The Mahabharata Home
(Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII)
"Arjuna said, 'What is that Brahman, what is Adhyatma, what is action, O best of male beings? What also has been said to be Adhibhuta, and what is called Adhidaiva? Who is here Adhiyajna, and how, in this body, O slayer of Madhu? And how at the time of departure art thou to be known by those that have restrained their self'?--
"The Holy One said, 'Brahman is the Supreme and indestructible. Adhyatma is said to be its own manifestation. The offering (to any godhead in a sacrifice) which causeth the production and development of all--this is called action. 3 Remembering me alone in (his) last moments, he that, casting off his body, departeth (hence), cometh into my essence. There is no doubt in this. Whichever form (of godhead) one remembereth when one casteth off, at the end, (his) body, unto that one he goeth, O son of Kunti, having habitually meditated on it always. Therefore, think of me at all times, and engage in battle. Fixing thy mind and understanding on me, thou wilt, without doubt, come even to me. Thinking (of the Supreme) with a mind not running to other objects and endued with abstraction in the form of uninterrupted application, one goeth, O son of Pritha, unto the Divine and Supreme male Being. He who at the time of his departure, with a steady mind, endued with reverence, with power of abstraction, and directing the life-breath called Prana between the eye-brows, thinketh of that ancient seer, who is the ruler (of all), who is minuter than the minutest atom, who is the ordainer of all, who is inconceivable in form, and who is beyond all darkness, cometh unto that Divine and Supreme Male Being, I will tell thee in brief about that seat which persons conversant with the Vedas declare to be indestructible, which is entered by ascetics freed from all longings, and in expectation of which (people) practise the vows of Brahmacharins. Casting off (this) body, he who departeth, stopping up all the doors, confining the mind within the heart, placing his own life-breath called Prana between the eye-brows, resting on continued meditation,
uttering this one syllable Om which is Brahman, and thinking of me, attaineth to the highest goal. 1 He who always thinketh of me with mind ever withdrawn from all other objects, unto that devotee always engaged on meditation, I am, O Partha, easy of access. High-souled persons who have achieved the highest perfection, attaining to me, do not incur re-birth which is the abode of sorrow and which is transient, All the worlds, O Arjuna, from the abode of Brahman downwards have to go through a round of births, on attaining to me, however, O son of Kunti, there is no re-birth. 2 They who know a day of Brahman to end after a thousand Yugas, and a night (of his) to terminate after a thousand Yugas are persons that know day and night. 3 On the advent of (Brahman's) day everything that is manifest springeth from the unmanifest; and when (his) night cometh, into that same which is called unmanifest all things disappear. That same assemblage of creatures, springing forth again and again, dissolveth on the advent of night, and springeth forth (again), O son of Pritha, when day cometh, constrained (by the force of action, etc.) 4. There is, however, another entity, unmanifest and eternal, which is beyond that unmanifest, and which is not destroyed when all the entities are destroyed. It is said to be unmanifest and indestructible. They call it the highest goal, attaining which no one hath to come back. That is my Supreme seat. That Supreme Being, O son of Pritha, He within whom are all entities, and by whom all this is permeated, is to be attained by reverence undirected to any other object. I will tell thee the times, O bull of Bharata's race, in which devotees departing (from this life) go, never to return, or to return. The fire, the Light, the day, the lighted fortnight, the six months of the northern solstice, departing from here, the persons knowing Brahma go through this path to Brahma. 5 Smoke, night, also the dark-fortnight (and) the six months of the southern solstice, (departing) through this path, devotee, attaining to the lunar light, returneth. The bright and the dark, these two paths, are regarded to be the eternal (two paths) of the universe. By the one, (one) goeth never to return; by the other, one (going) cometh back. Knowing these two paths, O son of Pritha, no devotee is deluded. Therefore, at all times, be endued with devotion, O Arjuna. The meritorious fruit that is prescribed for the (study of the) Vedas, for sacrifices, for ascetic austerities and for gifts, a devotee knowing all this (that hath been said here),
attaineth to it all, and (also) attaineth the Supreme and Primeval seat.'
72:1 Adhyatman is explained as all that by which Brahman is to be attained. All actions mean the whole course of duties and practices leading to the knowledge of Brahman.
72:2 The three words occurring in this sloka and explained in the next section, forming as they do the subject of a question by Arjuna.
72:3 Bhava is production, and Udbhava is growth or development. Thus Sreedhara.
73:1 All the doors, i.e., the senses. Confining the mind within the heart, i.e., withdrawing the mind from all external objects. Murdhni is explained by Sreedhara to mean here "between the eyebrows."
73:2 All these regions being destructible and liable to re-birth, those that live there are equally liable to death and re-birth.
73:3 The meaning, as explained by Sreedhara, is that such persons are said to know all, and not those whose knowledge is bounded by the course of the sun and the moon.
73:4 In this round of births and deaths, the creatures themselves are not free agents, being all the while subject to the influence of Karma, as explained by the commentators.
73:5 The commentators explain the word fire, the light, day, &c., as several godheads presiding over particular times.
Next: Section XXXIII (Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX)