Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of self-help

by BS Murthy

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Chapter- 8: Cycle of Creation


This chapter of 28 slokas, known as akshara parabrahma yoga, The Indestructible Brahman, emphasizes the need of un-wavered devotion to the Supreme so as to attain Him. It also describes the science of meditation to reach the Supreme by understanding the nature of the Brahman. And s 22 is a seemingly concluding statement of the Lord that only through un-swerved devotion the  Supreme could be reached from  which there is no return (s 21).

Then appear s23 to s28 which if literally taken would imply that if one dies when the moon is on the ascent he would go to heaven and, to hell if itís other way round. Needless to say, these slokas spelling superstition in an otherwise thought-elevating treatise are but interpolations. It is worth noting that Sir Edwin Arnold dismissed these as the work of some vedanti and thought it fit, justifiably at that, not to include them in his ĎSong Celestialí. In this connection it may be noted that the relationship between the state in which a person dies and  his imminent rebirth is covered in s 14 and s15 of c14, which seem to be authentic.

It can be seen that s5, places the cart before the horse. Besides, s9-s14 too are interpolations going by their content thatís out of context. It is worth noting that s1-s4,s6-s8 and s15-s22, if read together would bear an unmistakable continuity of argument that the interpolations deprive.


Thus spoke Arjuna:

O Lord appraise whatís Brahman 

Lies what within ín backs action 

Nature of deities besides the beings.


What is that guides bodily acts,

What makes yogis realize Thee? 

3        .

Thus spoke the Lord:

Self Imperishable is Brahman

But dwells it yet there in beings  

Brings that forth is Act Supreme. 


Perish as beings all in time

Spirit that lasts of them is Me.


In the end the way one tends

Charts that future course he takes.


If thou act with this in mind

In the end thou gain Me true,

By My word now opt for war

With thy strength ín skill I gave.


Me they reach whoso keep

On Me focus as they work.


Having come to stay with Me

Get they rid of births and deaths.


Journey to Brahman holds return ticket

Journeys back none abode from Mine.


Wise all realize days Brahman

Ages thousands make with nights.


By day as He brings beings

Un-manifests He all by night.


Itís all rebirths through His day

But with nightfall cease they all

As He wakes up puts He back.


My State Supreme that never ends

Un-manifested itís above Brahman.   


Itís My Abode that Supreme

For man to reach not to leave.


Itís through devotion that thee gain

State Supreme that pervades worlds.


Ends thus:

Cycle of Creation,

The Eighth Chapter 

Of Bhagavad-Gita,

 Treatise of self-help



  <<Back to Chapter 7

Introduction  Chapter 1   Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4   

Chapter 5    Chapter 6  Chapter 7  Chapter 8    Chapter 9  

Chapter 10 Chapter 11   Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 

Chapter 15  Chapter 16  Chapter 17  Chapter 18

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