Chapter 8

Akshara Brahma Yoga

The eighth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is "Akshara Brahma Yoga". In this chapter, Krishna reveals the importance of the last thought before death. If we can remember Krishna at the time of death, we will certainly attain him. Thus, it is very important to be in constant awareness of the Lord at all times, thinking of Him and chanting His names at all times. By perfectly absorbing their mind in Him through constant devotion, one can go beyond this material existence to Lord's Supreme abode.

Verse 1
Arjuna said, "What is Brahman? What is Adhyatma? What is action, O best among men? What is Adhibhuta declared to be? And, what is Adhidaiva said to be?"
Verse 2
Who and how is Adhiyajna here in this body, O destroyer of Madhu? And how, at the time of death, are You to be known by the self-controlled?
Verse 3
The Blessed Lord said, "Brahman is the Imperishable, the Supreme; its essential nature is called Self-knowledge; the offering (to the gods) that causes the existence and manifestation of beings and sustains them is called action."
Verse 4
Adhibhuta—knowledge of the elements—pertains to My perishable nature, and the Purusha, or the Soul, is the Adhidaiva; I alone am the Adhiyajna here in this body, O best among the embodied.
Verse 5
And whoever, leaving their body, goes forth remembering Me alone at the time of death, they will attain My Being; there is no doubt about this.
Verse 6
Whoever at the end leaves the body, thinking of any being, to that being only does he go, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), due to his constant thought of that being.
Verse 7
Therefore, at all times, remember Me only and fight. With your mind and intellect fixed on Me, you will undoubtedly come to Me alone.
Verse 8
With the mind not moving towards any other thing, made steadfast through the practice of habitual meditation, and constantly meditating, one goes to the Supreme Person, the Resplendent, O Arjuna.
Verse 9
Whosoever meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, the Ruler of the whole world, minuter than an atom, the supporter of all, of inconceivable form, effulgent like the sun and beyond the darkness of ignorance.
Verse 10
At the time of death, with an unwavering mind, endowed with devotion, by the power of Yoga, fixing the whole life-breath in the middle of the two eyebrows, he reaches that resplendent Supreme Person.
Verse 11
That which is declared to be Imperishable by those who know the Vedas, that which the self-controlled (ascetics or Sannyasins) and passion-free enter, that goal, desiring which celibacy is practised, I will declare to thee in brief.
Verse 12
Having closed all the gates, confined the mind in the heart, and fixed the life-breath in the head, engage in the practice of concentration.
Verse 13
Uttering the one-syllabled Om, the Brahman, and remembering Me, he who departs, leaving the body, attains the Supreme Goal.
Verse 14
I am easily attainable by that ever-steadfast yogi who constantly and daily remembers me for a long time, not thinking of anything else with a single-minded or one-pointed focus, O Partha.
Verse 15
Having attained Me, these great souls do not take birth again here—a place of pain and impermanence—but have reached the highest perfection of liberation.
Verse 16
All the worlds, including the world of Brahma, are subject to return again, O Arjuna; but he who reaches Me, O son of Kunti, has no rebirth.
Verse 17
Those who know the day of Brahma, which lasts a thousand Yugas, and the night, which also lasts a thousand Yugas, know day and night.
Verse 18
From the Unmanifested, all the manifested worlds proceed upon the arrival of the 'day'; upon the arrival of the 'night', they dissolve indeed into that which is known as the Unmanifested.
Verse 19
This same multitude of beings, being born again and again, helplessly dissolves, O Arjuna, into the Unmanifested at the coming of the night and comes forth at the coming of the day.
Verse 20
But verily, there exists higher than this Unmanifested, another Unmanifested Eternal, which is not destroyed even when all beings are destroyed.
Verse 21
What is known as the Unmanifested and the Imperishable, That is said to be the highest goal. Those who reach It do not return (to this Samsara). That is My supreme abode (place or state).
Verse 22
That highest Purusha, O Arjuna, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone, within Whom all beings dwell and by Whom all this is pervaded.
Verse 23
Now I will tell you, O chief of the Bharatas, the times of departure at which the Yogis will return or not return.
Verse 24
Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of the northern path of the sun (the northern solstice) departing, then men who know Brahman go to Brahman.
Verse 25
Attaining the lunar light through smoke, night time, the dark fortnight, and the six months of the southern path of the sun (the southern solstice), the yogi returns.
Verse 26
The bright and dark paths of the world are thought to be eternal; one leads to no return, and the other leads to return.
Verse 27
Knowing these paths, O Arjuna, no yogi is deluded; therefore, at all times, be steadfast in yoga.
Verse 28
Whatever fruit of merit is declared (in the scriptures) to accrue from (the study of) the Vedas, (the performance of) sacrifices, (the practice of) austerities, and gifts, beyond all this goes the Yogi, having known this; and he attains to the Supreme, Primeval (first or ancient) Abode.