“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)
सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि सन्निविष्टो
मत्तः स्मृतिर् ज्ञानम् अपोहनं च
वेदैश् च सर्वैर् अहम् एव वेद्यो
वेदान्त-कृद् वेद-विद् एव चाहम्
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
“People are amazed at the birth of a child, and rightfully so. Out of nowhere, a brand new life. We share the same point of origination. Though we are accustomed to being alive, to knowing the people around us, there was a time when people didn’t know who we were. This is because we had yet to emerge from a womb.
“Then the miracle happened. Someone to love. Hopefully, caring and attentive guardians on the other side. Not everyone enters in the same circumstances, but the miraculous nature of the appearance is universal.
“Taking the appreciation further, we see how the child already knows how to do certain things. It can move around a little bit. It knows how to drink milk from the breast of the mother. No one taught the child this, precisely because there was no interaction prior. Bunched up within the womb, who would penetrate the barrier to provide the instruction?
“You see similar miracles in other species, such as how the horse gallops away or the calf sucks milk from the cow. The bird knows how to return to its nest. The fish swim on their own, finding food wherever it may be.
“Scientists attribute this phenomenon to intuition. Something internal within the living being. It guides them, and they don’t need to search for it. It comes standard with the purchase, so to speak. After-market modifications are not necessary.
“I am fine with that identification, but what about attribution? We know there is intuition, but what is the source? Can that be identified?”
Bhagavad-gita provides the answer in a single verse. The source of the intuition is also responsible for forgetfulness. I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast a week ago. I know that I had some intense dream while sleeping last night, but it evades my memory at the moment. I recognize that person in the dairy aisle at the supermarket, but I can’t remember where I know them from.
The intuition is from the Supersoul. Known as Paramatma in Sanskrit, the correlated entity is atma. You and I are individual soul. Atma can also refer to body or mind, but in the general sense it is the distinguishing feature in a living being.
This means that atma is not limited to the human species. This individual kind of atma is also not dependent on the type of body. There is a dividing line between matter and spirit, also known as prakriti and purusha. The presence of atma means there is purusha, or person.
The same kind of atma is there in the cow, the dog, the elephant, the tiger, and so forth. A wise person can see this because they have been trained in the science. They make no distinctions between the locations of the instances of atma, since they understand the amazing characteristics of spirit.
ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि
शुनि चैव श्व-पाके च
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)
Paramatma is of a different category. This is a singular identity, but present with every instance of atma. Soul and Supersoul are always together in the material world. Paramatma represents the Supreme Lord. This means that God and I are always together.
He accompanies me on the journey to the top of the profession. He is there when I celebrate the victories, and He witnesses my lamentation due to heartbreaking loss. He is inside when I commit a sinful act, trivial or significant. He watches when I do something nice, when no one else is looking.
As He is the source of intuition and forgetfulness, there is sort of a knob or dial that I can configure. The meaning is that I have some control in how that intuition operates. I can get rid of the forgetfulness in the specific area that matters most.
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र
सर्वं च मयि पश्यति
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि
स च मे न प्रणश्यति
yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra
sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi
sa ca me na praṇaśyati
“For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.30)
If I take up a life of devotion, if I am always interested in pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then I will never forget Him. He will never be lost to me, nor I to Him. He controls forgetfulness, after all, so He can assure my safe passage to the imperishable land in the afterlife, triggered by the perfect consciousness at the time of death.
Witnessing the intuition,
But to what the attribution?
That calf towards cow going,
And sucking the milk knowing?
Atma inside but not to see,
As Paramatma present is He.
The Supreme Lord my companion steady,
To help in safe passage ready.