8 : Akshara Brahma Yõga
The Lord is continuing his discourse on Dnyãn
which is direct and immediate intuitive knowledge of the Absolute as well as ViDnyãn
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. Gitas 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 Adhyãya
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 Arjunas 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 ones 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 Yõga 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
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 Yõga and constantly
remembering the Lord, reaches the Supreme goal.
With undistracted mind when a yõgi
constantly meditating on the Lord always remembers Him, The lord is easily attainable by
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
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, moons bright fortnight and six monthly journey of the
sun to the North reach the Brahman the Absolute.
Whereas the yõgi who quits
this world during the time that covers the smoke, the night, moons 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 ones life in
granting liberation or bondage respectively. The Lord then concludes:
Yõgi who understands these
two paths never gets deluded. Hence Arjuna is advised to be always in
unitive knowledge of Brahman.
Yõgi 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.