‘अथाष्टमोऽध्यायः‘Akshara Brahma Yoga, Yoga of Imeprishabe Brahman
The scheme of discussion in this chapter –
Definition of the terms Brahman, adhyātma, karma, adhibūta, adhidaiva and adhiyajna.
The significance and the method of
remembering the Lord at the time of death
Comparison between two types of goals — God and world
The bright and dark paths
Glory of upāsanā
Since Kṛṣṇa begins the teaching with Akṣara-brahman this chapter is called Akṣara-brahma-yoga
Arjuna asks meaning of 6 terminologiesअर्जुन उवाचकिं तद्ब्रह्म किमध्यात्मं किं कर्म पुरुषोत्तम ।अधिभूतं च किं प्रोक्तमधिदैवं किमुच्यते ॥८: १॥
kiṁ tadbrahma kimadhyātmaṁ kiṁ karma puruṣōttama |
adhibhūtaṁ ca kiṁ prōktamadhidaivaṁ kimucyatē ||8 -1||
किम् तत् ब्रह्म किम् अध्यात्मम् किम् कर्म पुरुषोत्तम ।
अधिभूतम् च किम् प्रोक्तम् अधिदैवम् किम् उच्यते
किम् -what तत् -that ब्रम्ह -Bramhan किम् -what तत् -that अध्यात्मम् -adhyatma किम् -what कर्म -action पुरुषोत्तम –O, best among men अधिभूतम् -adhibhuta च -and किम् -what प्रोक्तम् -declared अधिदैवम् –adhidaiva किम् -what उच्यते –iks called
O best of Purushas (Krishna), please tell me what is that Brahman (the etrnal being)? What is Adhyatma (Spirit) and what is Karma (action)? What is Adhibhutam (Matter) and what is termed as Adhidaiva (divine intelligence).
Chapter 8 is primarily based on the last two verses 29 and 30 of chapter 7. In these two verses the Lord who had so far described himself as para and apara prakriti, or saguna and nurguna Brahman suddenly introduces a set of six new technical terms. These are:
He also used another word प्रयाणकाले अपि at the time of departing from this body.
The terms used by Krishna in the last two stanzas of chapter 7 have bewildered Arjuna. He therefore requests Lord to enlighten him about the cosmic mysteries.
किम् तत् ब्रम्ह :What is that Brahman or the eternal Being? In Vedanta the word Brahman has been used in different contexts to mean as the Vedas, the four-faced creator, the
absolute Consciousness or supreme being also called
Parabrahma, Om etc. Arjuna wants to know the specific meaning of Brahman.
किम् तत् अध्यात्मम् :What is that Adhyatma? अधि+आत्म= अध्यात्म, concerning body.
The word Adhyatma has been used in different contexts to mean the body, senses, mind, intellect, individual soul (जीव). the oversoul or परमात्मा and many more entities. Arjuna seeks to know which meaning is meant by the Lord.
किम् तत् कर्म: -Krishna! What is that Karma (action)? Again the word karma has many connotations. It means activity in general like farming, eating, drinking and driving. Noble pursuits such as sacrifice, charity and such selfless action are also called karma. Karma also denotes selfless actions (कर्म योग) . Karma also indicates the actions creating vasanas or actions depleting vasanas. Then there are obligatory duties, proscribed duties and repentence (नित्य, नैमित्तिक, काम्य, निषिद्ध, प्रायष्चित कर्म). Krishna, “please tell me which karma do you have in your mnd”.
किम् तत् अधिभूतम् : What is that Adhibuta? The word Adhibhuta is again ambiguous. It is referred to five gross elements (पन्चभूत), or any other physical matter including body.
किम् तत् अधिदैवम् : What is that Adhidaiva? Do you mean the presiding deity of a sense organ, or destiny, or Hiranyagarbha (the creator). Please tell me clearly.
What is अधियज्ञ. How do the yogis become aware
of you at the time of death?
अधियज्ञः कथं कोऽत्र देहेऽस्मिन्मधुसूदन ।प्रयाणकाले च कथं ज्ञेयोऽसि नियतात्मभिः ॥८: २॥
adhiyajñaḥ kathaṁ kō:’tra dēhē:’sminmadhusūdana |
prayāṇakālē ca kathaṁ jñēyō:’si niyatātmabhiḥ ||8 -2||
अधियज्ञः कथम् कः अत्र देहे अस्मिन् मधुसूदन ।
प्रयाणकाले च कथम् ज्ञेयः असि नियतात्मभिः
अधियज्ञः -adhiyajna कथम् –how कः -who अत्रः -here देहे –in the body अस्मिन् -this मधुसूदन –O Madhusudana प्रयाणकाले –at the time of death च -and कथम् –how ज्ञेयः -knowable असि –are you नियतात्मभिः –by the self-controlled people
O slayer of the demon Madhu (Krishna), what is Adhiyajna (the supreme creative spirit) and in what manner is the
Adhiyajna is present (as the soul) in this body? And how you are to be realized at the time of death by those who have control over their minds?
Arjuna wants to clear up his doubts so he puts forth seven questions to the Lord in the above two verses.
The Lord explains the meaning of Brahma, adhyatma and karma. The supreme industrictable is called Brahman. The nature of self is called Adhyatma and creation, maintenance and destruction of world is called karma.श्रीभगवानुवाचअक्षरं ब्रह्म परमं स्वभावोऽध्यात्ममुच्यते ।भूतभावोद्भवकरो विसर्गः कर्मसंज्ञितः ॥८: ३॥
akṣaraṁ brahma paramaṁ svabhāvō:’dhyātmamucyatē |
bhūtabhāvōdbhavakarō visargaḥ karmasaṁjñitaḥ ||8 -3||
अक्षरम् ब्रह्म परमम् स्वभावः अध्यात्मम् उच्यते ।
भूतभावोद्भवकरः विसर्गः कर्मसंज्ञितः
अक्षरम् -imperishable ब्रह्म -Bramha परमम् -supreme स्वभावः -nature अध्यात्मम् -adhyatma उच्यते –is declared भूतभावोद्भवकरः –that which causes the origin of beings विसर्गः –offering (to Gods) कर्मसंज्ञितः –is called work or karma.
The Blessed Lord said:
The supreme imperishable being is called Brahman (Eternal Being or spirit); His essential nature is called Adhyatma (one’s own self, the individual soul or जीव); the creative power of the eternal being that is responsible for the birth, sustenance, and dissolution of beings is known as karma (Cosmic action).
Since the first word of Bhagavan’s reply this chapter starts with Akshara, this chapter is called Akshara Brahma Yoga.
Arjuna asked total 7 questions. 1. About the spirit 2. About adhyatma (spirit’s pure reflection as the individual soul) 3. About karma (creative power of the spirit which results in living and non-living beings) 4. About adhibuta (Physical body and the physical universe) 5. About adhidaiva (astral body and astral cosmos) 6. About adhiyajna ( the supreme creative-cognizing spirit, and how it is present in the body as soul) and 7. About the yogi’s perception of God at the time of death.
In this third verse, the first three questions are answered. In the fourth verse the fourth, fifth and sixth questions are answered. The seventh question is answered in the fifth and sixth verses. The three questions explained in this section are about the spirit, the soul and the karma.
The highlights of this verse is:
- What is Brahman
- What is adhyatma?
- What is karma?
What is Brahman?
अक्षरम् ब्रह्म परमम् – क्षरम् or क्षर means destruction, perishable matter; subject to decay and destruction; Aparaprakarati.
न क्षरति इति अक्षरम् . what does not perish, and change is Akshara. It is the chaitanya.
अक्षरम् means indestructible, infinite. Whatever is indestructible and supreme is Brahman ब्रह्मन्. Brahman is the absolute, formless divinity, the embodiment of truth, knowledge and bliss, the total consciousness of the cosmos. It should not be confused with to Brahma ब्रह्मा, ब्रह्माजी, the creator or Prakrati, or the promordial matter. ब्रह्मा is masculine gender where as ब्रह्म is neutral gender.
The supreme eternal being is called as God in English and Brahman or parabrahman or ब्रह्म in Vedanta. It is the cause of all causes. He is the cause of creation. He appears as many. If you look at the numbers 1,2,8 and 10. They appear as different. On deep observation, you will notice that all these numbers are a product of single digit number one. That is Brahman or अक्षरम् represented by aham or “I”.
स्वभावः अध्यात्मम् उच्यते -Svabhava means nature, one’s one being, Core or essence. The transcendental, non-vibratory spirit permeats the lower material body and energizes the
insentient material body into activity. In other words
para shakti permeats the apara material body and gives chetana or consciousness to the inert body. The sum-total of the body including the physical body, senses, mind, intellect, ego etc is called self or अहम्, the “I”.
What is adhyatma? This is Arjuna’s second question. The changeless Brahman who is enshrined in the material body is called adhyatma or jiva.
Shankara brings out this aspect very clearly when he says, “adhyatma is the priniciple that graces all bodies as its
essential self”. It is the repository of God in the body.
Paramarthanda says, “when the consciousness is viewed with reference to the cosmos, samashti or (ब्रम्हान्ड) it is called Brahman; When viewed with reference to the body or vyashti , it is called अध्यात्मम् or soul or jiva. Both are same. The
difference is only the point of refrence. A man is called a son by the father, grandson by the grandfather, brother by his sister, husband by his wife. He is one and only the same. The difference is only the point of refrence.
- What is karma?
भूतभावोद्भवकरः –Here bhuta or being means living as well as non-living beings; both sentient and insentient objects. The bhava or essence which causes their origin, sustenance and destruction is called bhuta bhava.
विसर्गः कर्मसंज्ञितः –Visarga means tyaga or giving up, discharge. Here the lord says that the divinely discharge goes by the name karma.
At the beginning of the creation Brahma wills: “ I am one; let me be many, एकोहम् बहुस्याम् ” . This is the primeval resolve of God which is referred to as discharge of spirit or consciousness in the womb of inert nature. This constitutes the
conjuction of spirit and matter. This discharge is called “visarga “ (विसर्गः). It is this phenomenon which is repsonsibe for bringing forth all beings.
In Gita 7:6 the Lord says:
एतद्योनीनि भूतानि सर्वाणीत्युपधारय ।
अहं कृत्स्नस्य जगतः प्रभवः प्रलयस्तथा ॥७ -६॥
Visarga is explained more specifically when the Lord says all the beings are born when he deposits his consciousness into the womb of the nature.
मम योनिर्महद्ब्रह्म तस्मिन्गर्भं दधाम्यहम् ।
संभवः सर्वभूतानां ततो भवति भारत ॥१४:३॥
कर्मसंज्ञितः –This divine discharge of consciousness into the
intert matter is called the first karma or work. It is this
visarga which the lord refers to as the entire field of karma or action in 7:29
जरामरणमोक्षाय मामाश्रित्य यतन्ति ये ।
ते ब्रह्म तद्विदुः कृत्स्नमध्यात्मं कर्म चाखिलम् ॥७:२९॥
Those who strive for freedom from cycles of birth, old age and death by taking refuge in me, fully realize the Brahman (the spirit, the eternal being), and the all-inclusiveness of Adhyatma (the soul as the repository of spirit) and the true nature of karma (Action).
The resolve of the Lord to assume multiple forms is the first sacrifice or yajna. The oblations offered into sacred fire originated from the first yajna performed by God.
The Lord expounds what is adhibhuta, adhidaiva and adhiyajnya.अधिभूतं क्षरो भावः पुरुषश्चाधिदैवतम् ।अधियज्ञोऽहमेवात्र देहे देहभृतां वर ॥८:४॥
adhibhūtaṁ kṣarō bhāvaḥ puruṣaścādhidaivatam |
adhiyajñō:’hamēvātra dēhē dēhabhr̥tāṁ vara ||8 -4||
अधिभूतम् -adhibhuta क्षरः -perishable भावः -nature पुरुषः –the soul च -and अधिदैवतम् -adhidaiva अधियज्ञः -adhiyajna अहम् -I एव-only अत्र -here देहे –in the body देहभृताम् –of the embodied वर –O the best
O the best of embodied souls (Arjuna)! Adhibhuta (the five basic elements) constitute my perishable nature; Purusha or the jeeva is the Adhidaiva; and I alone am the adhiyajna here in this body.
What is Adhibhuta?
अधिभूतम् क्षरः भावः -Adhibuta is the perishable existence. This is also called Prakruti. It is made up of five basic elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth.
Adhibhuta represents the macro-cosmic objective material of the universe as also the microcosmic physical body of man (व्यष्टि समष्टि). Adhibhuta means that which becomes. It
represents the lower material nature of God, and all its evolutes which are perishable in nature. (अपरा शक्ति). This is in contrast to Akshara spoken of in verse 08:03 as अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमम् –imperishable eternal being or Brahman which is non-perishable and ever-present. (परा शक्ति). The perishable Kshara bhava is spoken of as Kshetra or the field, is the same as aparashakti. The matter is called perishable because it undergoes six types of modifications
अस्ति exists in the womb of mother जायते takes birth वर्धते, grows विपरिणमते transorms अपक्षीयतॆ decays and विनश्यति perishes
- What is Adhidaiva?
पुरुषः च अधिदैवतम् – पुरुषः in this verse stands for ‘the first person or Brahma’ who also goes by the names Hiranyagarbha and prajapati. It is he who represents the vital energy of life of the whole creation, sentient and insentient. It is he who gives light to the sun and moon and all the deities who preside over the functions of the sense organs. Therefore he is referred to as अधिदैवतम् literally the shining ones or astral angels.
- What is Adhiyajna?
अधियज्ञः अहम् एव –I am the adhiyajna in this body. Arjuna’s querry in respect of Adhiyajna was two fold: Who is Adhiyajna and how does he dwell in the body? (7 a; and 7b ) The Lord anwers both these questions in one sentence. “अहम् एव अत्र देहे देहभृताम् वर” . “ I am all pervasive in the form of inner witness of the creations and dwell in the body”. Therefore the unmanifested, subtle, all pervasive aspect of God is
It is therefore clear that the Lord exists in this body as Adhibhuta, kshara bahva, Adhidaiva and Adhiyajna.
Your dying wish decides your destinyअन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् ।यः प्रयाति स मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशयः ॥८: ५॥
antakālē ca māmēva smaranmuktvā kalēvaram |
yaḥ prayāti sa madbhāvaṁ yāti nāstyatra saṁśayaḥ ||8 -5||
अन्तकाले च माम एव स्मरन् मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् ।
यः प्रयाति सः मद्भावम् याति न अस्ति अत्र संशयः
अन्तकाले –at the time of death च –and माम् -me एव- only (saguna) स्मरन् -remembering मुक्त्वा -leaving कलेवरम् -body यः -who (Nishkama saguna Upasaka) प्रयाति –goes forth by subtle body सः -he मद्भावम् –my being याति -attains नास्ति -not अत्र -here संशयः -doubt (guarantee)
He who departs from the body thinking only of me at the time of demise, enters my being. This is the truth beyond doubt.
- How you are to be remebered at the time of death?
अन्तकाले च माम एव स्मरन् मुक्त्वा कलेवरम्
Krishna now begins his answer to the final question posed by Arjuna: “How at the time of death are you to be known by the self-desciplined ”प्रयाणकाले च कथं ज्ञेयोऽसि नियतात्मभिः ॥८: २॥). The last thoughts of a dying man decide his destinies after death. A yogi who has spent his life in the thought of God, non-attached to the body and sense objects, with no personal desires, naturally remains only in the love and joy of the creator. Such a devotee is not required by karmic law to return to earth. He becomes one with God.” He enters into my being and there is no doubt in it” By regular spiritual practice of shravana, manana and nidhidhyasana one can abide in the Brahman even at the time fo death. After bathing the elephants in a river, they are immediately taken to the stables. Otherwise, they spray mud over their body and become dirty again. When Mahatma Gandhi fell a victim,to the bullets of Godse, he said, “Hey Ram”. When Jesus was crucified and nailed to a a cross, he said, “Oh God! Please forgive them. They do not know what they are doing”. Such a collected mind gets the thought of God even at the time of death. Such people says Krishna “मद्भावम् याति न अस्ति अत्र संशयः, they come to meand here is no doubt in it.
यः प्रयाति सः मद्भावम् याति न अस्ति अत्र संशयः
Ramakrishna: Thre was a merchant who wanted to remember the name of God at the time of his death. So, he named his three sons after God. One was Rama, second was Krishna and third was Ganesh. He had a terminal disease and the doctors said that he has only 15 days of life. A tiem came when he was panting for breath. He new his time has come. So, he called out his first son, He Rama, Hey Rama. The son came there. Still his end did not come. He called the name of his second Son, Hey Krishna. Krisha appeared there. Then it was the turn of the third son. Ganesh also came there. The merchant got angry. He said, “You idots, if all of you are here, who is there in the shop?” The message is naming the children after God is alright. But one has to prepare the mind to remember the name of God at all happy and unhappy moments.
If on the other hand, a man lives in the ego-centric vanities and material pleasures, thinks nothing but sensuousness at the time of passing. Such a man is required to reborn again to fulfill such sensual pleasures by Karmic law and may go down the ladder of evolution in the next birth.
From the statement of the Lord, it becomes clear that he means that a Nishkama saguna Upasaka obtains kramamukti by remembering the Lord in the last moment. This is not a route for realization during his life.
भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं गोविन्दं भज मूढमते ।
संप्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे ॥१॥
O fool! When the appointed time of death comes the rules of grammar are not going to save you.
Whatever thoughts are entertained at the time of death, will appear foremost in next birthयं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम् ।तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावितः ॥८: ६॥
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaranbhāvaṁ tyajatyantē kalēvaram |
taṁ tamēvaiti kauntēya sadā tadbhāvabhāvitaḥ ||8 -6||
यम् यम् वा अपि स्मरन् भावम् त्यजति अन्ते कलेवरम् ।
तम् तम् ऎव ऎति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावितः
यम् -which यम् -which वा -or अपि -also स्मरन् -remebering भावम् –nature (idea or condition) त्यजति –gives up अन्ते –in the end कलेवरम् -body तम् -that तम् -that एव -only एति -goes कौन्तेय –O son of Kunti सदा –always तद्भावभावितः –thinking of that object
O Son of Kunti! ( Arjuna) Whatever object or being one remembers at the time of leaving the body, that object or being is attained in his next birth, because of constant thought of it.
As you think, so you become, watch your thought they become your word, watch your word, for they become your action; watch your action; they become your habit, watch your habit; they become your character, watch your character it becomes your destiny. Therefore your destiny is already determined by the quality of thought you entertain. When they are continued it becomes your future.
यम् यम् वा अपि स्मरन् भावम् त्यजति अन्ते कलेवरम् ।
The Lord says, Arjuna! Whatever object or idea one remembers while leaving this body, that alone is reached by him. Just as bullet travels only in the direction of the barrel when trigger is compressed, one lands into a life that was supermost in his mind when the death arrives. It is like a posed photograph. If you smile when the camera cliques you get a smiling pose. If you shake the body the picture becomes hazy.
In chapter 14: verses 14/15/ and 16 the Lord says that the predominant Guna present when the life comes to an end determines in what type of family the man is reborn. A satvik guna entails birth in a Satvik family, and Rajasik character ushers a man into a new life with unending activity and enterprise. And a tamasik Guna at the end of life takes one to lower positions in the evolution.
तम् तम् ऎव ऎति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावितः
The entire human life is a preparation for the final examination at death. One’s destiny is determined by the predominat thought and feeling in the mind at the time of death. The texture of the thought at the end of life entirely depends
upon the quality of thought and action one has lived his life. In otherwords this life is a blueprint of our existence in the next birth. This is called vasana or tendencies which
according to karmic law brings judgment upon ourseves. Thus the thought and habit of a man during his years on earth is the most important factor on the “day of Judgment”. If we want to remember God in the last moment of life
preparation should start rght now.
सदा सद्भाव भावितः –remain ever soaked in the God
Consciousness. (ईश्वर चिन्तन) The lord says always think of me and do your duty. तस्मात् सर्वेशु कालेशु मामनुस्मर युद्ध्यच
So, it should be our Endeavour to avoid evil life, meaningless mechanical existence, sensuous material pursuits, hate, and jealousy. Each man has to live a life of righteousness, service and egoless, desireless activity.
There are instances when a man lived a righteous life, but at the last moment comes under the sway of evil and pays for that. There is a storey of Jada Bharata who died with the thought of a fawn which he passionately nurtured only
during the last days of his life and had to reborn as a fawn because the thought of fawn was uppermost in his mind when death came.
So the Lord recommends that we must always remeber him before starting a work, during the work and after the work. If we make it a habit of remembering God right from childhood as soon as we get up, before taking food, after finishing food, before going to bed, before, during, and after any work, the subconscious mind will always remember Him and the evil thoughts will never come up.
Doubts have been raised regarding the people who lose the faculty of memory due to some illness in oldage. What about them? Are they doomed? “No”, answers the Lord for he says,’ नहि कल्यणक्रत् कश्चित् दुर्गतिं तात गच्चति’ a man who has done good deeds shall never be doomed. According to the law of Karma, every action has its reaction.
Fight the battle of life by constantly remembering Me,you shall come to me without any doubtतस्मात्सर्वेषु कालेषु मामनुस्मर युध्य च ।मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्मामेवैष्यस्यसंशयम् ॥८: ७॥
tasmātsarvēṣu kālēṣu māmanusmara yudhya ca |
mayyarpitamanōbuddhirmāmēvaiṣyasyasaṁśayam ||8 -7||
तस्मात् सर्वेषु कालेषु माम् अनुस्मर युध्य च
मयि अर्पित मनः बुद्धिः माम् एव एष्यसि असंशयः
तस्मात् -therefore सर्वेषु –in all कालेषु -times माम् -me अनुस्मर -remeber युध्य -fight च -and मयि –in me अर्पित -focussed मनः mind बुद्धिः -inellect माम् =me एव -only एष्यसि –shall come to असंशयः -doubtless
Therefore remember Me always, and fight (the battle of life). Surrender to me in your mind, thus without doubt you shall come unto Me.
तस्मात् सर्वेषु कालेषु माम् अनुस्मर -This is a message of Lord for the entire human community. In the last two verses, the Lord emphasised that one has to remember him at the time of death for getting redemption. Death being the final examination of man, and preparation has to be done till the final examination. In order to recall God to our memory at the last moment, it is necessary to be connected to Him all the time in our life. God’s name and glory becomes a habit with us.
We have to take the name of God at the start of an activity, in the middle of activity and at the completion of the activity. I pity the new Gen boys and girls who say “Shit” or “holy Shit” God save them if they repeat this at the time of death.
The Lord says माम् अनुस्मर or remember me constantly. स्मरण is remembering sometimes. अनुस्मरण is constant
remeberence, living in the memory of Lord. Is it possible to practice God consciousness even as we attend to our duties? Is this multi-tasking possible without affecting the quality of our work? Yes it is possible. That means remember me even as we are taking a shower, dressing up, riding, cooking,
eating, laundering, mowing etc.
A mother sets up toys before a child and attends to her house-hold chores, but at the back of her mind is always the child. Our work as well as prayer or thought of God should go hand in hand. But what we are doing? When we are in prayer we think of our work and relationshiips. When we are at work we think of something else.
Please observe a new priest who tries to ring the bell with the left hand and shows arati with the right hand. He finds it difficult. As he practices he can do both at the same time
मयि अर्पित मनः बुद्धिः माम् एव एष्यसि असंशयः Lend me your mind and intellect. Rest assured you will reach me for sure. What the Lord demands from us? मनः बुद्धिः, mind and
intellect. We offer him flowers and fruits, and many courses of meal to God. But these do not belong to us anyway. It is no big deal to give them back to him. So he says, “give me your mind and intellect .”
युध्य च –fight. Gita is not a chronicle for secluded living for
retired people. It is a manual for good living. The Lord says Krishna fight. It means we have work in factories, fields, workshop, government offices or temples and to do all our duties with love for God and his creations and no egoistic motive.
By constant practice the mind becomes undistracted and focussed on the thought of me.अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन चेतसा नान्यगामिना ।परमं पुरुषं दिव्यं याति पार्थानुचिन्तयन् ॥८: ८॥
abhyāsayōgayuktēna cētasā nānyagāminā |
paramaṁ puruṣaṁ divyaṁ yāti pārthānucintayan ||8 -8||
अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन चेतसा न अन्यगामिना ।
परमम् पुरुषम् दिव्यम् याति पार्थ अनुचिन्तयन्
अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन –with the mind made steady with the
practice of habitual meditaion चेतसा –with the mind न -not अन्यगामिना –moving towards any other thing, undistracted परमम् –supreme पुरुषम् –purusha, spirit दिव्यम् -divine याति -goes पार्थ –O Partha अनुचिन्तयन् -meditating
Arjuna! By the unstinted practice of Abhyasa yoga, the mind gets settled and undistracted and immovably fixed on the thought of me and attains me
अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन -Ceaseless practice is called अभ्यास. In the previous verse the Lord said, तस्मात् सर्वेषु कालेषु माम् अनुस्मर युध्य च, so, at all times think of me and continue in your task. In this verse the Lord shows how to do the multi-tasking.
- अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन always thinking of me. भगवदाकार वृत्ति
- चेतसा न अन्यगामिना undistracted.
Once Swami Ramakrishna went to see a circus with his devotee. A lady was doing a tightrope walking at a good height. Ramakrishna said to his devotee. “look, One small mistake she will fall down. She has practiced this skill for a long time. Similarly, if you want to concentrate your mind on the Lord, you have to practice for a long time.”
There is a storey in Mahabharata. Once, Arjuna was invited for a dinner, when the lights went off. Everyone continued with eating the food. Arjuna thought, “Well , even in such darkness my hand is reaching the mouth without any difficulty. Why not try this technique in archery?” That is how he became a good archer by constant practice.
न अन्यगामिना -not deviating from the focus. In the seat of meditation the mind of the devotee does not wander away from divine ecstacy into the domain of thoughts of material sensations.
परमम् दिव्यम् पुरुषम् याति –The yogi who remembers me at the time of death ultimately reaches me. The supremely
effulgent divine Purusha mentioned in this verse is the same as Adhiyajna (अधियज्ञ् ) mentioned in verse 4 and the supreme Purusha (उत्तम पुरुष) mentioned in verse 22 of this chapter. He is the all-pervading, formless, unmanifest God without
attributes.( निर्गुण निराकार स्वरूप –Formless without
attributes) पूरयति सर्वम् इति पुरुषः-who spreads the whole world; all pervading
In this verse also, the Lord speaks about the kramamukti for a Nishkama saguna Upasaka.The route taken by him to reach the eternal being is through Brahmaloka, where he will meditate on the formless, God without attributes.
Nature of divinity and its contemplationकविं पुराणमनुशासितारमणोरणीयांसमनुस्मरेद्यः ।सर्वस्य धातारमचिन्त्यरूपमादित्यवर्णं तमसः परस्तात् ॥८:९॥
kaviṁ purāṇamanuśāsitāra – maṇōraṇīyāṁsamanusmarēdyaḥ |
sarvasya dhātāramacintyarūpa mādityavarṇaṁ tamasaḥ parastāt ||8 -9||
कविम् पुराणम् अनुशासितारम् अणॊः अणीयांसम् अनुस्मरेत् यः ।
सर्वस्य धातारम् अचिन्त्यरूपम् आदित्यवर्णम् तमसः परस्तात्
कविम् -omniscient सर्वज्ञ पुराणम् –ancient, one who is never created अनुशासितारम् –the ruler (of the whole world) अणोः –than atom अरणीयांसम् –minute; subtler, not available for any sensory perception अनुस्मरन् -remembers यः –who. Nishkama upasaka सर्वस्य –of all धातारम् –supporter, Vishwa Adhara अचिन्त्यरूपम् –one whose form is inconceivable, ineffable. Beyond our thought आदित्यवर्णम् –effulgent like the sun, bright, illuminatior of everything like sun तमसः –from darkness (ignorance) परस्तात् –beyond
He, who contemplates on the all-knowing, ageless being, the ruler of all, subtler than the atom; the universal
supporter, whose form is beyond human conception, shines like the sun and is beyond all delusions of darkeness….
Answering the 7th question of Arjuna, the Lord explains in verses 5 to 8 the significance of remembering God at the time of death. He deals with Saguna Ishwara Upasana,
meditation upon formless God without any materialistic
desires. Giving up of desires is same as Vairagya. There are three methods of visualizing God.
- निर्गुण निराकार स्वरूप – Formless attributeless, nature
- सगुण निराकार स्वरूप –With form and attributeless अधियज्ञ्
- सगुण साकार स्वरूप –with attributes, and form
In this verse like the previous ones, the nature of the lord सगुण निराकार स्वरूप –Formless with attributes has been described. Such a seeker has no desire for the fruit of his action (निष्काम)
कविम् –knower of all, sarvajna. This refers to the supreme purusha. He is ever in the know of everything. There is nothing in the physical, astral and causal worlds; past, present or future visible or invisible which he does not know. Hence he is all-wise. He is the beginning of all. He is the knower of all. Take an alarm clock. One who manufactured it should have known everything about the clock. This universe is also made by a person. He is called God. If you see its design and working, it is clear he must have knowledge of everything in the world. So he is sarvajnya or omniscient.A traveller was taking rest under a mango tree. Next to it, he saw a cucumber creeper with large fruit. He thought, “This God must be crazy. He has made such a large fruit for the thin creeper but this large mango tree has small fruits. “ A bird which was eating the mango fruit dropped half eaten fruit. It fell on his head. He said, “My God, you are really intelligent. If a cucumber had fallen on my head, I it have been smashed now”
पुराणम् –Ancient, without orgin. Self is considered ancient
because it is the eternal truth that existed before, that is
present right now and that will be going to be there in all the times to come.
अनुशासितारम् –He is the universal lord and indweller of all. It is an account of him the wind blows, the sun shines, gravitation force is there and all the celestial bodies follow their paths and axis. He controls the mind and the metabolism of all beings. He is the principle of consciousness.
अणोः अरणीयांसम् -He is minuter than an atom.The universe is made up of 5 elements the earth,water, fire, air and space. These are succeedingly subtler and therefore pervades the earlier one. Consciousness not being a matter is the subtlest and therefore nothing pervades it whereas it pervades everything.
सर्वस्य धातारम् –He is the supporter of entire universe. It is he who holds, sustains and noursishes everything.
अचिन्त्यरूपम् –The mind is utterly incapable of conceiving him. He is source of the power of conception possessed by the mind and intellect. He energises them but they cannot
conceive him. So, he is beyond conception by the material mind.
आदित्यवर्णम् –resplendent like sun. The sun who illumines the universe derives his power from the supreme-being who
illumines the cosmos by his light of knowledge.
तमसः परस्तात् –Just as the sun has never witnessed darkness, the supreme-being has never witnessed darkness of
ignorance. He is beyond the delusion of darkness.
The above eight are the attributes of God with form and attributeless सगुण निराकार स्वरूप. He is also called अधियज्ञ् in the 7th and 8th chapters.
In the next verse the lord describes the mode of sadhana and its rewards.
As swami Ramakrishna says, “God is like the zero which validates all numbers preceding it. Any number of zeros without a preceding number amount s zero only.
सगुण निराकार स्वरूप –Formless with attributes
प्रयाणकाले मनसाचलेन भक्त्या युक्तो योगबलेन चैव ।
भ्रुवोर्मध्ये प्राणमावेश्य सम्यक् स तं परं पुरुषमुपैति दिव्यम् ॥८: १०॥
prayāṇakālē manasācalēna bhaktyā yuktō yōgabalēna caiva |
bhruvōrmadhyē prāṇamāvēśya samyak sa taṁ paraṁ puruṣamupaiti divyam ||8 -10||
प्रयाणकाले मनसा अचलेन भक्त्या युक्तः योगबलेन च एव ।
भ्रुवोः र्मध्ये प्राणम् आवेश्य सम्यक् सः तम् परम् पुरुषम् उपैति दिव्यम्
प्रयाणकाले –at the time of death (final journey) मनसा –with focussed mind अचलेन -unswerving भक्त्या –with devotion युक्तः -joined योगबलेन –by the power of yoga च –and एव –only ब्रुवोः –of the two eyes-brows मर्ध्ये –in the middle प्राणम् –pranam (breath) आवेश्य – having placed सम्यक् -thoroughly सः –he तम् –that परम् –supreme पुरुषम् –purusha उपैति -reaches दिव्यम् –resplendent
At the time of final jouney, (death) the yogi with an
unshaken mind, with full of devotion, by the power of yoga, focusses his life force between the eyebrows (the seat of spiritual eye), and reaches that supreme resplendent Purusha.
प्रयाणकाले मनसा अचलेन भक्त्या युक्तः योगबलेन च एव ।
At the time of final departure, one who is endowed with devotion, by the power of yoga,
भक्त्या युक्तः –भक्ति means love for God. One who has love or God is called Bhaktya yuktah. Love is a relative term which presupposes an object. This shows that the form of descipline referred to here is not worship of the absolute self or the the formless Brahman (निर्गुण निराकार स्वरूप –Attributeless, formless nature) also called as a ज्ञानयोगी
(jnyanayogi). But what is referred to here is भक्तियोग (Bhaktiyog) which presupposes an object of worship other than the worshipper.
योगबलेन –By the power of yoga. अभ्यासयोग (Abhyasayoga) or the eight limbed discipline of yoga is referred to here.
In his celebrated book Ashtanga yoga Patanjali has described 8 limbs of yoga as: 1.Yama 2. Niyama 3. Asana 4. Pranayama 5. Pratyahara 6. Dharana 7. Dhyana 8. Samadhi
Power of Yoga therefore means control over the life-breath and the capacity to regulate its function according to will acquired through the practice of such yoga keeping the mind still and tranquil. (मनसा अचलेन )
ब्रुवोः मर्ध्ये प्राणम् आवेश्य सम्यक् –In the space between the two eyes is located the invisble single spiritual eye. This is called the third eye. It is described as consisting of two petals with a triangular yoni. The yogi by continued practice of the eigth limbed yoga, attains complete control over his consciousness and can behold the physical, astral and casual worlds, or go beyond to the vibrationless realm of God. The advanced yogi who is able to visualize his death a few days earlier. He consciously locks up the five vital airs in this chakra once for all and finds himself in the joyful state of breathlessness. He is thrilled as he beholds his astral body is being separated from the physical body. The jiva realizes the supreme purusha. There is no karmic rebirth for him. This process of sadhana has to be learnt from a Guru and never be practiced on one’s own.
The supreme purusha referred to here in this verse is the same as has been described n verse 8 and 9 above I.e सगुण निराकार स्वरूप –Formless with attributes has been described.
Nirguna aspect o the Lord is expounded यदक्षरं वेदविदो वदन्ति विशन्ति यद्यतयो वीतरागाः ।यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति तत्ते पदं संग्रहेण प्रवक्ष्ये ॥८: ११॥
yadakṣaraṁ vēdavidō vadanti viśanti yadyatayō vītarāgāḥ |
yadicchantō brahmacaryaṁ caranti tattē padaṁ saṁgrahēṇa pravakṣyē ||8 -11||
यत् -which अक्षरं -imperishable वेदविदः –knowers of veda वदन्ति –declare विशन्ति –enter यत् -which यतयः –the self- controlled (ascetics, muni) वीतरागाः –free from attachment, turned away from the finite and turned towards the infinite यत् –which इच्छन्तः -desiring ब्रह्मचर्यम् –celibacy, committed o the study of scriptures moving about in the quality of Brahman चरन्ति -practice तत् -that ते –to you पदम् -goal संग्रहेण –in brief प्रवक्ष्ये –I shall explain
Now I shall briefly explain to you the process to attain the Supreme abode, that the knowers of the Veda call as
immutable; into which the ascetics freed from attachment enter; and desiring which they lead al life of celibacy.
यत् अक्षरं वेदविदः वदन्ति –The knowers of the Vedas describe Brahman, the supreme goal as indestructible or imperishable (अक्षरम्). All that we can see and hear are perishable in nature (क्षर). The perishable world arises from the imperishable
consciousness and merges back into consciousness. It is like the water bubbles which arise in th water, stay there perish and merge back into water. अक्षरम् means the great reality never undergoes any change, loss or diminution. He is
immortal, absolute and ever-present. Gita 12:03 expains the same as under:
ये त्वक्षरमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तं पर्युपासते । सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यं च कूटस्थमचलं ध्रुवम् ॥१२:३॥Those who worship the imperishable, the indescribable, the unmanifested, the all -pervading, incomprehensible, the unchangeable, the immovable and the etrnal;
यत् यतयः विशन्ति वीतरागाः -Which the yogis enter freed from attachment. Here the word enter – विशन्ति should not be understood as we ‘enter a house or apartment’. It denotes the process of identification which represents the climax of
sadhana. Brahman or God being our own self, never exists seperate us. Therefore enters means the subjective
experience of realization of the self which is already in us. वीतरागाः -devoid of attachment, free from विषय व्यामॊह .
यत् इच्छन्तः ब्रह्मचर्यम् चरन्ति -seeking knowledge of which the yogis follow celibacy. Etimologically, ब्रम्हचर्य (Brahmacharya) means to live and move in Brahman, or to walk the path leading to Brahman. It is the obligatory duty of a student life. It must be followed by the sadhaka to the best of his ability. Brahma means scriptures and charya or movement means study of. Garuda Purana says:
कर्मणा मनसा वाचा सर्वावस्थासु सर्वदा ।सर्वत्र मैथुनत्यागो बह्मचर्यम् प्रचक्षते ॥
“Abstaining from sexual indulgence, in thought word and deed everywhere and every time and under all circumstances is called Brahmacharya.
By extention of meaning, Brahmacharya should be understood as not only as avoiding sex, but also restraint of all sense organs.
तत् ते पदम् संग्रहेण प्रवक्ष्ये –I shall briefly explain to you the method of attaining the goal. The Lord undertakes to explain to Arjuna, “What is Brahman, what kind of practice followed at the time of death can one realize Brahman”. But actually he gives the definition of Brahman in verses 20, 21 and 22.
Meditation of Nirguna Brahma at the time of death, engaging in the practice of Yogadharana meditation . सर्वद्वाराणि संयम्य मनो हृदि निरुध्य च ।मूर्ध्न्याधायात्मनः प्राणमास्थितो योगधारणाम् ॥८: १२॥
sarvadvārāṇi saṁyamya manō hr̥di nirudhya ca |
mūrdhnyādhāyātmanaḥ prāṇamāsthitō yōgadhāraṇām ||8 -12||
सर्वद्वाराणि संयम्य मनो हृदि निरुध्य च ।
मूर्ध्वि आधाय आत्मनः प्राणम्, आस्थितः योगधारणाम्
सर्वद्वाराणि –all gates संयम्य –having controlled मनः –mind हृदि –in the heart निरुध्य –having controlled च –and मूर्ध्नि–in the head आधाय –having fixed आत्मनः –of the self प्राणम् –breath आस्थितः –established in योगधारणाम् –practice concentration
He who closes all the gates of the body (Nine doors of senses), who cloisters (a quadrangle in a religious institution) the mind in the heart centre, who fixes the bio-impulses (Life force, Prana) in the cerebrum-thus engages in the steady practice of yoga…..(Yogananda)
सर्वद्वाराणि संयम्य मनो हृदि निरुध्य च ।
Closing all the doors and controlling the mind. The body is a home. The five rgans of speech, sight, sound, taste, and touch, ज्ञानेन्द्रिय); and five organs of action (mouth, feet, hands, ogans of excretion and procreation कर्मेन्द्रिय ) are called the doors. Controlling the senses represents stopping the senses from moving towards sense objects. Sense
impulses may reach the mind through these doors, or the mind can go out and graze in the senses objects. So this first step is सर्वद्वाराणि संयम्य shutting down all the sense gates of the body.
In another version, the nine gates of the body as explained in Verse 5:13 are called the doors of the human body.
सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी ।नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन् ॥५ – १३॥
Nava dvare pure – in the “city of nine gates”. This has reference to the body apertures, with its two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, two organs of excretion and procreation and the mouth. The yogi who has renounced ego -consciousness dwells securely, at perfect rest, within the “city” of his body. No enemy can attack him, for his energy like the limbs of a tortoise has been withdrawn into the self. Through the
organs of perception external stimuli reach the mind and
agitate it. Again the mind can also cannot run out through these organs into sense objects.
मनसा संयम्य controlling all the doors with discrimination ofmind. There is a difference between the meaning of words निग्रह and संयम. The meaning of both is restraint. When we say वाक् निग्रह what we mean is abstaining from speech. वाक् संयम indicates conscious decision of discrete speech. The Lord says सर्वद्वाराणि मनसा संयम्य all the doors are discretlely restrained. This process is called Pratyahara (प्रत्याहार) in yogic literature. If the sense organs are restrined outwardly but the sadahaka thinks of the sense objects such a position is called मिथ्याचार.
When the sense organs are restraianed the mind is
impounded and lays quite. A street dancer dances to the rhythm of music. When the music is stopped, he stops his dance as well. Similarly, when the transaction with external sense objects is stopped, the mind becomes mute.
मनः हृदि निरुध्य च –In the second step the yogi fixes the mind (manas, sense consciousness ) in the centre of he heart. The heart referred to here is not the physiological heart which pumps out the blood. It is an core heart, supposed to be
situated in between the throat and navel. It is oten compared to a lotus. It is the seat of mind and vital air. The mind is nothing but a continous flow of thought. The thought process of the mind is switched off by the skill recommended in the first step. The breath rate also correspondingly comes down. Such a peaceful mind is fixed in the ‘heart’.
मूर्ध्वि आधाय आत्मनः प्राणम्, आस्थितः योगधारणाम् –The vital airs are placed in the cerebrum. This is the third step.
Yogananda: The following are the steps in mediation:
Then mentally chant ‘so’ सो as he breaths in and ‘ham’ हम् as you breath out. Think as if the breath itself is making the sounds सो हम् . (I am That spirit) Mentally visualize the breath going in and going out though the nostril. Be alert and feel the sensation creaed by the breath in the body as you watch the breath. Do not try to control or lead the breath. Just watch mindfully the movement of breath. Direct the will towards the thought of merging yourself into the infinite space. If your mind wanders away from the breath, start all over again. Be regular and persist in spite of initial failures.
Yogadharana meditation continued ओमित्येकाक्षरं ब्रम्ह व्याहरन्मामनुस्मरन् ।यः प्रयाति त्यजन्देहं स याति परमां गतिम् ॥८: १३॥
ōmityēkākṣaraṁ brahma vyāharanmāmanusmaran |
yaḥ prayāti tyajandēhaṁ sa yāti paramāṁ gatim ||8 -13||
ओम् इति ऎकाक्षरम् ब्रम्ह व्याहरन् माम् अनुस्मरन् ।
यः प्रयाति त्यजन् देहम् सः याति परमाम् गतिम्
ओम् -om इति -thus एकाक्षरम् –single sillabled ब्रम्ह -brahman व्याहरन् -uttering माम् -me अनुस्मरन् -remembering यः –who, Nishkama Omkara upasaka प्रयाति –departs, treavels त्यजन् -leaving देहम् –body सः -he याति – attains परमाम् -supreme गतिम् –goal -kramamukti
….uttering the one syllable Om, the holy word of Brahman, and remembering Me (the spirit) at the time of his final exit from the body, reaches the highest goal.
ओम् इति ऎकाक्षरम् ब्रम्ह व्याहरन् माम् अनुस्मरन् ।
Yogananda: This verse refers to the last memoments of the yogi who meditates on he monosyllable Om. It is a representative symbol of God.
प्रतीमा आलम्बनम् –Ikons with hands and faces and
प्रतीक अलम्बनम् –without any figurative form
So the word me or ’ माम्’ refers to Formles God wthout
ओम् इति एकाक्षरम् ब्रम्ह -One should meditate on the single syllable word Brahman. The lord says elsewhere that he
himself is OM.
महर्षीणां भृगुरहं गिरामस्म्येकमक्षरम् । यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि स्थावराणां हिमालयः ॥१०:२५॥
The sound of ‘OM’ or ‘AUM’ is a combination of three
primary sounds: A, U, and M. It is the source of all sounds one can utter. Therefore, it is the fittest sound symbol of Spirit. It is also the primeval impulse that moves our five nerve centers that control bodily functions. Yogananda calls ‘AUM’ the Sound of the vibration of the cosmic motor. This cosmic sound vibration is heard by yogis as a sound, or a
mixture of sounds,of various frequencies.
The Bible says: In the beginning was the word (OM, Amen,
Allah) and the word was with God, and the word was God (John 1.01).
यः प्रयाति त्यजन् देहम् सः याति परमाम् गतिम् –He who leaves the body (uttering OM) and swelling in me on my absoulte aspect reaches the supreme goal.
I am easily attainable by one who always thinks of me continuouslyअनन्यचेताः सततं यो मां स्मरति नित्यशः ।तस्याहं सुलभः पार्थ नित्ययुक्तस्य योगिनः ॥८: १४॥
ananyacētāḥ satataṁ yō māṁ smarati nityaśaḥ |
tasyāhaṁ sulabhaḥ pārtha nityayuktasya yōginaḥ ||8 -14||
अनन्यचेताः सततम् यः माम् स्मरति नित्यशः ।
तस्य अहम् सुलभः पार्थ नित्ययुक्तस्य योगिनः
अनन्यचेताः –with the mind not thinking of any other object सततम् -always यः -who माम् -me स्मरति -remebers नित्यशः –daily तस्य –of him अहम् -me सुलभः –easily attainable पार्थ –O partha नित्ययुक्तस्य –eversteadfast, by abhyasa or practice,
ever knows his priority in life योगिनः –of yogi
O Partha,( Arjuna)!I am easily attainable by that ever-steadfast yogi, who always thinks of nothing but Me; daily and continuously.
अनन्यचेताः सततम् यः माम् स्मरति नित्यशः ।
अनन्यचेताः –the mind not thinking of anything else. अन्य means other अनन्य therefore denotes not anything other. That means only God.चेत- is mind चेताः –means one having such a mind. Man gives away his mind to so many people; to some beloved ones, some to money, some to vocation etc. The lord wants nothing but our consistent mind. Even as a ship steers to any side, the magnetic compass always shows northerly direction. Similarly a devotee’s mind is ever
present in awareness of self. सततम् –means always; shows without break. नित्यशः dail;y. माम् स्मरति -remembers Me. It shows that the Lord speaks about rembering him as निराकर निर्गुण, formless, without. Love towards God is for ever. It is not by fits and starts. It must become a habit.
तस्य अहम् सुलभः पार्थ नित्ययुक्तस्य योगिनः
For such a person O Arjuna!, I am easily attainable.
“Swamiji, I am practising meditation for over 12 year, how long should I continue”, a devotee asked Ramana. “As long as you do not feel that I am meditating”, replied the saint. The meditation should become an effortless, natural phenomenon.
After reaching me there is no further rebirthsमामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयमशाश्वतम् ।नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिं परमां गताः ॥८: १५॥
māmupētya punarjanma duḥkhālayamaśāśvatam |
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ ||8 -15||
माम् उपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयम् अशाश्वतम् ।
नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिम् परमाम् गताः
माम् –to me उपेत्य –having attained पुनः –again जन्म –birth (पुनर्जन्म -finitude) दुःखालयम् –the house of greif ; temple of grief अशाश्वतम् –non-eternal, impermanent न -not आप्नुवन्ति –get महात्मानः –the mahatmas (noble) परमाम् -highest संसिद्धिम् –to perfection गताः –having reached. They have accomplished realization
After reaching me, the noble souls incur no further rebirths in this miserable and transitory world because they have
attained the highest perfection (Moksha).
माम् उपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयम् अशाश्वतम्
The great souls who have attained the ultimate union with the transcendental spirit , escape the karmic requirement of rebirth, their goal of life being achieved.
न आप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिम् परमाम् गताः –The yogis who have reached the highest perfection of God-realization through meditation. Then there is no need for him to do any sadhana.
Yogananda adds: “the striving yogis should pragmatically view this world as a school. The highest lesson set for each man is the realization that he is not a mortal, beset by pain and mutability, but a free son of God. The good student who is successful in the tests of earthly life and who ‘passes the final examination’ has no need to return for further instruction. He has earned the divine Ph.D.”
All worlds including Brahma’s are subject to the cycles of births and deaths. After redemption, this cycle comes to an end. आब्रह्मभुवनाल्लोकाः पुनरावर्तिनोऽर्जुन ।मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते ॥८: १६॥
ābrahmabhuvanāllōkāḥ punarāvartinō:’rjuna |
māmupētya tu kauntēya punarjanma na vidyatē ||8 -16||
आब्रह्मभुवनात् लोकाः पुनरावर्तिनः अर्जुन ।
माम् उप्देत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनराजन्म न विद्यते
आब्रह्मभुवनाल्लोकाः –up to the world of Brahma 14 Lokas लोकाः –the worlds पुनरावर्तान्तिनः –subject to return अर्जुन –O Arjuna माम् –to me उपेत्य –having reached तु -but कौन्तेय –O son of Kunti पुनर्जन्मः -rebirth न -not विद्यते -is
All worlds up to and including the world of the creator (Brahma) are subject to repeated birth and death. But after attaining me, O Arjuna! One does not take birth again.
आब्रह्मभुवनाल्लोकाः पुनरावर्तान्तिनः –All worlds up to the world of Brahma are finite and subject to dissolution. Brahma is the four faced deity, who took birth just by conceptualization of God at the begining of creation. It is he who created the world. He is also known as Prjapati, Hiranyagarbha and Sutratma.(प्रजापति, हिरण्यगर्भ, सूत्रात्मा) The uppermost crust of heavenly region forms his abode. It is where the mortals who have reached half way to God Realization go after death sans their physical body. Another opportunity is given to them to get rid of the Karmik bonds, desires and attachments and consciously ascend to the supreme spirit. Otherwise they have to come back to mortal world.
According to the Vedic scriptures, there are fourteen worlds in our universe. Seven planes of existence beginning with earth and higher —bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, swaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyaḥ. The higher planes are the celestial abodes called the Swarga. The remaining seven planes that are lower than earth are the hellish abodes called narak. These are —tal, atal, vital, sutal, talātal, rasātal, pātāl. Similar references are made by other religions as well. Islam mentions the seventh sky or the sātvāñ āsmān as the highest of the seven heavens. The Talmud, the book of Jewish law and theology, has also enumerated seven heavens, the highest being Araboth.
पुनरावर्तान्तिनः means subject to return. The noble who go to heavenly abode have to return to the world after thier merit is consumed. The sinners also have to come back to the world either in human form or as lesser cratures.
Raghaveshananda: Life is a journey. Since birth we are on the move. We do not know how long? The destination is death. We are doing the rounds of journey for many births. This journey cannot be canecelled. All other travels can be stopped or postponed. Forgetting this fact, we are deeply
entagled in the material world. How long this cycle of birth and death continues? Till we get realization. Bhagavad Gita recommends surrender to the Lord. If we have faith in Lord love for him fallows. From love comes peace. From peace comes self-realization. A life without love for God is like a boat without the boatsman.
Ramakrishna: A criminal was awared jail for 20 years. He was put into a cell and guarded by policemen. He was transferred thrice to different jails. There also was his cell and police . At the end of his term, he was set free. Then there was no
police or cell. Now he is free. Similarly, we are put into a bondage of life because of our karmas. Like the criminal changed his jail, we also change our body. We are the guests of the police called karma. We can hope to become free only when we get God-realization.
माम् उपेत्य पुनर्जन्मः न विद्यते -If the yogi has reached the spirit consciousness his union is final.
Brahmaji’s day and nightसहस्रयुगपर्यन्तमहर्यद्ब्रह्मणो विदुः ।रात्रिं युगसहस्रान्तां तेऽहोरात्रविदो जनाः ॥८: १७॥
sahasrayugaparyantamaharyadbrahmaṇō viduḥ |
rātriṁ yugasahasrāntāṁ tē:’hōrātravidō janāḥ ||8 -17||
सहस्रयुगपर्यन्तम् अहः यत् ब्रह्म्णः विदुः ।
रात्रम् युगसहस्रान्ताम् ते अहोरात्रविदः जनाः
सहस्रयुगपर्यन्तम् –ending in a thousand yugas (aeons) अहः -day यत् -which ब्रह्मणः –of Brahmaji विदुः -know रात्रिम् –the night युगसहस्रान्ताम् –ending in a thousand yugas ते -that अहोरात्रविदः –knowers of the day and night जनाः –people
They are the true knowers of “day” and night”who understand the day of Brahma, which endures for a thousand cycles (Yugas-eons), and the night of Brahma, which also endures for a thousand cycles.
सहस्रयुगपर्यन्तम् अहः यत् ब्रह्म्णः विदुः ।
युग –Yuga or an eon. There are four yugas viz. Satyayuga, Tretayuga, Davapara Yuga and Kali Yuga (सत्ययुग, त्रेतायुग, द्वापरयुग, and कलियुग). Four yugas are called mahayuga. These are the terrestrial Yuga. A Brahma yuga is said to be of 1000 mahayugas or 4.32 billon years. This is Brahmaji’s night. Another 1000 mahayuga represents Brahmaji’s day. The life of brahma’ji is 100 years. It is said that brahmaji is 51 years old.
There is a funny storey. Once a man called Brahmaji over telephone. He rquested for silly boons. The Brahmaji said, “please wait for a while”. The man waited for several years. Still Brahmaji did not respond.
रात्रम् युगसहस्रान्ताम् ते अहोरात्रविदः जनाः
The Brahma’s night or the cosmic night is called pralaya (प्रलय) or dissolution. A man who thus knows that Brahma loka is also transitory is real knower of reality.
The process of cyclic creation and dissolutionअव्यक्ताद्व्यक्तयः सर्वाः प्रभवन्त्यहरागमे ।रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते तत्रैवाव्यक्तसंज्ञके ॥८: १८॥
avyaktādvyaktayaḥ sarvāḥ prabhavantyaharāgamē |
rātryāgamē pralīyantē tatraivāvyaktasaṁjñakē ||8 -18||
अव्यक्तात् व्यक्तयः सर्वाः प्रभवंति अहरागमे ।
रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते तत्र एव अव्यक्तसंज्ञके
अव्यक्तात् –from the unmanifested व्यक्तयः –the manifested, things and beings of creation सर्वाः -all प्रभवन्ति -proceed अहरागमे –at the coming of the day रात्र्यागमे –at the coming of night for Brahmaji प्रलीयन्ते –all the individuals are dissolved तत्र -there एव -verily अव्यक्तसंज्ञके –to a state of unmanifested
All manifestations come out of the subtle body of Brahma at the dawn of his day. (Creative Cycle); at the dusk of Brahma’s night, all creations merge into the subtle body of Brahmaji known as unmanifest (destructive cycle).
अव्यक्तात् व्यक्तयः सर्वाः प्रभवंति अहरागमे At the dawn, all
creations emanate from the unmanifest. Vyakti, (व्यकि) means manifest . It stands for all perceivable things. Its plural is व्यक्तव्यः That includes the creations that can be perceived, human beings, manes, beasts, birds etc. When the Lord says that the manifested rise from the unmanifested, what he means is that Brahma is not creating anything new. The
subtle bodies of the jivas merged in him in the previous night emanate from him at dawn. Laya or merging does not mean destruction, it becomes unseen. When salt dissolves in water it becomes invisible. The water vapour become invisible in the sky. With rainfall it becomes vyakta. Therefore it can be said that Brahma did not create the cosmos out of nothing. He created it from avyakta. This hypothesis negates the
Buddhist concept of creation from shunya or “nothing”
रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते तत्र एव अव्यक्तसंज्ञके -At the dusk they merge into the same subtle body of Brahmaji. अव्यक्तसंज्ञके -That which is called unmanifested; goes to invisible condition —
cyclic states of manifestation and unmanifestations. This is the storey of one day and one night of Brahma. Cyclic form of manifestation and unmanifestation.
The multitude of beings come into existence again and again at dawn of each day of Brahmajiभूतग्रामः स एवायं भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते ।रात्र्यागमेऽवशः पार्थ प्रभवत्यहरागमे ॥८: १९॥
bhūtagrāmaḥ sa ēvāyaṁ bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyatē |
rātryāgamē:’vaśaḥ pārtha prabhavatyaharāgamē ||8 -19||
भूतग्रामः स एव अयम् भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते ।
रात्र्यागमे अवशः पार्थ प्रभवति अहरागमे
भूतग्रामः –multitude of beings सः -that एव -verily अयम् -this भूत्वा- भूत्वा –being born again and again प्रलीयते -dissolves रात्र्यागमे –at the coming of night अवशः –the helpless पार्थ- Arjuna O son of Pritha प्रभवति –comes forth अहरागमे –at the coming of day
O Son of Pritha (Arjuna), the same multitude of beings come up into existence again and again at the arrival of the
creative cycle and are annihilated inevitably at the arrival of destructive cycle.
भूतग्रामः –the township of beings. This refers to sentinent as well as insentient beings which merge with the unmanifest at the fall of night and rise again at cosmic dawn. They are all destined to be born taking suitable bodies according to their vasanas. The merging with unmanifest does not confer on them immunity from rebirth. Because it is no liberation; it is just a sort of hybernration.
Beyond the avyakta there is imperishable vyakta or parabrhamnaपरस्तस्मात्तु भावोऽन्योऽव्यक्तोऽव्यक्तात्सनातनः ।यः स सर्वेषु भूतेषु नश्यत्सु न विनश्यति ॥८: २०॥
parastasmāttu bhāvō:’nyō:’vyaktō:’vyaktātsanātanaḥ |
yaḥ sa sarvēṣu bhūtēṣu naśyatsu na vinaśyati ||8 -20||
परः तस्मात् त्तु भावः अन्यः अव्यक्तात् सनातनः ।
यः स सर्वेषु भूतेषु नश्यत्सु न विनश्यति ॥
परः -higher तस्मात् –than this तु -but भावः -existence अन्यः –another goal अव्यक्तात् –unmanifest matter सनातनः –eternal, not affected by time, (timeless) यः -who सः -that सर्वेषु –in all भूतेषु -beings नश्यत्सु –with destruction of all beings न -not विनश्यति –is destroyed
There is another eternal transcendental existence, higher than the changeable material nature, the true unmanifested, immutable, the Absolute, which does not perish when all created beings perish at the time of cosmic dissolution.
परः तस्मात् त्तु भावः अन्यः अव्यक्तः सनातनः ।
There is another eternal existence higher than the perishable beings (apara prakruti ,अधिभूतम् क्षरः भावः) mentioned in verse Verse 08:04 and 08:18, there is another अव्यक्तः –the unmanifest who is higher, imperishable, controller. The Lord has used the following words to explain the avyakta, the unmanifest who is higher, imperishable, controller.
- अधियज्ञ in verse 08:04
- कविम् पुराणम् अनुशासितारम् – omniscient, ancient, the ruler of the whole world in 08:09 omniscient, ancient, the ruler of the whole world in
- तम् परम् पुरुषम् उपैति दिव्यम् – reaches that resplendent supreme Purusha in 08:10; to describe the unmanifest aspect of God.
While Brahma-ji is insentient, perishable and objective, this
latter unmanifest is eternal, the Lord, Controller, and
supervisor of the farmer.
यः सः सर्वेषु भूतेषु नश्यत्सु न विनश्यति -This eternal,
unmanifest does not perish although all beings perish. सर्वेषु भूतेषु –“All beings” indicates the multitude of embodied
beings , both sentient and insentient, who appear during
Brahma’s day and disappear during Brahma’s night. Being
divested of their gross and subtle bodies they remain in the primordial prakriti or undifferentialed Maya during final dissolution.
Focussed bhakti leads to the supreme goal of realizationअव्यक्तोऽक्षर इत्युक्तस्तमाहुः परमां गतिम् ।यं प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम ॥८: २१॥
avyaktō:’kṣara ityuktastamāhuḥ paramāṁ gatim |
yaṁ prāpya na nivartantē taddhāma paramaṁ mama ||8 -21||
अव्यक्तः अक्षरः इति उक्तः तम् आहुः परमाम् गतिम् ।
ययम् प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमम् मम ॥
अव्यक्तः –the unmanifested consciousness or Chaitanya अक्षरः –imperishable, timeless इति -thus उक्तः -called तम् -that आहुः –they say परमाम् –the highest गतिम् –goal, beyond time and space यम् -which प्राप्य –having reached न -not निवर्तन्ते -return तत् –that consciousness धाम -swaroopa परमम् -highest मम -my
The aforesaid unmanifested, the immutable absolute, is thus defined as the supreme Goal. It is my supreme Abode; those who attain it undergo no more rebirth.
अव्यक्तः अक्षरः इति उक्तः तम् आहुः परमाम् गतिम् ।
The aforesaid unmanifested, the immutable absolute, is thus defined as the supreme Goal
अव्यक्तः -unmanifested अक्षरः –imperishable these words refer to the same supreme resplendent Purusha
परमाम् गतिम् – that is my supremje goal. It should not be confused that god lives at one particular happy palace. He is
present everywhere as consciousness. It is his divine state.
ययम् प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमम् मम ॥
those who attain it undergo no more rebirth. तत् धाम परमम् मम Supreme Goal. Refers to liberation or God Realization which is the highest goal of man. It should not be confused as specific place as kailasa or Vaikuntha. Just as a roasted seed does not germinate again, the jiva who has been liberated has no rebirth.
That supreme unmanifested can be reached by exclusive devotion.
He is all pervading and indweller of all beings
पुरुषः स परः पार्थ भक्त्या लभ्यस्त्वनन्यया ।यस्यान्तःस्थानि भूतानि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ॥८: २२॥
puruṣaḥ sa paraḥ pārtha bhaktyā labhyastvananyayā |
yasyāntaḥsthāni bhūtāni yēna sarvamidaṁ tatam ||8 -22||
पुरुषः सः परः पार्थ भक्त्या लभ्यः तु अनन्यया ।
यस्य अन्तःस्थानि भूतानि येन सर्वम् इदम् ततम् ॥
पुरुषः –purusha, the absolute truth, consciousness सः -that परः -highest पार्थ –O son of Pritha भक्त्या –by devotion लभ्यः -attainable तु -verily अनन्यया –without another object (unswerving) यस्य -whose अन्तःस्थानि –dwelling within भूतानि -beings येन –by whom सर्वम् -all इदम् -this ततम् –pervaded
O son of Pritha (Arjuna)! That supreme unmanifested is reached by exclusive devotion. The entire universe is
pervaded by him and he is the supreme abode of all
An answer to two questions have been explained in this verse.
- Where is God? He is everywhere. You have just to search for him. Bhakta Prahlad also experienced this. He is like clay who is available in every part of the pot.
- How can we obtain him? He is attainable by exclusive devotion
पुरुषः सः परः पार्थ भक्त्या लभ्यः तु अनन्यया -That supreme unmanifested can be reached by exclusive devotion. The
supreme unmanifested Pursuha mentioned here is the same as the all-pervading ‘Adhiyajyna” aspect of God. Adhiyayjna is the all pervasive inner witness which dwells in the body. We have already studied this aspect verse 8:04 quoted below.
अधियज्ञोऽहमेवात्र देहे देहभृतां वर ॥८:४॥
We have studied the Adhiyjna aspect of God in verses 8, 9, 10 and 20 of this chapter. That supreme Pursuha can be reached by unswerving, exclusive devotion. The formless God with attributes, the adhiyajnya aspect can be realized by devotees who practice unswerving exlusive devotion. What is not अन्य is अनन्य. Here the devotee is convinced that God is not
different from him and his own self is the repository of God’s spirit. He practices exclusive devotion to God. It consists of surrendering everything to almighty; remining supremely contented at His despensations. He constantly thinks of
nothing but Him 24×7. He always contemplates on His
virtues, essence and nature. The devotee gets absorbed in the object of his worship and speedily obtains the nature of His existence. In the height of devotion, diffeence between the devotee and object of devotion gets merged.
This answers the second question How can we obtain God?
यस्य अन्तःस्थानि भूतानि येन सर्वम् इदम् ततम् ॥
The entire universe is pervaded by him and he abides in the body of all beings. This answers the first question “Where is God”.
There are two paths available to yogis; the Path of ascention or liberation and the path of descention or rebirth. यत्र काले त्वनावृत्तिमावृत्तिं चैव योगिनः ।प्रयाता यान्ति तं कालं वक्ष्यामि भरतर्षभ ॥८: २३॥
yatra kālē tvanāvr̥ttimāvr̥ttiṁ caiva yōginaḥ |
prayātā yānti taṁ kālaṁ vakṣyāmi bharatarṣabha ||8 -23||
यत्र काले तु अनावृत्तिम् आवृत्तिम् च एव योगिनः ।
प्रयाताः यान्ति तम् कालम् वक्ष्यामि भरतर्षभ ॥
यत्र =where काले –in time (route) तु- verily अनावृत्तिम् –non-return, infinite goal (karma mukti) आवृत्तिम् –return (finite goal-loka rapti) च -and एव -even योगिनः –yogis, the travellers प्रयाताः -travelling यान्ति –go to तम् -that कालम् –time (routes) वक्ष्यामि –I shall tell you भरतर्षभ –O Chief of Bharatas
I shall declare to you O Prince of the Bharatas! The time at which if the Yogis leave their body they will not be born again and also when if they die they will be born again.
It is made clear in verse 8.26, that one’s final destination and the corresponding path leading to the destination has to be earned and may have nothing to do, directly, with the time of death. Eligibility to tread the path, and not the time of departure, as is sometimes commonly misunderstood, determines the path of departure.” (International Gita Society pdf)
The word kala काल referred to in this verse means the path traversed by the dead person but not the time to death.
यत्र काले तु अनावृत्तिम् आवृत्तिम् च एव योगिनः
Yogis leave their body they will not be born again and also when if they die they will be born again. Shankaracharya says: The phrase यत्र काले, the time at which should be read with प्रयाताः -travelling (प्रयाण) stated in the second line.
There are two paths of dissention or return to the body or rebirth, and the path of ascension or liberation of the body.
The word योगिनः apply to two types righteous people. They are निष्काम कर्मयोगी and सकाम कर्मयोगी. Among these, the first type reaches the Brhama Loka and the second one reaches the heaven as will be explained in the next two verses.
अग्निर्ज्योतिरहः शुक्लः षण्मासा उत्तरायणम् ।तत्र प्रयाता गच्छन्ति ब्रह्म ब्रह्मविदो जनाः ॥८: २४॥
agnirjyōtirahaḥ śuklaḥ ṣaṇmāsā uttarāyaṇam |
tatra prayātā gacchanti brahma brahmavidō janāḥ ||8 -24||
अग्निः र्ज्योतिः अहः शुक्लः षण्मासा उत्तरायणम् ।
तत्र प्रयाताः गच्छन्ति ब्रह्म ब्रह्मविदः जनाः ॥
अग्निः -fire ज्योतिः -light अहः -day शुक्लः –the bright fortnight षण्मासाः –six months उत्तरायणम् –northern path of the sun तत्र -there प्रयाताः -departed गच्छन्ति -go ब्रह्म –to Brahman (krama mukti) ब्रह्मविदः –knowers of the Brahman, sagauna brahman upasaka, God with attribute जनाः -people
The brahma jnyani, who follows the path of agni, jyoti, day time, Shukla paksha, and six month of uttarayana finally reach Brahman.
This is the course of travel taken up by knowers of Brahman ब्रह्मविदः. But this ticket is not available for karmis-ritualists and jnyani. It is only for Upasaka (ब्रह्मविदः)
Spiritually there are four types of men.- Paramarthananda
- कर्मातीत (जीवन्मुक्त) – They are the worshippers of formless attributeless Ishwara. (निर्गुण निराकार स्वरूप) They are living God. Their karmas and vasanas are burnt by their realization of God. With the termination of the body, their goal is reached. They become one with God. They need not go to any other worlds.
- निष्काम कर्मयोगी –In order to realize God’s blessing they perform selfless service. The have ended all attachments to body and material objects. They worship God with attributes ( सगुण साकार स्वरूप) or God with form ( सगुण निराकार स्वरूप).
They have achieved single pointed devotion to God, and purity of mind. They are not liberated with the termination of body. Their soul travels to Brahmaloka by the highway of Devayana. There, they revel in Brahman and at the time of dissolution they too are liberated alongwith the four-faced Brahma. They have no rebirth. This path is also called the path of light, or the path of Moksha. krama mukti (क्रम मुक्ति)
- 3. सकाम कर्मयोगी –They are the worshippers of God with form and attributes. They also do service of people but with
material selfish interest. They avoid sinful acts and proscribed acts. At the termination of the body, they reach the Pitr Loka taking the gateway of pitryana. This world is called Swarga or heaven. They are provided with all material enjoyments there. They return to mortal world as soon as their credit of punya or merit becomes zero. This is the path of coming and going also called by synonyms the path of darkness.
- कर्मभ्रष्ट –the sinners. They are the two legged animals. They do not care about dharma or karma; sin or merit . They need not go to higher world. At the termination of their body they transmigrate to a lowers animal like a bird or a beast.
Tickets for Inter-world travel is available only for Nishkama Karmayogi and Sakama karma yogi. The Lord calls both of them as yogis. Hence in order to be specific we shall use the words Nishkama karma yogi and Sakama karma yogi.
अग्निः ज्योतिः अहः शुक्लः षण्मासाः उत्तरायणम् –Fire, Light, (अग्निः ज्योतिः=अग्निर्ज्योतिः some people read this as a single word in which case it means fire God) daytime, the bright half of the lunar month, the six months of northern solstice; this is the path walked by yogis who have known Brahman. The six milestones are all effulgent in nature. Each of them is governed by a deity. Thus there is a deity for fire, light, daytime etc. They have their own borders and realm of action.
The deity of fire has suzerainty extending to the terrestrial globe including the ocean and his job is to carefully protect and hand over the departed soul travelling the northerly path to the next deity viz. light. If the yogi dies during night, he keeps him as night-watchman till the day breaks and hands over to the deity of light.
The deity of light hands over the departed soul to the next in the relay race Viz, the deity of day time. The deity of daytime is brighter than the deity of light. His jurisdiction extends to the entire Bhuloka including atmosphere, stratosphere, Mesosphere etc. His function includes to receive the soul from the light-God and hand over to the next in line viz. the deity presiding over the bright fortnight. Shukla is the deity presiding over the bright fortnight. His jurisdiction extends beyond the spheres of earth and covers the entire region lying between the earth and heaven. His function is to reach the sadhaka expired in bright fortnight to the very limit of his jurisdiction viz, the deity of northerly Solstice. His command extends to the area where the sun shines for as many as six months of the human calendar and the nights too are of the same length. He hands over the soul to the deity of year.
Attendents of the supreme God collect the soul from the sun god.
This path of assention to the higher is called Archiradi marga or fire path. अर्चि means fire. So अर्चिरादि मार्ग means fire path. This path is also called as देवयान, उत्तरायण or शुक्लगति.
धूमो रात्रिस्तथा कृष्णः षण्मासा दक्षिणायनम् ।तत्र चान्द्रमसं ज्योतिर्योगी प्राप्य निवर्तते ॥८: २५॥
dhūmō rātristathā kr̥ṣṇaḥ ṣaṇmāsā dakṣiṇāyanam |
tatra cāndramasaṁ jyōtiryōgī prāpya nivartatē ||8 -25||
धूमः रात्रिः तथा कृष्णः षण्मासाः दक्षिणायनम् ।
तत्र चान्द्रमसम् ज्योतिः योगिः प्राप्य निवर्तते ॥
धूमः -smoke रात्रिः -night तथा -and कृष्णः –the dark fortnight षण्मासाः –six months दक्षिणायनम् –the southern path of the sun तत्र –there, travelling by second path or Krishna marga चान्द्रमसम् –lunar (swarga loka) ज्योतिः -light योगी –the yogi the ritualist or karmi practitioners who have not done Upasana प्राप्य –having attained निवर्तते -returns
The other path in which the yogi travels are stationed the deities presiding over smoke, night-time, dark fortnight, and six months of the southern course of the sun. The yogi finally reaches the Moon, the lunar light and then returns to the earth (after enjoying the heavens).
The destination of righteous persons, who work to enjoy the fruits of their labor, is described in the above verse. Those who leave the world after spending their lifetime in doing good and performing rituals and worship to enjoy the results so accrued, travel by the southern path. This path is presided over by the Moon God, representing the world of matter and sense enjoyment.
Those who qualify for this path, after death, reach the
celestial ruler of smoke, from there to the celestial ruler of the night, from there to the celestial ruler of the dark
fortnight, from there to the celestial ruler of the six months during which the sun travels southwards, and from there to heaven. Such yogis return to the mortal world, after enjoying heavenly pleasures for a period of time, when the fruits of their virtuous deeds are exhausted.
This path starts with smoke or धूमः and is therefore called the path of smoke. (धूमादि मार्ग). Synonyms for this path are: the path of darkness (क्रष्णगति) the path of return, the path of ignorance, the path of ancestors (पित्रयान मार्ग), and the path soutdhern Solstice (दक्षिणायण मार्ग).
Yogananda gives a word of caution for literal interpretation of these two verses:
“It does not mean that the yogi must die in day time, as well as in a luminous fortnight occuring within the six months period of northern passage of sun, is senseless. An illuminated yogi leaves his body at any time he chooses during the day or night, the bright or the dark lunar fortnight, the northern or the southern course of the sun. He does not have to consult the brainless stars for an auspicious hour. Since time began, never has there been an “inauspicious” hour for a man to awake from delusion! “
The way of light leads to release (salvation) and
the way of darkness leads to rebirth.
शुक्लकृष्णे गती ह्येते जगतः शाश्वते मते ।एकया यात्यनावृत्तिमन्ययावर्तते पुनः ॥८: २६॥
śuklakr̥ṣṇē gatī hyētē jagataḥ śāśvatē matē |
ēkayā yātyanāvr̥ttimanyayāvartatē punaḥ ||8 -26||
शुक्लकृष्णे गती हि ऎते जगतः शाश्वते मते ।
एकया याति अनावृत्तिम् अन्यया आवर्तते पुनः ॥
शुक्लकृष्णे –bright and dark (devayana or the path of Gods, and pitrayana or the path of manes) गती – paths हे -verily एते -these two जगतः –of the world शाश्वतः –eternal मते –are consdered एकया –by one (Shukla gati) याति –goes, reaches Kramamukti अनाव्रत्तिम् –the supreme state from which there is no return अन्यया –by another (Krishna path) आवर्तते –one comes back to this mortal world from swarga loka पुनः -again
These two paths, the path of light (spiritual practice and self knowledge) and the path of darkness (materialism and ignorance) for exiting from this world are considred as eternal. The way of light leads to release (salvation) and the way of darkness leads to rebirth.
शुक्लकृष्णे गती ह्येते जगतः शाश्वते मते –the path of light and the path of darkness existed for all beings for time without beginning and shall never cease to exist. That is why they are called eternal. (शाश्वतः) Even though during final dissoloution these two paths along with all the world merge into God. But they are created again when there is a new creation.
The Lord who used the word काल to indicate the path now uses the word गती or the path. It indicates that the time of death is not important. What is important is the path in which one travels after death.
The path which leads to the supreme abode of God is full of light and heavenly in character. The deities who preside over these paths are effulgent. The men who traverse in this path are illuminated by the light of wisdom. Hence this path is called the path of light. They reach Brahman.
On the otherhand the path which leads to celestial regions including the Brahmaloka or the abode of Brahma is dark; their deities too are dark, and those who depart by this remain deluded by ignorance. Hence this path is named dark path.
एकया याति अनाव्रत्तिम् -By one meaning the bright path reaches the supreme abode of God from which has no return. The path of no return includes attainment of salvation during life as well as from the Brahmaloka.
अन्यया आवर्तते पुनः –The world attained through dark path are subject to appearance and disappearance. Because these worlds are finite and perishable.
Those who do not qualify for the two paths mentioned in verses 24 and 25, transmigragte into lower wombs such as animals and insects. The immortal soul wanders endlessly through the ocean of transmigration made of 8.4 billion species of life on this planet.
One should know the bright and dark paths of exit.
नैते सृती पार्थ जानन्योगी मुह्यति कश्चन ।तस्मात्सर्वेषु कालेषु योगयुक्तो भवार्जुन ॥८: २७॥
naitē sr̥tī pārtha jānanyōgī muhyati kaścana |
tasmātsarvēṣu kālēṣu yōgayuktō bhavārjuna ||8: 27||
न ऎते सृती पार्थ जानन् योगी मुह्यति कश्चन ।
तस्मात् सर्वेषु कालेषु योगयुक्तः भव अर्जुन ॥
न –not एते -these two सृती two paths पार्थ -O son of Pritha (Arjuna) जानन् – knowing योगी –the yogi मुह्यति – gets deluded कश्चन –anyone तस्मात् -therefore सर्वेषु –in all कालेषु –times योगयुक्तः -steadfast in yoga (saguna ishwara Upasaka) भवार्जुन – become Arjuna
Knowing these two paths O Son of Pritha (Arjuna), no yogi is ever deluded (into following the way of darkness). Therefore O Arjuna! At all times maintain yourself firmly in yoga.
न एते सृती पार्थ जानन् –knowing these two bright and dark paths. The yogi who performs religious acts or worships Gods with interested motive leaves this world by the dark path,
attains celestial abode where he enjoys the fruit of his action and at the end returns to this earth. The karmayogi devoted to disinterested action or worship, as well as the jnanayogi who renounces the sense of doership, both depart by the bright path to reach the supreme abode of God never to
return. Realization of this truth is called न एते सृती पार्थ जानन्.
योगी न मुह्यति कश्चन – The yogi is never deluded into following the way of darkness.These include getting attached to any form of enjoyment.
तस्मात्सर्वेषु कालेषु योगयुक्तो भवार्जुन –Therefore at all times be steadfast in yoga. Do not over emphasize whether you die in dark fortnight or bright fortnight. Your endeavour should be to remain constantly in a state of yoga; the mind stationed in Brahman (आत्म योग, परमात्म योग).
Advantages of knowing both paths of exitवेदेषु यज्ञेषु तपःसु चैव दानेषु यत् पुण्यफलं प्रदिष्टम् ।अत्येति तत्सर्वमिदं विदित्वा योगी परं स्थानमुपैति चाद्यम् ॥८: २८॥
vedeShu yaj~jeShu tapaHsu caiva dAneShu yat puNyaPalaM pradiShTam |
atyeti tatsarvamidaM viditvA yogI paraM sthAnamupaiti cAdyam ||8: 28||
वेदेषु यज्ञेषु तपःसु च एव दानेषु यत् पुण्यफलम् प्रदिष्टम् ।
अत्येति त सर्वम् इदम् च विदित्वा योगी परम् स्थानम् उपैति च आद्यम् ॥
वेदेषु – in the Yajnas यज्ञेषु – in the sacrifices तपःसु – in austerities , vows-vratam च – and एव – also दानेषु – in charities यत् – whatever पुण्यफलम् – fruit of merit, reward प्रदिष्टम् – has been declared (in the scriptures) अत्येति –goes beyond, transcends तत् – that सर्वम् –all इदम् – this profound truth विदित्वा –realizing योगी – the yogi the saguna iswara Upasaka परम् –supreme स्थानम् – abode उपैति – attains च –and आद्यम् – beginingless
He who knows the profound truth about the two paths transcends all the rewards ascribed in the scriptures for the study of Vedas, as well as the performance of sacrifice,
austerities and charties and attains the beginingless
वेदेषु यज्ञेषु तपःसु चैव दानेषु यत् पुण्यफलं प्रदिष्टम् -Arjuna had asked seven questions. These are, please tell me what is that Brahman (the eternal being). What is Adhyatma (Spirit) and what is Karma (action)? What is Adhibhutam (Matter) and what is termed as Adhidaiva (divine intelligence). In the concluding verse Krishna asks, “did you get reply to your questions? Now listen to the rewards one gets by following my advice.
A yogi who constantly applies himself, with reverence and devotion in the realization of profound truth discussed in this chapter transcends the rewards obtained by the study and practice of scripturtes . He goes beyond the benefit of undertaking the sacrifices such as Ashwamedha Yaga. He attains more than what he gets by undertaking severe austerities. The charities such as gift of food, gift of learning, gift of land etc are all philanthropic acts. A yogi who practices the truth said in this chapter transcends these rewards begotten by
altruism. It is indeed difficult to practice all the four above stated acts. One gets a reward more than these four.
अत्येति तत् सर्वम् इदम् विदित्वा योगी परम् स्थानम् उपैति च आद्यम् –the yogi goes beyond the rewards and attiains the beginingless supreme abode of Brahman. Realization of God is the supreme goal of all.
ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रेश्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे अक्षरब्रह्मयोगो नामाष्टमोऽध्यायः ॥८॥
Thus, in the Upanishad of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, in the science of the Eternal, in the scripture of Yoga, in the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna, the Eigth discourse entitled The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
Summary of 8th chapter
Chapter 8 Akṣaraparabrahma-yoga अक्षरब्रह्म योगः
Lord Kṛṣṇa concluded the seventh chapter by gloriying jñāni-bhakta as one who knows Brahman. Aadhyātma, Karma, Adhibūta and Adhidaiva. That means the jñani knows the complete nature of God consisting of para ānd aparā- prakṛti. He remembers God at the time of death also.
With a desire to understand the above new terms, Arjuna asks seven questions to kṛṣṇa . The eighth chapter begins with these seven questions — the first six dealing with the six terms beginning with Brahman and the last one dealing with the thought of a person at the time of death (Verses 1, 2).
Lord Kṛṣṇa answers — Brahman is the imperishable Truth. Adhyātma (or jiva ) is the same Brahman dwelling in the individual equipments or body. Karma refers to all actions which are the cause for the birth of all beings (Verse 3).
Adhibhūta is the entire perishable, inert universe. Adhidaiva is the Hiraṇyagarbha who blesses the organs of of all beings. Adhiyajña is the Lord as the presiding deity of all the actions of the individual (Verse 4).
From the 5th verse till the end of this chapter, Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborately answers the last question of Arjuna i.e. , how to remember the Lord even at the time of death. The predominant thought-pattern at the time of death, determines the place of the rebirth as well as the type of rebirth (Verse 6) . Hence, if a person yearns for the Lord at the time of death, his rebirth will be conducive for the pursuit of the Lord in which he will naturally be successful Verse (Verse 5). It is said that those who are desireless saguṇa-upāsakas will go to Brahmaloka . They will attain liberation by gaining knowledge from Brahmāji , the creator himself. This is called krama-mukti . It should be remembered that the thought pattern at the time of the death is determined by the predominant thought pattern throughout one’s life. Hence, Kṛṣṇa asks us to remember God all the time so that we will remember Him at the time of death as well (Verse 7). Though it may appear difficult, one can succeed in this by constant effort and
sincere practice (Verse 8).
From the Verse 9th to the 13th, Kṛṣṇa describes elaborately the practice of upāsanā at the time of death. One should control the organs of perception as well as action. Then by the skill of yoga -practice, prāṇa has to be withdrawn (through the suṣumnā-nāḍī ) to the top of the head between the eyebrows. Then, he should withdraw the mind back to the heart, its source. With such a mind he should meditate on oṅkāra or any chosen deity with all devotion. He attains God who is omniscient, eternal, the ruler, subtler than the subtlest, the sustainer of all, incomprehensible, effulgent, and beyond
ignorance. All scriptures talk about Him alone. All
dispassionate seekers reach Him alone. All disciplines are for attaining Him. He is the ultimate goal of an upāsakas. For a person who is sincerely committed to the practice of
meditation of God and whose devotion is undivided, God is easily attainable (Verse 14).
Then the Lord compares two types of goals, God and the world. Nobody can put an end to the cycle of birth by reaching higher lokas (worlds) or by acquiring better bodies. Even Brahmāji , the creator himself, who has the longest duration of life (his day being two thousand catur- yuga s) cannot be free from finitude. Then what to talk of all other things and beings which appear during the day of Brahmā and disappear during his night? Hence all the lokas and achievements therein are finite. God is the only eternal and changeless principle. (Verses 16. 17)
Now Kṛṣṇa discusses the two paths that lead to the two goals which are subject to non-return and return. An upāsaka attains krama-mukti by departing through the bright-path (śukla-gati) which is presided over by the deities of fire, day, bright-fortnight and uttarāyaṇam . (He goes to Brahmaloka gains Self-knowledge from Brahmā and becomes liberated.) Ritualists go by the dark-path (kṛṣṇa-gati ) which is presided over by the deities of smoke, night, dark-fortnight and dakṣiṇāyanam . They come back after enjoying in the heavens Verse 23 to 26). Since the bright path takes one to God, one should choose that alone. To take to that path one should become an upāsaka . Hence Kṛṣṇa advises Arjuna to be committed to upāsanā (Verse 27).
Concluding the topic, Kṛṣṇa glorifies the result of upāsanā as superior to all other results gained through all pursuits;
Because, they cannot take one to that supreme goal of God. Naturally an upāsaka becomes jñāni-bhakta. He is liberated in this very life. He has no travel plans. This aspect of jīvanmukti was talked in the seventh chapter and will be continued from the ninth chapter. If upāsanā does not take one to guru and śāstra he continues to be self-ignorant. He is not liberated in this life. But he travels by the bright-path to Brahmaloka .
Instructed by Brahmā the creator himself, he becomes jñāni-bhakta and is ultimately liberated. This is called krama-mukti which is discussed in the eighth chapter.Thus upāsanā is useful for jīvanmukti as well as krama-mukti .)
Bhagavān says that the worship is the simplest for a niṣkāma-bhakta . He can offer anything. The attitude is important (26). Even if that is not possible, one should convert every action into worship by (mentally) offering it at the feet of the Lord (27). Such a Bhakta is a karmayogī (because he continues to act with equanimity) as wella sa sannyāsī (because he renounces the concern for the results). He becomes purified and liberated soon by getting the teaching of scriptures through a guru (28).
Kṛṣṇa concludes this topic by re-emphasizing that He is
available to all. It is for us to claim Him or not (29).
In the last five verses Kṛṣṇa glorifies Bhakti. The greatness of Bhakti is that even those who are not qualified for self-knowledge because of their past sins, weaknesses, extrovertedness, or dullness can take to Bhakti and achieve the goal. Thus, Bhakti is universal. The devotee will never perish. In conclusion, Kṛṣṇa sums up the pursuit of Bhakti thus — “Fix your mind on Me; be My devotee; keep Me as your goal; be my worshiper; surrender to Me. Thus fixing the mind, you will attain me alone, who am the Self.”
Here, we should note that Bhakti — whether it is taken as constant love of God or meditation on saguṇa-īśvara, cannot directly take one to the goal. It can take one to a guru only. One has to gain Self-nowledge by the study of scriptures
under a guru. This alone can lead one directly to liberation.