Bhgawat Geeta Class 112, Chapter 8: Verses 5 to 8


Shloka # 5:

अन्तकाले मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम्
यः प्रयाति मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशयः।।8.5।।

At the end, whoso departs giving up his body, and remembering Me alone, proceeds to My status; of this there is no doubt.

Continuing his teaching Swamiji said, based upon the last two shlokas of chapter 7 Arjuna raises his seven questions reflected in Shlokas 1 and 2 of this chapter # 8. In shloka’s # 3 and 4 Sri Krishna answers the first six questions.

From the fifth shloka onwards, Sri Krishna answers the seventh question elaborately on the topic of remembrance of god at time of death. This topic is going to be answered in the rest of the chapter # 8. And, by way of answering this question, Sri Krishna is also dealing with Saguna Ishwara Upasanam or meditating upon a god with attributes. Every dhyana shloka, be it on Rama, Krishna, Devi etc., describe the respective god’s attributes. Saguna Upasana can be classified into two types as Saguna and Nishkama. Saguna upasana is for worldly benefits or other than spiritual benefits, or for artha and kama in this life or next.  Miraculous powers also come from such an upasana.

Nishkama upasana is for spiritual growth or obtaining required qualifications and opportunity for moksha. And this nishkama saguna upasana itself can be divided into two types. In one, person practices Nishkama upasana for acquiring all the qualifications for entering into nirguna gyanam. Because we have seen in the 7th chapter that saguna ishwara is not the ultimate reality. Saguna Ishwara is only an empirical vyavaharika satyam or it is also mithya; only the nirguna Ishwara also called para prakrithi in chapter 7, that alone is the ultimate reality; and we have to come to the ultimate nirguna Ishwara.

Thus one can start with Saguna Upasana and the come to nirguna upasana. Nirguna upasana will lead person to nirguna upasana gyanam. This gyanam will result in Sadyo mukti or jivan mukti. Sadyo mukti is instant liberation.

Alternative method:

Saguna Upasana leads to nirguna Upasana. However person is not able to go to nirguna Ishwara. Switching from a god with attributes to a god without attributes is difficult. Nirguna Ishwara enquiry requires a very subtle mind.

So, if the mind is not ready for nirguna ishwara it will not appeal to that person. Then what should that person do? No doubt, he wants moksha; no doubt he wants to become one with God; he does not have interest in any other material goal; he is a nishama purushah; he is a mumukshu purushah; but his mind is not ready for nirguna vicharah.

Sri Krishna offers a solution. He says such a person should continue his Saguna Upasana alone in this life. He should make sure it is a nishkama mumukshu upasana. At time of death he will remember only that which he values most in his or her life. He will remember saguna Ishwara. He won’t get liberation. But because of his intense desire he will go to Brahma Loka. There he will get ideal condition for Nirguna Ishwara Gyanam. Brahmaji himself will impart this knowledge and thus he will attain liberation. This is called Krama Mukti. Therefore a Nishkama upasaka can follow either path. Chapter 8 focuses on Krama Mukti.

Shloka # 5:

The word Yaha in shloka means nishkama saguna upasaka. Suppose he dies and his jiva travels. It is sukshma shariram. Remembering Me alone (saguna Ishwara) he will certainly get karma mukti; of this there is no doubt. Mad Bhava means krama mukti.

Shloka # 6:

यं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम्
तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावितः।।8.6।।

Remembering whatever being one gives up the body at the end, that very being one reaches, O Arjuna! ever confirming to that being.

Suppose a person does not remember god at time of death, what happens to him?

Sri Krishna says, his next janma will depend upon what he thinks at time of death. As the

famous proverb goes; “As a person thinks, so a person becomes”. It is a very very powerful law, which is a fact; it is not a law applicable only after death; but it is a

law applicable within this life itself, as a person thinks, so he becomes.

In this context, Swamiji reminded us of a beautiful proverb which he likes:

Watch your thoughts; they become the words;

Watch your words, they become your actions;

Watch your action, they become your habit;

Watch your habit; they become your character;

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Your destiny is already determined by the thoughts you entertain. Sri Krishna says this rule also applies to next life. Jada Bharata story in Bhagawatham says he got attached to a small deer. His obsession over the deer came up at the time of his death when he was worried as to who would look after his deer. Because of this obsession at time of death, he was born again as a deer.

And this important lesson Krishna imparts in this shloka. Suppose a person drops the physical body at the time of death; remembering various objects in his mind, any particular object, any particular goal in mind, remembering, then, he will certainly attain only such a birth which is in keeping with the person’s thought process. So, Arjuna, remember this is the most important law.

The question comes up if there is a loophole at time of death that one can get around it regarding thinking about god? Sri Krishna says you never know when death will come to you. Thoughts of a person are based upon: his will power and Vasanas (habits, samskaras, impressions). Thoughts in mind are decided by will power or vasana. There is a constant clash between the two. As we grow older vasana becomes more powerful, powered by many years of thinking. Our subconscious mind is saturated with vasanas while our will becomes weaker. At time of death it is very difficult to control thought. So, Sri Krishna says, saturate your vasanas with spiritual thoughts. So preparation for this should start this very moment. Rehearsal for death should start right now.

Sri Krishna discussed this topic although many will not like it. He says constant practice makes subconscious mind divine oriented.

Citing story of Appaya Diskhitar a great devotee, he wanted to find out about subconscious mind. He wanted to find out from our dreams. He drank milk made from erruka tree called errukam milk. Drinking this milk throws one off balance. He told disciples to write down whatever he said when he was not in his senses after drinking this milk. His thought came out as the Unmat- stotram out of his mouth uttered during his dream. It was a great hymn to the Lord Shiva.

Shloka # 7:

तस्मात्सर्वेषु कालेषु मामनुस्मर युध्य

Therefore, at all times, remember Me and fight. Dedicating mind and intellect to Me, rid of all doubts, you will reach Me, indeed.

So Arjuna, my advice to you is, may you always remember Me.

If I remember god all the time when will I have time for my normal duties? Should I become a Sanyasi? How to remember god all the time?

Sri Krishna says, don’t drop your responsibilities. Continue with them. But you also have to fight, Arjuna. He means Arjuna should fulfill his duties as well. How can I do two jobs at the same time; remembering you and fighting?

Conscious mind cannot do two jobs simultaneously. Even when conscious mind is working on a job, in subconscious mind my priority should be clear. Subconscious mind can have Ishwara chintana, while conscious mind can perform work.   It is like a tampura sruthi in background. While singing, tamura sruti will still be maintained.

Citing another example Swamiji says, it is like when one gets down at a platform in a railway station to buy food. The person keeps one eye and ear tuned to any signal as to departure of the train. So, in life one should continue his normal activities while keeping mind alert to the divine as well. Our emotional personality should be focused on God. Learn to emotionally depend upon god rather than on mortals. Remember, a mortal will leave you one day as such are undependable. Love everyone but depend on saguna Ishwara. The Thyagaraja Krithis are all about talking to God.

May you be rationally be convinced; because the physical personal God symbolizes the truth; symbolizes immortality; symbolizes love; symbolizes compassion; symbolizes steadiness. Therefore the physical form we do not say is the ultimate truth; but the physical form represents the highest reality; and that is called the intellectual conviction. Until you understand this abstract truth till then you depend on saguna Ishwara.

This lifestyle will lead you to Me without doubt.

Shloka # 8:

अभ्यासयोगयुक्तेन चेतसा नान्यगामिना
परमं पुरुषं दिव्यं याति पार्थानुचिन्तयन्।।8.8।।

O Arjuna! Steadily thinking with an unswerving mind, disciplined in the yoga of repeated practice, one proceeds to the supreme, divine Spirit.

At time of death an Upasaka remembers God, the highest reality Purushaha.

Purushah, the word has two meanings. One meaning is the one who resides in the heart of everyone; and other is the indweller of all. Puri or pure, means the body, shete means dwells, resides. Puarayati: one who fills whole world; Vidhyam: Chaitanya swarupam.

So Saguna upasaka remembers such a god with the strength of regular practice. It is a mind that is undistracted; with such a mind he remembers Me. Math prodigy Ramanujam at time of death, was asked for his

car’s number. He said it is a number with two cube roots. He was able to do so because of what he valued. So, when you value God, you will remember him and merge into him. Merge here means Krama mukti.

Take away:

  1. Your destiny is already determined by the thoughts you entertain.
  2. At time of death one will remember only that which he values most in his or her life.
  3. Watch your thoughts; they become the words;

Watch your words, they become your actions;

Watch your action, they become your habit;

Watch your habit; they become your character;

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Ram Ramaswamy