Bhagavad Gita-Chapter 8 (Part-2) Akshara Brahma Yogah- Yoga of Imperishable Brahman


Every individual being remains as vasanas, unmanifest  desires, in deep sleep at night. His vasanas manifest at daybreak upon  awakening. This cycle of dissolution and emanation continues until the  individual completely exhausts his vasanas, reaching the state of Self-realization.  A similar phenomenon takes place at the macrocosmic level. The entire macrocosm  manifests during the day of Lord Brahma (a God of Hindu Trinity as distinguished  from Brahman, the Supreme Reality). Brahama’s celestial day consists of 4.32  billion terrestrial years. Similarly, the macrocosm folds back into the  unmanifest state during the night of Lord Brahma, covering an equal period as  his day. Beyond this unmanifest lies the Supreme Unmanifest, Brahman. Humans reach  Brahman through spiritual disciplines culminating in single-pointed meditation.

The Path of Sun, Uttarayana and the Path of Moon,  Dakshinayana are discussed. The Path of Sun takes a seeker to Brahmaloka, the heaven  of Lord Brahma wherefrom he goes to the supreme Brahman. Whereas the Path of  Moon takes the individual to pitrloka, only to enjoy heavenly pleasures and  return to the cycle of birth and death in this world. The latter path provides  only temporary pleasures of heaven for meritorious deeds done here. The former,  however, takes the seeker to Brahman, through heaven because of having mixed  meritorious deeds with his spiritual practice. But the true yogi, through his  determined effort on the path of yoga of meditation goes directly from here to the  abode of supreme Brahman. 

The  Text  


maamupetya punarjanma  duhkhaalayamashaashwatam
    naapnuvanti mahaatmaanah samsiddhim  paramaam gataah // 8.15 //

Having attained Me, these  great souls are no more subject to rebirth (herein this mortal world) which is  the abode of pain and transitory for they have reached the highest perfection  (liberation).

The question why should one  struggle so hard to realize the Self is answered. The benefit accruing on realization  of the Self is that having attained Me, The Lord, the Mahatmas are no more  subject to rebirth because the world of rebirth is the starting point for all  pains and miseries and also impermanent .

Those who die without realizing  the Lord come back again to the earth. Life on earth, in spite of many moments  of happiness, is intrinsically painful. On account of the intense love of God,  the devotees do not experience suffering on earth and after death they attain  Him.

aabrahmabhuvanaanllokaah punaraavartino'rjuna
    maamupetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate // 8.16 //

The dwellers in all the  worlds, O Arjuna , including the realm of Brahma, are subject to return to  rebirth, but for those who reach Me, O Son of Kunti, there is no rebirth.

Even after reaching the  Brahmaloka, the realm of the Creator, all cannot achieve total liberation  because of their remaining Vasanas for exhausting which they have to take  rebirth. But to those who rediscovered their Essential Eternal Nature and realized  themselves to be the One, All Pervading Self (after attaining Me) there is no  rebirth, the Samsar, the plane of limited existence.

Complete liberation, attended by  cessation of birth and death, is possible only for a man who has realized his  identity with Brahman. All other worlds, whether sub-human or super-human, are  places of transitory enjoyments, where men departing from earth,  experience the fruit of their actions and  after exhausting such fruits are re-born on this  earth.

But one can directly attain  liberation from re-birth through love of God alone without waiting till the end  of the cosmic cycle.


sahasrayugaparyantam aharyad brahmano viduh
    raatrim yugasahasraantaam te'horaatravido janaah // 8.17 //

Those who know that the day of  Brahma lasts for thousand Yugas (ages) and that the night of Brahma lasts thousand  Yugas again, are indeed people who know day and night.

Brahma is the first manifestation  of the Absolute, Brahman in time and space. He is also known as Prajapati and  Viraj.

Day means evolution or projection  of the universe. It is the period of cosmic manifestation.  Night means cosmic involution or dissolution  of the universe. It is the period of non-manifestation. According to the Hindu  philosophy time is the measurement of interval between two different  experiences.

In a given single experience  there is no perception of time just as in one point there is no concept of  distance for distances can be measured between two points only.

The worlds are conditioned by  time and hence they manifest again and again although the duration of their  cycles vary and are very long - each cycle lasting for crores of years (in terms  of our present understanding of 365 days). A thousand such cycles makes a day  of Brahma and another such cycle is the night of Brahma. Those who can see and  live through the day and night of Brahma can really know what a day is and what  a night is meaning thereby that such yogis can visualize many Brahmas arising  and disintegrating in the Ocean of great Cause. Thus they do not feel any  attachment even to the happiness of the highest heaven, how much less to that  of earth.

In this and the following two verses  Gita points out the life of the Cosmic Man and his concept of time. It points  out the non-distinction between microcosm (vyashti) and macrocosm (samashti).

The God principle (Hiranyagarbha  - the source of all objects) is a concept which represents the total mind and  intellect of all the living creatures living at any given point of time in the  world. To understand the ways of the mind projecting the world of its own  objects is to understand not only the all powerful nature but also the  limitations of God-principle as conceived to be a Creator, Sustainer and  Annihilator. Sri Krishna brings out this subtle idea clearly in the mind of  Arjuna in these three verses.

Receive Site Updates