Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Venkatesaya  

The Song of God - Swami Venkatesananda enlarged 4th edition - 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa

8 - Aksara Brahma Yoga - The Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman

Om parthaya pratibodhitam bhagavata narayanena svayam vyasena grathitam purana munina madhye mahabharatam advaita 'mrta varsinim bhagavatim astadasa 'dhyayinim amba tvam anusamdadhami bhagavad gite bhava dvesinim
1. Om. O Bhagavad Gita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illumined by lord Narayana himself and which was composed within the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O divine mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of advaita (oneness) and consisting of eighteen chapters - upon thee, O Bhagavad Gita, O affectionate mother, I meditate.
namo 'stu to vyasa visala buddhe phulla 'ravinda 'yata patra netra yena tvaya bharata taila purnah prajvalito jnanamayah pradipah
2. Salutations unto thee, O Vyasa of broad intellect, and with eyes like the petals of full-blown lotuses, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata has been lighted.
prapanna parijataya totravetrai 'ka panaye jnana mudraya krsnaya gita 'mrta duhe namah
3. Salutations to Krsna, the parijata or the bestower of all desires for those who take refuge in him, the holder of the whip in one hand, the holder of the symbol of knowledge and the milker of the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita.
sarvo 'panisado gavo dogdha gopala nandanah partho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdham gita 'mrtam mahat
4. All the upanisad are the cows, the milker is Krsna the cowherd boy, Arjuna is the calf, men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.
vasudeva sutam devam kamsa canura mardanam devaki parama 'nandam krsnam vande jagad gurum
5. I salute lord Krsna, the world teacher, the son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Canura, the supreme bliss of Devaki.
bhisma drona tata jayadratha jala gandhara nilotpala salya grahavati krpena vahani karnena velakula asvatthama vikarna ghora makara duryodhana 'vartini so 'ttirna khalu pandavai rana nadi kaivartakah kesavah
6. With Krsna as the helmsman, verily, was crossed by the Pandava the battle-river whose banks were Bhisma and Drona, whose water was Jayadratha, whose blue lotus was the king of Gandhara, whose crocodile was Salya, whose current was Krpa, whose billow was Karna, whose terrible alligators were Asvatthama and Vikarna, whose whirlpool was Duryodhana.
parasarya vacah sarojam amalam gitartha gandhotkatam nanakhya 'nakakesaram hari katha sambodhana 'bodhitam loke sajjana satpadair ahar ahah pepiyamanam muda bhuyad bharata pankajam kali mala pradhvamsi nah sreyase
7. May this lotus of the Mahabharata, born in the lake of the words of Vyasa, sweet with the fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, with many stories as its stamens, fully opened by the discourses on Hari, the destroyer of the sins of Kali, and drunk joyously by the bees of good men in the world, day by day, become the bestower of good on us.
mukam karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim yat krpa tam aham vande parama 'nanda madhavam
8. I salute that Krsna, the source of supreme bliss, whose grace makes the dumb eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.
yam brahma varune 'ndra rudra marutah stunvanti divyaih stavair vedaih sanga pada kramo 'panisadair gayanti yam samagah dhyana 'vasthita tad gatena manasa pasyanti yam yogino yasya 'ntam na viduh sura 'sura gana devaya tasmai namah
9. Salutations to that God whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Marut praise with divine hymns, of whom the Sama-chanters sing by the veda and their anga, in the pada and krama methods, and by the upanisad, whom the yogi see with their minds absorbed in him through meditation, and whose end the hosts of the deva and asura know not.
that thou art
VIII:1 - Arjuna said : My Lord, what is Brahman? What is the self? What are fruitive activities? What is this material manifestation? And what are the deva? Please explain this to me.
VIII:2 - How does this Lord of sacrifice live in the body, and in which part does he live? And how can those engaged in devotional service know you at the time of death?
The Indian approach to the reality is both analytic and synthetic.
The sage or the yogi does not approve of or sanction a mere off-hand rejection of anything, even if he is assured that ultimately he will have to reject it.
All the philosophical categories must be clearly analysed, understood, and synthesized, ignoring the illusory differences.
Take, for instance, the great declaration of the Upanisad: "That (Brahman) thou (the soul) art".
The two must be clearly analysed and understood in their own respective aspects.
Brahman is the infinite, greater than the greatest and beyond all limitations.
The atman is the innermost self, the subtlest of the subtle, minuter than the minutest, and that which is left after all the personal limiting adjuncts have been negated, by the process of: "I" is not this body, "I" is not this vital sheath, "I" is not this mind, "I" is not this intellect and "I" is not this causal ignorance.
It is not as though this is a negative practice whereby the seeker attempts to reject or nullify the body, mind and so on, but the practice involves seeing the body in its true nature as merely body, the mind as mind, etc., not involving or belonging to the ego, "I".
It generates in the seeker the understanding of the self as abstract, nameless and formless.
Herein lies the genius of the Indian philosopher-sage. When this analytical-synthesis is pushed to its logical conclusion, the result is the immediate realization of the "identity" of "that" (Brahman) and "thou" (atman).
Even though God himself is all the characteristics mentioned in the last two verses, Arjuna, the good seeker, seeks to know them as they are.
karma of the totality
VIII:3 - The Blessed Lord said : The indestructible, supernatural living entity is called Brahman and his eternal nature is called the self. Action pertaining to the development of these material bodies is called karma, or fruitive activities.
The absolute (Brahman) is imperishable, supreme, infinite and beyond all these descriptive attributes.
Any description limits it.
Thus our Master used to say: "To define Brahman is to deny Brahman".
Hence it was that Buddha refrained from discussing it, and that Daksinamurti conveyed the wordless knowledge of it to the Sanatkumara, by silence filled with transcendental knowledge.
Brahman is not an inert nothingness or a void.
The supreme or totality does not undergo any change or decay.
Yet, in it there is constant change, which implies constancy and change.
These are not contradictory but complementary.
The nature inherent in this totality is adhyatma.
Or, conversely, atma, or selfhood, is inherent in this totality even to the point of individuality.
That is, you do not belong to yourself; yourself belongs to the totality.
This totality has, as its very substratum, infinite diversity which is the self of all; just as the night sky is studded with millions of diamonds - the stars.
Thus, self-knowledge is a re-attainment of something which the personality has lost. When the personality is keenly analysed, it becomes transparent, revealing its own substratum - that cosmic consciousness which is the goal, the supreme fulfilment or self-knowledge.
The compound word "bhutabhavodbhavakaro" suggests a dream or vision of something as if it existed.
That is the karma of the totality or God. Hence, God does not "create" as the carpenter creates furniture, but in that cosmic being there arises a feeling (bhavana) of the manifestation (bhuta) of all this multi-diversity.
That is called the universe which is maintained by God's grace, so that the souls therein may gain the necessary experience to attain self-knowledge.
Understood in this light, even the law of karma is seen as a contributory factor towards evolution and attainment of self-knowledge.
adhibhutam and adhidaivam
VIII:4 - Physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The universe is the cosmic form of the supreme Lord, and I am that Lord, the inner soul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being.
The elements, adhibhutam, have a beginning and an end.
This is a continuous cycle that no one can arrest.
They are not totally destroyed, but as their nature changes, the forms perish; like the transition from ice to water to vapor.
The fundamental essence, however, is changeless.
It is absolute immaturity to be afraid of the inevitable.
In this world, things grow, decay and disappear from view, but there is something which is capable of observing the structure that starts as a wedding procession and itself turns into a funeral procession.
That observer is called the purusa.
This term is almost impossible to translate.
According to the two systems of Indian philosophy (sankhya and yoga) purusa is the imperishable, individual soul, uninvolved in the body and mind.
According to the veda it is the cosmic consciousness that pervades all, the God of gods.
Purusa is that which is able to observe all changing phenomena including those of your own body, mental states, states of consciousness or existence, and your states of immaturity and maturity.
A subtle distinction is made here between the perishable nature of the supreme being and the imperishable nature (purusa).
These are not two separable entities but two integrated principles, like the smallest blood capillaries that are all pervading in our body!
The distinction between adhibhutam and adhidaivam is one of viewpoint only, not of essence.
God alone is the principle of sacrifice in the body (cosmic and individual).
Hence the veda call him yajna (sacrifice).
Yajna is a certain type of knowledge which enables you to give and take, to engage yourself in appropriate action, and to understand that all creatures in this universe have the same needs as you have.
The spirit of sacrifice is God himself.
By living a life of sacrifice we shall shed all illusion and delusion and attain self-knowledge.
Do not read this with your eyes, mind or intellect, but with the eyes of your heart!
VIII:5 - And whoever, leaving the body, goes forth remembering me alone at the time of death, he attains my Being; there is no doubt about this.
VIII:6 - Whoever at the end leaves the body, thinking of any being, to that being only does he go, O Arjuna, because of his constant thought of that being.
"Where will I go from here?" - this question has worried every man at some time or other.
Krishna's answer is extremely simple.
It will depend entirely upon the state of your inner being (that is what bhava means) at the time the soul leaves the body.
If that state is one of total saturation with God, then the soul reaches him.
This does not contradict the karma theory, but completes or fulfils it.
The state of inner being of man is made not only of his actions, but also of the impressions they left behind and his desires and aspirations, all put together.
This is what determines his next incarnation, for the very simple reason that it acts like a crystal inviting others of the same substance to adhere to it and thus to form a new body.
"Antakala" is when the body is released from "my" grip or connection.
In other words, the idea that "I am this body" or "the body is mine" is suspended.
"Antakale" is the last hour.
This occurs not only at the time of what is called death, but every night when one goes to sleep!
Normally, the state of one's inner being is reflected in the last thought which is sure to be the image of one's ruling passion in life.
There are some who persist in thinking bestial thoughts though they may have neither the courage nor the opportunity to act on them.
They may appear "evolved," but the inner picture (bhava) is of an animal.
When the human mask is dropped at death, they assume the real shape (i.e. that of an animal).
Yet, we wonder, "How can a human being descend into an animal birth?"
No theorizing, wishful thinking or rationalization is of any use here.
The fact is not altered by one's belief or disbelief.
Hence the vital need, without "planning" for a better birth in the future, is to be better now.
vigilant yet uninvolved
VIII:7 - Therefore, at all times remember me only, and fight. With mind and intellect absorbed in Me, you shall doubtless come to me alone.
VIII:8 - With the mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, made steadfast by the method of habitual meditation, and constantly meditating, one goes to the Supreme Person, the Resplendent, O Arjuna.
This is the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita which will, with guaranteed certainty, lead us to the Lord.
It is buddhi yoga (the yoga of understanding); not confined to any physical activity - whether it be charity, service, ritual or yoga practices such as asana, pranayama, concentration and meditation - though these are not excluded, looked down upon or discouraged.
The yogi must acquire, by diligent cultivation, what my Master Swami Sivananda called 'double consciousness'.
He must be able to realize the crystalline nature of the self, and also perceive all activity as being sustained by the modes of the guna (the divine nature).
Realizing that he is the immortal self or atman, he must behold the ever-active nature of God of which the self is but a silent, non-participant witness.
The self, being non-different from the infinite, ceases to interfere in this shadow play of nature on the "silver screen" of God.
Established in this realization, contemplation of the omnipresent God is not contradicted by activity.
The yogi does not shy away from what must be done. With body and mind he works in this world doing his every duty flawlessly and efficiently.
Only, in his heart, likes and dislikes, fear, pleasure and pain are absent.
His inner being stands aside, ever vigilant yet uninvolved, in constant remembrance of God.
This is "continuous meditation", "dynamic contemplation" or "contemplative dynamism" - the innermost teaching of the Bhagavad Gita.
There is no suppression or repression, but a whole-souled participation in the divine will without the least tinge of egoism. Hence, the yogi is never drawn towards the objects, though he moves amidst them.
He lives in God.
prana and apana
VIII:9 - One should meditate on the Supreme as the one who knows everything, as he who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun and, being supernatural, is beyond this material nature.
VIII:10 - At the time of death, with unshaken mind, endowed with devotion and by the power of yoga, fixing the life-breath in the middle of the two eyebrows, he reaches that resplendent Supreme Person.
This is the yogi's conscious exit from the body.
As a result of continuous and intense practice of yoga (particularly Hatha yoga), the yogi attains perfect control over prana, the life-force - not just the breath that flows in the nostrils, nor even the oxygen in the air, but the extremely subtle divine power that utilizes all these gross substances and maintains the soul's abode, the human body.
That life-force (prana) is spread out and distributed throughout the body to activate its various functions.
The Hatha yogi gives the same prana various names to indicate the different functions it performs.
He designates the force that moves upwards as prana and the force that tends to move downwards as apana.
The former is positive and the latter negative.
By a process of regulated breathing, the yogi brings them together, reversing their course.
Their fusion gives him power similar, say, to high-voltage electricity.
With this he awakens the dormant psychic power in him, the kundalini Shakti which is then led by stages from one center of consciousness to the next along the innermost core of the spinal cord, and eventually to the ajna chakra, the center between the eyebrows.
With this psychic power, the whole prana is also withdrawn.
From the ajna chakra, he merges his self in God-consciousness and is liberated.
In the case of the yogi, as the body is dropped, handed over to the elements, as it were, the entire being is totally saturated with the realization of God's omnipresence, and there is no further movement.
He reaches the supreme.
aksara and ksara
VIII:11 - That which is declared Imperishable by those who know the Vedas, that which the ascetics and passion-free enter, that desiring which celibacy is practised - that goal I will declare to you in brief.
"Ksara" is something which "causes to flow", "pour out", according to the veda.
"Aksara" in the veda is that which is not thus involved in "flowing out", "pouring out", i.e., that which is uninvolved in creation.
That aksara is the supreme transcendental reality, the ever-present thing in-itself, the colored pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope, the fundamental principle, the unmodified substance whose modifications and manifestations appear to us as the created universe.
It is the screen on which the ever-moving objects and the colorful panorama are projected.
One who is absorbed in watching the drama projected on the screen is unaware of the screen on which it is projected.
It demands tremendous inner discipline to perceive, as it were, the screen and the film independently, at the same time.
Hence, the ancients prescribed an austere and ethical life of self-control and total freedom from passion - for normally the mind is kept in a state of continuous flux by passions and is thus prevented from perceiving the screen, the substratum.
Then the mind, free from desires and passions, is not thus disturbed and with the requisite training will be able to perceive the substratum.
This training is called "brahmacarya" - "to live, move and have one's being in Brahman (God)."
Its own preliminary step is continence, the restraint of one of the most powerful instincts in man.
What such yogis reach and how they reach it is now explained by Krishna.
the law of last thought-form
VIII:12 - Having closed all the gates, confined the mind in the heart and fixed the life-breath in the head, engaged in the practice of concentration,
VIII:13 - Uttering the monosyllable Om, remembering Me always, he who departs thus, leaving the body, attains to the supreme goal.
Just as it is important for us to know how to live, it is equally important for us to know how to die - not to be afraid of death, to block it from our minds or even to long for it.
Death is inevitable.
The Bhagavad Gita, in addition to teaching the art of living gives instructions in the art of dying.
The hatha yogi closes all the 'gates' of the body with the help of a few simple psycho-physical exercises.
Sitting in siddhasana, he presses the left heel firmly on the perineum thus closing the rectum and places the right heel on the generative organ, closing that 'gate' too.
By the practice of yoni mudra, he closes the other 'gates': the ears with the thumbs, the eyes with the index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, the upper and lower lips respectively with the ring and little fingers.
Now he sees the subtle core of the sushumna-nadi or the spinal cord as a radiant hollow tube through which the awakened Kundalini Shakti ascends, piercing centre after centre of the gross elements.
With his mind fixed in his heart, symbolically at the feet of the Lord, he takes the kundalini Shakti (prana) to the crown of the head.
Thus the prana has been consciously and deliberately withdrawn from the whole body i.e. from matter.
When the time comes for him to leave the body, the yogi utters the monosyllable Om, the sound-picture of the absolute, and discards the body remembering God.
In accordance with the law of last thought-form, he reaches God.
If we train ourselves in the art of withdrawing the prana from the body now, by constant, diligent effort and daily practice of these exercises, perhaps we will use them in the last hour, and departure will be facilitated.
VIII:14 - For one who remembers me without deviation I am easy to obtain, O Arjuna, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
VIII:15 - Having attained Me, these great souls do not again take birth in this world, which is the place of pain and is non-eternal; they have reached the highest perfection.
If a man thinks of God constantly and daily (a double emphasis!), he will automatically think of him in the last hour, too.
All devotees of the Lord recognize the near impossibility of governing one's own last thoughts.
One devotee actually prayed in pathetic and pleading tone: "Oh Lord, may my mind enter your lotus feet right now; for who knows what it will think of when my throat is choked in the last hour of my life." This is especially true these days when sudden and violent accidents and heart attacks snatch life away, without notice! Therefore, it is all the more important to be ever God-conscious so that even if the last moment were untimely, the mind would by habit think of God and reach him.
Desire and karma, which together constitute the "state of inner being" called "bhava," determine the next incarnation. When ignorance-born desire and ego-engineered activity (karma) cease, then, freed from these shackles, the soul awakens from the slumber of ignorance, and shaking off the dream-state of bondage regains self-knowledge.
Once the individualized consciousness has become totally merged with the cosmic consciousness there is no return to this world of "pain and impermanence." It is like throwing a bucket of water into a lake; that same water can never be retrieved. Lord Buddha's life teaches us that pain and suffering exist in this world in order to remind us of a state of being in which these shall not be and to lead us to that state.
the guru as god
VIII:16 - All the worlds, including the world of Brahma, are subject to return again, O Arjuna. But he who reaches Me has no rebirth.
Every moment, the past moment is dead; and each moment dies an instant after it is born.
Death is co-existent with life.
That is, there is birth, death and rebirth moment after moment.
When one realizes this, life and discipline become effortless.
To live in this spirit where there is death every moment, one had to see a great master like my Gurudev Swami Sivananda.
When death is brought into life, there is no attachment or craving.
The ego, as the storehouse of experiences, is dropped and when this happens there is God.
This is possible only by Grace.
Some extremely ignorant people ask: "What happens to me after I become one with God?"
The fact that they are so seriously concerned about what happens to their individual personality is proof positive that God-realization is still far away from them.
A seeker once wrote to our Master: "I have realized God; now, please tell me what to do."
What an absurd question!
If he has realized and become one with God the omniscient, does he not know?
Yet, the world is full of such wonderful people whom we have to answer.
The simple answer is: "When you become one with God, his will and yours will be in perfect alignment."
A lump of salt coming into contact with the ocean, becomes inseparably one with the ocean.
It is not lost, but has attained to the incomparable dignity and glory of ocean-hood.
Similarly, God-realization is no loss of personality; it is the expansion of that personality to cosmic dimensions.
The sage of self-realization thus becomes God himself.
When, as in the case of specially chosen masters, the personality is "returned" to the world, it is no longer a limited, egoistic, imperfect personality, but a gift from God of a part of himself.
That is why we regard the guru as God.
VIII:17 - Those who know the day of Brahma, which is of a duration of a thousand yugas, and the night, which is also of a thousand yugas' duration, they know day and night.
VIII:18 - From the unmanifested all the manifested proceed at the coming of the 'day'; at the coming of the 'night' they dissolve into that alone which is called the unmanifested.
Indian astronomers and sages of intuitive wisdom have calculated that a maha-yuga (age) is of the duration of 4,320,000 years according to the earth calendar.
A thousand of these constitutes the creator's "day-time" - the period during which the manifest world "exists."
After this there is an equal duration of the 'night' of the creator.
I believe the latest scientific discovery is that just as once everything emerged from God, later, everything will collapse into itself - first there was an explosion, and later there will be an implosion where everything will be sucked into its own center.
The entire universe will be reduced to a pinpoint called a "singularity."
What is wrong with calling this Brahman, God?
Though here and there in our scriptures there is a description of "creation," such descriptions are quickly followed by a statement that it is a repetitive process.
At the beginning of creation, the creator re-creates what was during the previous "day of the creator."
No one can ever visualize a "creation from nothing."
For then we should foolishly accept the idea that this manifest universe has existed only for a brief while and before that, from beginningless time, there was nothing! It is a cycle, with its projection and reabsorption; beginningless and endless (though he who is awake to self-knowledge is not caught in this relentlessly turning wheel).
Many scientists and astronomers today seem to agree with this view of an ever-existing universe, condensing and expanding.
Meditation on the magnitude of the universe will save you from the worries of the moment.
The words and the concepts of "time," "night" and "day" are relative and illusory.
Realizing this, all fear falls away from you.
dream of god
VIII:19 - This same multitude of beings, born again and again, is dissolved, helplessly, at the coming of the night, and comes forth at the coming of the day.
VIII:20 - But verily there exists, higher than the unmanifested, another unmanifested eternal, who is not destroyed when all beings are destroyed.
All this coming and going, according to one school of thought (amply supported by the Bhagavatam which contains highly colorful stories of such creation), takes place in the mind of God (II:20).
The Hebrew word in the Genesis story of the Bible, which is usually translated "in the beginning" also means "in the head" - creation took place in God's head!
The universe is an extensive and prolonged "dream" of God.
Even as during the course of our own dream the dream-objects are indeed real, the objects of this universe seem to be real to us, while the dream of the cosmic dreamer is still in progress.
Otherwise, how is it that though scientists have proved that the whole universe is nothing more than a perpetual movement of light-waves, and that all objects of this universe are, in the ultimate analysis, nothing but energy, we persist in seeing a variety of objects?
What sees what? "I see this paper".
When "I" and "paper" are both vibrations of energy, what makes "I," "I", and "paper," "paper?"
When thus we pursue all our sense perceptions (which together we call the manifest universe), we arrive at the ultimate unmanifested principle - the reality or the absolute.
That absolute is beyond the intellect and the senses.
The unmanifested (root-matter or mulaprakrti) which projects itself and withdraws such manifestation is what Fred Hoyle calls the eternally self-creating root element of which the universe is composed.
It keeps changing, over the substratum of the absolute which is unchanging.
That is Brahman.
That is the self. "That thou art", cry out the Upanishad!
intellect and love
VIII:21 - That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That's my supreme abode.
VIII:22 - That highest Purusha is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone, within Whom all beings dwell, and by Whom All is pervaded.
Being beyond the intellect and definition, the absolute (eternal godhead) is attainable only by devotion.
Faith, love and total self-surrender are the only means here; not intellectuality, reasoning or ratiocination.
Intellect is but a creature of the cosmic dream.
Hence, it can only lead us either farther from God or, at best, to his threshold (if we make it sub-serve faith, that is).
Devotion is the key that unlocks the gates of eternal truth.
Krishna emphasizes again and again that while the seeker ought to do everything possible in his power to be good, to do good, to practice yoga for the purification of the self, the ultimate freedom, buddhi yoga, the eye of intuition or nirvana can only be God's gift.
Even the self that demands them, that seeks them, must disappear in the fire of the seeking!
The seeker and the sought must become one, merging in that point when the seeker has nothing more to seek.
It is then that the sought is revealed or experienced.
The seeker is the sought, for the self is nonexistent and illusory. God-love tears the veil of illusion and removes the distinction between the seeker and the sought.
This is the path of devotion of love and of self-surrender.
Even the Kathopanisad declares that the self cannot be realized by one through much learning, but reveals itself to whom it will.
This does not mean that God is whimsical, but that total egolessness is known only by God.
This much is certain: devotion and self-surrender guarantee self-realization.
VIII:23 - I will now explain to you the different times at which, the yogi, passing away from this world, one does or does not come back.
VIII:24 - Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of the northern path, departing then, men who know Brahman go to Brahman.
VIII:25 - Attaining to the lunar light by smoke, night-time, the dark fortnight or the six months of the southern path, the yogi returns.
VIII:26 - The bright and the dark paths of the world are verily thought to be eternal; by the one a person goes not to return again; by the other he returns.
These verses can be taken literally or symbolically.
What is there during the day that you find absent at night?
The sun, the representative of the light.
Thus, these verses may mean that if you have lived an enlightened life in full consciousness, in light, in clarity, in doubtlessness, then of course you go to Brahman.
You are liberated, free.
But if the life is characterized by darkness, if it is full of doubts, regrets and remorse, then of course you keep going round and round in this world cycle.
Not all people who pass on during the periods mentioned in verse 24 attain Brahman.
Only those "who have known Brahman."
The yogi who has undergone the psychophysical practices mentioned earlier in this chapter ought to be able to separate the soul from the body at will.
On the analogy of Bhisma (who was "slain" in battle, but who discarded his body at a later date), some feel that the yogi, to discard the body, must choose such time as the path of light will open to him.
There are others, however, who declare that the yogi or sage who is awake to the reality gives his body no special value at all and lets it fall when it may, to decay and return to the natural elements.
Such a sage does not "depart" at all, but becomes one with Brahman immediately.
balance your mind
VIII:27 - Knowing these paths, O Arjuna, no yogi is ever deluded. Therefore, at all times, be steadfast in Yoga.
VIII:28 - Whatever fruits or merits is declared to accrue from the study of the Vedas, the performance of sacrifices, the practice of austerities, the offering of gifts, beyond all these goes the yogi, having known this; and he attains to the supreme primeval abode.
What man who has clearly understood this continual birth-death-rebirth cycle and the endless miseries that it brings with it, could be foolish and blind enough to cling to this earthly life or value it?
Think of the millions of years that you have eaten, drunk and slept, enjoyed sensual pleasures and suffered the consequent misery.
Should you still wallow in delusion?
Think of the thousands of births you have had and the thousands of parents, wives, husbands and children that you have had in those births.
Should you still wallow in delusion?
Think of the desires gratified and thus strengthened, the ambitions fulfilled, the houses built, money made and property acquired, and think of how all these have been razed to the earth by the ravages of time - the millions of millennia that this universe has existed.
Should you still wallow in delusion?
Think of the insignificance of a short span of fifty years of active life in comparison to the millions of years that constitute a day of the creator.
What can you do during this short span that can compare to self-realisation which can liberate you from transmigration for ever?
Should you still wallow in delusion?
Think of the insignificance of this life-span and rejoice that its pleasures and even its pains do not last a split-second - "Even this will pass away, balance your mind in pain and joy" said our Master.
Do not wallow in delusion, but seek to attain the supreme abode this very moment.
Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishad of the Bhagavad Gita, the Science of the Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, ends the eighth chapter entitled: The path of devotion - Aksara Brahma Yoga - The Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman

gri ganesaya namah! sri gopala krsnaya namah! dharo 'vaca bhagavan paramesana bhaktir avyabhicarini prarabdham bhujyamanasya katham bhavati he prabho
1. The Earth said: O Lord! The supreme one! How can unflinching devotion arise in him who is immersed in his worldly life, O Lord?
sri visnur uvaca prarabdham bhujyamano hi gita 'bhyasa ratah sada sa muktah sa sukhi loke karmana no 'palipyate
2. Lord Visnu said: Though engaged in the performance of worldly duties, one who is regular in the study of the Gita, becomes free. He is the happy man in this world. He is not bound by karma.
maha papadi papani gita dhyanam karoti cet kvacit sparsam na kurvanti nalini dalam ambuvat
3. Just as the water stains not the lotus leaf, even so, sins do not taint him who is regular in the recitation of the Gita.
gitayah pustakam yatra yatra pathah pravartate tatra sarvani tirthani prayaga 'dini tatra vai
4. All the sacred places of pilgrimage like Prayaga, etc., dwell in that place where the book, the Gita, is kept and where the Gita is read.
sarve devas ca rsayo yoginah pannagas ca ye gopala gopika va 'pi narado 'ddhava parsadaih
5. All the gods, sages, yogi, divine serpents, gopala, gopika (friends and devotees of lord Krsna), Narada, Uddhava and others (dwell there).
sahayo jayate sighram yatra gita pravartate yatra gita vicaras ca pathanam pathanat srutam tatra 'ham niscitam prthvi nivasami sadai 'va hi
6. Help comes quickly where the Gita is recited and, O Earth, I dwell at all times where the Gita is read, heard, taught and contemplated upon.
gita 'sraye 'ham tisthami gita me co 'ttamam grham gita jnanam upasritya trimllokan palayamy aham
7. I take refuge in the Gita and the Gita is my best abode. I protect the three worlds with the knowledge of the Gita.
gita me parama vidya brahma rupa na samsayah ardha matra 'ksara nitya sva 'nirvacya padatmika
8. The Gita is my highest science, which is doubtless of the form of Brahman, the eternal, the ardhamatra (of the sacred monosyllable om), the ineffable splendour of the self.
cidanandena krsnena prokta sva mukhato 'rjunam veda tray! parananda tattva 'rtha jnana samyuta
9. It was spoken by the blessed Krsna, the all-knowing, through his own mouth to Arjuna. It contains the essence of the three veda, knowledge of the reality. It is full of supreme bliss.
yo 'stadasa japen nityam naro niscala manasah jnana siddhim sa labhate tato yati param padam
10. He who recites the eighteen chapters of the Gita daily, with a pure, unshaken mind, attains perfection in knowledge, and reaches the highest state or supreme goal.
pathe 'samarthah sampurne tato 'rdham patham acaret tada go danajam punyam labhate na 'tra samsayah
11. If a complete reading is not possible, even if only half of it is read, he attains the benefit of giving a cow as a gift. There is no doubt about this.
tribhagam pathamanas to ganga snana phalam labhet sadamsam japamanas to soma yaga phalam labhet
12. He who recites one-third part of it achieves the merit of a bath in the sacred Ganga, and he who recites one-sixth of it attains the merit of performing a soma ritual.
eka 'dhyayam to yo nityam pathate bhakti samyutah rudra lokam avapnoti gano bhutva vasec ciram
13. That person who reads one chapter with great devotion attains to the world of Rudra and, having become an attendant of lord Siva, lives there for many years.
adhyayam sloka padam va nityam yah pathate narah sa yati naratam yavan manvantaram vasundhare
14. If one reads a quarter of a chapter or even part of a verse daily, he, O Earth, retains a human body till the end of a world-cycle.
gitayah sloka dasakam sapta panca catustayam dvau trin ekaih tad ardham va slokanam yah pathen narah candra lokam avapnotii varsanam ayutam dhruvam gita patha samayukto mrtomanusatam vrajet
15,16. He who repeats ten, seven, five, four, three, two verses or even one or half a verse, attains the region of the moon and lives there for ten thousand years. Accustomed to the daily study of the Gita, the dying man comes back to life again as a human being.
gita 'bhyasam punah krtva labhate muktim uttamam gite 'ty uccara samyukto mriyamano gatim labhet
17. By repeated study of the Gita he attains liberation. Uttering 'Gita' at the time of death, one attains liberation.
gita 'rtha sravana 'sakto maha papa yuto 'pi va vaikuntham samavapnoti visnuna saha modate
18. Though full of sins, one who is ever intent on hearing the meaning of the Gita, goes to the kingdom of God and rejoices with lord Visnu.
gita 'rtham dhyayate nityam krtva karmani bhurisah jivanmuktah sa vijneyo deha 'nte paramam padam
19. He who meditates on the meaning of the Glita, having performed a lot of good actions, attains the supreme goal after death. Such a man should be known as a jivanmukta (sage liberated while living).
gitam asritya bahavo bhubhujo janaka 'dayah nirdhuta kalmasa loke gita yatah paratn padam
20. In this world, taking refuge in the Gita, many kings like Janaka and others have reached the highest state or goal, purified of all sins.
gitayah pathanam krtva mahatmyam naiva yah pathet vrtha patho bhavet tasya srama eva by udahrtah
21. He who fails to read this Glory of the Gita after having read the Gita, loses the benefit thereby, and the effort alone remains.
etan mahatmya sahyuktam gita 'bhyasam karoti yah sa tat phalam avapnoti durlabharn gatim apnuyat
22. One who studies the Gita, together with this Glory of the Gita, attains the fruits mentioned above and reaches the state which is otherwise very difficult to attain.
suta uvaca mahatmyam etad gitaya maya proktam sanatanatn gitante ca pathed yas to yad uktam tat phalarnlabhet
23. Suta said: This greatness or Glory of the Gita which is eternal, as narrated by me, should be read at the end of the study of the Gita and the fruits mentioned therein will be obtained.
iti sri varaha purane gri gita mahatmyam sampurnam
Thus ends the Glory of the Gita contained in the Varaha purana.

This was a glimpse of the gospel of Lord Krishna - simple, direct, yet profound. It is not one of pessimism or escapism, but is full of robust common sense. And if it sometimes seems to be puzzling, it is because common sense is so uncommon in the complex world of today.
You may be quite certain that one direction is east and the opposite direction west. But, if you move a little, you suddenly discover that east and west meet you! You are the divider, and from another point of view, you are the meeting point. In fact, it is the mind that creates all this duality which multiplies into endless diversity, creating conflicts and confusion all the way through.
There is only oneness and cosmic unity. There just cannot be two infinites or two omnipresences. The origin of the perception of diversity is enshrouded in mystery - maya. But Krishna boldly assumes responsibility for even that! "I am seated in the hearts of all; from me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence, " says He.
The manifest universe is the body of God, and the supreme spirit is the indweller. Even this distinction was made to suit human analogy and to satisfy the duality-ridden intellect. We make an arbitrary distinction between our body and our spirit which seems to be justified because at one stage - death - the spirit leaves the body. This, obviously, does not apply to the Lord and His Body, for He is eternal and infinite, and does not leave His Body.
What a sublime vision! What a world-uniting doctrine! What a fountain of love! What a soft blow to shatter all distinctions and differences! What a divine cord of love to unite all mankind in oneness - divinity!

Swami Venkatesananda

Om Tat Sat
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