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56
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BHAGAVAD-GITA

the Logos, and not before; hence Parabrahmam ought not to be called Paramatma or any kind of Atma. In one place only, Krshna, speaking of Parabrahmam, says that it is his Atma. Except in that case he nowhere uses the word Atma or Paramatma in speaking of Parabrahmam. Strictly speaking Parabrahmam is the very foundation of the highest self. Paramatma is, however, a term also applied to Parabrahmam as distinguished from Pratyagatma. When thus applied it is used in a strictly technical sense. Whenever the term Pratyagatma is used, you will find Paramatma 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 Paramatma 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 (oksharam), which the ascetics, who are free from desire, enter, and which is the desired destination of those who observe Brahmacharyam.