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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Ksetrajna, KSetrajJa, Kshetrajya

Kṣetrajña literally means ‘one who knows the kṣetra’.

If the human body is the kṣetra or the field,[1] then the kṣetrajña is the one who resides in it, ‘knows’ it, experiences it and controls it. This is called as the jivātman (the individual soul).

Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavadgitā[2] that he is kṣetrajña in all the bodies. This statement can be interpreted from two different standpoints. They are:

  1. From the standpoint of advaita, all the jīvātmans or the jīvas are only appearances or reflections of the Paramātman. Hence all the jīvas in all the kṣetras or bodies are the Lord Himself.
  2. The bhakti schools however advocate dvaita or dualism. They declare that behind or inside all the jīvas in all the kṣetras, is the one Supreme Lord, īśvara as the Antaryāmin, the inner Self and controller.

Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad supports the second view of the Antaryāmi Brāhmana of the Mādhyandina recension. [3]


  1. The human being reaps the results of his karmas through the actions performed by the body.
  2. Bhagavadgitā 13.2
  3. Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 3.7.22
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore