Brahma Yoga

Discourse viii

The nature of the Supreme is further expounded in this discourse.

Arjuna Said:
What is that Brahman? What is adhyatma? What karma, O Purushottama? What is called adhibhuta? And what adhidaiva?

अर्जुनउवाच |
किंतद्ब्रह्मकिमध्यात्मंकिंकर्मपुरुषोत्तम |
अधिभूतं च किंप्रोक्तमधिदैवंकिमुच्यते || 1||
अधियज्ञ: कथंकोऽत्रदेहेऽस्मिन्मधुसूदन |
प्रयाणकाले च कथंज्ञेयोऽसिनियतात्मभि: || 2||


The Lord Said:
3.The Supreme, the Imperishable is Brahman; its manifestation is adhyatma; the creative process whereby all beings are created is called karma.

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
अक्षरंब्रह्मपरमंस्वभावोऽध्यात्ममुच्यते |
भूतभावोद्भवकरोविसर्ग: कर्मसञ्ज्ञित: || 3||


4. Adhibhutais My perishable form; Adhidai­vata is the individual self in that form; and O best among the embodied, adhiyajnaam I in this body, purified by sacrifice.

अधिभूतंक्षरोभाव: पुरुषश्चाधिदैवतम् |
अधियज्ञोऽहमेवात्रदेहेदेहभृतांवर || 4||

That is, from Imperishable Unmanifest down to the perishable atom everything in the universe is the Supreme and an expres-sion of the Supreme. Why then should mortal man arrogate to himself authorship of anything rather than do His bidding and dedicate all action to Him?


5. And he who, at the last hour remembering Me only, departs leaving the body, enters into Me; of that there is no doubt.

अन्तकाले च मामेवस्मरन्मुक्त्वाकलेवरम् |
य: प्रयाति स मद्भावंयातिनास्त्यत्रसंशय: || 5||


17. Those men indeed know what is Day and what is Night, who know that Brahma’s day lasts a thousand yugas and that his night too is a thousand yugas long.

सहस्रयुगपर्यन्तमहर्यद्ब्रह्मणोविदु: |
रात्रिंयुगसहस्रान्तांतेऽहोरात्रविदोजना: || 17||

That is to say, our day and night of a dozen hours each are less than the infinitesimal fraction of a moment in that vast cycle of time. Pleasures pursued during these incalculably small moments are as illusory as a mirage. Rather than waste these brief moments, we should devote them to serving God through service of mankind. On the other hand, our time is such a small drop in the ocean of eternity that if we fail of our object here, viz. self-realization, we need not despair. She should bide our time.

18. At the coming of Day all the manifest spring forth from the Unmanifest, and at the coming of Night they are dissolved into that same Unmanifest.

अव्यक्ताद्व्यक्तय: सर्वा: प्रभवन्त्यहरागमे |
रात्र्यागमेप्रलीयन्तेतत्रैवाव्यक्तसञ्ज्ञके || 18||


Knowing this too, man should understand that he has very little power over things, the round of birth and death is ceaseless.


24. Fire, Light, Day, the Bright Fortnight, the six months of the Northern Solstice- through these departing men knowing Brahman go to Brahman.

अग्निर्ज्योतिरह: शुक्ल: षण्मासाउत्तरायणम् |
तत्रप्रयातागच्छन्तिब्रह्मब्रह्मविदोजना: || 24||


25. Smoke, Night, the Dark Fortnight, the six months of the Southern Solstice- There through the yogi attains to the lunar light and thence returns.

धूमोरात्रिस्तथाकृष्ण: षण्मासादक्षिणायनम् |
तत्रचान्द्रमसंज्योतिर्योगीप्राप्यनिवर्तते || 25||

I do not understand the meaning of these two shlokas. They do not seem to me to be consistent with the teaching of the Gita. The Gita teaches that he whose heart is meek with devotion, who is devoted to unattached action and has seen the Truth must win salvation, no matter when he dies. These shlokas seem to run counter to this. They may perhaps be stretched to mean broadly that a man of sacrifice, a man of light, a man who has known Brahman finds release from birth if he retains that enlightenment at the time of death, and that on the contrary the man who has none of these attributes goes to the world of the moon-not at all last­ing-and returns to birth. The moon, after all, shines with borrowed light.


26. These two paths — bright and dark — are deemed to be the eternal paths of the world; by the one a man goes to return not, by the other he returns again.

शुक्लकृष्णेगतीह्येतेजगत: शाश्वतेमते |
एकयायात्यनावृत्तिमन्ययावर्ततेपुन: || 26||

The Bright one may be taken to mean the path of knowledge and the dark one that of ignorance.

27. The Yogi knowing these two paths falls not into delusion, O Partha; therefore, at all times, O Arjuna, remain steadfast in yoga.

नैतेसृतीपार्थजानन्योगीमुह्यतिकश्चन |
तस्मात्सर्वेषुकालेषुयोगयुक्तोभवार्जुन || 27||

“Will not fall into delusion” means that he who knows the two paths and has known the secret of even-mindedness will not take the path of ignorance.


28. Whatever fruit of good deeds is laid down as accruing from (a study of) the vedas, from sac¬rifices, austerities, and acts of charity — all that the yogi transcends, on knowing this, and reaches the Supreme and Primal Abode.

वेदेषुयज्ञेषुतप:सुचैव
दानेषुयत्पुण्यफलंप्रदिष्टम् |
अत्येतितत्सर्वमिदंविदित्वा
योगीपरंस्थानमुपैतिचाद्यम् || 28||

He who has achieved even-mindedness by dint of devotion, knowledge and service not only obtains the fruit of all his good actions, but also wins salvation.
Thus ends the eighth discourse entitled ‘Brahma Yoga’ in the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.