Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter VIII: 11

June 18, 2021

yad akṣaraṁ vedavido vadanti
viśanti yad yatayo vītarāgāḥ
™yad icchanto brahmacaryaṁ caranti
tat te padaṁ saṁgraheṇa pravakṣye (VIII-11)

VIII/11. That which is declared imperishable (akṣara) by
those who know the vedā; that which the self-controlled
and passion-free men enter, that desiring which they
observe brahmacarya – that goal I will declare to thee in brief.

Swamiji's Commentary

      Kṣara is something which 'causes to flow', 'pour out', according to the vedā. Akṣara in the vedā is that which is not thus involved in 'flowing out', 'pouring out', i.e., that which is uninvolved in creation. That akṣara is the supreme transcendental reality, the ever-present thing-in-itself, the coloured pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope, the fundamental principle, the unmodified substance whose modifications and manifestations appear to us as the created universe. It is the screen on which the ever-moving objects and the colourful panorama are projected. One who is absorbed in watching the drama projected on the screen is unaware of the screen on which it is projected. It demands tremendous inner discipline to perceive, as it were, the screen and the film independently, at the same time.

     Hence, the ancients prescribed an austere and ethical life of self-control and total freedom from passion – for normally the mind is kept in a state of continuous flux by passions and is thus prevented from perceiving the screen, the substratum. Then the mind, free from desires and passions, is not thus disturbed and with the requisite training will be able to perceive the substratum. This training is called brahmacarya–'to live, move and have one's being in Brahman (God)'. Its own preliminary step is continence, the restraint of one of the most powerful instincts in man.

      What such yogīs reach and how they reach it is now explained by Krishna.


Back to Daily Readings