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Bhagavad Gītā 8

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Chapter 8


Akṣaraparabrahma Yoga

Union through the imperishable, higher Brahman

(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)

Arjuna said:

What is that brahman? What the over-self [adyātnam]? What is karman? O best of men! And what is the primal being [adhibhūtam] declared to be? What is the primal divine [adhidaivam] said to be? (1)

The primal sacrifice [adhiyajñaḥ]: who [is it] in this body, O Madhusūdhana? And in the time of death, how are you to be known by those of restraint self? (2)

The Holy One said:

Brahman is imperishable and the highest. The primal [or over-] self [adyātman] is said to be the emanation of selfhood [svabhāvo: self-outgrowth]. Karman [action] is understood to be the pouring forth [visargaḥ: out-flowing] causing the production and evolution of beings. (3)

Adhibhūta is perishable [impermanent] nature [bhāvaḥ], and adhidaivata is Puruṣa [man, soul, the universal soul, identified with Nārāyaṇa]; adhiyajña is I myself here in this very body, O best of embodied beings! (4)

He who, with mind on me in the hour of death, proceeds onwards, having cast off the body onwards to my nature [madbhāvam]. There is no doubt of this. (5)

Or, indeed, whatever nature [bhāvam, existence, thing, being], he has his mind on when he abandons the body, to that very one he goes, O son of Kuntī! having continually brooded on it. (6)

Therefore at all times keep your mind on me, and fight. With mind and understanding fixed on me, you shall go to me, there is no doubt. (7)

Mediating, O son of Pṛthā, and with thought disciplined by the practices of yoga and not wandering elsewhere, [a man] goes to the highest divine puruṣa. (8)

He who has his mind on the ancient spirit [kaviṁ: sage, seer, thinker], the ruler, more atomic than the atom, the orderer of all, of unthinkable form, shining like the sun [ādityavarṇam], beyond darkness, [9]

With unwandering mind in the time of death, intent in trust in yoga-power, with the prāṇa properly fixed between the two brows – he passes in that highest divine puruṣa. (10)

What those learned in the Vedas call imperishable, which those who are self-controlled and freed from passion enter into, which those crave who follow the brahmacharya[-life], that condition [padam: position, rank, dignity, seat], I shall declare to you briefly. (11)

He who on abandoning the body, departs, having classed all passages [sarvadvārāṇi saṁyama], and with the mind [manas] confined in the inner faculty [hṛdi]], with his prāṇa] placed in the forehead, and intent on the maintaining of yoga, (12)

Uttering the monosyllable Oṁ! which is brahman, and having the mind on me [mām anusmaran], he [indeed] goes on the highest path. [13]

He who constantly has his mind on me, with this thought continually on nothing else, by that yogin of constant application, O son of Pṛthā, I am easily acquired. (14)

They of great – self [mahātmānaḥ], who have attained to me. Do not undergo rebirth, which is temporary and the womb of sorrow. They have attained perfection. (15)

All worlds [lokāḥ] up to the abode of brahman, O Arjuna, are subject to successive revolutions [punarāvartins]. But having attained to me, O son of Kuntī! rebirth is not known. (16)

They who know that the Day of Brahmā ends after a thousand yugas, and the night after a thousand yugas, are men who know day and night. (17)

From the unmanifest, all manifested things issue forth on the approach of the Day; on approach of the Night, they dissolve away then in what is called the unmanifest. (18)

This same multitude of beings having sprung forth is dissolved on the approach of the Night. Spontaneously, O son of Pṛthā! it springs forth [again] at the approach of Day. (19)

But there is another Principle [bhāvo: existence, nature] which is unmanifest, primeval, beyond the manifested [universe]. It does not vanish when all beings perish. (20)

It is called unmanifest, indestructible. They say it is the highest path. Having attained to it, they return no more. It is my highest mode [condition, state]. (21)

This puruṣa, O son of Pṛthā! is to be attained to by devotion having no other object. All beings abide in the bounds of him by whom all this [universe] is spread forth. (22)

But I will tell you, O Bull of the Bhāratas, in what [points of] time yogins having departed [from the body] enter upon the round of rebirths or don’t so enter. (23)

Fire, light, day, the fortnight of the waxing moon, the six months of the northern course [of the sun], departing [from the body] in these, those who know brahman go to brahman. (24)

Smoke, night too, the fortnight of the waning moon, the six months of the southern course [of the sun], [departing] in these, the yogin having attained the lunar light, returns. (25)

The light and the dark, these two paths, are deemed to be perpetual in the world. By the one he enters the path of no return; by the other he returns again. (26)

Knowing these two paths [roads], O son of Pṛthā! no yogin is ever bewildered. Therefore, O Arjuna, be in all times intent in yoga. (27)

Whatever meritorious fruits [puṇyaphalaṁ: results] have been declared to be in Vedas, sacrifices, religious rites, and in gifts, all of that the yogin knowing this [what has been set forth above], passes by, and goes towards the highest seat, the primeval. (28)


Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā. The eighth

chapter, by name —

Akṣaraparabrahma Yoga

Union through the imperishable, higher Brahman