As discussed in this answer, Krishna is a rare philosopher, who related "I / Me" with the ultimate supremacy during the discourse of Gita. That implies that the "I / Me" resides in every being & non-being & is also beyond them.

When I read below verses again & again, it makes me feel like the "I / Me" are beyond the "Brahman" as well, and are not same.

BG 8.16 - All planes along with BrahM-plane are repetitive, O Arjuna. But reaching "Me", O son of Kunti, the rebirth doesn't happen.
BG 8.17 - Knowing that thousand eras constitute a day of Brahman, [and] thousand eras complete a night, are the people who know day, [and] night.
BG 13.13 - I shall speak of that which is knowable (should be known). Knowing which, one attains immortality. The supreme Brahman dwelling under Me, is beginningless. "That" is said to be neither existent nor non-existent."
BG 13.14 - That (Knowable), which has hands and feet everywhere, which has eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, which has ears everywhere, exists in creatures by pervading them all.
BG 14.27 - For 'I' am the Abode of Brahman-the indestructible and immutable, the eternal, the Dharma and absolute Bliss.

  • BG 8.16, 8.17 suggests that, if one reaches BrahM (or Brahman), then still that one has to repeat. Because, even Brahman also has day & night, which is ~24 million years, as discussed in this answer. However, "I / Me" is timeless, hence no return.
  • BG 13.13 GambhirAnanda's also translates: Supreme Brahman dwelling under 'Me'.
  • BG 13.14 Read "clarification" section.
  • BG 14.27 also suggests as "Brahman" is in 'My' abode.

Often in this site, we all interpret Brahman as supreme. But at least the translations of above verses are differing in nature. My guess is that, the "I / Me" represents, what we call Nirguna Brahman.
Is there any other scriptural or philosophical reference, which shows relation between "I / Me" & Brahman?

Clarification: There is always a confusion between, Brahman (supreme one) and BrahmA (4 headed deity). Now, in Gita there is no mention of such formful deity. I am not sure, even in MahAbhArata, such mention will be there. This seems more of a pictorial representation by devotees, which is coming since centuries.

My theory: According to BG 13.14 verse, Brahman is having "heads everywhere". Not only heads, but eyes, hands, feet everything, everywhere. In old times, people wanted to represent this Brahman, hence they painted with "4 heads & several hands". May be with time & interpolations, this Brahman became BrahmA and further became an [inferior] part of trinity.

Below should be the right interpretation of Brahman (image only for representation):
enter image description here ====> enter image description here

This is similar to how pictorial representation of Vishnu is done, by 'pervading throughout the universe':

BG 9.4 - This whole world is pervaded by Me in My unmanifest form. All beings exist in Me, but I am not contained in them!

enter image description here

Hence, it's safe to assume: Brahman = BrahmA = BrahM, in context of this question.

  • 1
    BG 8.16 and 8.17 is not referring to Loka of Brahman and Time period of Brahman... It is referring to Loka of Brahmã (four headed God).. so BrahmaLoka destruction occurs in every 100 yrs of that Loka... (actually there is debate whether one who reaches Loka of four headed Brahma are guaranteed to get Moksha or Not)...
    – Tezz
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 6:01
  • As said by Tezz, Krishna is referring four headed God Brahma not Supreme Brahman.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 6:11
  • @Tezz, I have edited my question to clarify that part. If Brahman (or BrahM) mentioned in Gita is BrahmA, I am fine with that. However, according to me, that's just another name. However, feel free to come up with other ideas or scripture references as well. It will be good to have in the context of Gita. But I am open to other doctrines as well (inside outside Hinduism).
    – iammilind
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 7:50
  • 3
    If you're looking for Gita verses that seem to suggest something beyond Brahman, check out verse 14.27: vedabase.com/en/bg/14/27 Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 7:54
  • From wikipedia "In Sanskrit grammar, the noun stem brahman forms two distinct nouns; one is a neuter noun bráhman, whose nominative singular form is brahma; this noun has a generalized and abstract meaning. Contrasted to the neuter noun is the masculine noun brahmán, whose nominative singular form is Brahma. This noun is used to refer to a person, and as the proper name of a deity Brahma it is the subject matter of the present article."
    – Pandya
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 8:20

1 Answer 1



Verse 8.16 refers to BrahmaLoka(ब्रह्मलोक) not Brahman(ब्रह्म). The day (time period) duration mentioned in verse 8.17 is of/for Brahma(ब्रह्मा) not Brahman(ब्रह्म).

Read the english Translation Of Sri Shankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary By Swami Gambirananda:

8.16 O Arjuna, all the lokah, worlds; abrahma-bhuvanat, together with the world of Brahma-bhuvana is that (place) in which creatures are born, and brahma-bhuvana means the world of Brahma; punah avartinah, are subject to return, are by nature liable to come again; Tu, but; kaunteya, O son of Kunti, na vidyate, there is no; punarjanma, rirth; upetya, after reaching; mam, Me alone. Why are all the worlds together with the realm of Brahma subject to return? Becuase they are limited by time. How?

8.17 Viduh, they know; that ahah, day; brahmanah, of Brahma, of Prajapati, of Virat; yat, which; sahasra-yuga-paryantam, ends in a thousand yugas; and also the ratirm, night; yuga-sahasra-antam, which ends in a thousand yugas, having the same duration as the day. Who knows (these)? In reply the Lord says: Te, they; janah, poeple; ahoratra-vidah, who are the knowers of what day and night are, i.e. the people who know the measurement of time. Since the worlds are thus delimited by time, therefore they are subject to return. What happens during the day and the night of Prajapati is being stated:

Visit related post: Does "day of Brahma" refer to the Trimurtic creator deity or to the supreme Brahman?

Q. BG 13.13 GambhirAnanda's also translates: Supreme Brahman dwelling under 'Me'.

I've double checked Gambhirananda's English translation from Gita Supersite. It doesn't include any such text like dwelling under Me.:

13.13 I shall speak of that which is to be known, by realizing which one attains Immortality. The supreme Brahman is without any beginning. That is called neither being nor non-being.

My theory: According to BG 13.14 verse, Brahman is having "heads everywhere". Not only heads, but eyes, hands, feet everything, everywhere. In old times, people wanted to represent this Brahman, hence they painted with "4 heads & several hands". May be with time & interpolations, this Brahman became BrahmA and further became an [inferior] part of trinity.

No, verse 13.14 is talking about Brahman not Brahma. Brahman is not limited to time, space and Brahman is called Antaryami (inner self) of all the things (Sarva Khalvidam Brahman - सर्व खल्विदं ब्रह्म​). This can be confirmed by Upanishad preaching:

From Shvetashvatar Upanishad 3.14:

सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात् । स भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्वा अत्यतिष्ठद्दशाङ्गुलम् ॥ १४॥

14 The Purusha with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, compasses the earth on all sides and extends beyond it by ten fingers' breadth.

सर्वतः पाणिपादं तत् सर्वतोऽक्षिशिरोमुखम् । सर्वतः श्रुतिमल्लोके सर्वमावृत्य तिष्ठति ॥ १६॥

16 His hands and feet are everywhere; His eyes, heads and faces are everywhere; His ears are everywhere; He exists compassing all.

Q. BG 14.27 also suggests as "Brahman" is in 'My' abode.

There is no big issue with verse 14.27. Let me highlight the points from Adi Shankaracharya's commentary to get or understand it correctly:

14.27 Hi, for; aham, I, the inmost Self; am the pratistha brahmanah, Abode-that in which something abides is pratistha-of Brahman which is the supreme Self. Of Brahman of what kind? Amrtasya, of that which is indestructible; avyayasya, of that which is immutable; and sasvatasya, of that which is eternal; dharmasya, of that which is the Dharma, realizable through the Yoga of Jnana which is called dharma (virtue); and aikantikasya sukhasya, of that which is the absolute, unfailing Bliss by nature. Since the inmost Self is the abode of the supreme Self-which by nature is immortal etc.-, therefore, through perfect Knowledge it (the former) is realized with certainty to be the supreme Self. This has been stated in, 'he alifies for becoming Brahman'. The purport is this: Indeed, that power of God through which Brahman sets out, comes forth, for the purpose of favouring the devotees, etc., that power which is Brahman Itself, am I. For, a power and the possesser of that power are non-different. Or, brahman means the conditioned Brahman, since It (too,) is referred to by that word. 'Of that Brahman, I Myself, the unconditioned Brahman-and none else-am the Abode.' (The abode of Brahman) of what alities? Of that which is immortal; of that which has the ality of deathlessness; of that which is immutable; so also, of that which is the eternal; which is the dharma having the characteristics of steadfastness in Knowledge; of that which is the absolute, unestionably certain Bliss born of that (steadfastness);-'I am the Abode' is understood.

So, the conclusion is: Bhagavad Gita verse:

  • 8.16 is about BrahmaLoka not Brahman (Obviously)
  • 8.17 is talking about Brahma not Brahman (as delimited by time)
  • 13.13 is talking about Brahman not Brahma (confirmed by Upanishads)
  • 14.27 is not a issue (as explained by Adi Shankaracharya - you can equate power and possessor of power or it may talking about Saguna/conditioned Brahman)

Related: Interpreting Bhagavad Gita verse 8.16

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