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Adhyaya 8 : Akshara Brahma Yga

 Introduction

The Lord is continuing his discourse on Dnyn which is direct and immediate intuitive knowledge of the Absolute as well as ViDnyn which deals with nature of phenomenal world of matter. Metaphysical terms like Brahman, Adhyatma, Karma, Adhibhuta, Adhidaiva and Adhiyadnya are briefly explained giving their concise definitions. Different people conceive the idea of the creator differently. Gita’s monastic theory is based on Vedant that propounded one universal principle manifesting in different objects through its divine power. Diversity is a manifestation and Absolute behind it is the origin. 8th Adhyya clarifies the important aspects of Indian system of cosmology.

Verses 1 to 4

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to explain to him what is meant by Brahma and Adhyatma. What is Karma ? What is said to be Adhibhuta and Adhidaiva ? Who is Adhiyadnya in this body and how ? And how can the self-controlled men know the Lord at the time of death ?

The Lord explains these terms by giving brief definitions. He defines Brahma as that which is indestructible and independent of any cause, existence by itself. It is the dormant creative force behind all beings and manifestations. It is Absolute, Supreme and Eternal.

Adhyatma is defined as the constant and natural state of Brahman dwelling within the individual being called Atman. It is the Self that stands behind the senses, mind and intellect of an individual.

Karma is defined as the creative activity that is in constant action of sending forth manifestations from the unmanifest Brahman. The divergent universal creation in constant cyclic movement without a doer is what is called Karma.

Adhibhuta is the relative world of our experience taking some forms and names ( Nam Rupa ) and is always perishable. Its existence is transitory. It is born out of the combinations of five elements; earth, water, fire, air, and ether, the body made out of them, and the phenomenal world of matter. It is destructible in nature.

Adhidaiva is in principle Brahman itself but due to ignorance and as if separated from the Absolute Brahman gets deluded by the bodily identity and ego consciousness, takes interest in worldly affairs and experiences joy and sorrow. It is called ‘jiva’. As if it is the deity of a body it is called Adhidaiva. Adhiyadnya is that state of oneness in the Adhidaiva, Adhibhuta and Brahman. It is achieved only after disappearance of ego-consciousness of the self. Everything in this body is Absolute Brahman. Knowledge of this unity is Adhiyadnya.

Verses 5 to 8

Thus explaining the metaphysical terms the Lord answers Arjuna’s last question How are you revealed to the self controlled at the hour of death.

" He who remembering Me alone at the time of death discarding his body, quits this world becomes one with my nature. There is no doubt about this.

Because while quitting the body whatever a man remembers due to his life long interests he achieves that state only due to his constant absorption in it.

Therefore Arjuna is advised to engage in fight, always remembering the Lord. When his mind and intellect are concentrated on the Lord, he is sure to attain Him without a shadow of a doubt.

One who constantly contemplates on the Supreme Lord by engaging his mind in the practice of meditation without causing any distraction, certainly reaches the divine.

For one’s liberation, the Lord emphasises on the prolonged and non - wavering, constant devotion to Him. The last minute - repentance will not do.

It is also to be noted that Arjuna is advised to do his duty and not to abandon it. To purify his actions he has to be in God - consciousness. The Lord narrates the process of contemplation.

Verses 9 to 16

One who meditates on Him, who is the omniscient, the ancient among all, the ruler of the universe, the smaller than the smallest, the sustainer of all, whose form can not be conceived, dazzling like the Sun and who is beyond the darkness.

At the time of death while leaving this world, steadying his mind through devotion and by the power of Yga and fixing his life - breath between his eyebrows who follows this attains the divine and supreme personality of the Lord.

The Lord intends to enlighten Arjuna about that state described as the Imperishable by the learned in Vedas, entered into by the great sages of non attached character and for the attainment of which one practices celibacy.

Leaving his body he who quits this world by closing all the gates of the senses, holding the mind firmly into his heart, fixating the life force between his eyebrows, chanting the sacred syllable om, the symbol of Brahman, concentrating through Yga and constantly remembering the Lord, reaches the Supreme goal.

With undistracted mind when a ygi constantly meditating on the Lord always remembers Him, The lord is easily attainable by that Yga.

These great souls who have the highest perfection after attaining the Lord, do not get the rebirth which is a home of sorrows and is transitory in nature.

The Lord clarifies further that all the world right from the heavenly place of Brahma the creator, to the worlds of lower plane are subject to rebirth. Only by reaching the Lord one escapes rebirth.

Verses 17 to 22

The Lord now describes the cycle of universal creation with its time duration.

The men who understand that the day of Brahma, the procreator is of thousand aeons and his night also is of thousand aeons long, they are the knowers of day and night.

At the dawn of the day all the entities come forth into manifestations fromthe unmanifest and with the arrival of night all are dissolved into the same state known as the unmanifest.

The same swarm of creatures successively coming into being gets, helplessly, dissolved with the fall of night and return back to manifestations with the arrival of the day.

The unmanifest, the source of all creation in this context is known as Prakriti. The Lord brings out distinct features of Avyakta Prakriti and Avyakta Brahman.

But behind this unmanifest there is another higher unmanifest which is eternal. Existence and which does not get perished even after all creation is destroyed.

It has been called ‘imperishable Unmanifest, Avyakta Akshar. It is also called as the supreme destination. Those who reach It never return. That is his highest abode. That Supreme Lord in whom all creatures exist and by whom this universe is pervaded can only be attained through unswerving devotion to Him alone.

Verses 22 to 26

The Lord continues the topic by detailing the paths of return and no return available to yogis as per the time of their deaths. Knowers of Brahman who quit this world by the path that covers the fire, the light, the day, moon’s bright fortnight and six monthly journey of the sun to the North reach the Brahman the Absolute.

Whereas the ygi who quits this world during the time that covers the smoke, the night, moon’s dark fortnight and the six monthly journey of the sun to the south availing the lunar light return back to birth in the end.

The path of light and the other of darkness; these are considered to be two eternal paths of this world. He who takes the first does not return back, but who takes second returns back.

Here the Lord symbolically presents the spiritual truth using the opposite states of light and darkness suggesting there- by the power of knowledge and the evil of ignorance that play their parts in one’s life in granting liberation or bondage respectively. The Lord then concludes:

Ygi who understands these two paths never gets deluded. Hence Arjuna is advised to be always in unitive knowledge of Brahman.

Ygi knowing all this wisdom goes beyond the fruits of merits earned by studying Vedas, performing ritualistic sacrifices, practising penance and giving alms etc. He reaches the highest abode which is the origin of everything.

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