This verse 12.5.11-12 is found in the final teachings of Sukadeva Goswami. It seems Advaitic in its meaning and essence.

Suka instructs King Parikshit:

अहं ब्रह्म परं धाम ब्रह्माहं परं पदम् एवं समीक्ष्य चात्मानमात्मन्याधाय निष्कले।।

"I am Brahman. I'm the supreme abode. Brahman, the highest goal, is I myself" having realized this and absorbing yourself in the self (supreme self), which is beyond the limits, you will see neither Takshaka snake nor your body nor the world as being distinct and different from your own Atman"

Source: Bhagavata Purana 12.5.11-12

  • 1
    Here is Prabhuapda's translation . Note that Prabhupad belongs to Gaudiya vaishnav sect which believes that God and Jiva is simultaneously one and different from each other. Like Drop is one in quality but different in quantity with respect to ocean. In fact most of our scriptures have both Dvaita as well as Advaita sounding verses. Both are different levels of realities(realization) and all classes of Vedantic philosophers accept it. They just differ on the ideas as to which is highest realization/reality. This is my understanding :) Nov 13, 2017 at 13:13
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    @Vishalprabhulawande Prabhupada never translated 12th canto of Bhagavta Purana. He translated 1-10th cantos.
    – user6990
    Nov 13, 2017 at 13:15
  • @onkarkarambe yes correct. Actually he departed after translating 1st few chpt of 10th canto. I gues 14th chapt. In any case the translation of latter part is based on his teaching only. Based on his recorded lectures, letters etc. And most importantly in line with teachings of chaitanya mahaprabhu Nov 13, 2017 at 14:12
  • @Vishalprabhulawande The last part is wrongly translated - ”because you will have realized yourself to be separate from them.”
    – user6990
    Nov 13, 2017 at 14:19
  • @onkarkarambe its correct. It means, 'you will realize urself to be Separate from body'.soul is different from body Nov 13, 2017 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


Here is a chapter that you have referred; with the translation from Gaudiya vaishnav perspective.

Now before i answer the main question I would like to mention that words such as:

Self, I, Atma

Are used in vedic texts to address not only individual self but also highest absolute self.

There are many advaita sounding verses in pancharatric texts as well, one of them is referred here.

Here is what Shukadev Goswami says to King Parikshit

My dear King, by constantly meditating upon the Supreme Lord, Vāsudeva, and by applying clear and logical intelligence, you should carefully consider your true self and how it is situated within the material body.

The snake-bird Takṣaka, sent by the curse of the brāhmaṇa, will not burn your true self. The agents of death will never burn such a master of the self as you, for you have already conquered all dangers on your path back to Godhead.

You should consider, “I am nondifferent from the Absolute Truth, the supreme abode, and that Absolute Truth, the supreme destination, is nondifferent from me.” Thus resigning yourself to the Supreme Soul, who is free from all material misidentifications, you will not even notice the snake-bird Takṣaka when he approaches with his poison-filled fangs and bites your foot. Nor will you see your dying body or the material world around you, because you will have realized yourself to be separate from them.

The verse you have addressed in your question is in bold.

I have mentioned previous two verses to get the context. Where Sukadev Goswami establishes that soul and supersoul is distinct.

The 1st part of verse says:

“I am nondifferent from the Absolute Truth, the supreme abode, and that Absolute Truth, the supreme destination, is nondifferent from me.”

This part conveys that the individual self and supreme self is identical in quality.i.e. their nature is essentially the same.

ex. A drop in ocean and ocean itself is identical in quality in a way that they both are salty and made up of water. Drop is water and ocean is also water. But they are not identical in all respects.

There is clear distinction of individual and supreme self in this verse by using the words "ātmānam ātmany"(Self in Supreme self).

Now coming to the second part

Nor will you see your dying body or the material world around you, because you will have realized yourself to be separate from them.

Here the distinction is made between individual soul from the Prakriti or material. The word " ātmanaḥ" here refers to individual self.

This translation thus preserves the vedic authority and must be accepted as authentic.

But even if someone is not willing to accept this and says that correct translation should have been:

You will see neither Takshaka snake nor your body nor the world as being distinct and different from your self.

Then I reply NO, this translation is not correct because such a notion is already opposed in previous two verses.

But again if some one is reluctant to accept this then to preserve the meaning of the verse it must be understood that "Self" here refers to Supreme self and not individual self who is not different from prkriti and individual self in quality i.e. Brahman is a substance from which individual soul as well as matter is made; just like a drop is made up of water.

  • @Pratimaputra you should read Vedanta systems fully to understand these... It is called guna vrtti interpretation. If I say, 'he is tiger in battlefield', the meaning is he is courageous like tiger..Therefore here Parikshit is asked to contemplate on I am Brahman means he has qualities of Brahman. Advaita interpretation will be according to bhaga lakshana since question asks for non advaitin interpretation, there is no need to discuss it here.
    – user2612
    Mar 21, 2019 at 1:59
  • @VivekAditya is the guna vritti of tge Saguna Brahman different from the Brahman as it is for a tiger? I have never heard this by the way.
    – user17294
    Mar 21, 2019 at 5:11

According to Baladeva Vidyabhusana as he explained in Govinda Bhasya commentary on Brahma Sutra 'I am Gopala'(as said in GOpala Tapani Upanishad), is an ecstatic symptom of love of God. Therefore 'I am Brahman' is an expression of ecstatic symptom of love of God.

But, there are other interpretations also..

First, according to Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Bhagavatam makes it clear in the beginning what it is going to teach and it is not absolute non dualism. Jiva goswamis explains it in tattva sandarbha.

Since some user already wrote an explanation of that here https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/31853/2612. one may just refer that why they think so.

Coming to the verse you said,

Here is how Vishwanth Chakravarty interprets in sarartha darshini, this verse has dual meanings.

First meaning is:

“I am that Brahman, the supreme state of being. Brahman is I, the supreme position.” Considering this, place yourself in the Brahman devoid of upadhis. You will not see Taksaka biting your foot with fire and poison and licking it with his tongue. You will not see your body or the universe to be separate from Brahman.

The esoteric meaning is:

I am the worshiper of the Lord. I am a conscious particle of the Lord. I belong to the Lord.” Considering this and considering the lotus feet of the Lord surrender to the Lord. You will not see Taksaka, your body or the universe separate from the Lord because of fainting with bliss on seeing Krsna.

The commentary is as follows:

For the first translation:

In two verses the method of deliberation and the bite of Takska are described. By thinking “I am that Brahman, not a person in samsara” one can eliminate lamentation. By thinking “Brahman is I, I am Brahman” one can eliminate the invisibility of Brahman (one can attain realization of Brahman). You should place yourself in the Brahman (atmani) free of upadhis (niskale).

For second translation:

The esoteric meaning is “I am the spiritual particle (dhama) of the Supreme Lord who is like the sun.” Amara-kosa says dhama means body, house, splendor and beauty. I am the worshipper of Brahman (brahma-param). An example of para with this meaning is narayanaparo viprah: the brahmana is a worshipper of Narayana. Brahma aham means “I belong to the Supreme Lord.” This is tat-purusa compound with a possessive meaning. Seeing the lotus feet of the Lord or his svarupa (paramam padam), you should surrender yourself to Paramatma, Krsna, who has a niska * (Niska is a gold ornament worn on the chest.) ornament on his chest (niskale). You will not see Taksaka, who bites while pressing his two lips and relishing with his tongue, using fire combined with poison. You will not see your body bitten by the snake or the universe to be different from Brahman. The other meaning is “You will not see all this because you will be fainting with bliss from directly seeing the lotus feet of Krsna.”

According to Vishwanath Chakravarty, Bhagavatam speaks with double meanings to attract different types of audience. He compares it to the nature of Mohini avatar. Mohini says one thing and does another thing.

This is what Vishwanath Chakravarty says in another similar verse 12.13.11-12:

adi-madhyavasanesu vairagyakhyana-samyutam hari-lila-katha-vrata- mrtanandita-sat-suram sarva-vedanta-saram yad brahmatmaikatva-laksanam vastv advitiyam tan-nistham kaivalyaika-prayojanam|| SB 12.13.11-12 ||


From beginning to end, the Srimad-Bhagavatam is full of the Lord’s pastimes which give bliss to devotees endowed with a sense of renunciation. This Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta philosophy because its subject matter is one Brahman, a substance with no duality. The main goal of the work is merging.

The esoteric meanings is:

From beginning to end, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of narrations that encourage renunciation of material life, as well as nectarean accounts of Lord Hari’s transcendental pastimes, which give ecstasy to the saintly devotees and demigods. This Bhāgavatam is the essence of all Vedānta philosophy because its subject matter is the Absolute Truth, which, while nondifferent from the spirit soul, is the ultimate reality, one without a second. The goal of this literature is exclusive devotional service unto that Supreme Truth.

He comments as follows:

This verse speaks of the subject matter and goal. The host (vrata) of topics concerning the pastimes of the Lord is sweet. The devotees who are called devatas become blissful because of these topics. The subject of these topics is bhakti, and bhakti is sweet nectar. The goal is prema, because by prema one can taste the sweetness of bhakti-rasa. The phrase “it gives bliss to the devotees” means that the devotee’s experience of prema. By the use of the words nectar and devatas, the Bhagavatam giving nectar to the devotees is indicated. By this, the scripture’s nature as Mohini is indicated, since she is famous for giving nectar to the devatas. With a movement of her brow to the devotees who know her identity, unseen by others, she says “Appearing in this way, I must be favorable to you. Cheating the demons, I will give you nectar.” By moving her eyebrows at the demons who do not know her identity, she says clearly, “By my appearance you should gain victory. Giving you nectar is a secondary affair. The main thing is that I will constantly give you astonishing bliss while you remain householders. I will serve a little nectar first to the lowly devatas. ” Similarly the Bhagavatam in half a verse, speaking of the giving the devotees nectar of his pastimes, indicates the goal of the Bhagavatam. But the Lord has also said paroksa-vada rsayah paroksam mama ca priyam: the Vedic seers and mantras deal in esoteric terms, and I also am pleased by such confidential descriptions. (SB 11.21.35) Thus having said what is unnoticed by most people, he speaks another subject and goal for the person who does not know the Lord but thinks he knows scriptures. “It is the essence of all Vedantas, which is oneness with Brahman, an object with no duality. The work has Brahman as its subject (nistham) and merging in Brahman as its main goal.” Some people explain the verse as follows. Because this scripture speaks of both bhakti and jnana, after speaking of the subject and goal of bhakti and prema, the work then speaks of jnana and merging as the subject and goal. Brahman is the subject. This work has as its goal merging (kaivalyam) as its one goal. Others explain as follows. At the beginning of this work it is understood from the second verse that bhakti is the subject with the words (dharmah projjhitakaitavo ‘tra) and from the same verse with the words sadyo hrdy avarudhyate atra krtibhih it is understood the prema is the goal. Thus by the predominance of bhakti over jnana and liberation, its goal, in the whole work, bhakti is indicated as the main subject and prema is the goal. It is also necessary to give an esoteric meaning to the verse so it becomes suitable for devotees, in the manner of Mohini’s appearance to both parties. The meaning tan-nistham is as follows. This work remains (stham), having given up (nisrtya) Brahman and merging. The work has as its goal only the mood of exclusive devotion (kaivalyam), devoid of jnana, karma and Svarga.

  • Mohini deludes the asuras.Can Shastra, which by definition includes trAna, can also delude people? I personally can not even think that any sAstra can give advice in such a crooked way. I think it explains the temperament of the commentators who explained this in such ways to uphold DvaitavAd by (unknowningly?) denigrating God Himself!
    – user17294
    Mar 21, 2019 at 5:09

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