On Shrimad Bhagwad Gita: What does it mean to ‘see the self by the self’?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readOct 1, 2020

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

यत्रोपरमते चित्तं निरुद्धं योगसेवया ।

यत्र चैवात्मनात्मानं पश्यन्नात्मनि तुष्यति ।।

yatroparamate chittaṁ niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā

yatra chaivātmanātmānaṁ paśhyann ātmani tuṣhyati

At the time when the mind restrained through the practice of Yoga gets withdrawn, and just when by seeing the Self (the pure self) by the self (the little self), one remains contented in the Self alone.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Verse 20

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Question: What is meant by seeing the pure self by the little self? What is meant by seeing the Self by the self?

Acharya Prashant: Seeing the Self by the self means two things. One — the ego is allowing itself to love. Second — the ego is allowing itself to hate. Seeing the Self by the self, two things are here: seeing and self. There is the ego that is the seer here, that is the doer that sees. And then there is the Self who is being talked of as the seen.

The true Self can actually never be seen. Then what is it that the ego is seeing? The ego is seeing its own cringe-worthy state.

But the ego cannot usually acknowledge that its state is one of inner devastation.

It is beyond the agency of the ego, to be honest with itself.

Therefore, when such honesty happens, it is attributed truly to not to the ego, but to the blessings of a power beyond the ego.

So, you bring the great Self into the picture. How do you bring the great Self into the picture? You say, “The call of the Beyond had come, and the call of the Beyond was so enthralling that one fell in love with it. Falling in love with it, one could not help hating oneself.”

Acharya Prashant