Vivekananda claimed that God the Almighty exists inside every human being, and so he advised to treat everyone as God. But, Lord Krishna said:

All living beings dwell in Me, but I do not dwell in them.'(Bhagavad Gita 9.4)

Thus, I'm moved to wonder which view deserves to be reckoned true?

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    Vivekananda is speaking from a lower level of reality (vyavahArika satya), while here, Krishna is speaking from a higher level of reality. God exists in every person - from day-to-day point of view. In reality, brahman is like rope on which unreal snake of world and beings are superimposed. Snake is seen in rope, not the other way round. Note that in the next verse 9.5, Krishna says beings dont dwell in Him - opposite of what he said in 9.4. This is ultimate reality, where beings, which are superimposed are non-existent, only brahman is true, and it has no contact with anything else.
    – user23407
    Jun 21, 2021 at 6:38
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    So, you believe that you're just 'non-existent'. You also seem to believe that Vivekananda did never exist, Right?
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 21, 2021 at 11:00
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    But, sir, Lord Krishna claimed to be the Creator of the world. You claim that the world does Not exist. If you're True, Lord Krishna must be a Great big Liar. Do you claim to be Right?
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 21, 2021 at 11:04
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    I will give an analogy from Science. We all studied Bohr's model of atom. It is useful tool to explain many things in science. However, Bohr's model is not ultimate reality because Quantum mechanics supercedes it. Still, Bohr's model can be used to gain an intuition of many phenomena. Just because your Physics or Chemistry professor taught you Bohr's model of atom, it does not mean he/she is a liar.
    – user23407
    Jun 21, 2021 at 11:13
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    So also, Gita and Upanishads often teach from multiple levels of reality. From a practical standpoint, there is creation (Bohr's model). From an ultimate standpoint, there is only brahman (QM).
    – user23407
    Jun 21, 2021 at 11:20

3 Answers 3


In Gita 10.20 Lord Krishna says (Swami Nikhilananda translator):

I am the Self [atma], o Gudakesa, seated in the heart of all creatures, I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all beings.

It would appear that Vivekananda is in consort with this verse and Krishna is in conflict with His own words in 9.4. Piecemeal analysis of different verses of the same author, much less different authors can create the illusion of conflict. In reading both Vivekananda and the Gita, one has to look at the entire contents and context; not single verses or quotes.

  • The point missed is by scientific logic, each one of two contradictory statements canNot be True. A day canNot be both a rainy day and a Non-rainy day. If we accept Lord Krishna's words in Gita 9.4 as Right, Vivekananda is wrong, but then we have to accept Lord Krishna's words in Gita 10.20 as wrong. But Lord Krishna canNot be Wrong, can he be?
    – Prakash RP
    Jul 2, 2021 at 1:24

One has to look at three verses 9.4, 9.5 and 15.7 to answer this question.

All this world is pervaded by Me, the Unmanifested Being. All objects subsist in Me, but not I in them.

Gita 9.4

And yet objects do not abide in Me! Behold My mysterious Divine Power! Source and support of all objects and yet not abiding in (i.e. limited by) them.

Gita 9.5

This whole universe owes its being to the Transcendental Godhead and yet the forms of this universe do not contain or express Him adequately. His absolute Reality is far above the appearance in space and time.

The explanation of the rise of the limited phenomenal universe out of the Absolute Godhead is traced to the power of the Divine. The Supreme is the source of all phenomena but is not touched by them. That is the yoga of divine power. Though He creates existence, God transcends them to such a degree that we cannot even say that He dwells in them. Even the idea of the immanence of God is, strictly speaking, untenable.

Commentary of Gita 9.4-5 by S. Radhakrishnan in his translation of Bhagavad Gita

What does Radhakrishnan mean?

Gita 9.4-9.5 is talking from the point of view of Para-Brahman or Nirguna Brahman of Advaita. The Absolute projects this universe with its living beings. However, the Absolute so transcends the world of form that you cannot say that the Absolute dwells in us.

Now let us take a look at Gita 15.7 which is the basis of Swami Vivekananda's position.

A fragment of Myself, immortal in nature, having become the embodied spirit in the world of living, attracts to Himself the mind and the five senses born of Prakrti.

Gita 15.7

These verse set forth the Gita conception of the personality of man or in fact of all jivas. The jiva is basically a spirit or part of the Supreme Being. Immediately the logician raises the question: " How can God, who is also the Infinite Being, have parts? The Absolute must be without parts."


So all these logical ways of putting the relation are self-defeating, because the Infinite and the Absolute Being cannot be put into the strait-jacket of logic without converting Spirit into matter. It is therefore better to take the Gita statement as it is without going in for the logician's interpretation of it. The Jiva is part of the Infinite Spirit, just as a spark from a huge conflagration is a part of that fire. It may be a small particle but it retains in itself all the potentialities of the mighty Divine fire. Thus it forms the basis of Swami Vivekananda's dictum, 'Every soul is potentially divine.'

The question whether the Infinite is not reduced to the finite if it has parts, is mere sophistry. The Supreme Spirit is not only infinite, but He is also omnipotent. The Omnipotent Spirit can manifest as the many without being affected by such manifestation.

Commentary of Gita 15.7 by Swami Tapasyananda in his translation of Srimad Bhagavad Gita

How can Gita's 9.4-5 position be reconciled with its 15.7 position? It cannot be reconciled without accepting that the Infinite has parts which position is not acceptable to logicians and philosophers. So we need to take this as the Gita states and accept it as a Divine mystery incapable of being put in logical terms.

The answer to the question is both are right.

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    But Vivekananda said in unequivocal terms that 'God is in every man, whether man knows it or not.' (vivekavani.com/swami-vivekananda-quotes-god) And Lord Krishna also said unequivocally that 'All living beings dwell in Me, but I do not dwell in them.' There's No 'mystery' Really.
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 21, 2021 at 16:35

It is actually looking at the same thing from two different perspectives, and both are true. This idea is beautifully expressed in Isopanisad Verse 6

यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मन्येवानुपश्यति। सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते ॥

yastu sarvāṇi bhūtāni ātmanyevānupaśyati | sarvabhūteṣu cātmānaṁ tato na vijugupsate ||

But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught.

  • From a Stupid's perspective, the earth is at the centre of the Universe, and the sun is moving round it. But from a Wise man's perspective, it's the earth that happens to orbit around the sun. Both views canNot be True, can they?
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 27, 2021 at 16:25
  • So, you're evasive. IsN't it because you haveN't understood ' its meaning ' yet?
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 29, 2021 at 10:38

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