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The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman

Arjuna said:
What is Brahman and Primal Self,
And what is Karma, O Krishna,
What is the Primal Element,
Also, what is the Primal God? (1)

Who, and in what way, is Primal
Sacrifice here in this body?
And how are You known at the time
Of death by the self-controlled ones? (2)

The Holy Lord said:
Deathless is the Supreme Brahman
The Primal Self that dwells in all;
The sacrificial offering:
Karma–causing both birth and life. (3)

The Primal Element is the
Perishable adjunct of this;
The Primal God is Indweller,
And I the Primal Sacrifice. (4)

And he who at the time of death
Meditating on Me alone,
Goes forth, and leaving the body,
Doubtless attains to My Being. (5)

Whatever he remembers when
Departing from the body, that
Alone is reached by him because
Of his constant thinking of that. (6)

Therefore, at all times, constantly
Remember Me, and then do fight:
With mind and intellect absorbed
In Me, you thus shall come to Me. (7)

With mind made steadfast by yoga,
Which turns not to anything else,
To the divine supreme Spirit
He goes, meditating on Him. (8)

He who meditates on the Seer, the Ruler,
The ancient, subtler than the atom, support
Of all, Whose form is inconceivable and
Radiant like the sun and beyond darkness. (9)

At the hour of death with his mind unmoving,
Endowed with devotion and with yoga pow’r,
With the prana ent’ring between the eyebrows,
He goes unto the divine supreme Spirit. (10)

That which Veda-knowers call the Eternal,1
Which the ascetics, free from passion, enter;
Desiring which they live as brahmacharins,
That path I shall explain unto you briefly. (11)

Controlling all of the senses,
Confining the mind in the heart,
Drawing pranas into the head,
Doing yogic concentration, (12)

Uttering OM, the syllable
That is God, and intent on Me,
Departing thus from his body,
He then attains the Goal Supreme. (13)

He who thinks of Me constantly,
Whose mind does never go elsewhere,
Yogi of constant devotion–
For him I am easy to reach. (14)

Reaching the highest perfection,
Having attained Me, those great souls
Are no more subject to rebirth–
The evanescent home of pain. (15)

All worlds, including Brahma’s realm,
Are subject to rebirth’s return,
But for him who attains to Me
There is no rebirth, Kunti’s Son. (16)

The knowers of true “day” and “night”
Know Brahma’s Day and Brahma’s Night
Are each a thousand yugas2 long–
And each one comes unto an end. (17)

At the approach of Brahma’s Day,
All manifested things come forth
From the unmanifest, and then
Return to that at Brahma’s Night. (18)

Helpless, the same host of beings
Being born again and again,
Merge at the approach of the Night
And emerge at the dawn of Day. (19)

But beyond this unmanifest
There is the Unmanifested,
Eternal Existence, Which is
Not destroyed when all beings merge. (20)

The unmanifest, eternal,
Is declared as the Supreme Goal,
Attaining Which they return not.
This is My supreme dwelling place. (21)

Yea, this is the Supreme Being,
Attained by devotion alone,
Within Which all beings do dwell,
By which all this is pervaded. (22)

Now I shall tell you, Arjuna,
Of the times in which, departing,
The yogis shall once more return
Or, departing, shall not return. (23)

Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight,
The six months of the sun’s North Path–
Knowers of Brahman take this path
And thereby go unto Brahman. (24)

Smoke, nighttime, and the dark fortnight,
The six months of the sun’s South Path–
Taking this path the yogi gains
The lunar light, and thus returns. (25)

Truly these two light and dark paths
The world thinks to be eternal.
By one he goes to non-return;
By the other, returns again. (26)

No yogi who knows these two paths,
O Pritha’s son, is deluded.
Therefore, be steadfast in yoga
Throughout all times, O Arjuna. (27)

Whatever merit is declared
As gained from Vedas, sacrifice,
Austerity and gifts–yogis
Surpass and gain the Great Abode. (28)

Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the eighth discourse entitled: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman.

Read the next Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret


1) Or: Imperishable. [Go back]

2) One thousand yugas–one “day” (or “night”) of Brahma–is 4,320,000,000 years long. [Go back]

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Text of the Bhagavad Gita for Singing:

  1. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 1: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 2: Sankhya Yoga
  3. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action
  4. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 4: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 9: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret
  10. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 16: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal
  17. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 17: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

The Bhagavad Gita—The Song of God A new Translation by Abbot George Burke

  1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
  3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action
  4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Six: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eight: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Nine: The Yoga of the Royal Science and Royal Secret
  10. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Ten: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fifteen: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Sixteen: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demonic
  17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seventeen: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eighteen: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita.

Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

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