Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter VIII: 5-6

June 15, 2024

™antakāle ca mām eva smaran muktvā kalevaraṁ
yaḥ prayāti sa madbhāvaṁ yāti nā ’sty atra saṁśayaḥ (VIII-5)

™yaṁ-yaṁ vā ’pi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaraṁ
taṁ-tam evai ’ti kaunteya sadā tadbhāvabhāvitaḥ (VIII-6)

VIII/5. And, whosoever, leaving the body, goes forth remembering
me alone, at the time of death, he attains my being; there is no
doubt about this.

VIII/6. Whosoever at the end leaves the body, thinking of any
(state of) being, to that being only does he go, Arjuna, because
of his constant thought of that being.

Swamiji's Commentary

     "Where will I go from here?" - this question has worried every man at some time or other.  Krishna's answer is extremely simple. It will depend entirely upon the state of your inner being (that is what bhāva means) at the time the soul leaves the body. If that state is one of total saturation with God, then the soul reaches him.

     This does not contradict the karma theory, but com­pletes or fulfils it. The state of inner being of man is made not only of his actions, but also of the impressions they left behind and his desires and aspirations, all put together. This is what determines his next incarnation, for the very simple reason that it acts like a crystal inviting others of the same substance to adhere to it and thus to form a new body.

     ‘Antakāla' is when the body is released from ‘my' grip or connection. In other words, the idea that "I am this body" or "the body is mine" is suspended. ‘Antakāle' is the last hour. This occurs not only at the time of what is called death, but every night when one goes to sleep!

Normally, the state of one's inner being is reflected in the last thought which is sure to be the image of one's ruling passion in life. There are some who persist in think­ing bestial thoughts though they may have neither the courage nor the opportunity to act on them. They may appear ‘evolved', but the inner picture (bhāva) is of an animal. When the human mask is dropped at death, they assume the real shape (i.e. that of an animal). Yet, we wonder, "How can a human being descend into an animal birth?"

No theorising, wishful thinking or rationalisation is of any use here. The fact is not altered by one's belief or disbelief. Hence the vital need, without ‘planning' for a better birth in the future, is to be better now.


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