Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 8 (Akshara Brahma Yoga)

Bhagavad-Geeta Chapter 8Akshara-Brahma-Yoga (Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman).

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad-Geeta Chapter 8 – Introduction

What is Akshara-Brahma-Yoga? Akshara means alphabet, which is indestructible. Brahman is the source of creation, sustenance and dissolution. Hence, this chapter covers the qualities of Brahman. Sri Krishna also elaborates on his relationship with the Brahman.

Arjuna asked – What is that Brahman? What is adhyatmam?  What is karma, adhibhuta and adhidaiva?  Who and how does adhiyajna exist in this body? Finally, how is it cognised by self-restrained soul at time of death? (Ch8-verse1-2)

Sri Krishna replied – Imperishable Brahman is supreme and indestructible. In fact, its nature is transcendental and it causes creation as an expression of itself. Also, this creation and this transformation is called karma. Next, adi-bhoota (primordial creation) is any perishable situation. Additionally, Purusha is adyatma (primordial soul). I (Sri Krishna) alone represent adiyagna (primordial sacrifice / transformation or change) in existence (in the body or embodied) (Ch8-verse 3-4):

Notes: Adi or primordial means anything that existed since the beginning of time and transcendental is anything that goes beyond material, sensory or conceptual.

It is important to understand that deiva or deity is not God. In fact, deity is more like an entity which acts as a role model. Also, it is important to realise that, God is not superior to the Individual. Rather, the Individual is considered to be God wrapped in maya (illusion) due to ignorance (avidya), and Yoga is the process of removing this veil of ignorance and harmonising the merger of the Individual with Truth.

School of Yoga explains the concept – Brahman:

The best explanation of Brahman is based in Physics:

Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate
Puurnnashya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

 पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

(Credit: Thanks to: https://www.templepurohit.com/mantras-slokas-stotras/shanti-mantra/om-purnamadah-purnamidam)

Which means:
  • That is infinite, this is infinite, from infinity proceeds infinity,
  • From infinity, when infinity is subtracted, truly, infinity is left as a remnant.

Let us approach Brahman on the basis of mahavakyas (major aphorisms), which are four in number,

  • Prajnanam Brahma (प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म) – all awareness is Brahman
  • Ayam Atma Brahma (अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म) – this soul is the Brahman
  • Tat Tvam Asi (तत् त्वम् असि) – that thou art or you are Brahman
  • Aham Brahma Asmi (अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि) – I am Brahman

So, what is the Brahman?  

The above state corresponds to everything that Sri Krishna describes Brahman to be – an indestructible, unchanging, eternal and infinite state which is the source of everything and nothing. That can only be called an experience of peace which can be found in the state of null or infinity!

  • First, Brahman is a state, this means that the yogi must experience THAT state, which means he must become THAT.
  • Second, Brahman is infinite, which means one must overcome (transcend) time, space and matter.
  • Third, Brahman is changeless which means that the yogi must transcend physical form and impact of stimuli on the Self because, when stimuli is controlled, there is no change.
  • Fourth, Brahman is tranquillity, which means that this is a state of “no agitation”.
  • Last, everything proceeds from Brahman. Brahman is the source and motility of materiality.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 8 (verse 3-4, 8-13) – concept of Brahman:

Explanation for following terms used by Sri Krishna: First, imperishable Brahman is adyatma (primordial Self). Next, it is the cause of creation and transformation, this is called karma. Brahman causes motility in creation and this is called adhibhuta (primordial creation). Also, Purusha is adidaivata or primordial deity and he (Sri Krishna) as adiyagna (primordial sacrifice, transformation or change). So, let us see how these entities integrate…

  • First, everything comes from the Source/ Truth/ Origin or Brahman. This is a state of infinite changelessness, eternal peace and nothingness. Then, how does the Brahman manifest if it is a state if nothing but eternal, changeless peace?
  • What happens is that, Brahman experiences existential anxiety (do I exist?) and desires self-expression (What am I? What is this? Do I exist? I want to see myself).
  • How does this anxiety manifest? Brahman experiences an atemporal vibration or creative pulse called spanda. For example – When we say that we have a Eureka moment, that insight comes to us from nowhere (Brahman) and we experience a creative outpouring (spanda). We know of two great scientists who had Eureka moments, Newton (gravity) and Archemedes (buoyancy).
  • So, from a state of nothingness, it suddenly becomes curious about itself and seeks to express itself. 
  • Hence, Brahman sacrifices itself to express its Self (adyatma).
  • This sacrifice of Brahman is called primordial sacrifice (adi-yagnya), which is what Sri-Krishna says he is.
  • As a result, it sacrifices itself and manifests as Purusha (experiencer) and Prakriti (manifestation). The primordial expression of this manifestation is called pranava.
  • Then, Purusha and Prakriti weave with each other to create manifested (sa-guna) and unmanifested (nir-guna) materiality. In fact, that aspect of Brahman which can be cognised is called sa-guna (manifested) and the rest is nir-guna (unmanifested).
  • So, when Prakriti and Purusha weave and there is engagement with the environment, this is called (sa-guna-Brahman). However, Prakriti does not always manifest or when it does, it does not always get a response, in which case Purusha experiences only itself. This is called (nir-Guna-Brahman). 
  • Importantly, nir-guna does not mean lack of existence, it means lack of manifestation. 
  • From Purusha, chitta (consciousness) emerges. However, chitta is inert and takes on the quality (bhaava) of the entity that it is interacting with. Hence, it is the carrier of experiences.
  • Also, Purusha is continuously experiencing itself (jnana) or stimulus coming from outside (vijnana). 
  • Furthermore, from Prakriti (action), guna (attributes) emerge. In fact, gunas are a mix of Purusha and Prakriti.
  • Firstly, when Purusha is ascendant over Prakriti, it is called tamas or delusion. Similarly, when Prakriti is ascendant over Purusha, the attribute is called rajas (passion or flow). Finally, when Purusha and Prakriti are in balance, this is called sattva (harmony or balance). 
  • Since, Purusha and Prakriti have to work in order to create, maintain or destroy the universe, this is called action or karma. Hence, karma emerges from the weave of Purusha and Prakriti. 

Importantly, one must recognise that Brahman is permanence or Truth, but starting with primordial sacrifice (adiyagna), which Sri Krishna says, everything is impermanent, can decay and die!

  • So, everything that is impermanent is a covering of the Brahman and hence it is maya (illusion).
Example:

The progression of Brahman is from imperishable, changeless peace to manifestation. In fact, the Brahman is no different from us.

  • First, we are in a state of nothing (Brahman). Then, we get an idea!
  • If the idea is strong enough, then we make the sacrifice to make the idea work (adiyagnya).
  • When the idea manifests, this is called saguna-Brahman or manifested Brahman. Next, we experience anxiety that the idea should succeed.
  • If we were to consider the idea to be an entity then, for the idea, we are Brahman (adyatma); we are in the idea, but the idea is not in us!
  • Similarly, there are many ideas within us that never manifest, but remain within us. They are not dead, just unmanifested. These are called nir-guna-Brahman (unmanifested Brahman).
Sri Krishna is adiyagnya…  
  • First, motility for karma comes from Brahman.
  • Also, karma results in creation of transactions and bonds, these in turn result in creation of multiple identities/ Souls or atma of varying complexities.
  • As a result of the creation of multiple and complex transactions, bonds and entities, the universe is created and this is called golden egg (Hiranyagarbha). Also, the center of Identity of the Universe (hiranyagarbha) is called Vishnu.
  • Moreover, all karma, occurs within the Hiranyagarbha, which is the manifested aspect of the Brahman (sa-guna-Brahman).
  • Brahman underwrites the motility of karma. Hence, Brahman exists everywhere.
  • Also, since all karma require a sacrifice of some kind or yagnya. Hence, Sri Krishna, as adiyagnya, is everywhere and is the starting point of materiality.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 8 – the concept:

Example:

  • Each housing society is defined by a boundary wall and has its own Identity. Similarly, each city, state, region, country or planet have their own centre of Identity.
  • The Sun has a unique Identity which comes from its qualities, such as its name, colour, size as well as its capability to produce light and heat and its position as the centre of the Solar system.
  • Similarly, other planets such as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn or Moon have their own identities. The biggest extant entity is the Universe, and Sri Krishna says that he is beyond even that.
  • Since, he claims the position of adiyagna, Sri Krishna is a state that has transcended material existence and merged with the source (Brahman). This allows him to participate and become the underwriting qualities of all the various entities (atmas) without becoming involved in their experience of existence.

School of Yoga explains Sri Krishna’s reply (verse 5-7): How to die…

According to Sri Krishna, in Chapter 2, body perishes but the Soul (atma) moves to another body to repay its debts, based on its past karma.  How does this happen?

  • To understand this, we need to understand rebirth. Why does rebirth occur?
  • The answer to this lies in karma. We are born on account of debt (rinn) and in each case we are either debtors or creditors. This is called prarabda-karma (karma that has come up for repayment). Here, karma actually means debt (rinn). Hence, this loose use of karma terminology can be confusing.
  • All main events, people and situations we encounter in our lives occur because of prarabda-karma
  • Throughout life, in the process of reconciling prarabda-karma, we act. This is called agami-karma (present state karma).  Hence, in addition to reconciling old karma accounts, we also creating new ones through our ongoing actions and these go into our overall book of debt.
  • This overall register of debt is called sanchita-karma (overall karma). This karma is the reason for rebirth, because all debt has to be squared off in one life. Remember, when it comes to karma, one may either be a creditor or a debtor.
  • All these debts are carried by our Self or atma. Therefore, if the Self were to cease to exist, then there would be no one for clearance of karma (debt or credit).
  • So, a person becomes the sentiment (bhaava) that he has at death. This means that unfulfilled desires, regrets or vaasanas, will become residues at death and become a part of the template for subsequent life (samsaara).
  • In fact, they will manifest as motivation (vaasana) which will be exhibited as personality (bhaava) when the person is reborn. 

Then, is there any way for an individual to break this cycle of samsaara (birth and death) through karma?

  • The soul (atma), is after all a manifestation of the unmanifest (Brahman).
  • Karma is accrued to that aspect which considers itself the doer (ahamkara). Karma here means debt (rinn) as opposed to action (karma). Consequently, this loose interpretation of terminology could be confusing.
  • Karma occurs on account of duality (like-dislike, good-bad, truth-lies, God-Devil, merit-sin, love-hate) etc. When we like something, we bring it closer (raaga) and when we dislike something, we push it away (dwesha). This act of pushing and pulling results in karma. and the imbalance causes debt (rinn) which needs to be repaid.
  • So, this means that is no karma is accrued when there is no doer or Soul (atma). So, when the Self (atma) is indifferent to duality (like-dislike, good-bad etc.), there is no karma. 
  • This state also occurs when the person acts without the sentiment of being the doer (ahamkaara), when activity is performed as sacrifice (selflessness, not selfishness). Also, sacrifice may be defined as work done without expectation of return, this can also be called duty!
  • Another way is when action is dedicated to another entity that cannot return the debt, like Sri Krishna, a deity, Guru, Country or society.
  • So, when Sri Krishna says “dedicate your activity to Me (Sri Krishna)”, he means that when one dedicates any activity as sacrifice, there is no karma because there is no experience of being a doer (ahamkara). Consequently, this breaks the cycle of rebirth (samsara) and enables one to transcend existence.
  • Another interesting aspect in the explanation of Sri Krishna is his position as the owner of yagna or sacrifice, the state which occurs before there is expression of the Soul (atma). So, when sacrifice is offered to sacrifice, there is no karma. This situation is hypothetical and difficult to achieve.
  • All the above methods are overt or gross (sthoola) methods of controlling debt (rinn or karma).
  • However, even when it’s not acting, the Self (atman) still exists and this has to be neutered. The Self has to be brought to a point where it’s individual Identity or Soul (atma) ceases to exist. This is the subtle (sookshma) aspect.
  • When this completely neutered state is reached, the Self (atman) experiences no change or karma (nir-vikalpa), it does not react to stimulus (chitta-vriddhi-nirodha).
  • This place of no-change is also a state of infinite peace or nothingness. It is the state of permanence (Brahman).
  • The yoking of the Self (atma) with the Brahman is yoga, and in this state, there is no rebirth.

Example:

All of us have faced exams and anyone who has worked in a corporate environment has faced the stress of annual appraisals. In fact, indignity of any appraisal is that it seeks to force diverse achievements into a “bell” curve, often compelling managers to compare apples with oranges. 

Applying Sri Krishna’s concept here – perform your task diligently (with shraddha). Communicate without fear or favour, with the sole intent of successful completion of the assigned task. Next, when appraisal comes, prepare well and state your achievements.

Finally, when the result is out, accept it without allowing any exultation or depression. Do not resist the outcome. When there is no resistance, the cycle of karma is broken.

Obviously, this is difficult, which is why transcending rebirth is not for the faint hearted.

School of Yoga explains verses (8-16): Death and rebirth…

If a person had unsuccessfully wished to complete a PhD, see a child, sibling or person before dying, go to a particular place or had some bucket list, then that overriding sentiment is carried away at death as karma. 

  • We have seen how karma creates debt which has to be reconciled. So, when a person dies with any sentiment of want, desire or regret, he or she holds on to that sentiment as the greatest unfulfilled desire in life.
  • This becomes the defining aspect of the individual at rebirth and when the person is reborn, they become fixations in the personality, called embedded memory on account of prarabda-karma (vaasanaa).
  • The first suggestion of Sri Krishna is that a yogi who wishes to avoid rebirth, can focus his consciousness (chitta) on the Purusha (adideiva). While Sri Krishna explains the qualities of Purusha, but these are abstract and not of much use. This suggestion is not easy to implement
  • Instead, it would be simpler for the yogi to follow Sri Krishna’s instruction and anchor (yukta) his consciousness (chitta) on his prana at the center of eyebrows and reach immortality at death.
  • Also, one could practice thinking of Sri Krishna all the time, so that at death, the person merges in Sri Krishna and does not return because Sri Krishna is adiyagnya. Instead, the person goes to the place where great souls (mahatma) have reached and does not return. This suggestion is not just valid for Sri Krishna but one could apply this to any favourite diety (ishta-deivata).
  • A good practice which Sri Krishna explains which can be used at death is:
    • Control all the gates (eyes, ears, tongue, olfactory, nasal, legs, hands, sexual organs, anus, urination organs), Control means that these organs should be without stress or tension and there should be a feeling of peace.
    • Next, center cognition (manas) in the heart region.
    • After this, place the Self (Identity) in the frontal lobe of the brain (moondhi).
    • To achieve this, the yogi must stop his or her consciousness or cognition (chitta) from flowing out and steady it in the frontal lobe area without movement. There will be slight compression, tightness or pressure in the frontal lobe and the yogi must slowly make the sensation placid, peaceful, calm or without pressure. 
    • Lastly, let the prana be in harmonic meditation (this means that the prana should move unstressed within the body).
    • Finally, when leaving the body, utter OM, or any bijaksharam (Sri Krishna just says any aksharam or single syllables). This stops other regrets and desires from becoming karma.
    • A bijaksharam (bija=root+aksharam=syllable) is any single alphabet. In Sanskrit, all akshrams have certain frequency control. So, what happens is that when a person focuses on an alphabet, then there is loss of Identity into the Self. This results in stoppage of rebirth.
    • Remember Brahman or Sri Krishna or any favourite diety (ishta-deivata). 

The above practices are very practical and doable, if one were to practice this kind of meditation regularly, then it will be easy to fall into that state at the time of death.

How the concept weaves with Indian culture:

  • Firstly, every activity is started with a sankalpam (vow to complete).
  • Secondly, activity is conducted in accordance with the Laws of Rta (read about Rta at the link).
  • Finally, after work is completed, the fruits are offered to a form of Sri Krishna, also called Narayana and this is called kayenavacha (get the meaning at the link)

Ordinarily, people finish any activity by chanting, “sarvam-krishna-arpanam” (sarvam = everything + Krishna = Sri Krishna + arpanam = offering). In this way, practitioners sacrifice their activity and results to Sri Krishna. Thus, the Self is negated and everything is sacrificed to Sri Krishna.

School of Yoga explains Sri Krishna’s reply (verse 5-7):

Sri Krishna says that he is that point in the supra-system where there is no Identity. So, anyone who focusses his or her cognition and intelligence on him (Sri Krishna) shall reach that point and not be born again.

  • This argument may seem counter-intuitive. If there is a Sri Krishna who is cognised, there must be a Self (atma) that cognises Sri Krishna, which means that yoga is not complete because the Self still exists and has not been neutralised.
  • However, this is possible if the yogi were to adopt a technique that requires one to lose his or her identity (atman) completely in Sri Krishna. In this condition, the Self ceases to exist.
  • It does not matter whether Sri Krishna exists or not, nor in what state. What matters is that the Self should cease to exist.
  • This yoga is called Bhakti Yoga (click on the link to understand Bhakti Yoga).
  • Additionally, this method is not confined to Sri Krishna but can be used with other deities as well.

Conclusion: Sri Krishna is a yogi who has reached an extremely high level of “sthitha-pragnya” or “situational awareness”. Hence, Sri Krishna is able to explain the nuances of his position with respect to Brahman.

School of Yoga explains Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 8 – verse 23-28:

Those who know that Brahma’s day lasts a thousand yugas, also know that his nights last a thousand yugas. At beginning of his day, manifestation occurs from the Brahman (source) and at night, all that is perishable merges back into him. Beyond this, is the region of the imperishable. I reside in this abode. Only through unwavering focus can one reach me and thence this abode of the Imperishable.

Those who die when sun is moving north (uttarayan) for 6 months, during waxing moon (shukla-paksham) and in day go to the Brahman. Those who die when the sun is moving South (dakshinayanam), during the waning moon (krishna-paksham) and at night, return. Any yogi who understands this Yoga needs no other knowledge.

How does the math of creation work? What is a kalpa?
  • Firstly, the Universe or Hiranyagarbha is an identity called Vishnu.
  • Next, Brahma emerges from Vishnu. Brahma’s lifespan is calculated as follows:
    • 1 human day = 8 Yaamas
    • 1 day of the pitrs (ancestors) = 1 month/ 30 days
    • Lifespan of pitrs = 100 years or 3000 human years.
    • 1 day of deivas (deities or divinities) = 1 human year
    • Lifespan of deivas = 12000 years = 4320000 human years.
    • 1 Mahayuga = 12000 years = 4320000 human years
    • 1 day of Brahma = 1 Kalpa = 1000 Mahayuga = 4.32 billion human years
    • 1 day and night of Brahma = 2 Kalpa = 8.64 billion human years
    • Lifespan of Brahma (Maha-kalpa) = 100 Years = 311.04 trillion human years.

Note: it is important to distinguish Brahma (the creator) from Brahman (the source) and Brahmin (a human being whose sole purpose is to realise the Brahman and disseminate that knowledge to the world).

School of Yoga posits views that may be contrary to accepted positions: 

Conclusion on verse 23-26
  • There is a problem with Sri Krishna’s assertion (verse 23-26) that the time of death determines rebirth or escape from it. The reason for this conflict is his assertion in verses 5-16 where he states that a person would be reborn according to his sentiment (bhaava) at death. 
  • In fact, the advice in verses 5-16 are in conformance with the rest of The Bhagavad-Geeta and also to Sri Krishna’s own laws of karma while verses 23-26 run are out of conformance to the rest of the text.
  • Next, in verses 11-16, Sri Krishna also advises Arjuna on how a person should die to avoid rebirth, and it is independent of time of death.
  • Lastly, if a person gets the merit of his or her own actions, then his rebirth cannot be governed by the time of death. Instead, if we were to accept the law of karma, a person would die when his karma required his departure.

Hence, verses 23-26 to be out of congruence from the rest of the Bhagavad-Geeta. The practitioner may draw his or her own conclusions.

School of Yoga explains the lesson learned in Chapter 8

  • The process of creation has never been detailed properly in any ancient text due to differences in interpretations. The delineation that are detailed in this version of the Bhagavad-Geeta are a distillation of the myriad proposals in the Bhagavad-Geeta, Srimad-Bhagavad-PuraaNa and Manu-Smriti. However, since there is no clear linkage between the myrial terms, some assumptions have been made, resulting in the process detailed above and in the various chapters.
  • One aspect which the living often miss, is the dying. How do we die, what happens to the Soul, where does it go, how does the debt get reconciled and programmed into another Soul for reinsertion on Earth, etc.?
    • Again, while ancient texts do shed some light on the journey of the Soul, that is not always clear and subject to interpretation.
    • However, for the living, one clear direction is provided by Sri Krishna. You can prepare for death by practicing how your consciousness (chitta) will exit the body. While one’s state at death may vary, with practice we can condition our consciousness, which means that we have a fighting chance at controlling the movement of the Soul after it exits from the body.
    • But Sri Krishna’s tool of controlling the consciousness requires discipline (abhyaasam) and sacrifice (yagnya).

The Transliteration of The Bhagavad Geeta – Chapter 8 follows:

The Sanskrit words are in red italics and meaning, before the words, are in black.

Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 8 Arjuna asked – (1-2) What is that Brahman? what is adhyatmam? what is karma? adhibhuta and adhidaiva? what is that which is called adidaiva? (kim-tat-Brahman-kim-adhyatmam-kim-karma-adhubhutam-cha-kim-adhideiva-uchayate)? Who and how does adhiyajna exist in this body? How is it cognised by self-restrained soul at time of death (adhiyajnya-tatham-kah-atra-dehe-asmin-prayana-kale-cha-katham-jnano-asi-niyatatmabhih)?

(3-4) Sri Krishna said – The imperishable Brahman is supreme, they say that its nature is transcendental (aksharam-brahma-param-svabhavo-adhyatmam-uchyate), it causes self-expression in creation which is called karma (bhoota-bhaava-udbhava-kara-visargah-karmasamjnitah). Primordial creation is any perishable situation/ state Purusha is the primordial deity, I alone am primordial sacrifice in the body or the embodied (adhibhootam-kshiro-bhaavah-purushas-adi-deivatam-adi-yagno-aham-eva-atr-dehe-dehebhrtam).

(5-7) When dying and leaving the body remember me only (antakale-cha-muktva-kalevaram-smaran-mam-eva), he who makes effort goes to my being (sah-yah-prayati-yati-madbhavam), here is no doubt (na-atr-asti-samshayam). Whatever intuition or memory even, one leaves the body at the end, to that steady state the spirit is transformed (yam-yam-v-api-smaran-bhaavam-tyajati-kalevaram-ante-tham-tham-sada-eva-iti-tad-bhaava-bhaavitaha).

(7-8) Therefore, at all times think of me, and fight (tasmat-sarveshu-kaaleshu-maam-anusmar-yudh-cha). Transfer your cognition and intelligence upon me, to me alone will you come, without doubt (mayi-arpit-mano-budhhi-maam-eva-eshyasi-asamshayam). Practice yoga with focussed consciousness which is not wandering (abhyasa-yoga-yuktena-chetasa-na-anya-gaamina), reach by constantly thinking, the divine supreme Purusha (yaati-anuchintayan-param-purusha-divyam).

(9-10) Ancient Seer lawful Ruler, more minute than the atom or memory, who supports everything and is of incomprehensible form with the colour of the Sun (kavim-puraanam-anushasitharam-aniyamsam-anoho-anusmareth-yah-dhataram-sarvasya-achinta-roopam-Aditya-varnam). At the time of departure, with unwavering cognition, devotion united by strength of Yoga and only by bringing the prana exactly between the eyebrows, he merges with the supreme divine Purusha (prayana-kale-manasa-achalena-bhaktya-yukto-yoga-balena-cha-eva-pranam-aveshu-samyak-bhroovo-madhye-sah-upaiti-tam-Purusha-parama-Purusha-divyam).

(11-13) That which knowers of the Vedas proclaim as imperishable, which ascetics freed from attachment and those desires by practicing brahmacharyam enter the goal that I will explain to you (yad-Veda-vido-vadanti-aksharam-yat-yatayah-vita-ragah-yad-icchhanto-brahmacharyam-brahmacharyam-charanti-vishanti-tat-padam-pravakshye-samgrahena-the). Having controlled all the gates controlling cognition and the heart and having placed the Soul in the forehead, anchor the prana for continuous harmony in meditation (sarva-dware-sam-yamya-nirudhya-mano-hrdaya-cha-aadhaaya-aatmanah-moordni-aasthithah-pranaha-yoga-dharanam). Thus, he who departs and leaves the body uttering OM, any single- syllable, remembering Brahman or me, he attains the supreme goal (iti-yah-prayati-tyajan-deham-vyaharan-om-ekaksharam-anusmaran-Brahman-maam-sah-yaati-param-gatim).

(14-16) Who has a consciousness that is not fragmented constantly remembers me always, to him constant harmonisation in Yoga is easy (yah-ananya-cheta-satatam-smarathi-maam-nityashah-tasyaaha-nitya-yuktasya-yoginah-sulabha).  He who has reached me does not get to any place of pain in another birth but goes to an eternal, exalted place which great Souls that have attained perfection reach (aam-upetaya-na-aapnuvanti-dukh-aalaya-punar-janma-shashvatam-paramam-mahatmanaha-sansiddhim-gatah). Upto the world of Brahma one may return again, but having attained me, previous births do not occur (aa-brahma-bhuvana-lokaha-punar-aavarthino-tu-maam-upetaye-punar-janma-na-vidhate).

(17-19) The people that know night and day know that the day of Brahma ends after a thousand years, the night end after a thousand years (te-janaah-aho-ratr-vidah-viduh-yat-ahah-Brahmanaha-sahasra-yuga-paryantam-raatrim-yug-sahasr-antaam). From the unmanifested proceed all manifestations at the coming of day (avyaktaat-vyaktaha-sarvah-prabhavanti-ahr-aagame). Next, at the coming of night, dissolution truly happens and becomes unmanifested (ratr-aagame-praleeyate-eva-tatra-avyakt-samjnake). Multitude of beings that are born again and again and are dissolved at the coming of night are truly helpless at this occurrence when day ends (bhoota-gramaha-sah-bhutva-bhootva-praleeyate-ratr-agame-eva-avaahah-ayam-prabhavati-ahar-aagame).

(20-22) Higher than that but existing is another unmanifested other than the unmanifested which is eternal who is in all beings which on perishing does not get destroyed (parah-tasmat-tu-bhavaha-anyaha-avyaktam-avyaktaat-sanatanah-yah-sah-sarveshu-bhooteshu-nashyatsu-na-vinashyati). Unmanifested and imperishable, this is called That, they say it is the supreme goal, which having attained, there is no return and that supreme home is mine (avyakto-akshara-iti-uktaha-tam-aahuhu-paramam-gatim-yam-prapya-na-nivartante-tat-dhaama-paramam-mam). Purusha is supreme undoubtedly, attainable by devotion, when nothing else is there in being, then all this is That (purusha-sa-paraha-tu-bhaktya-labyaha-ananyaya-yasya-antah-sthani-bhootani-yena-sarvam-idam-tatam).

(23-26) Also, I will tell you what happens at death about non-return or return and even about where yogis go after death (vaskshyami-tu-yatr-kale-anavrttim-avrittim-cha-eva-yoginaha-prayata-yanti-tam-kaalam). First, fire, light, day, ascending lunar fortnight six-months of the northern movement of Sun, those departing will go to Brahma and cognise Brahma (agnir-jyotir-ahah-shuklah-shan-masah-uttayana-thatr-prayatah-gacchhanti-Brahma-Brahma-vidah-janah). Smoke, night and descending lunar fortnight six months of the southern movement of the Sun, by the lunar light, the yogi will get to return (dhoomo-rathris-thatha-krishna-shan-masah-dakshinayanam-thathr-chaandramas-jyothi-yogi-prapt-nivartate). Ascending and descending lunar cycles paths, these are genuinely thought to be eternal in the world, by one a person goes without return, by the other, returns again (shukla-krishna-gati-he-ete-mate-jagatah-sashvate-ekaya-yati-anavritim-anyaya-aavartate-punah).

(27-28) Neither of these paths deludes anyone who has reached the state of sublime merger (na-ete-srthi-moohyate-kaschana-janam-yogi) therefore at all times be steadfast in yoga (tasmaat-sarveshu-kaaleshu-yoga-yukta). Whether the person is a vedantin, practitioner of sacrifices, an ascetic and also giver of alms (vedeshu-yagnyeshu-tapahshu-cha-eva-daaneshu), whatever merit is decreed, surpassing that is this, which having known, the yogi attains supreme and primeval abode (yat-punya-phalam-pradishtam-atyeti-tat-sarvam-idam-viditva-param-stanam-upaiti-cha-aagham).

Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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One of the best articles I have come across. Scientifically explains, interprets and enlightens the concept of Aksharabramha and how to attain freedom from Birth-death cycle effectively. The article also enables to pursue the path of Karma to attain moksha. Hearty Congratulations for the contributors.

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