Krishna.com Spring Fundraising Drive: Krishna.com is a non-profit organization that depends on your donations to operate. It takes (only) $6,500 each month to run Krishna.com's web department, with a dedicated staff of 5 people and dozens of volunteers, reaching more than 7 million households in 194 countries. Please join our family of supporters and give a donation to support this important project.

BG Chap 14 - The meaning of brahma-bhūyāya

Does brahma-bhūyāya (qualified for Brahman) indicate jiva loses his individuality? No, by the process of bhakti, which inherently distinguishes jīva from God, the jīva realizes his svarūpa as the servant of God. Previously the Lord said that one attains similarity with Him in verses 8.5 (mad-bhāvam yāti) 14.19 (mad-bhāvam adhigacchati) etc. Saying brahma-bhūyāya here, the Lord simply explains the previous statements. Some statements in the śruti seem to indicate that the jīva attains oneness with the Lord. But there are other statements in the śruti that show the inherent difference between the soul and supreme Brahman by describing qualities such as smallness and greatness, which are eternal. Thus the phrase brahma-bhūta means the jīva attains the state of Brahman in which he manifests the eight qualities (no sin, no death, no old age, no hunger, no thirst, no lamentation, truthful, all desires automatically satisfied) and still remains distinct from the Lord. To realize ātmā, one requires bhakti, and after realizing the ātmā, the devotee continues to worship the Lord with bhakti. The statement in Bṛhad Āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.6 says brahma eva san brahma api eti: Being Brahman, he attains Brahman. This does not mean that the soul becomes the Lord. The word eva in brahma eva also means resemblance or similarity. Thus this statement means ‘he becoming like the Lord with eight qualities, attains the Lord’. Otherwise there is no meaning to saying ‘He, being Brahman, then attains Brahman’ because how can he attain something if he is already that thing.