On Bhagwad Gita: What is it to act just as an apparent cause (‘Nimitt Maatr’)?

Acharya Prashant
7 min readDec 26, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

तस्मात्त्वमुत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व जित्वा शत्रून्भुङ् क्ष्व राज्यं समृद्धम् ।

मयैवैते निहता: पूर्वमेव निमित्तमात्रं भव सव्यसाचिन् ।। 11.33 ।।

tasmāt tvam uttiṣhṭha yaśho labhasva jitvā śhatrūn bhuṅkṣhva rājyaṁ samṛiddham

mayaivaite nihatāḥ pūrvam eva nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sāchin

Therefore do thou arise and acquire fame. Conquer the enemies, and enjoy the unrivalled dominion. Verily by Myself have they been already slain; be thou merely an apparent cause, O Savyasachin (Arjuna).

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 33

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Questioner (Q): What does it mean to be an apparent cause, ‘Nimitt Maatr’? Who becomes the Nimitt Maatr? Is it the body-mind complex that we think we are? Why should we become Nimitt Maatr? How can we move towards becoming Nimitt Maatr?

In the previous session, you had mentioned that notions like ‘I am the body’, ‘I am the doer’ keep us away from Krishna. How can the notion ‘I am the body’ be eliminated?

Acharya Prashant (AP):

‘Nimitt Maatr’ merely means that your center of operation is no more the personal ego; you are allowing your personal system to be governed by an impersonal power.

Usually, our personal system is run by, commanded by the personal center, and these two go nicely together; the personal system, the body-mind complex being commanded by the personal center, which is called ‘the ego’.

Being just an apparent cause in the scheme of things means that the personal complex, the personal system, the personal machinery is now not being driven by something within itself. It is now being driven by something far beyond itself.

Acharya Prashant