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Three Brothers – God, Soul And Matter

Asya vaamasya palitasya hotus

Tasya bhraataa madhyamo asti ashnaḥ

Triteeyo bhraataa ghrita pṛiṣh-ṭho asya

Atraa’pashyam vish-patim sapta putram – Rig Veda 1:164:1

There are three brothers. The first brother is beautiful and admirable. He nurtures the cosmos, liberally filling it with resources. The second brother is the one who enjoys cosmic resources. The third brother bears enjoyable resources on its back. May I one day realize, in this lifetime, (the first brother,) the Lord of all beings who rules over the seven regions.

This Mantra contains a beautiful allegoric description of God, Soul, and Matter. These are three eternal, co-existing entities that make up the full parameter of Reality. There is nothing more, or nothing less, than these three. They are called brothers because they support and interact with each other in harmony and mutual collaboration.

The eldest brother is God, the Infinite. He is beautiful and admirable because his Qualities, Actions, and Nature are the most ideal, most positive, and most exemplary. He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. He creates, sustains, and transforms the Universe. He benevolently releases His Knowledge at the beginning of human creation, and, He awards to Souls the fruits of their actions. Causing Souls to be born in bodies, He sends them into the world so that they can climb the ladder to ultimate freedom. While doing so, Souls use the resources of the world and also consult His Knowledge for specific instructions on what to do and what not to do.

The middle, second, brother is the finite Soul. He is called the enjoyer. God enjoys nothing – He silently watches on, overseeing the functioning of the cosmos and the performance of Souls. Seated in a body, the Soul has access to knowledge that he can use to plot his course along life’s pathways. He has options – he can choose

to do good or bad. However, he is subject to God’s evaluation of his performance. The Soul’s actions create for him a new life form fitted with a commensurate life span and a life experience. Knowledge can help him make intelligent choices, resulting in joy, whereas Ignorance stands in the way of such intelligent choices, bringing him misery. His task in life is to overcome Ignorance, embrace Knowledge, perform the right actions, and ultimately achieve the Bliss of Emancipation.

The third brother is Matter, dead and inert. Matter, by definition, is that which evolves into wonders. The whole cosmos, with its shining stellar bodies, evolves out of Matter. God activates Matter at the beginning of Creation, causing atoms to combine to form everything that has form, shape, size, and color. All resources in the cosmos, made of Matter, are primarily for the Soul to use and enjoy, though with a spirit of detachment. Even though material possessions were designed for the benefit of Souls, the greatest tragedy is that Souls have ended up being deluded by these alluring possessions. Consequently, they end up being imprisoned by these possessions and the pleasures they yield. We embrace the world so intensely that we lose our embrace with God. I see the world every waking minute – I see car, land, money, house, spouse, and children, but I do not see God. Oh! When would that day come, in this very lifetime, when I could clearly realize the blissful presence of my God? When would I behold Him who is King of all living creatures and also of the cosmos with its seven principal regions?


Madhyamah – The middle; Bhraataa – brother

Asya Tasya – of this; Vaamasya – beautiful

Palitasya – Protector/Nurturer [and]; Hotus – Liberal Donor;

Asti – is; Ashnah – the enjoying [Soul].

Asya – His; Triteeyah – third; Bhraataa – brother [is]

Ghrita Prishtah – he who has enjoyment on his back.

Atra – Here and now [In this lifetime]

Apashyam – may I see; Vishpatim – the Lord of all beings

Sapta Putram – Master of seven sons [created regions].


Gems from the book “RIG VEDA” by Dr. Satish Prakash