughts on “VIII:22 Purusha and the Real You

  1. Brian

    Thank you Durga Ma! I am a follower of a more Kashmiri Shaivite tradition. But your teachings and take on the process of the Self, the Divine Other , and surrender are invaluable. Thank you. Much love!


  2. galtarr

    Thank you Durga Ma

    I so enjoyed this article as I have enjoyed all your articles yet certain ones stir me slowly while others quickly. The brew is the same but it is perhaps the experience that I can put into your translations.

    A friend always


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