Categories: Hindu Scripture

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8: Akshara Brahma Yoga

In Chapter 8 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna delves into profound teachings about the nature of reality and the spiritual journey. He emphasizes the power of thoughts in shaping our destinies, highlighting the importance of redirecting our focus from material pursuits to spiritual aspirations. By mastering the senses and embracing paths like Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana Yoga, individuals can cultivate a calm mind free from desires, paving the way for meditation and self-realization under the guidance of wise mentors. Krishna also elucidates the cosmic cycle of creation and dissolution, likening it to the cyclical nature of day and night in the realm of Lord Brahma, while affirming Brahman’s transcendence beyond this cosmic rhythm.

Lord Krishna and Arjuna

Moreover, Krishna offers humanity three distinct paths to spiritual evolution: the path of return, wherein desire-driven noble actions lead to heavenly rewards followed by reincarnation; the path of gradual liberation, where sincere spiritual endeavors result in phased liberation through heavenly experiences before attaining higher states of consciousness; and the path of direct liberation, where individuals break free from the cycle of birth and death to achieve ultimate liberation from worldly bondage. These teachings illuminate the transformative journey from worldly entanglement to spiritual liberation, offering seekers profound insights into the nature of existence and the path to transcendence.

Verse 1

Arjuna uvaacha:
kim tadbrahma kimadhyaatmam kim karma purushottama |
adhibhootam cha kim proktamadhidaivam kimuchyate ||

Meaning: Arjuna asked:
What is that Brahma (the Absolute)? What is Adhyatma (the Self)? What is Karma (action), O Supreme Being (Purushottama)? What is declared to be Adhibhuta (the material manifestation)? And what is Adhidaiva (the divine in the manifestation)?

Verse 2

adhiyagnaha katham kotra dehesminmadhusoodana |
prayaanakaale cha katham jneyosi niyataatmabhihi ||

Meaning: Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, O killer of the demon Madhu, how can the Supersoul be understood in the bodies of those who are constantly engaged in devotional service? And how can You be recognized at the time of death by those who are fixed in meditation?

Verse 3

Shree Bhagavan uvaacha:
aksharam brahma paramam svabhaavodhyaatmamuchyate |
bhootabhaavodbhavakaro visargaha karmasamjnyitam ||

Meaning: Shree Bhagavan said: The imperishable Supreme is the ultimate reality, known as the self-nature. The manifestation of beings and their dissolution is called action, termed as creation.

Verse 4

adhibhootam ksharo bhaavaha purushashchaadhidaivatam |
adhiyagnohamevaatra dehe dehabhritaam vara ||

Meaning: The perishable nature is the physical manifestation, the individual soul is the intermediate, and the Supreme Divine Personality is said to be the controller of the body and the soul within.

Verse 5

antakaale cha maameva smaranmuktvaa kalevaram |
yaha prayaati sa madbhaavam yaati naastyatra samshayaha ||

Meaning: Whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

Verse 6

yam yam vaapi smaranbhaavam tyajante kalevaram |
tam tamevaiti kaunteya sadaa tadbhaavabhaavitaha ||

Meaning: Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail, O son of Kunti, because of his constant concentration upon it.

Verse 7

tasmaatsarveshu kaaleshu maamanusmara yudhya cha |
mayyarpitamanobuddhirmaamevaishyasyasamshayam ||

Meaning: Therefore, Arjuna, always remember Me and fight. With mind and intellect surrendered to Me, you will doubtlessly come to Me alone.

Verse 8

abhyaasayogayuktena chetasaa naanyagaaminaa |
paramam purusham divyam yaati paarthaanuchintayan ||

Meaning: By steadfastly practicing meditation on the Supreme, with a mind undistracted, one reaches the divine, transcendental Supreme Personality, O Partha.

Verse 9

kavim puraanamanushaasitaaramanoraneeyaamsamanusmaredyaha |
sarvasya dhaataaramachintyaroopamaadityavarnam tamasaha parastaat ||

Meaning: Remember the divine poet, the most ancient, the ruler of all, who is delightful to the mind. He is the sustainer of all, inconceivable in form, radiant like the sun, beyond the darkness of ignorance.

Verse 10

prayaanakaale manasaachalena bhaktyaa yukto yogabalena chaiva |
bhruvormadhye praanamaaveshya samyak sa tam param purushamupaiti divyam ||

Meaning: At the time of departure, one who, with devotion, engages the mind in constant remembrance of Me, and who with steadfast determination and the power of yoga, fixes the life air between the eyebrows, attains the divine and transcendental Supreme Personality.

Verse 11

yadaksharam vedavido vadanti vishanti yadyatayo veetaraagaahaa |
yadichchanto brahmacharyam charanti tatte padam sangrahena pravakshye ||

Meaning: Whatsoever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.

Verse 12

sarvadvaaraani saiyamya mano hridi nirudhya cha |
moordhanyaadhaayaatmanaha praanamaasthito yogadhaaranaam ||

Meaning: Having restrained all the gates, confining the mind in the heart, drawing the vital air upward to the head, established in meditation on the Supreme Divine, holding the mind steady.

Verse 13

omityekaaksharam brahma vyaaharanmaamnusmaran |
yaha prayaati tyajandeham sa yaati paramaam gatim ||

Meaning: Uttering the single-syllable sacred word ‘Om’, which is the symbol of the Supreme Divine, and remembering Me (the Supreme Being), one who departs, abandoning the body, attains the highest goal.

Verse 14

ananyachetaahaa satatam yo maam smarati nityashaha |
tasyaaham sulabhaha paartha nityayuktasya yoginaha ||

Meaning: O Arjuna, for one who constantly remembers Me with unwavering devotion, I am easily attainable.

Verse 15

maamupetya punarjanma duhkhaalayamashaashvatam |
naapnuvanti mahaatmaanaha samsiddhim paramaam gataaha ||

Meaning: Having attained Me, those great souls who are of a high and exalted nature, do not incur rebirth, which is transient and filled with suffering. They attain the supreme perfection.

Verse 16

aabhramhabhuvanaallokaahaa punaraavartinorjuna |
maamupetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate ||

Meaning: O Arjuna, all the worlds – including the abodes of Brahma and the other gods – are subject to rebirth, but one who attains to Me, O son of Kunti, does not take birth again.

Verse 17

sahastrayugaparyantamaharyadbrahmano viduhu |
raatrim yugasahastraantaam tehoraatravido janaahaa ||

Meaning: By human reckoning, a thousand ages form one day of Brahma, and a thousand ages form one night. The days and nights of Brahma also determine the lifespan of the universe.

Verse 18

avyaktaadvyaktayaha sarvaahaa prabhavantyaharaagame |
raatryaagame praleeyante tatraivaavyaktasangyake ||

Meaning: At the dawn of creation, all beings emerge from the unmanifest; at the dusk of creation, they merge into the unmanifest alone, which is called the state of nonmanifestation.

Verse 19

bhootagraamaha sa evaayam bhootvaa bhootvaa praleeyate |
raatryaagamevashaha paartha prabhavatyaharaagame ||

Meaning: Again and again, when the night of Brahma falls, all manifestations dissolve into the unmanifest, and when the day of Brahma dawns, they reappear.

Verse 20

parastasmaattu bhaavonyovyaktovyaktaatsanaatanaha |
yaha sa sarveshu bhooteshu nashyatsu na vinashyati ||

Meaning: That which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.

Verse 21

avyaktokshara ityuktastamaahuhu paramaam gatim |
yam praapya na nivartante taddhaama paramam mama ||

Meaning: That which the Vedantists describe as unmanifest and imperishable, that which they call the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, they do not return— that is My supreme abode.

Verse 22

purushaha sa paraha paartha bhaktyaa labhyastvananyayaa |
yasyaantahasthaani bhootaani yena sarvamidam tatam ||

Meaning: O Partha, that Supreme Personality is attainable only by unalloyed devotion, which alone He reveals Himself to His devotees, who are constantly engaged in His service, and not to others. By His internal potency, He pervades and sustains all beings.

Verse 23

yatra kaale tvanaavrittimaavrittim chaiva yoginaha |
prayaataa yaanti tam kaalam vakshyaami bharatarshabha ||

Meaning: O best of the Bharatas, I shall now explain to you the different times at which, passing away from this world, one does or does not come back.

Verse 24

agnijyotiraha shuklaha shanmaasaa uttaraayanam |
tatra prayaataa gachhanti brahma brahma vido janaahaa ||

Meaning: Those who know the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth, attain to that Supreme by passing away from the world during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment of the day, during the fortnight of the waxing moon, or during the six months when the sun travels in the north.

Verse 25

dhoomo raatristathaa krishnaha shanmaasaa dakshinaayanam |
tatra chaandramasam jyotiryogi praapya nivartate ||

Meaning: When smokeless light, during the dark fortnight, the six months of the northern solstice, the yogi who perceives such a light reaches the celestial abode

Verse 26

shuklakrishne gatee hyote jagataha shaashvate mate |
ekayaa yaatyanaavrittimanyayaavartate punaha ||

Meaning: The light of the sun, which illumines the whole world, which is present in the moon and in the fire as well, and by which the world is sustained, goes to my abode when the sun sets, as does the light of the moon and fire. When, in one’s current life, he attains to the Brahman, he does not return; but, if one doesn’t, he is again subjected to the cycle of birth and death.

Verse 27

naite srutee paartha jaananyogee muhyati kashchana |
tasmaatsarveshu kaaleshu yogayukto bhavaarjuna ||

Meaning: A person engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore, strive for yoga, O Arjuna, which is the art of all work.

Verse 28

vedeshu yajneshu tapahasu chaiva daaneshu yatpunyaphalam pradishtam |
atyeti tatsarvamidam viditvaa yogee param sthaanamupaiti chaadyam ||

Meaning: When the yogi understands that the results of all virtuous activities mentioned in the Vedas, sacrifices, austerity, and charity come to him alone, and thus he attains the supreme transcendental position.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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