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#Gita Chapter 08 (English translation)

November 23, 2017

Acknowledgements, Translation Notes, and Vocabulary Notes

Chapter 8

 

YOGA OF IMPERISHABLE BRAHMAN–AKSHARA BRAHMA YOGA

 

Arjuna speaks: (referring to the last two verses of Chapter 7)

What is Brahman? What is adhyaatma? What is karma, Purushottama (the best among men, Sri Krishna)? What is adhibhuta? And what is adhidaiva? II8.1II

 

How and who is adhiyajna in this body, Madhusudhana (Sri Krishna)? At the time of death, how does he who has learned self-control come to the knowledge of the Supreme? II8.2II

 

Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks: (in response to Arjuna’s questions)

Brahman is that Imperishable Consciousness. Adhyaatma is that Consciousness when it enlivens the individual soul. That selfless-effort (of the individual soul) which causes the genesis and sustenance of beings is called karma (action). II8.3II

 

Adhibhuta pertains to the elements (earth, water, fire, air, space–of which all matter is made) that are perishable. Adhidaiva pertains to the divinities which pervade the individual and make him function at the physical level. I alone am that adhiyajna, which propels the spirit of selfless-effort in a man. II8.4II

 

And at the time of death, anyone who departs, giving up the body while thinking only of Me, he attains My state. There is no doubt about this. II8.5II

 

Whatever a man thinks about at the time of leaving the body, to that alone he goes, Kaunteya (Arjuna), because he is engrossed in that thought. II8.6II

 

Therefore, at all times, keep Me in your thoughts, even when you fight (this battle at hand). The mind and intellect that are surrendered to Me will, without a doubt, come to Me alone. II8.7II

 

He whose mind does not wander, and who is engaged in constant meditation, attains the Supreme. II8.8II

(Closely verbatim to Purohit Swami.)

 

(Change in poetic metre)

Whosoever meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, more minute than the atom yet the Upholder of the universe, of inconceivable form, effulgent like the sun, and beyond the darkness (of ignorance) … II8.9II

 

… at the time of death, he who places his vital energy between his brows with the power of meditation, and keeps his mind unmoved and filled with devotion, he attains the Supreme. II8.10II

 

I will speak to you briefly of that which the knowers of the Vedas declare as Imperishable, desiring which people practice celibacy and entering into which the self-controlled are freed from attachment. II8.11II

 

(Change in poetic metre)

Controlling all the gates of the body (see 5.13), restraining the mind in the heart and fixing the life-breath in the head, established in the practice of concentration … II8.12II

 

… he who departs this body while reciting the single-syllabled Om (Brahman), remembering Me (that which is implied by Om), he reaches the Supreme. II8.13II

 

To him who thinks constantly of Me and nothing else, for that ever-steadfast yogi I am easily attainable. II8.14II

 

As a result of reaching Me, he who has attained the perfection of Liberation does not get another birth, which is the abode of sorrow and is impermanent. II8.15II

 

All realms of creation are subject to rebirth, Kaunteya (Arjuna). But, he who reaches Me has no rebirth. II8.16II

 

Those people who know (the length of) the day-of-Brahma which ends in a thousand yugas (eons), and the night which (also) ends in a thousand yugas, they know day-and-night. II8.17II

(Verbatim from Swami Chinmayananda, The Holy Geeta)

(Note: All that is conditioned by time is impermanent.)

 

With the dawn of day, all manifestation evolves from the unmanifest. With the coming of night, all that is manifested dissolves into the unmanifest. II8.18II

 

The multitudes of beings (that have lived on earth) are born again and again with the dawn of day and are dissolved helplessly when the night approaches. II8.19II

 

Beyond this unmanifest is that immutable Reality, which is not destroyed when all beings are destroyed. II8.20II

 

That which is called Unmanifest and Imperishable is the Highest Goal. Those who reach It do not return. That is My Highest State. II8.21II

 

That Unsurpassable Being (Purusha) that pervades all beings and in which all beings abide can be reached through single-pointed devotion, Partha (Arjuna) II8.22II

 

Bharatarshabha (Arjuna), I will now tell you of the “path of no return” and the “path of sure return”. II8.23II

(Quotes from Swami Chinmayananda, The Holy Geeta)

 

The yogi who goes towards the Supreme with fire, light, day, the bright fortnight (of the waxing moon), and the six months of the northern path of the sun (northern solstice)–he attains Brahman. II8.24II

 

That yogi who treads the path of smoke, nighttime, the dark fortnight (of the waning moon), and the six months of the southern path of the sun (winter solstice) reaches the light of the moon and is sure to return. II8.25II

 

The path of light and the path of darkness have always existed. By the one path, the devotee attains the state of no return. By the other, the devotee is sure to return. II8.26II

 

No yogi becomes deluded knowing these paths. Therefore, be steadfast in yoga at all times, Arjuna. II8.27II

 

(Change in poetic metre)

The yogi who knows this goes beyond all merit that comes from study of the scriptures, from sacrificial rituals, from austerities, from charity and reaches the Supreme. II8.28II

 

Concluding verse:

Om! Such is the Truth in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. This is the knowledge of Supreme Consciousness. It is a scripture of union; a dialogue between Sri Krishna (the teacher) and Arjuna (the student). The eighth discourse ends, titled “Yoga of Imperishable Brahman–Akshara Brahma Yoga”.

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