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I recently came across a claim that it is not Krishna who spoke Bhagavad Gita, but he was connected to Brahman while speaking Gita. Is there any reference for this?

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    Ref is thr in Mahabharata itself.
    – Rickross
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:16
  • @Rickross can you put it in the answer?
    – user16895
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:16
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    Not needed actually. See this answer: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/18335/4732
    – Rickross
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:21
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    I am not sure why will they do that.. I don't know to be frank
    – Rickross
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:41
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    Vaishnavs do not deny that Krishna was connected to Supreme Brahman because they believe He is the supreme Brahman. It is he who was talking all the time. It is like talking you connected to yourself. He took form of Supreme Brahman and shown the VIshwarupa. No commentator (including Adi Shankara) or saint (like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) said it was someone else talking Gita to Arjuna through Krishna. They said it was completely Krishna's dialogue to Arjuna. There are reasons why Krishna says he can't repeat whole Gita again. Dec 6, 2018 at 20:12

6 Answers 6

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Apparently this comes from a statement from Anugita, as another member Lakhi has posted. Here's the explanation given by the authors of the Narayanastra blog.

para.n hi brahma kathitaM yogayuktena tanmayA |itihAsa.n tu vakShyAmi tasminnarthe purAtanam || 12||

They explain Yoga as "Dhyana" as in thought/will instead of being in meditation or connection with brahman.

yogaH sannahana upAya dhyAna san’gati yuktishu (amara kosha 3.3.22)

In this context, the meaning for this anugita reference is as below.

Indeed, the highest knowledge (paraM) of the vedas (brahma) was described by me (on the battlefield), by making use of my will which is unfettered (yoga yuktEna), ie, it was not because you performed any sAdhana to earn it. But now (on account of your rejection of my grace), I shall relate to you an ancient history based on that subject.

Wherein yogayuktena is explained as "by using my unimpeded divine will or sankalpa", not that he was in yogic connection to another entity.

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    how easy is to mistranslate something , that's why just sanskrit is not enough without devotion.. this is more acceptable answer to me.
    – user16618
    Dec 7, 2018 at 12:32
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    @RaRe I know you meant more with your comment. :)
    – Ambi
    Dec 7, 2018 at 12:38
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    What about the statement Krishna saying that he can't recollect what he said?
    – user16895
    Dec 7, 2018 at 13:17
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    @krr that is also answered in the article in Narayanastra. The import is not that he "can't remember" but he "can't describe it in full" on account of Arjuna's being lax in interest.
    – Ambi
    Dec 7, 2018 at 13:32
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    @krr it is to be taken no more serious than a friendly admonishment. Some times if I tell something to a friend and he nods his head. Later he says i forgot it, out of friendly anger, I may say "Go away, I also don't remember".
    – user16618
    Dec 7, 2018 at 13:58
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Yes, reference is there in Mahabharata.Anugita Parva:

परं हि बरह्म कथितं यॊगयुक्तेन तन मया

[Krishna said:]

I discoursed to thee on Supreme Brahma, having concentrated myself in Yoga.

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Lord Krishna was not a mediator of someone else and he spoke Bhagavad Gita directly. However, some claim it was not him and he was just meditating on Brahman.

The reason for that claim comes from a single passage from Anugita Parva of the Mahabharata. (Chapter 16 from Ashwamedha Parva). The passage is as follows. To be more precise, it is three or four shlokas.

It is impossible for me, O Dhananjaya, to repeat, in detail, all that I said on that occasion. That religion (about which I discoursed to thee then) is more than sufficient for understanding Brahma. I cannot discourse on it again in detail. I discoursed to thee on Supreme Brahma, having concentrated myself in Yoga.

So, let us look at some more context and detail what caused Lord Krishna to say those words to Arjuna. From the same chapter (with my emphasis).

Vaisampayana said, "The son of Pritha (Arjuna), having recovered his own kingdom, joyously spent his time, without doing anything else, in the company of Krishna, his heart filled with delight, in that palace of celestial beauty. One day, those two listlessly proceeded to a particular part of the palace that looked, O king, like a veritable portion of Heaven. Themselves filled with delight, they were then surrounded by their relatives and attendents. Pandu's son, Arjuna, filled with joy in the company of Krishna, surveyed that delightful mansion, and then addressed his companion, saying, 'O--mighty-armed one, thy greatness became known to me upon the approach of the battle. O son of Devaki, thy form also, as the Lord of the universe, then became known to me! What thy holy self said unto me at that time, O Kesava, through affection, has all been forgotten by me, O chief of men, in consequence of the fickleness of my mind. Repeatedly, however, have I been curious on the subject of those truths. Thou again, O Madhava, wilt repair to Dwaraka soon.'

Arjuna forgot every sacred teaching very soon after the battle has ended. If we think, he got under influence of Maya again when his son Abhimanyu died. He forgot that he is only a tool of destruction of both the sides and felt proud of his victories. Lord Krishna went to a separate state (Yoga with himself) to show his universal form to Arjuna. He revived a lost knowledge and discoursed it to Arjuna but Arjuna forgot it due to fickleness of his mind.

This caused a displease to Lord Krishna and he said the following as a reply.

Vasudeva said, 'I made thee listen to truths that are regarded as mysteries. I imparted to thee truths that are eternal. Verily, I discoursed to thee on Religion in its true form and on all the eternal regions. It is exceedingly disagreeable to me to learn that thou didst not, from folly, receive what I imparted. The recollection of all that I told thee on that occasion will not come to me now. Without doubt, O son of Pandu, thou art destitute of faith and thy understanding is not good. It is impossible for me, O Dhananjaya, to repeat, in detail, all that I said on that occasion.

Due to the that reason, Lord Krishna did not say that again and again because Bhagavad Gita is not a simple story or normal passage to say again and again. So, Lord Krishna did not repeat the same. He gave another way instead of repeating again.

Based on the passage, some people say that it is Nirguna Brahman who was speaking through Krishna. But Nirguna Brahman is devoid of all the senses and disinterested. He/That doesn't take part in any action. All the actions happen under the influence of Prakruti. However Prakruti itself is spawned under the control of "Absolute Brahman".

Is this notion that Nirguna Brahman is speaking through Krishna accepted by any commentator?

No. Adi Shankaracharya who consolidated Advaita Philosophy and identified himself with Brahman also wrote in his commentary that it is Lord Krishna who spoke Gita to Arjuna in the midst of battle field.

It is because it is mentioned several times that it was Lord Krishna himself who said Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. When Lord Krishna showed his universal form, Arjuna was not able to se it completely with his naked eyes. He asks Lord for forgiveness and prays him to return to his usual form.

Be not afraid nor bewilderd on seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this; free from fear and cheerful at heart, do thou again see this My former form. [Bhagavad Gita 10.49]

Former form: which is so dear to you, four-armed, wearing a concb, discus and a club.

Sanjaya said:

Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Vasudeva again showed His Own form; and the Mighty Being, becoming gentle in form, consoled him who was terrified. [10.50]

His Own: as born in Vasudeva’s family.

So, it is clear that it is Lord Krishna who discoursed spoke the Gita directly and no one else. Adi Shankaracharya further refers to a shloka from Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata:

yaM devaM devakI devI vasudevAdajIjanat |
bhaumasya brahmaNo guptyai dIptamagnimivAraNiH || 47.18||

Like a couple of sticks generating a blazing fire, thou hast been born of the divine Devaki and Vasudeva for the protection of Brahma on earth.

Here's the introduction of Adi Shankaracharya's commentary translated by Alladi Mahadeva Shastri (hosted by archive.org). He says:

It was then that the original Creator (Adi.kartri), Vishnu, known as Narayana, wishing to maintain order in the universe, incarnated Himself as Krishna, begotten in Devaki by Vasudeva, for the preservation of the ‘earthly Brahman ‘ of spiritual life (Brahmanatva) on the earth. For it was by the preservation of spiritual life that the Vedic Religion could be preserved, since thereon depend all distinctions of caste and religious order.

Madhusudana Saraswati composed a dhyana shloka on Bhagavad Gita which is famous as Gita Dhyanam. Translation from advaita academy

AUM pArthAya pratibodhitAM bhagavatA nArAyaNena svayaM

vyAsena grathitAM purANamuninA madhyemahAbhAratam .

advaitAmRRitavarShiNIM bhagavatImaShTAdashAdhyAyinIm

amba tvAmanusandadhAmi bhagavadgIte bhavadveShiNIm .

O! (universal) mother! bhagavad-gita! I meditate on you. With you Partha was enlightened by the Lord Narayana Himself amidst mahAbhArata war. The ancient sage vyAsa set you in the middle of the great epic mahAbhArata composed by him. You are divine, bestower of nectarian advaita philosophy in the form of eighteen chapters, sure antidote to the repeated births (saMsAra).

There is no dispute among the Vaishnava commentators that the person who spoke is none other than Krishna. Because they agree that either it is Krishna/Vishnu speaking directly instead of being mediator.

Because Arjuna forgot the divine message within a few days, Lord was reluctant to say that again. That caused him to say "it is impossible to discourse the same message again". Anyways, it would be a cakewalk to him because he learnt 64 arts and 14 sciences each per day. Saying the shlokas again which are around 720 is not that hard to him. He is not an ordinary human like us.

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    Arjuna though forgot could actually recollect later..as seen from this vedabase.com/en/sb/1/15/30. Krishna also references in uddhava gita that he taught the knowledge to arjuna before and instructs same vedabase.com/en/sb/11/16/8. Also Sandipani muni blessed that whatever knowledge Krishna learnt always stays fresh in his mind..vedabase.com/en/sb/10/80/42. you can add these if you see it as relevant or if you find the corresponding passages to theses incidents in Mahabharata , that's much better. Also, 381st chapter of Agni purana says gita is by Krishna.
    – user16618
    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:24
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    Gita Mahatmya from padma purana which tells glories of all 18 chapters also reveals that is vishnu who is known through gita and by reading it devotions to vishnu increases. Since this question will repeat, add these in your answer if you find it relevant.
    – user16618
    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:26
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    @RaRe There are many references that it is Vishnu/Krishna who spoke Gita and no one else. I am aware of Gita Mahatmya where Shiva explains importance to Parvati and says the result of reading each chapter. I limited this answer only to Anugita and Bhagavad Gita. I may add other verses later. Thanks for the tip. Dec 7, 2018 at 10:28
  • What exactly does Krishna teach in AnuGita in brief?
    – user16618
    Dec 7, 2018 at 11:11
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Yes, it's true that Lord Krishna Spoke Bhagwat Gita by connecting himself with Parambrahma.

Lord Krishna to his best devotee Arjuna when the latter forgot the preaching about Geeta delivered to him by Lord Krishna just before the Kurukshetra war :

“viditaṃ me mahābāho saṅgrāme samupasthite। māhātmyaṃ devakīmātastacca te rūpamaiśvaram॥ 5 yattadbhagavatā proktaṃ purā keśava sauhṛdāt। tatsarvaṃ puruṣavyāghra naṣṭaṃ me bhraṣṭacetasaḥ॥ 6 mama kautūhalaṃ tvasti teṣvartheṣu punaḥ punaḥ। bhavāṃstu dvārakāṃ gantā na cirādiva mādhava॥ 7 vaiśampāyana uvāca evamuktastu taṃ kṛṣṇaḥ phālgunaṃ pratyabhāṣata। pariṣvajya mahātejā vacanaṃ vadatāṃ varaḥ॥ 8 vāsudeva uvāca śrāvitastvaṃ mayā guhye jñāpitaśca sanātanam। dharmaṃ svarūpiṇaṃ pārtha sarvalokāṃśca śāśvatān॥ 9 abuddhyā nāgrahīryastvaṃ tanme sumahadapriyam। na ca sādya punarbhūyaḥ smṛtirme sambhaviṣyati॥ 10 nūnamaśraddadhāno’si durmedhā hyasi pāṇḍava। na ca śakyaṃ punarvaktumaśeṣeṇa dhanañjaya॥ 11 sa hi dharmaḥ suparyāpto brahmaṇaḥ padavedane। na śakyaṃ tanmayā bhūyastathā vaktumaśeṣataḥ॥ 12 paraṃ hi brahma kathitaṃ yogayuktena tanmayā। itihasam tu bakshyami tasminnarthe puratanam”॥ (MBH 14:16:5-13)

English translation is available in SECTION XVI – Book 14: Aswamedha Parva:

“'[Arjuna said]: O–mighty-armed one, thy greatness became known to me upon the approach of the battle. O son of Devaki, thy form also, as the Lord of the universe, then became known to me! What thy holy self said unto me at that time, O Kesava, through affection, has all been forgotten by me, O chief of men, in consequence of the fickleness of my mind. Repeatedly, however, have I been curious on the subject of those truths. Thou again, O Madhava, wilt repair to Dwaraka soon.’ Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by him, Krishna of mighty energy, that foremost of speakers, embraced Phalguna and replied unto him as follows. ‘Vasudeva said, ‘I made thee listen to truths that are regarded as mysteries. I imparted to thee truths that are eternal. Verily, I discoursed to thee on Religion in its true form and on all the eternal regions. It is exceedingly disagreeable to me to learn that thou didst not, from folly, receive what I imparted. The recollection of all that I told thee on that occasion will not come to me now. Without doubt, O son of Pandu, thou art destitute of faith and thy understanding is not good. It is impossible for me, O Dhananjaya, to repeat, in detail, all that I said on that occasion. That religion (about which I discoursed to thee then) is more than sufficient for understanding Brahman. I cannot discourse on it again in detail. I discoursed to thee on Supreme Brahman, having concentrated myself in Yoga’”.

The ‘ishvara gita’, which was originally discoursed by lord Shiva, and which was transmitted by various other personalities to sages mentioned above, in same lines, Bhagavan narayana also himself as Krishna, the son of Devaki had discoursed to Arjuna.

“nārāyaṇo ‘pi bhagavān devakītanayo hariḥ | arjunāya svayaṃ sākṣāt dattavānidamuttamam ||” (kurma purana 2:11:131) “Also the lord Narayana, who is called Hari, had himself passed on that excellent knowledge to Arjuna in the form of Krishna, the son of devaki”.

In Kurma Purana, there is yet another chapter where Vyāsa and Arjuna converse on the topic of symptoms and duties of Kali age. In that chapter, Vyāsa stresses many a times on the necessity of worship of Lord Rudra, and finally with much delight Vyāsa touches Arjuna with both his hands and calling him as the greatest of the devotees of Shiva praises him for being the luckiest to have witnessed the cosmic form of lord Shiva during the Bhagavad Gītā discourse that hṛṣīkeśa spoke to him.

“dṛṣṭavānasi taṃ devaṃ viśvākṣaṃ viśvatomukham | pratyakṣameva sarveśaṃ rudraṃ sarvajaganmayam ||60 jñānaṃ tadaiśvaraṃ divyaṃ yathāvad viditaṃ tvayā | svayameva hṛṣīkeśaḥ prītyovāca sanātanaḥ ||” (Kurma Purana 1:28:61) “[Vyasa says]:You have directly perceived that Lord Rudra who has his eyes everywhere, who has his faces everywhere, who is the very embodiment of the universe. That divine lordly knowledge (of śiva) has been precisely understood by you. That ancient Hrsikesha (Krishna) himself had recounted it to you out of delight”.

In Sri Ishwara Gita, the set of Tradition of passing the Knowledge of Ishwara (Shiva) is elaborated. And the Bhagvat Gita too says that from tradition, the royal sages came to know it.

“evaṃ paramparāprāptam imaṃ rājarṣayo viduḥ | sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ paraṃtapa || sa evāyaṃ mayā te ‘dya yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ | bhakto ‘si me sakhā ceti rahasyaṃ hy etad uttamam ||” (Bhagvat Gita 4:2-3) “Descending thus from tradition, the Royal sages came to know it. But, O chastiser of foes, by (lapse of a) long time, that knowledge became lost to the world. Even the same knowledge hath today been declared by me to thee, for thou art my devotee and friend, (and) this is a great mystery”.

So, here Arjuna's delusion played an important part for Lord Krishna to again follow the chain of tradition of passing Lord Shiva's grand knowledge to everyone through Vedavyasa by connecting himself in yoga with Lord Shiva himself.

Even, In his commentary on brahmasutras, Sri Adi Shankaracharya cites Bhagawad Gita verse in BSB (2:3:45), but terms it as ‘ishvara Gita’.

“īśvaragītāsvapi ca īśvarāṃśatvaṃ jīvasya smaryate mamaivāṃśo jīvaloke jīvabhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ iti ||” (Shankara’s Brahmasutra Bhashya 2:3:45) “In the Isvaragita (Bhagavad-gîtâ) also it is said that the soul is a part of the Lord, ‘an eternal part of me becomes the individual soul in the world of life. [This verse is from Bhagavad Gita (BG 15:07)]”.

Clearly, he knows that Bhagavad Gita is not any different Gita, rather, it is the very same Shiva whose Ishvara Gita was spoken in more elaborate way by himself via the mouth of Krishna, while maintaining the core message of Vedanta identical.

Therefore Bhagavad Gita was the same discourse of Shiva passed on to us by the teacher (Acharya) Krishna, in his yogic trance where through Krishna Shiva spoke the Gita. Hence Krishna is our gitacharya.

Even in Padma Purana, Lord Vishnu himself says to Maa Lakshmi that he always remains connected with Lord Shiva through yoga and Bhagwat Gita are the body parts of Lord Shiva only and Mahabharata also says that Lord Krishna always stays connected to Lord Shiva through yoga.

I hope this clarifies your queries.

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Lord Krishna is a manifestation/avatar of Lord Vishnu, who in turn is a manifestation of the source—Brahman. Brahman is the source of everything and is behind everything. Contrary to what ISKCON and most Vaishnavites teach, it is Brahman who is speaking through Lord Krishna/Vishnu in the Bhagavad Gita. It is Brahman who is the goal of Yoga.

I'm a Vaishnava because I believe that Lord Vishnu is the most important manifestation of Brahman (one can see this in the Vedas. It is Lord Vishnu who is Purusha). When I worship Lord Vishnu, like any other Deva, it is Brahman whom I'm actually worshipping.

Chapter 10, Verse 19 The Blessed Lord said: Yes, I will tell you of My splendorous manifestations, but only of those which are prominent, O Arjuna, for My opulence is limitless.

Chapter 10, Verse 20 I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.

Chapter 10, Verse 21 Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, I am Marici of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon.

Chapter 10, Verse 22 Of the Vedas I am the Sama-veda; of the demigods I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force [knowledge].

Chapter 10, Verse 23 Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva; of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the lord of wealth [Kuvera]; of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of the mountains I am Meru.

Chapter 10, Verse 24 Of priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati, the lord of devotion. Of generals I am Skanda, the lord of war; and of bodies of water I am the ocean.

Chapter 10, Verse 25 Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa], and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.

Chapter 10, Verse 26 Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and amongst sages and demigods I am Narada. Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.

Chapter 10, Verse 27 Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, who rose out of the ocean, born of the elixir of immortality; of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.

Chapter 10, Verse 28 Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki, the chief.

Chapter 10, Verse 29 Of the celestial Naga snakes I am Ananta; of the aquatic deities I am Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, lord of death.

Chapter 10, Verse 30 Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Visnu.

Chapter 10, Verse 31 Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.

Chapter 10, Verse 32 Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

Chapter 10, Verse 33 Of letters I am the letter A, and among compounds I am the dual word. I am also inexhaustable time, and of creators I am Brahma, whose manifold faces turn everywhere.

Chapter 10, Verse 34 I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience.

Chapter 10, Verse 35 Of hymns I am the Brhat-sama sung to the Lord Indra, and of poetry I am the Gayatri verse, sung daily by brahmanas. Of months I am November and December, and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.

Chapter 10, Verse 36 I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.

Chapter 10, Verse 37 Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.

Chapter 10, Verse 38 Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.

Chapter 10, Verse 39 Furthermore, O Arjuna, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being-moving or unmoving-that can exist without Me.

Chapter 10, Verse 40 O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulences.

Chapter 10, Verse 41 Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.

Chapter 10, Verse 42 But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.

Lord Krishna's/Vishnu's Vishvarupa form in the Bhagavad Gita is proof that he is speaking as Brahman:enter image description here

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It is krishna himself who spoke bhagvad gita. Though there is no difference between krishna and brahman as brahman is the impersonal potency of lord krishna, and also brahman is the universal consciousness or self(atman) which applies also for krishna(as he is paramatma or supersoul or atman-the self), so if krishna would have united himself with brahman while speaking bhagavad gita, that actually means he had actually meditated upon himself. In case of material bodies, the soul remains inside our body as jiva(in subtle state), but for krishna who is PARAMATMA, his soul and body are not different(his body is transcendental) and in fact he is actually the origin of the soul. The effulgence coming out of his body is actually the brahman or universal consciousness, of which we are part of as jiva in the subtle body. So it's krishna only who spoke bhagavad gita in a personal form. The impersonal brahman who is depicted as supreme by vedas and upanishads is none other than krishna or narayana's bodily effulgence which is non different from him. Even in material body we contain personal and impersonal potencies, like our body is having personal form but our intelligence is formless. The thing is our formless potencies doesn't have an effulgence but for the supreme lord vishnu or krishna, his impersonal potencies are also effulgent and sat-chit-anand and that is the supreme formless consciousness or brahman.

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