By Periyava

Translation from Tamil: V. Krishnaraj

Krishna Says and Kamban Says

Kaṇṇaṉ = Krishna

கண்ணன் சொன்னான், கம்பனும் சொன்னான்! : தெய்வத்தின் குரல் (முதல் பகுதி) 1-11

Kaṇṇaṉ Says, Kambaṉ Says: Deivathin Kural 1-11

Ātmā is the basis of all.  It transcends and goes beyond body, breath, mind, intellect… How is it? Confusion. Krishna Paramātman causes confusion in many ways and then makes it crystal clear in one strike.

“I am in all objects. All objects are in me.  Krishna says in BG 6:30, yaḥ1  mām2  paśyati3  sarvatra4  sarvam5 ca6  mayi7  paśyati8 

It means Krishna is the Ātmā and the basis of all objects. Since he says he is in all objects, does it mean the objects are his basis? We may be confused on the correctness of the statement.

यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति ।

तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ॥६- ३०॥

yo mā paśyati sarvatra sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi sa ca me na praaśyati 6.30

yaḥ1  mām2  paśyati3  sarvatra4  sarvam5 ca6  mayi7  paśyati8
tasya9  aham10  na11  praṇaśyāmi12  sa13  ca14  me15  na16  praaśyati17  6.30


yaḥ1 = He who; paśyati3 = sees; mām2 = Me [the Self of all beings];  sarvatra4 = in all things ;  ca6  = and [who] paśyati8 = sees sarvam5  = all things [sara-asaram = mobiles and immobiles]; mayi7 = in Me; aham10 = I; na11 & praṇaśyāmi12 = am not lost; tasya9 = from his [vision]. ca14 sa13 = And he; na16 praaśyati17 = is not lost; me15  =  to Me.  6.30 

6.30: He who sees Me in all things and who sees all things in Me, I am not lost from his [vision] and he is not lost to Me.

That Swamy or Ātmā is the basis of all is the correct one. Since he is in all, it does not mean the objects bear Krishna’s burden. Because of him, they have a form, a name, and a life. If he does not exist, they don’t exist. Therefore, they are not his basis or support. He is the creator, the mover, and the shaker of all.  Srī Krishna says this clearly.

Īśvara, abiding inside in all beings acts like a puppeteer. We are all puppets in his hands.

ईश्वरः सर्वभूतानां हृद्देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति ।

भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ॥१८- ६१॥

īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśerjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmayan sarvabhūtāni yantrārū
hāni māyayā 18.61

īśvaraḥ1 sarva-bhūtānām2 hṛt-deśe3 arjuna4 tiṣṭhati5
bhrāmayan6 sarva-bhūtāni7 yantra8 ārūhāni9 māyayā10 18.61


īśvaraḥ1 = The Supreme Lord; tiṣṭhati5 = abides; hṛt-deśe3  = in the place of the heart; sarva-bhūtānām2  = of all beings. arjuna4 = O Arjuna; [Isvara]  bhrāmayan6 = spins; sarva-bhūtāni7 = all beings; [as if] ārūhāni9 = mounted on; yantra8 = a machine;  māyayā10 = through Maya.18.61 

18.61:  The Supreme Lord resides within the hearts of all living beings, O Arjuna. By His māyā power, Isvara causes all beings to spin as if they are mounted on a machine (carousel or upright wheel).

Bhagavan again causes confusion. Once he said, “I am in all objects. All objects are in me.” At another time he said, “No objects exist in me. I am not in any object.”   See below BG Verse 9:4. Here Atma as a Tattva has transcended all.  

मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना ।

मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि न चाहं तेष्ववस्थितः ॥९- ४॥

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyaktamūrtinā
matsthāni sarvabhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ 9.4

mayā1 tatam2 idam3 sarvam4 jagat5 avyakta-mūrtinā6
matsthāni7 sarva-bhūtāni8 na9 ca10 aham11 teṣu12 avasthitaḥ13 9.4


idam3 = This; sarvam4 = entire; jagat5 = world, universe; tatam2 = is pervaded; mayā1 = by My; avyakta-mūrtinā6 = unmanifest form. sarva-bhūtāni8 = All beings; matsthāni7 = exist in Me; ca10 = and; aham11 =I; na9 = do not; avasthitaḥ13 = exist; teṣu12 =  in them.  9.4

9.4:  This entire universe is pervaded with My unmanifest form (Avyakta-mūrtina). All beings abide in Me and I do not abide in them. (All beings depend on Me and I do not depend on them)


When asked, “Why cause confusion,”  I am not understood by everyone. ( nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya)  That is my Yoga Māyā (yogamāyāsamāvṛtaḥ).

नाहं प्रकाशः सर्वस्य योगमायासमावृतः ।

मूढोऽयं नाभिजानाति लोको मामजमव्ययम् ॥७- २५॥

nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yogamāyāsamāvṛtaḥ
mūḍhoyaṁ nābhijānāti loko mām ajam avyayam 7.25

na1 aham2 prakāśaḥ3 sarvasya4 yoga-māyā5 samāvṛtaḥ6
mūḍhaḥ7 ayam8 na9 abhijānāti10 lokaḥ11 mām12 ajam13 avyayam14 7.25


aham2 = I; samāvṛtaḥ6 = covered by; yoga-māyā5  = creative power; na1 = do not; prakāśaḥ3 = manifest; sarvasya4 = to all.  ayam8 = This; mūḍhaḥ7 = deluded and foolish; lokaḥ11 = world; na9 = does not; abhijānāti10 = know; mām12 = Me; [as] ajam13 = unborn; [and] avyayam14 = imperishable.     7.25   

7.25:  I do not manifest to everyone, veiled by My Yoga-māyā. The foolish do not understand me as unborn and unchanging.  


Does it dawn on you?: Is this the kind of Upadēśam must I have? Nothing is understood.

If you think deeply, you will find clarity to dispel this confusion. If Bhagavan told, “I am not understood by anyone,” it means, “if there were a thousand people, all thousand people will not understand him.”  The meaning of “I am not understood by all,” would be, of a thousand people, 999 may not understand and at least one understands Bhagavan. He said, he was not understood by all and he did not say, he was not understandable by everyone. The implication is he is understandable by a few.

Who are these few? The Jñāṉis, not afflicted by Yoga Maya, offer clarity on Bhagavan’s apparently contradictory statement: I am in all objects. No object is in (with) me.”

There is floral garland on the street. It was dusk. A hapless person stepped on it and panicked saying, “Aiyō, Snake, snake!” The garland and the snake are one. Once he discovered it was a garland, he understood there was no snake. What was the basis for the snake? The garland.

As the garland is taken for a snake, the Ajñāṉi’s (the Ignoramuses) are confused thinking oneness of Brahman as many in the universe. The basis of this universe is Braḥmam.

“I exist in this universe. The universe is with me.” What is the meaning of this? The snake is in the garland. In the snake exists the garland. There are truths in both statements and the two-way argument.

For the man vociferating about the snake, the snake swallowed the garland. In his sight, the basis is the snake. Having abandoned the ignorance and realizing, ‘This is truly a garland,’ in the knower of truth, the garland hides the snake within it. The garland appears as the basis.

He who is enveloped by Māyā sees universe as Satyam; in truth Īśvara is the basis for and the bearer of the universe.

For the person who rejected the phenomenal universe by Jñāṉa, Īśvara appears as all and himself. In Jñāṉi’s Nirvikalpa Samādhi (Undifferentiated union with Swamy), Prapañcam (universe) will not make its appearance. When Prapañcam does not exist, its existence in Īśvara or its containment inside Īśvara is patently wrong. From the perspective of ignorant perception, body, breath, mind, intellect…are the apparitions. Upon the dawn of Jñāṉam and when Supreme Bliss is felt, the bliss state comes beyond the phenomenal world. Srī Krishna Paramātman abiding in the perfected state of Jñāṉa declared, “No objects exist in me. I don’t exist in any object.”  Some ignoramus mistook the garland for a snake. Can we tell justifiably whether snake was in the garland or garland in the snake?

Kamban says:

Alakal means garland. Aravu means snake. ‘Alakalil thōṉṛum poimmai aravu’ (= In garland appears the false snake). Likewise, the five great elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) join to delude us as the solidity of the phenomenal world. Whom must it see to disappear as the snake and present itself as the garland? That is Īśvara, who as the destroyer of Māyā is Rāmachandra Mūrthy.

Kambar the supreme Vaishnava sang Sadagōpar Anthāthi referring to Namāzhvār. He describes it with perfect clarity in the language of Advaitam.