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56
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BHAGAVAD-GITA

the Logos, and not before; hence Parabrahmam ought not to be called Paramāțmā or any kind of Āțmā. In one place only, Krșhna, speaking of Parabrahmam, says that it is his Āțmā. Except in that case he nowhere uses the word Āțmā or Paramāțmā in speaking of Parabrahmam. Strictly speaking Parabrahmam is the very foundation of the highest self. Paramāțmā is, however, a term also applied to Parabrahmam as distinguished from Prațyagāțmā. When thus applied it is used in a strictly technical sense. Whenever the term Prațyagāțmā is used, you will find Paramāțmā used as expressing something distinct from it.

It must not be supposed that either the ego, or any idea of self, can be associated with, or be considered as inherent in Parabrahmam. Perhaps it may be said that the idea of self is latent in Parabrahmam, as everything is latent in it; and, if on that account you connect the idea of self with Parabrahmam you will be quite justified in applying the term Paramāțmā to Parabrahmam. But to avoid confusion it is much better to use our words in a clear sense, and to give to each a distinct connotation about which there can be no dispute. Turn now to chapter viii, verse 11:

I will briefly explain to thee that place(padam) which those who know the Vedas describe as indestructible (akșharam), which the ascetics, who are free from desire, enter, and which is the desired destination of those who observe Brahmacharyam.