by Paramahansa Yogananda
(Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita)

Knower, Knowing, and Object Known

The blessed Lord replied:
O Offspring of Kunti (Arjuna), by the knowers of truth, this body is called kshetra [* the known] ("the field" where good and evil karma is sown and reaped); likewise, that which cognizes the field they call kshetrajna [* the knower] (the soul).
—The Bhagavad Gita XIII:1

In summary, the root cause of the dream creation of the human body and the world consists of

the knower (kshetrajna),
the knowing (jnana), and
the object known (kshetra).

In the unmanifested state of Spirit no creation is possible. In the created world, the knower is God; the object known is the objective cosmos; and His consciousness within it is the connective element between the subjective God and the objective cosmos. The human body is the miniature cosmos. The bodily field is the object, or the kshetm; and the soul within it (cognized by the liberated man) is the kshetrajna; the body and its knower are linked by the process of the knower's cognition.

To dismiss in fact the body as a dream of God is possible only to men of divine realization—those who have learned the power of visualization and of materialization and dematerialization of thought forms. When the mind becomes powerful like the Creator's, one can materialize or dematerialize his body or a universe, knowing them to be dream images of thought.

One must therefore practice yoga, the science of divine union; for it is by realizing his oneness with God that the devotee frees himself from the cosmic dream, and knows that dream as made sheerly of God's consciousness. ...

omThe body is the field where Cosmic Nature operates; the soul, the pure reflection of God, is the knower of this field.

As a dreamer finds his consciousness transformed into dream objects and into the perceiver, so the soul (through the help of God) is the creator of its objective dream body (kshetra) and is also its cognizer (kshetrajna).

The dreamer, process of dreaming, and dream objects correspond to the soul dreamer, its dreaming power, and its dream of the objective body. The objective dream body is the field in which the soul-dreamer assembles its warring soldiers of discrimination and Nature's armies of the sense-blinded mind. The clash between these opposing forces precipitates the results of good and bad actions (karma). ...


The desire of the ego and mind is to establish in the body the kingdom of sense pleasures. The desire of the soul is to fight the material inclinations and to establish in the body the divine kingdom of the unalloyed bliss of Spirit. ...


The Spirit beyond creation, as God, and the Spirit in creation, as Kutastha, are both called Purusha. The Transcendental Intelligence existing beyond creation is Para-Purusha; its intelligence reflected in creation is Kutastha-Purusha.

Purusha beyond creation is also called Ishvara, or God the Creator. The Purusha in creation is called Kutastha Chaitanya, or immutable universal intelligence. God and His Cosmic Nature in the microcosmic form are present in the human body as the pure soul and pure human nature. The pure soul and pure human nature become distorted into the human ego and sentient human nature, owing to the temporary identification of the perfect soul with the imperfect body and its Nature-inclined penchant for sense pleasures and material enjoyments and attachments.

Cosmic nature of triple qualities (the three gunas) produces man's three bodies—physical, astral, and spiritual. The physical body is composed of sixteen gross elements: carbon, iron, calcium, etc.

The astral body is made of nineteen elements: ego; mind (sense consciousness); intelligence; feeling (chitta, the heart principle); the crystallizing, metabolizing, assimilating, circulating, and eliminating currents; and the ten senses.

The causal body consists of thirty-five creative divine thoughts corresponding to the combined thirty-five elements of the physical and astral bodies. ...


This process of liberation from the three bodies requires time. Even the avatar Lord Jesus required three days, or three periods of spiritual effort, to emerge from his physical, astral, and causal bodies before he was completely risen, or before his soul was lifted from the three bodily encasements and united with Spirit. ... (God Talks with Arjuna p.862)