The Bhagavad Gita

Brahman Term Analysis

The interconnected, imperishable, unitary force of being that animates everything in the universe. Brahman is identical with atman (the individual self) and created by Krishna, who calls it his “womb” and explains that the world sprung out of it. Brahman supersedes the worldly distinction between being and non-being, pervading everything despite its immateriality and immortality. Transcending samsara, or the cycle of death and rebirth, requires insight into (and yogic meditation on) Brahman, which allows people to realize their own unity with Brahman and eventually shed their material bodies to dissolve fully into it. Brahman is often considered the Hindu equivalent of the conventional Western concept of God as a prime mover. It is distinct from “brahmin,” which is a Hindu caste.

Brahman Quotes in The Bhagavad Gita

The The Bhagavad Gita quotes below are all either spoken by Brahman or refer to Brahman. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Detachment and Dharma Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Bhagavad Gita published in 2008.
Discourse 4 Quotes

Brahman is offering;
Brahman is oblation
poured out by Brahman
in the fire of Brahman;
Brahman is attained
by one absorbed
in the action
of Brahman.

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
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Discourse 6 Quotes

The self is
in all beings
and all beings
are in the self.

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
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Discourse 7 Quotes

Understand that
all beings
have their origins
in this nature:
I am
the birth
and the dissolution
of the whole world.

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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Discourse 8 Quotes

Brahman is
the highest imperishable;
the highest self
is said to be
one’s own nature, giving rise
to all states of being;
action is understood
as ‘sending forth’.

Among the embodied,
the highest being
is finite existence;
the highest god
is the great spirit;
I am the highest sacrifice
here in this body,
Chosen One.

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Discourse 9 Quotes

This whole world
is woven through
with me,
in a shape
which is formless;
all beings dwell in me,
while I do not
dwell in them.

Yet neither do beings
dwell in me.
Behold, my powerful yoga:
bearing beings,
and yet not dwelling
in beings,
my own self
causing them to be.

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
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Discourse 15 Quotes

The form of the ashvattha
is not to be discerned here,
neither its end,
nor beginning,
nor ongoing life.
When its fully grown roots
are cut by the strong axe
of non-clinging,

then that place must be sought
where, once they have gone,
they will not turn back again,
and they think,
‘I take refuge
in the first spirit
where activity flowed forth
in ancient times.’

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Related Symbols: Ashvattha Tree
Page Number: 163-4
Explanation and Analysis:
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Discourse 17 Quotes

Om tat sat.

Related Characters: Krishna (speaker), Arjuna
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:
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Brahman Term Timeline in The Bhagavad Gita

The timeline below shows where the term Brahman appears in The Bhagavad Gita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Discourse 2
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
...idea of possession and even the self as “I,” reaching peace as the state of Brahman and feeling “the bliss of cessation.” (full context)
Discourse 3
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
...but sacrifice creates the rain, and sacrifice is a form of action that originates with Brahman. (full context)
Discourse 4
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
Krishna declares that Brahman offers Brahman to Brahman and thereby attains Brahman. While some sacrifice to specific gods, others... (full context)
Discourse 5
Detachment and Dharma Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
...are one and the same. They overcome reincarnation (samsara) by submitting to the unity of Brahman, refusing to budge at the sight of something loved or unloved, giving up on worldly... (full context)
Discourse 6
Detachment and Dharma Theme Icon
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
...it wanders. This peace of mind and calmness lead the practitioner to “endless joy” and Brahman by showing them that “the self is / in all beings / and all beings... (full context)
Discourse 8
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
Arjuna asks Krishna a series of questions. He first asks what Brahman, the highest self, and action are. Then, he asks how Krishna speaks of the highest... (full context)
Discourse 13
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
One gains immortality by coming to know Brahman, which lies beyond the world and is “said to be neither being / nor non-being.”... (full context)
Discourse 14
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...highest wisdom, which brought the sages fulfillment and the dissolution of self. Krishna declares that Brahman is his “womb,” from which everything emerges, and he is the father who plants the... (full context)
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
...and honor and dishonor. Of course, one must also devotedly serve Krishna, who supports immortal Brahman, everlasting dharma, and the “unique joy” that they bring. (full context)
Discourse 17
Krishna, the Absolute, and Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
Brahman’s “threefold / designation” is “Om tat sat,” or (roughly) “Om is the truth.” Anyone who... (full context)
Discourse 18
Detachment and Dharma Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
...first tries are usually imperfect. Insight and a renunciation of desire lead to fulfillment and Brahman, “the highest state / of wisdom.” One must cast off sense objects and passions, prioritizing... (full context)
Detachment and Dharma Theme Icon
Reincarnation and the Self Theme Icon
Forms of Worship Theme Icon
...to fight, Krishna says, Arjuna dooms himself to death and loses all hope of reaching Brahman. Krishna insists that Arjuna is bound by his nature, even to do things he does... (full context)