Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 8 (Part-1) Akshara Brahma Yogah- Yoga of Imperishable Brahman

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antakaale cha maam eva smaran muktwaa kalevaram
    yah prayaati sa madbhaavam yaati naastyatra samshayah // 8.5 //

Whosoever at the time of death  leaves his body remembering Me alone and goes forth - he attains My Being;  there is no doubt about this.

yam yam vaapi smaran bhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram
    tam tamevaiti kaunteya sadaa tadbhaavabhaavitah // 8.6 //

For whatever object a man  thinks of at the final moment, when he leaves his body - that alone does he  attain, O Son of Kunti, being ever absorbed in the thought thereof.

The most prominent thought of  one's life occupies the mind at the time of death. The last thoughts of a dying  person determine the quality of his next birth. The soul goes to that on which  its mind is set during the last moments. What we think we become. Our past  thoughts determine our present birth and our present ones will determine the  future.

Therefore, Sri Krishna tells that  one who leaves the body with his mind completely turned towards the Self will  naturally reach the Eternal and the Immortal - the Supreme abode, reaching  which there is no return. We can think of God in the last moments only if we  are devoted to Him previously also.

The Lord explains that whatever  object one remembers while leaving the body, he reaches that alone because of  his constant thought of that object. It is not the casual fancy of the last  moment but a persistent endeavor of the whole life that determines the future  birth.
    tasmaat sarveshu kaaleshu maamanusmara yudhya cha
    mayyarpitamanobuddhir maamevaishyasyasamshayah // 8.7 //

Therefore, at all times,  constantly remember Me and fight.  With your  mind and intellect absorbed in Me, you shall doubtless come to Me alone.

Sri Krishna, advises Arjuna to  constantly keep his mind fixed on Him and at the same time perform his  Swadharma (to fight). The mind is purified when a man performs his own dharma,  regarding himself as an instrument of God. Only a pure mind can constantly  remember God.

CONSTANT PRACTICE IS NECESSARY TO REALIZE GOD

abhyaasayogayuktena chetasaa naanyagaaminaa
    paramam purusham divyam yaati paarthaanuchintayan // 8.8 //

Engaged in the Yoga of  constant practice and not allowing the mind to wander away to anything else, he  who meditates on the supreme, resplendent Purusha reaches Him, O son of Pritha.

Constant practice is the  uninterrupted repetition of one and the same idea, with reference to the Lord  as the sole object of meditation. Such practice by which one surrenders his  heart and soul to the Lord alone is known as Yoga.

Resplendent Purusha means the  presiding deity of the solar orb which is considered as the manifestation of  the Absolute as the Cosmic Spirit. He is also known as Saguna Brahman.

MEDITATING  AND ATTAINING PURUSHA

kavim puraanam anushaasitaaram
    anoraneeyaamsam anusmaredyah
    sarvasya dhaataaram achintyaroopam
    aadityavarnam tamasah parastaat //8.9//

Whosoever meditates upon the  Omniscient, the ancient, the ruler (of the whole world), who is subtler than  the subtle, the supporter of all, whose form is inconceivable, effulgent like  the sun and beyond the darkness (of ignorance),

prayaanakaale manasaa'chalena
    bhaktyaa yukto yogabalena chaiva
    bhruvormadhye praanamaaveshya samyak
    sa tam param purushamupaiti divyam // 8.10 //

At the time of death, with an unshaken mind full of  devotion, by the power of 'yoga' fixing the whole 'prana' (breath) between the two eyebrows, he (the seeker) reaches the Supreme  Resplendent 'purusha. '

In these two verses Sri Krishna  gives Arjuna exhaustive guidance that will help in undertaking meditation by  all. The meaning of the various terms used here is as follows.

Verse - 9

Omniscient (Kavi) - Just  as the sun is said to be seeing everything because it illuminates all the  objects of the world, so too is the Principle of Awareness without which no  knowledge whatsoever is possible. Thus, in terms of the limited knowledge we  presently experience, the Self is considered as the Supreme Knower who knows  everything i.e. Omniscient and without whom no knowledge is ever possible.

Ancient (Puranam) - The  Self is considered as the most ancient because the Eternal Truth which was  there before all creation remains the same always.

The ruler of the whole world (Anushaasitaaram)  - It indicates that if the principle of awareness were not present in our  faculties of perception, feeling and comprehension, harmonization of our  physical, mental and intellectual experiences would not have been possible to  lead a meaningful existence. Hence the Knowing Principle or Consciousness is  the very essence of life just as without the mud the mud-pot cannot exist. The  mud is the ruler in the world of mud pots so too is the Self the over-ruler of  the Universe.

Minuter than the Atom (Anoraneeyaam)  - The smallest divisible particle of any element maintaining the properties of  that element is called its atom. It indicates that the Self is the subtlest of  the subtle.

The more a thing is subtle the  more is its pervasiveness. Water is subtler than the ice and hence water is  said to be more pervasive than the ice and similarly steam is more pervasive  than water. So also, the Self is the subtlest of the subtle which pervades all  but nothing pervades it.

The nourisher of all (Sarvasya  Dhaataram) - Nourishment here means the support which sustains everything.  Just like the canvas supports ever so many different paintings of an artist,  the Consciousness illuminates constantly the ever changing things and happenings,  around and within us, from birth to death, through all situations which results  in homogeneous oneness of life.

Of inconceivable form (Achintyaroopam)  - Various descriptions of the Self given above should not lead to the wrong  conclusion that It can be thought about and understood as any finite object or  idea. We should be clear that the Infinite cannot be comprehended by the finite  instruments of perception, feeling or understanding.  Although the Self is in the form  inconceivable, It is not inexperienceable since an individual can apprehend It  to be of his own real nature during the process of Divine awakening.

Effulgent like the sun (Aadityavarnam)  - So long as a man identifies himself with his limited auxiliaries in his body  he lives in the external world of multiplicities wherein the Self is  in-conceivable, inexperienceable and in-comprehensible. Once these auxiliaries  are crossed through a process of contemplation of the Self, he realizes his own  nature of Pure Being.

To see the sun no other light is  necessary or a dreamer cannot know the waker, because to know the waker the  dreamer has to end his dream state and become the waker. So too, on ending the  egocentric existence during spiritual awakening, one realizes that he is  nothing but the Self at all times.

Beyond all the darkness (Tamasah  parastaat) - The sun is variable in nature like its brightness during the  day with various degrees of intensity and its total absence during the night.  It may be erroneously concluded that the Self is also variable in its intensity  or there are times when It is totally absent. To remove this possible  misunderstanding The Lord says that the Self is beyond darkness of ignorance.

Thus, the one who meditates upon  the Self as omniscient, ancient, over-ruler, subtlest of the subtle, nourisher  of all, of in-conceivable form, self illuminating as the sun and beyond all ---

Verse - 10

At the time of death (Prayaanakaale)  - These words do not mean `the physical death' but they are to be understood as  `at the moment of the death of the ego' when all identifications with the body,  mind and intellect are consciously withdrawn during meditation.

Endowed with full devotion (Bhakti)  - It means selfless love for the Divine without any expectation which implies  identification of the ego with its real nature. The idea is that the meditation  should be accompanied by the meditator's readiness to identify himself with the  principle of awareness as earlier indicated.

By the power of Yoga (Yogabalena)  - This is the inward strength that grows in the mind of the meditator when he  meditates upon the Supreme for long periods of time when the mind is withdrawn  from its agitations and the intellect rests on contemplation of the Absolute.  When one is thus engaged in meditation, all his pranas get concentrated  at the point of his concentration between the eyebrows which represents the  seat of steady thought.

Fixing the whole prana between the eyebrows - This is the process of controlling the breath. Life  expressing itself at the various functions in a living body is called the Prana  which can be classified under five categories viz. Prana: faculty of  sense perception, Apana: the excretory system, Vyana: the  digestive system, Samaana: the circulatory system and Udana:  capacity to visualize some greater concepts beyond the present world of  knowledge. When an individual gets himself merged with the Self, at that moment  all these faculties are temporarily arrested.

Reaches the resplendent Supreme  person - Such a person in whom the mind becomes completely silent and calm, all  manifestations of life's presence through his body are halted. At this stage he  goes to the Supreme Resplendent Self (Purusha) i.e. completely  identifies himself with his point of contemplation, the Self.

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