Are these Verses contradiction in the Bhagavad-gita

9.5 Nor do the beings dwell in Me. Behold My divine Yoga! I am the sustainer and originator of beings, but My Self is not contained in the beings.

10.20 O Gudakesa, I am the Self residing in the hearts of all beings, and I am the beginning and the middle as also the end of (all) beings.

In one verse lord Krishna says he does not reside in beings but later he says he does can somone clarify this contradiction.

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    Funnily enough BG 9.4 itself seems contradictory to 9.5, though I suppose through Bhashyas of Acharyas we can understand this contradiction.
    – Surya
    Aug 8, 2023 at 10:01
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    Actually I do not find them to be contradictory especially after shri krishna uses the wind analogy after words in 9.6 but I do find 9.5 and 10.20 contradictory Aug 8, 2023 at 11:29
  • As @Surya said, Giti is to be interpreted through Bhashya. Find the one person who pulled Gita out of Itihasa and gave it its prominence and linked it with primary Upanishads. Your answer lies there. Aug 8, 2023 at 13:19
  • Can u please write an answer for it I have my own prospective for the above verse and it's supposit contradiction and I've also read the bhashyas shankaracharya, ramanujacharya but I wanted to know how others would answer this Aug 8, 2023 at 13:33
  • The apparent contradiction is becos of the order of reality. When a movie is screened , the screen is not affected by forest fire/deluge that occurs in the movie,yet the screen sustains the movie, also existence of movie is never apart from screen.. But the screens existence does not depend on the movie.There is a Utama purusha beyond the unknowable unconstrained by the divine mystery (yogamaya) This is the idea of 9.5.In an other way, Neither rope is substrate for the snake, nor snake subsists on rope , without the context of time ,space, causation.
    – Athrey
    Aug 10, 2023 at 10:50

2 Answers 2


Swami Sivananda in his Gita commentary(verse 9.4) explains,

All beings from Brahma, the Creator down to the blade of grass or an ant dwell in the transcendental Para Brahman. They have no independent existence they exist through the Self which is the support for everything. which underlies them all. Nothing here contains It. As Brahman is the Self of all beings. One may imagine that It dwells in them. But it is not so. How could it be How can the Infinite be contained in a finite object Brahman has no connection or contact with any material object? Just as a chair or a table has contact with the ground or a man or a book. So It does not dwell in those beings. That which has no connection or contact with objects or beings cannot be contained anywhere as if in a vessel? trunk? room or receptacle. The Self is not rooted in all these forms. It is not contained by any of these forms just as the ether is not contained in any form though all forms are derived from the ether. All beings appear to be living in Brahman? but this is an illusion. If this illusion vanishes? nothing remains anywhere except Brahman. When is ignorance? the cause of this illusion? disappears? the very idea of the existence of these beings also will vanish.In verses 4 and 5 the Lord uses a paradox or an apparent contradiction All beings dwell in Me and yet do not dwell in Me I do not dwell in them. For a thinker, there is no real contradiction at all. Just as space contains all beings and yet is not touched by them, so also Para Brahman contains everything and yet is not touched by them. Even Mulaprakriti? the source or womb of this world? is supported by Brahman. Brahman has no support or root. It rests in Its own pristine glory. (Cf.VII.12?24VIII.22)

For a much better and easier understanding refer to explanation of Swami Sarvapriyananda.


What he meant was since he is brahman , or the witness consiousness , that means he doesnt reside in the self of only one or two beings so the line "but My Self is not contained in the beings" actually meant to elaborate the fact that one should not think lord krishna is something which is contained in some other thing or being but he resides in the self of everything / being.

edit : after my answer i saw a person named @sethu srivatsa kothuru's answer and thats the best answer thats what i wanted to say.

  • I request you to read Bg 9.4 then 9.5 again he's not just talking about one or two beings but all living beings Aug 8, 2023 at 14:29
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    Aug 8, 2023 at 18:16
  • @Titaniumww7 i am not reading 9.4 since you didnt give them in your question but from what you did give me , its pretty clear there is no contradiction when you look at it after understanding vedanta , in upanishads brahman is described using contradictions only to basically tell people " there is no actual way to describe brahman and he or it is everything " . If you have already read the upanishads and still think this is a contradiction then you didnt understand the upanishads , but if you havent read them you should read them to understand vedanta. I suggest you read katha upanishad. Aug 9, 2023 at 16:36

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