The Bhagvadgita

Chapter VIII: Akshara Brahma Yoga (The Yoga of Indestructible Brahma)  

1                    Arjuna said: Krsna, what is Brahma, what is Adhyatma, and what is Karma (action)? What is called Adhibhuta and what is termed as Adhidaiva?

2                    Krsna, what is Adhiyajna here and how does it dwell in the body? And how are You to be realized at the time of death by those of steadfast mind?

3                    Sri Bhagvan said: The Supreme Indestructible is Brahma; one’s own self (the Jivatma) is called Adhyatma; and the discharge of spirits (Visarga), which brings forth the existence of beings, is called Karma (action).

4                    All perishable objects are Adhibhuta; the Purusa (Brahma) is Adhidaiva; and Arjuna, in this body I Myself, dwelling as the inner witness, am Adhiyajna.

5                    He who departs from the body, thinking of Me alone, even at the time of death, attains My state; there is no doubt about it.

6                    Arjuna, thinking of whatever object one leaves the body at the time of death, that and that alone he attains, being ever absorbed in its thought. (Generally, at the time of death, one is haunted by the thought of that object alone which has mostly engaged his mind during his lifetime; and as a rule, it is the predominating thought of his last moment that determines his future destiny).

7                    Therefore, Arjuna, think of Me at all times and fight. With mind and reason thus surrendered to me, you will doubtless come to Me.

8                    Arjuna, he who with his mind established in Yoga in the form of practice of meditation, and thinking of nothing else, is constantly engaged in contemplation of God, attains the supreme divine Purusa (God).

9                    He who contemplates on the all-wise eternal Being, the ruler of all, subtler than the subtle, the sustainer of all, possessing a Form beyond comprehension, shining like the Sun and far beyond the darkness of ignorance,

10               Having by Yogic power firmly holding the life-breath in the space between the two eyebrows even at the time of death, and then contemplating on God with a steadfast mind, full of devotion, reaches verily that supreme divine Purusa (God).

11               I shall speak to you in brief of that supreme goal (God), which knowers of the Vedas term as the Indestructible, which striving recluses free from attachment enter, and desiring which the celibates practice celibacy.

12               Having restrained all the media of perception, and fixing the mind in the heart, and through the controlled mind fixing the life-breath in the head and remaining steadfast in Yogic concentration on God,

13               he who leaves the body and departs, reciting the one-syllabled Brahma, Om, and dwelling on Me in My absolute aspect, attains the supreme state.

14               Arjuna, he who always and constantly thinks of Me with undivided mind, to that Yogi always absorbed in Me, I am easily attainable.

15               Great souls, who have attained highest perfection, having come to Me, are no more subjected to rebirth, which is the abode of sorrow, and transitory by nature.

16               Arjuna, all the worlds from Brahmaloka (the abode of Brahma) downwards are subject to appearance and disappearance. But, O son of Kunti, on attaining Me there is no rebirth. (For I am beyond Time, and regions like Brahmaloka, being subject to time, are impermanent).

17               Those who know from realization Brahma’s day as extending to a thousand Mahayugas (A Manayoga comprises the four Yugas: Krta, Treta, Dwapara, and Kal), and Brahma’s night as extending to another thousand Mahayugas, they alone know the reality about Time.

18               All embodied beings emanate from the Unmanifest (i.e., Brahma’s subtle body) at the commencement of Brahma’s day; at the commencement of his night, they merge in the same subtle body of Brahma, known as the Unmanifest.

19               Arjuna, this multitude of beings, being born, again and again, under compulsion from Praktri, is dissolved at the commencement of Brahma’s night, and rises again at the commencement of his day.

20               Beyond this Unmanifest, there is yet another eternal Unmanifest, that supremely Divine Substance, which does not perish even though all beings perish.

21               This Unmanifest, spoken of as the indestructible, is called the supreme Goal; that is My supreme Abode, attaining which man does not return.

22               Arjuna, that supreme Purusa in whom all beings reside, and by whom all this is pervaded, is attainable only by exclusive Devotion.

23               Arjuna, I shall now tell you the time (path) departing when Yogis do not return, and also the time (path) departing when they do return. (I shall describe to you both the paths).

24               (Of the two paths) that in which are located the all-effulgent fire-god and the gods presiding over day-time, the bright fortnight, and the six months of the northward course of the Sun, proceeding along it after death, Yogis, who have known Brahma, are successively led by the above gods, and finally reach Brahms.

25               Again, the path in which are located the gods presiding over smoke, night, the dark fortnight, and the six months of the southward course of the Sun – the Yogi (devoted to action with a motive), taking to this path after death, is led by the above gods, one after another, attaining the luster of the Moon (and enjoying the fruit of his meritorious deeds in heaven) returns to this mortal world.

26               These two paths of the world, the bright and the dark, are considered to be eternal. Proceeding by one of them, one reaches the supreme state from which there is no return; and proceeding by the other, one returns to the mortal world, and becomes subject to birth and death once more.

27               Knowing thus the secret of these two paths, O son of Kunti, no Yogi gets deluded. Therefore, Arjuna, at all times be established in Yoga in the form of equanimity (i.e., strive constantly for My realization).

28               The Yogi, knowing this secret, doubtless transcends all the rewards promised in the scriptures, of the study of the Vedas, and of the performance of sacrifices and charities, and attains the supreme eternal state.

Thus, in the Upanisad sung by the Lord, the science of Brahma, the scripture on Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krsna and Arjuna, ends the eights chapter entitled “Akshara Brahma Yoga” (The Yoga of Indestructible Brahma)