SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER EIGHT
The Merciful Absolute
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: (he) purusottama–O Purusottama, Supreme Person; kim–what is; tat–that; brahma–Brahman? adhyatmam kim–What is adhyatma, the soul? karma kim–What is karma, action? cha–And; kim proktam–what is; adhibhu tam–adhibhuta, the worldly plane? kim (cha) uchyate–and what is; adhidaivam–adhidaiva, the celestial plane? (he) madhusudana–O Madhusudana; atra dehe–within the body; kah adhiyajnah–who or what is adhiyajna, the agent of sacrifice? katham–How; (sthitah)–is He present; asmin (dehe)–in this body? katham cha–And how; (tvam) jneyah asi–are You to be known; prayana-kale–at the time of death; niyataatmabhih–by persons of controlled mind?
1-2 Arjuna inquired: O Supreme Person, what is Brahman, and what is the soul? What is action and what is the worldly plane? What is the celestial plane? O Madhusudana: within the body, who is the agent of sacrifice, and how is He present? And how are You to be known by the self-controlled at the time of death?
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: brahma–Brahman; uchyate–means; aksaram paramam–the imperishable Absolute. adhyatmam–The individual soul; (uchyate)–refers to; svabhavah–the pure spiritual nature. karma–Action; samjnitah–means; visargah–the creative force (or offerings to a demigod); bhuta-bhava-udbhavakarah–which manifests the bodies of the human and other species of life through the agency of gross and subtle material elements.
3 The Supreme Lord spoke thus: It is said that Brahman is the Imperishable Absolute, and the soul is the living being's own pure spiritual nature. By action is meant the creative force (or offerings by charity, sacrifice and austerity, etc., to a demigod), manifesting, through the gross and subtle elements, the bodies of the human and other species of life.
adhibhutam ksaro bhavah, purusas chadhidaivatam
(he) deha-bhrtam vara–O best of embodied beings, Arjuna; adhibhutam–worldly existence; ksarah–is the perishable; bhavah–existence. adhidaivatam–Celestial existence; purusah–is the collective universal form, in which are contained the demigods, headed by the solar gods; cha–and; aham eva–I, indeed; atra dehe–within this body; adhiyajnah–am the Lord of sacrifice in the form of the Supersoul, the sanctioner and rewarder of the (sacrificial etc.) actions of the living beings.
4 O Arjuna, best of beings, the worldly plane means that which is perishable (such as the body). The celestial plane is the collective universal form which encompasses and governs the demigods; and I am the Lord of sacrifice, present as the Supersoul within the bodies of all living beings, as the sanctioner and rewarder of their actions (of sacrifices, etc.).
anta-kale cha mam eva, smaran muktva kalevaram
anta-kale cha–At the time of death; yah–one who; smaran–thinks; mam eva–only of Me; muktva–when leaving; kalevaram–the body; prayati–departing this world; sah–he; yati–attains to; mat-bhavam–My nature. na asti–There is no; samsayah–doubt; atra–in this respect.
5 One who thinks of Me at the time of death attains to My nature on departing this world. Of this there is no doubt.
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam, tyajaty ante kalevaram
(he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; (yah)–one who; tyajati–leaves; kalevaram–the body; smaran–remembering; yam yam va api–whatever; bhavam–object; ante–at the time of death; eti–he attains; tam tam eva–to that very object; tat-bhava-bhavitah–having absorbed his mind in thought of it; sada–constantly.
6 O son of Kunti, one who has always thought of a particular object will remember it and attain to it after leaving the body.
tasmat sarvesu kalesu, mam anusmara yudhya cha
tasmat–Therefore; anusmara–remember; mam–Me; sarvesu kalesu–at all times; cha–and; yudhya–fight, execute your natural duty. arpita-manah-buddhih–Offering mind and intelligence; mayi–unto Me; eva–certainly; esyasi–you will reach; mam–Me. asamsayah–There is no doubt; (atra)–in this.
7 Therefore always remembering Me, fight, as it is your natural duty. Thus dedicating your mind and intelligence to Me, you will reach Me. Of this there is no doubt.
abhyasa-yoga-yuktena, chetasa nanya-gamina
(he) partha–O son of Prtha; anuchintayan–thinking at every moment; divyam–of the effulgent; paramam purusam–Supreme Person; na anya-gamina chetasa–by an undeviating mind; abhyasa-yoga-yuktena–engaged in yoga practice; (yogi)–the yogi; yati–reaches; (tam eva)–that Supreme Person.
8 O Partha, the yogi who practises meditation with an undeviating mind, always thinking of the effulgent Supreme Person, reaches Him.
kavim puranam anusasitaram
yah–One who; prayana-kale–at the time of death; achalena manasa–with an unflickering mind; yoga-balena–by strength of yoga practice; bhaktya yuktah–being constantly engaged in smaranam, devotional remembrance; samyak avesya cha–and fully concentrating; pranam–the life-force; bhruvoh madhye–between the eyebrows; anusmaret–meditates on; (param purusam)–the Supreme Person; kavim–the all-knowing; puranam–beginningless; anusasitaram–merciful teacher of devotion unto Himself; anoh-aniyamsam–who is more subtle than the atom; sarvasya dhataram–(yet) the support of all existence; achintya-rupam–and of aprakrta or supramundane form–medium-sized—of human feature; aditya-varnam–possessing a radiant form, which, like the sun, illuminates both Himself and others; tamasah parastat–and is transcendental to material nature; eva–certainly; sah–that person; upaiti–reaches; tam–that; divyam–effulgent; param–Supreme; purusam–Person.
9-10 He, the Supreme Person, is the all-knowing, beginingless, merciful teacher of devotion unto Himself. Although more subtle that the atom, He is the infinite support of all existence. His form is supramundane, that is, of a humanlike feature, yet He is self-illuminating and all-illuminating like the sun. He is transcendental to illusion. One whose mind is fully focused by strength of yoga practice, who continuously remembers Him with devotion, and who at the time of death establishes the life-force between the eyebrows (at the ajna-chakra) with full concentration, thinking of Him, reaches the effulgent Supreme Person.
yad aksaram veda-vido vadanti
sangrahena–Along with the method of attaining it; (aham)–I; pravaksye–shall describe; te–to you; tat padam–that objective; yat–which; veda-vidah–the learned knowers of the Vedas; vadanti–call; aksaram–the imperishable, Omkara, denoting Brahman; yat–which; vita-ragah–the desireless; yatayah–ascetics; visanti–enter; ichchhantah–and aspiring to reach; yat–which; (brahmacharinah)–the brahmacharis, celibate seekers of the Absolute; charanti–maintain; brahmacharyam–the vow of celibacy.
11 Along with the method of attaining it, I shall describe to you that objective which the learned knowers of the Vedas call Om, the Imperishable, within which the desireless ascetics enter, and which the devout seekers aspire to reach by practising the vow of celibacy.
sarva-dvarani samyamya, mano hrdi nirudhya cha
samyamya–Controlling; sarva-dvarani–all the gateways of the senses—stopping them from accepting the objects of the senses; nirudhya–steadying; manah–the mind; hrdi–within the heart; adhaya cha–and establishing; pranam–the vital life-air; murdhni–between the eyebrows; asthitah–remaining; yoga-dharanam–in samadhi through the practice of dharana, yogic concentration; atmanah–on the spiritual self; vyaharan–and uttering; om iti–thus, Om; eka-aksaram–the monosyllable; brahma–sound vibration of Brahman; anusmaran mam–in full remembrance of Me; sah yah–he who; deham tyajan–leaving the body; prayati–thus departs; yati–attains; paramam gatim–the supreme goal—the spiritual plane or salokya-mukti.
12-13 Controlling all the gateways of the senses, holding the mind steady within the heart, establishing the life-force between the eyebrows and fully absorbing the thoughts in the spiritual self, one who at the time of leaving the body vibrates the monosyllable Om and departs the world in consciousness of Me, reaches the transcendental world.
ananya-chetah satatam, yo mam smarati nityasah
(he) partha–O Partha; yah–one who; ananya-chetah–one-pointedly (without the practices of karma, jnana, etc., or without desiring their objectives of heaven, liberation, etc.); satatam–in all circumstances; nityasah–always; smarati–remembers; mam–Me; tasya yoginah–for such a person in a relationship of dasya, sakhya, etc.; nitya-yuktasya–who constantly aspires for My divine association; aham–I; sulabhah–am easily reached.
14 O Partha, a person who one-pointedly remembers Me always, in all circumstances, and who, in his relationship with Me (in servitude, friendship, etc.) constantly aspires for My divine association—I am easily reached by such a devotee.
mam upetya punar janma, duhkhalayam asasvatam
mahatmanah–The great souls; gatah–who have attained; paramam samsiddhim–the highest perfection, My association in My pastimes; upetya–having reached; mam–Me; na apnuvanti–do not take; punah–again; janma–a birth; asasvatam–of impermanence; duhkhalayam–which is the abode of suffering.
15 The great souls who become My associates in My divine pastimes, having reached Me, are never again born into transitory existence, which is the abode of suffering.
abrahma-bhuvanal lokah, punar avartino 'rjuna
(he) arjuna–O Arjuna; abrahma-bhuvanat–from Brahmaloka, the highest plane in the universe, downwards; lokah–all planes or their residents; punah avartinah–by nature repeatedly return; tu–but; (he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; mam upetya–reaching Me, atttaing My shelter; na vidyate–there is no; punah janma–rebirth.
16 O Arjuna, from the plane of Lord Brahma downwards, all planes or their residents are subject to return. But, O Kaunteya, there is no rebirth after reaching Me.
sahasra-yuga-paryantam, ahar yad brahmano viduh
te janah (ye)–Those who; viduh–know; brahmanah–Lord Brahma's; ahah–day; yat–which; sahasra-yuga-paryantam–comprises the duration of one thousand chatur-yugas; ratrim–and (his) night; yuga-sahasra-antam–of the duration of one thousand chatur-yugas; ahah-ratra-vidah–are knowers of day and night.
17 A day of Lord Brahma lasts for one thousand chaturyugas* and his night is of the same duration. Persons who know this have the true conception of day and night.
*One yuga (age) in the time calculation of the demigods equals the four yugas or one chatur-yuga in the time calculation of man, or 4,320,000 years.
avyaktad vyaktayah sarvah, prabhavanty ahar-agame
ahah-agame–With the coming of (Lord Brahma's) day; sarvah vyaktayah–universal progeny with their bodies, senses, enjoyable objects and abodes; prabhavanti–are born; avyaktat–of Lord Brahma in his waking state; (punah)–and again; ratri-agame–with the coming of night; praliyante–they are absorbed; tatra eva–within Lord Brahma; avyakta-samjnake–who is known as avyakta, 'the unmanifest.'
18 With the coming of day, the universal progeny with their bodies, senses, enjoyable objects and abodes are born of Lord Brahma in his waking state; and at nightfall, they are again absorbed into Lord Brahma, who is known as 'the unmanifest.'
bhuta-gramah sa evayam, bhutva bhutva praliyate
(he) partha–O Partha; avasah (san)–helplessly; being subject to the law of karma; ayam sah eva bhuta-gramah–the multitude of beings; bhutva bhutva–being repeatedly born; ahah-agame–with the coming of the day of Lord Brahma; praliyate–disappear; ratri-agame–at nightfall; prabhavati–and are born; (punah ahah-agame)–with a new day.
19 O Partha, the multitude of beings are helplessly (subject to the law of karma) born again and again. With the coming of Lord Brahma's night they are absorbed, and with the coming of his day they are again born.
paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo, 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah
tu–But; parah–beyond, superior; tasmat avyaktat–to this unmanifest Hiranyagarbha ('born within the golden egg, the universe'), Lord Brahma; (asti)–is; anyah–another; avyaktah–unmanifest, imperceptible, transcendental; sanatanah–beginningless; bhavah–existence: sah yah–He who; na vinasyati–is not destroyed; sarvesu bhutesu nasyatsu–when all beings are destroyed.
20 But superior to this unmanifest (Lord Brahma) there is another unmanifest, and that existence is beginningless and transcendental to the perception of the living beings. He is not destroyed when all beings are destroyed.
avyakto 'ksara ity uktas, tam ahuh paramam gatim
(sah)–He; uktahiti–is said to be; avyaktah aksarah (cha)–the Unmanifest and the Invincible. (vedantah)–The Upanisads; ahuh–proclaim; tam–Him; paramam gatim–the supreme destination; yam prapya–reaching whom; (jivah)–the living beings; na nivartate–do not return. (viddhi)–Know; tat–that as; mama–My; paramam dhama–supreme abode.
21 He is said to be the Unmanifest and the Invincible, proclaimed (by the Upanisads) to be the supreme goal, reaching whom one does not return to this world. Know that destination to be My supreme abode.
purusah sa parah partha, bhaktya labhyas tv ananyaya
(he) partha–O Partha; (aham)–I; sahparah purusah–the Supreme Person; antah–within; yasya–whom; bhutani–all beings; sthani–are situated; yena–and by whom; idam–this; sarvam–whole universe; tatam–is pervaded; labhyah (bhavami)–am attainable; ananyaya bhaktya tu–only by exclusive devotion.
22 O Partha, I, the Supreme Person, within whom all beings are situated and by whom this whole universe is pervaded, am attainable only by exclusive devotion.
yatra kale tv anavrttim, avrttim chaiva yoginah
(he) bharatarsabha–O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas; (aham)–I; vaksyami–shall now describe; tam kalam eva–that moment; yatra kale tu–when; prayatah–death occurs; yoginah–the yogis; yanti–attain; anavrttim–liberation; avrttim cha–or rebirth.
23 O Bharatarsabha, now I shall describe to you the circumstances in which the yogis attain either liberation or rebirth at the moment of death.
agnir jyotir ahah suklah, san-masa uttarayanam
(yatra)–The path on which; agnih jyotih–the deities of fire and light; ahah–the deity of day; suklah–the deity of the waxing moon; uttarayanam sat-masah–and the deity of the sun's six-monthly northern ascent; (avasthitah)–preside; brahma-vidah janah–the knowers of Brahman; prayatah–going, i.e. leaving the body; tatra–on that path; gachchhanti–attain; brahma–Brahman.
24 Upon leaving the body, the knowers of Brahman attain Brahman via the path of fire, light, day, the waxing moon and the sun's northern ascent.
dhumo ratris tatha krsnah, san-masa daksinayanam
(yatra)–The path on which; dhumah–the deity of smoke; ratrih–the deity of night; krsnah–the deity of the waning moon; tatha sat-masah daksinayanam–and the deity of the sun's six-monthly southern ascent; (avasthitah)–preside; yogi–the (karma-) yogi; (prayatah)–who goes; tatra–on that path; prapya–reaching; chandramasam jyotih–Svarga-loka, the heavenly plane; nivartate–returns—undergoes rebirth.
25 Upon leaving the body, the karma-yogi reaches the heavenly plane via the path of smoke, night, the waning moon and the sun's southern ascent, but returns to undergo rebirth.
sukla-krsne gati hy ete, jagatah sasvate mate
ete–These; gati sukla-krsne–two paths, bright and dark; jagatah–of the world (where persons are apt to follow the paths of jnana and karma); mate–are considered; sasvate hi–perpetual. ekaya–By one; anavrttim–liberation; yati–is attained; anyaya–by the other; punah avartate–one returns, is reborn.
26 These two paths of the world, the bright and the dark, are accepted as being perpetual. By the bright path liberation is attained and by the dark path one is reborn.
naite srti partha janan, yogi muhyati kaschana
(he) partha–O Partha (Arjuna); janan–knowing; ete–this; srti–pair of paths; kaschana yogi–any (bhakti-) yogi (one engaged in the devotional service of the Lord); na muhyati–is not deluded. tasmat–Therefore; (he) arjuna–O Arjuna; sarvesu kalesu–always; bhava–be; yoga-yuktah–engaged in yoga.
27 O Partha, the devotee (bhakti-yogi) who knows these bright and dark paths is not deluded. Therefore, O Arjuna, be ever fixed in transcendental, exclusive devotion.
vedesu yajnesu tapahsu chaiva
viditva–Knowing; idam–this; My supremacy and the supremacy of My devotion; yogi–the yogi, the devoted soul; atyeti–transcends; tat sarvam punya-phalam–all those fruits of piety; vedesu–achieved by chanting the Vedas; yajnesu–performing sacrifice; tapahsu–performing austerity; danesu eva cha–and performing charity; yat–which; pradistam–have been mentioned in the scriptures; cha–and; upaiti–attains; param–the supreme; adyam–original; sthanam–place.
28 Thus knowing of My glories and the glories of devotion for Me, the devoted soul, surpassing the scripturally cited fruits of piety achieved by chanting the Vedas and performing sacrifice, austerity and charity, attains My supreme, holy abode.
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Eight
The Merciful Absolute
from the conversation
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