Chapter Eight: Attaining the Supreme
Bg 8.1 — Arjuna inquired: O my Lord, O Supreme Person, what is Brahman? What is the self? What are fruitive activities? What is this material manifestation? And what are the demigods? Please explain this to me.
Bg 8.2 — Who is the Lord of sacriﬁce, and how does He live in the body, O Madhusūdana? And how can those engaged in devotional service know You at the time of death?
Bg 8.3 — The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called adhyātma, the self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities.
Bg 8.4 — O best of the embodied beings, the physical nature, which is constantly changing, is called adhibhūta [the material manifestation]. The universal form of the Lord, which includes all the demigods, like those of the sun and moon, is called adhidaiva. And I, the Supreme Lord, represented as the Supersoul in the heart of every embodied being, am called adhiyajña [the Lord of sacriﬁce].
Bg 8.5 — And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
Bg 8.6 — Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.
Bg 8.7 — Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kṛṣṇa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of ﬁghting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence ﬁxed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
Bg 8.8 — He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me.
Bg 8.9 — One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun, and He is transcendental, beyond this material nature.
Bg 8.10 — One who, at the time of death, ﬁxes his life air between the eyebrows and, by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Bg 8.11 — Persons who are learned in the Vedas, who utter oṁ-kāra, and who are great sages in the renounced order enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now brieﬂy explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation.
Bg 8.12 — The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and ﬁxing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.
Bg 8.13 — After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable oṁ, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.
Bg 8.14 — For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
Bg 8.15 — After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
Bg 8.16 — From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.
Bg 8.17 — By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahmā’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.
Bg 8.18 — At the beginning of Brahmā’s day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again.
Bg 8.19 — Again and again, when Brahmā’s day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahmā’s night they are helplessly annihilated.
Bg 8.20 — Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.
Bg 8.21 — That which the Vedāntists describe as unmanifest and infallible, that which is known as the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, one never returns – that is My supreme abode.
Bg 8.22 — The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than all, is attainable by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present in His abode, He is all-pervading, and everything is situated within Him.
Bg 8.23 — O best of the Bhāratas, I shall now explain to you the different times at which, passing away from this world, the yogī does or does not come back.
Bg 8.24 — Those who know the Supreme Brahman attain that Supreme by passing away from the world during the inﬂuence of the ﬁery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment of the day, during the fortnight of the waxing moon, or during the six months when the sun travels in the north.
Bg 8.25 — The mystic who passes away from this world during the smoke, the night, the fortnight of the waning moon, or the six months when the sun passes to the south reaches the moon planet but again comes back.
Bg 8.26 — According to Vedic opinion, there are two ways of passing from this world – one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns.
Bg 8.27 — Although the devotees know these two paths, O Arjuna, they are never bewildered. Therefore be always ﬁxed in devotion.
Bg 8.28 — A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing sacriﬁces, undergoing austerities, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. Simply by performing devotional service, he attains all these, and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode.