What is that Brahman, what the Adhyâtma, and what, O best of beings! is action? And what is called the Adhibhûta? And who is the Adhiyagña, and how in this body, O destroyer of Madhu? And how, too, are you to be known at the time of departure (from this world) by those who restrain their selfs?
The Deity said:
The Brahman is the supreme, the indestructible. Its manifestation (as an individual self) is called the Adhyâtma. The offering (of an oblation to any divinity), which is the cause of the production and development of all things, is named action. The Adhibhûta is all perishable things. The Adhidaivata is the (primal) being. And the Adhiyagña, O best of embodied (beings)! is I myself in this body 4.
[paragraph continues] And he who leaves this body and departs (from this world) remembering me in (his) last moments, comes into my essence. There is no doubt of that. Also whichever form 1 (of deity) he remembers when he finally leaves this body, to that he goes, O son of Kuntî! having been used to ponder on it. Therefore, at all times remember me, and engage in battle. Fixing your mind and understanding on me, you will come to me, there is no doubt. He who thinks of the supreme divine Being, O son of Prithâ! with a mind not (running) to other (objects), and possessed of abstraction in the shape of continuous meditation (about the supreme), goes to him. He who, possessed of reverence (for the supreme Being) with a steady mind, and with the power of devotion, properly concentrates the life-breath between the brows 2, and meditates on the ancient Seer, the ruler, more minute than the minutest atom 3, the supporter of all, who is of an unthinkable form, whose brilliance is like that of the sun, and who is beyond all darkness 4, he attains to that transcendent and divine Being. I 5 will tell you briefly about the seat, which those who know the Vedas declare to be indestructible; which entered by ascetics from whom all desires have departed; and wishing for which, people pursue the
mode of life of Brahmakârins 1. He who leaves the body and departs (from this world), stopping up all passages 2, and confining the mind within the heart 3, placing the life-breath in the head, and adhering to uninterrupted meditation 4, repeating the single syllable 'Om,' (signifying) the eternal Brahman 5, and meditating on me, he reaches the highest goal. To the devotee who constantly practises abstraction, O son of Prithâ! and who with a mind not (turned) to anything else, is ever and constantly meditating on me, I am easy of access. The high-souled ones, who achieve the highest perfection, attaining to me, do not again come to life, which is transient, a home of woes 6. All worlds, O Arguna! up to the world of Brahman, are (destined) to return 7. But, O son of Kuntî! after attaining to me, there is no birth again. Those who know a day of Brahman to end after one thousand ages, and the night to terminate after one thousand ages, are the persons
who know day and night 1. On the advent of day, all perceptible things are produced from the unperceived; and on the advent of night they dissolve in that same (principle) called the unperceived. This same assemblage of entities, being produced again and again, dissolves on the advent of night, and, O son of Prithâ! issues forth on the advent of day, without a will of its own 2. But there is another entity, unperceived and eternal, and distinct from this unperceived (principle), which is not destroyed when all entities are destroyed. It is called the unperceived, the indestructible; they call it the highest goal. Attaining to it, none returns 3. That is my supreme abode. That supreme Being, O son of Prithâ! he in whom all these entities dwell 4, and by whom all this is permeated, is to be attained to by reverence not (directed) to another. I will state the times, O descendant of Bharata! at which devotees departing (from this world) go, never to return, or to return. The fire, the flame 5, the day,
the bright fortnight, the six months of the northern solstice, departing (from the world) in these, those who know the Brahman go to the Brahman. Smoke, night, the dark fortnight, the six months of the southern solstice, (dying) in these, the devotee goes to the lunar light and returns 1. These two paths, bright and dark, are deemed to be eternal in this world 2. By the one, (a man) goes never to return, by the other he comes back. Knowing these two paths, O son of Prithâ! no devotee is deluded 3. Therefore at all times be possessed of devotion, O Arguna! A devotee knowing all this 4, obtains all the holy fruit which is prescribed for (study of) the Vedas, for sacrifices, and also for penances and gifts, and he attains to the highest and primeval seat.
77:1 Concerning the supreme principle and the mode of worshipping it.
77:2 Cf. infra, p. 109.
77:3 See the next chapter.
77:4 Adhyâtma where it occurs before (e. g. p. 55) has been rendered 'the relation between the supreme and individual soul.' As to p. 78 action, cf. pp. 53, 54. Adhibhûta is apparently the whole inanimate creation, and Adhidaivata is the being supposed to dwell in the sun. Adhiyagña is Krishna. Cf. too pp. 113, 114.
78:1 Some commentators say 'whatever thing' generally. The 'form' remembered in one's last moments would be that which had been most often meditated on during life.
78:2 Cf. supra, p. 67.
78:3 Katha, p. 105; Svetâsvatara, p. 333.
78:4 Cf. Svetâsvatara-upanishad, p. 327.
78:5 Kathopanishad, p. 102.
79:1 As to Brahmakârins, see supra, p. 69.
79:2 'The senses,' say the commentators. Might it not refer to the 'nine portals' at p. 65 supra? See also, however, p. 108.
79:3 I. e. thinking of nothing, making the mind cease to work. Cf. Maitrî-upanishad, p. 179.
79:4 Cf. Maitrî-upanishad, p. 130, uninterrupted, like 'oil when poured out,' says the commentator.
79:5 Cf. Khândogya-upanishad, p. 151; Mândukya, pp. 330-388 (Om is all-past, present, and future); Nrisimha Tâpinî, pp. 110, 117, 171; Maitrî, p. 140; Prasna, p. 220. On the opening passage of the Khândogya, Sankara says, 'Om is the closest designation of the supreme Being. He is pleased when it is pronounced, as people are at the mention of a favourite name.' See also Max Müller, Hibbert Lectures, p. 84; Goldstücker's Remains, I, 122.
79:6 See infra, p. 86; and cf. Sutta Nipâta, p. 125.
79:7 They are only temporary, not the everlasting seats of the soul.
80:1 Cf. Manu I, 73. Sankara says, that this explains why the abodes of Brahmâ and others are said to be not lasting. They are limited by time. As to ages, Srîdhara says, a human year is a day and night of the gods. Twelve thousand years made of such days and nights make up the four ages: one thousand such, 'quaternions of ages' make up a day, and another thousand a night of Brahmâ. Of such days and nights Brahmâ has a hundred years to live. At the close of his life, the universe is destroyed.
80:2 Cf. p. 82 infra; also Manu-smriti I, 52; and Kâlidâsa's Kumârasambhava II, 8.
80:3 Cf. Kathopanishad, p. 149; and also p. 112 infra.
80:4 I. e. by whom, as the cause of them, all these entities are supported; cf. p. 82 infra.
80:5 Srîdhara understands 'the time when,' in the sentence preceding this, to mean the path indicated by a deity presiding over p. 81 time, by which;' and the fire-flame as included in this, though having no connexion with time. Sankara agrees, though he also suggests that fire means a deity presiding over time. I own I have no clear notion of the meaning of these verses. Cf. Khândogya, p. 342; Brihad-âranyaka-upanishad, p. 1057 seq.