Arjuna said, “kim tad brahma kim adhyatmam
kim karma purusottama
adhibhutam ca kim proktam
adhidaivam kim ucyate
adhiyajnah katham ko ‘tra
dehe ‘smin madhusudana
prayana-kale ca katham
jneyo ‘si niyatatmabhih – O Supreme Person, what is that Brahman? What is that which exists in the individual plane? What is action? And what is that which is said to exist in the physical plane? What is that which is said to be existing in the divine plane?
O Madhusudhana, how and who, is the entity existing in the sacrifice here in this body? And at the time of death, how are You to be known by people of concentrated minds?”
The Blessed Lord, “aksaram brahma paramam
svabhavo ‘dhyatmam ucyate
visargah karma-samjnitah – The Immutable is the Supreme Brahman; self-hood is said to be the entity present in the individual plane as the indwelling Self. By action, is meant the offerings which bring about the origin of the existence of things.
adhibhutam ksaro bhavah
adhiyajno ‘ham evatra
dehe deha-bhrtam vara – That which exists in the physical plane is the mutable entity, and, what exists in the divine plane is the Person or Purusha. O best among the embodied beings, the entity existing in sacrifices is I Myself, who am that very Visnu who exists in this body.
anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah – And at the time of death, anyone who departs by giving up the body while thinking of Me alone, he attains My state. There is no doubt about this.
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
sada tad-bhava-bhavitah – O son of Kunti, thinking of any entity whichever it may be; one gives up the body at the time of departure, he attains that very entity which he remembered, having been always engrossed in its thought.
tasmat sarvesu kalesu
mam anusmara yudhya ca
mam evaisyasy asamsayah – Therefore, think of Me at all times and fight engaging yourself in war. There is no doubt in this matter that by dedicating your mind and intellect to Me, you will attain Me alone.
paramam purusam divyam
yati parthanucintayan – O son of Prthā, by meditating and contemplating in accordance with the instructions of Gurus, teachers and scriptures, with a mind engaged in Yoga of practice and which does not stray away to anything else, one reaches the Supreme Person existing in the effulgent region.
kavim puranam anusasitaram
anor aniyamsam anusmared yah
sarvasya dhataram acintya-rupam
aditya-varnam tamasah parastat – He who meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, the Eternal, the Ruler and Lord of the Universe, subtler than the subtle, the Ordainer of everything who is of inconceivable form, who is effulgent like the sun and beyond darkness attains the Supreme Person.
bhaktya yukto yoga-balena caiva
bhruvor madhye pranam avesya samyak
sa tam param purusam upaiti divyam – At the time of death, having fully fixed the Prāna between the eyebrows with an unwavering mind and being imbued with devotion as also the strength of concentration reaches that resplendent Supreme Person.
I shall speak to you briefly of That which called Aksaram, the Immutable indestructible Goal to be reached which the knowers of the Vedas declare, into which enter the diligent ones who have become free from attachment and are aspiring to know that Immutable for which they practise celibacy, brahmacaryam. (Here brahmacaryam, can also refer to being in union with Brahman or the Self).
Having controlled all the passages and doors of perception, having confined the mind in the heart and having fixed his own prāna, vital force in the head, he continues in the firmness of Yoga.
om ity ekaksaram brahma
vyaharan mam anusmaran
yah prayati tyajan deham
sa yati paramam gatim – He who departs by leaving the body while uttering the eka-aksaram, the single syllable, om iti brahma, OM which is Brahman thinking of Me attains the Supreme Goal.
yo mam smarati nityasah
tasyaham sulabhah partha
nitya-yuktasya yoginah – O son of Prthā, to that Yogi of constant concentration and single-minded attention whose mind is not drawn to any other object who remembers Me uninterruptedly and for long, I am easy to attain.
mam upetya punar janma
samsiddhim paramam gatah – As a result of reaching Me, the exalted ones who have attained the highest perfection, called Liberation do not get rebirth which is an abode of sorrows and which is impermanent.
O Arjuna, all the worlds together with the world of Brahmā are subject to return. But O son of Kunti, there is no rebirth after reaching Me.
Those people who are knowers of what day and what night are, know that the day of Brahmā ends in a thousand yugas and His night ends in a thousand yugas.
avyaktad vyaktayah sarvah
tatraivavyakta-samjnake – With the coming of day all manifested things that is all creatures characterized as moving and non-moving emerge from the Unmanifested, and when night comes, they merge in that itself which is called the Unmanifested.
O son Prthā, after being born again and again, that very multitude of beings both moving and non-moving disappears in spite of itself at the approach of night. It comes to life verily in spite of itself at the approach of day.
paras tasmat tu bhavo ‘nyo
‘vyakto ‘vyaktat sanatanah
yah sa sarvesu bhutesu
nasyatsu na vinasyati – But distinct from that Unmanifest is the other eternal unmanifest Reality, who does not get destroyed when all beings get destroyed.
avyakto ‘ksara ity uktas
tam ahuh paramam gatim
yam prapya na nivartante
tad dhama paramam mama – He who has been mentioned as the Unmanifest Immutable, they call Him the Supreme Goal. That is the Supreme Abode of Mine reaching which they do not return to the worldly state.
purusah sa parah partha
bhaktya labhyas tv ananyaya
yena sarvam idam tatam – O son of Prthā, that Supreme Superlative Person in whom all beings both moving and non-moving are included and by whom all this is pervaded is indeed reached through one-pointed devotion.
yatra kale tv anavrttim
avrttim caiva yoginah
prayata yanti tam kalam
vaksyami bharatarsabha – O best of the Bharata dynasty, I shall speak now of that time by departing at which the Yogis attain the State of Non-return and also of the time by departing at which they attain the State of Return.
agnir jyotir ahah suklah
tatra prayata gacchanti
brahma brahma-vido janah – Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of the Northern Solstice by following this Path, persons who are brahma-vidah, knowers of Brahman attain Brahman why they die.
dhumo ratris tatha krsnah
tatra candramasam jyotir
yogi prapya nivartate – Smoke, night as also the dark fortnight and the six months of the Southern Solstice – following this Path the Yogis having reached the lunar light returns.
These two courses of the world which are white and black are verily considered eternal. By the one course, a man goes to the State of Non-return and by the other he returns again.
naite srti partha janan
yogi muhyati kascana
tasmat sarvesu kalesu
yoga-yukto bhavarjuna – O son of Prthā, no Yogi whosoever has known these courses becomes deluded. Therefore, O Arjuna, be you steadfast in Yoga at all times.
vedesu yajnesu tapahsu caiva
danesu yat punya-phalam pradistam
atyeti tat sarvam idam viditva
yogi param sthanam upaiti cadyam – Having known this, the Yogi transcends all those results of righteous deeds that are declared by the scriptures with regard to the Vedas, with regard to sacrifices performed together with their accessories and materials, with regard to austerities practised correctly and also with regard to charities and reaches the Primordial Supreme State.
[Chapter 8, Slokas 8.01– 8.28]
Lord Krishna answers the beautiful questions of Arjuna by revealing the very nature of the individual plane, the divine plane, the mutable and immutable and the meaning of action and karma. Lord Krishna reveals that Brahman is Aksharam or Immutable, the entity in the divine plane is the Person or Purusha, the entity in the physical plane is the mutable entity and the indwelling Self is the entity in the individual plane. The entity that exists in sacrifices is the Lord who exists in this body and the offerings made to bring about the existence of beings is action or karma.
Lord Krishna also states that one who departs at the time of death thinking of the Lord alone, will attain the Lord and there is no doubt about this.
Lord Krishna, the Supreme Person speaks about the importance of being engrossed in Him and in His thought at all times as one attains whichever entity he remembers as he leaves the body. Hence, Lord advises Arjuna to think of Him only and engage in the rightful duty because by dedicating his mind and intellect to the Lord, Arjuna will attain the Lord only. Hence, through the Yoga of practice and by meditating with a mind that is steadfast on the Supreme Goal, one reaches that Supreme Person who is the self-effulgent Being.
Lord says that one who has fixed the prāna or the vital force between the eyebrows at the time of departure meditating on the Omniscient, The Eternal, the Lord of the Universe, the subtlest among the subtle, the Sole Doer and Supreme Person attains that resplendent Supreme Person.
Lord Krishna in the above verses reveals the importance of AUM, which is Brahman that is eka-aksaram, or the One Indestructible Immutable Brahman that is easy to attain for one who thinks of the Lord at all times and is in constant meditation and contemplation of the self-effulgent Supreme Person.
Lord Krishna in the above slokas reveals the Supreme Unmanifest Reality that is beyond the Unmanifest and manifested beings that emerge from the Unmanifest and go back verily to the Unmanifest in spite of itself. This is the Supreme Person spoken of by the Lord that is easy to attain for one who constantly thinks of Him and remains in contemplation and meditation of the Supreme Self.
Lord Krishna speaks about the Immutable Supreme Superlative Person that one who has one-pointed devotion attains after which he does not return as he attains the Supreme Abode of the Lord.
Lord Krishna speaks about the importance of practising the Yoga of Wisdom and Yoga of Knowledge while renouncing the fruits of actions and scriptural injunctions, Vedas, austerities, sacrifices and charities to reach the Supreme Primordial State.