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Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 21

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 21
Shloka

Shuklakrishne gatee hyete jagatah shaashwate mate;

Ekayaa yaatyanaavrittim anyayaa’vartate punah.

Translation

The bright and the dark paths of the world are verily thought to be eternal;

by the bright path a person goes not to return again, and by the dark path he returns.

Interpretation

After talking about the timing and the day of death which brings a person to this world and makes him attain Godliness, in this sloka He describes the nature of these paths. Lord says that these two paths are called as the bright path and the dark path. He also adds that these two paths are considered as the eternal paths that humans have been taking since years. The difference according to Lord Krishna is that, the person who takes the bright path is not going to return to this world while the one who takes the dark path again returns to this world.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Why are these paths called as bright and dark paths and why is it that they are considered to be eternal? This is a question that comes into everyone’s mind when they read this sloka. It should never be mistaken that bright path is a good path and the dark path is a bad path. Both are paths that are carved out by a person depending on his nature and his way of thinking. Let us take for example, a person who wants to help people. Then the next question that comes to mind is, why did he choose helping people as his dharma, when there are so many options available to him?

The answer to this is, the person gets satisfied when he helps people. Now this satisfaction can be many fold and multi dimensional and mutli disciplinary. A person can do a many fold help, when he constantly advises people on various aspects of decision making and helps them to succeed. It is Multi dimensional when the goal attached for helping a person differs. Someone helps thinking that they are doing it as directed by God. That is one dimension. Someone might help for name and fame. Someone might help thinking of power and position, someone might help thinking of money. Help here is the same, but the dimensions are many.

Helping a person also is multi disciplinary, as the help can be given in various disciplines. Like someone can be a doctor and help cure diseases, someone can be a teacher and help educate people, someone can be a lawyer and help people who get into troubles. Someone can be an engineer and help people by constructing and designing things, someone can be a scientist and help people by providing them comforts in their lives. All these are multi disciplinary. Now the basic question is how is it bright and dark?

Any help done with an utmost sense of understanding his dharma and not expecting any material, financial, political and personal benefit is the bright path. Here the person does his work because he believes that God has chosen him for it. But there are others who do it for name, fame, power, praise, money and other materialistic benefits. Its not that they are wrong, its just that it is considered as the dark path taken and the person comes back again. When God is in mind and an act is committed without thinking any other thing, that person attains Godliness and never comes back.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 20

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 20
Shloka
Dhoomo raatristathaa krishnah shanmaasaa dakshinaayanam;
Tatra chaandramasam jyotir yogee praapya nivartate.
Translation
Attaining to the lunar light by smoke, night-time,
the dark fortnight or the six months of the southern path of the sun, the Yogi returns.
Interpretation
After talking about the soul which leaves the body during the day time, the first half and during the Northern Solstice, Lord Krishna in this sloka talks about the exit of soul in the other time. He says that if Soul leaves the body in the night and gets exposed to the moon light, if it exits between the full moon day and the new moon day and during the Southward movement of the sun, such souls will have to return to this world again.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
What is the difference between Northern Solstice and southern solstice, between first half and second half of the month and the day and the night in a day? Why is one considered to be auspicious and another inauspicious? To have an understanding of this, a person should understand that everything that God created has two sides to it, one good and another bad. We humans also have a good side to us and also a bad side to us. Then what is the relevance of this in attaining Brahman?
Our actions define which side of ours dominate. We can do good things, we can do bad things. Both gives us different results. When we do good things, we attain higher spirituality and come closer to God. When we do bad things we move away from God. In the same way, when a soul leaves the body during the good time, as mentioned in the previous sloka, it reaches Brahman, when it leaves during the bad time, it doesnt attain Brahman just like bad actions takes us away from God.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 15

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 15
Shloka
Avyaktaadvyaktayah sarvaah prabhavantyaharaagame;
Raatryaagame praleeyante tatraivaavyaktasamjnake.
Translation
From the unmanifested all the manifested worlds proceed at the coming of the “day”;
at the coming of the “night” they dissolve verily into that alone which is called the unmanifested.
Interpretation
After revealing the “shrishti Rahasya” in the previous sloka, Lord Krishna in this sloka turns His attention to what happens during the day and what happens during the night of Brahma. As we know each day lasts for 4.3 billion years and followed by that is the night with the same duration. He says that from the unmanifested God all the manifested worlds continue the process of creation and re birth during the Brahma day. During the night all the manifested living beings dissolve into the unmanifested which is also called as God.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
In yesterday’s sloka we talked about how creation happens in the day and how long it lasts, today we are talking about what happens in Brahma’s day and night. The unmanifested is the God, and He creates beings which manifests themselves in different forms in different lives and all this process happens during the day. All the manifesting beings of God reach to a particular level by the time Brahma’s day is over and by coming of night they dissolve themselves and join the unmanifested that is God.
Then there is complete nothing for a very long period of 4.3 billion years where Brahma will be taking rest. That period is the period of Nothing, it was there 4.3 billion years ago. Sometimes I wonder if the big bang explosion that was witnessed 4.5 billion years ago is the day break for the Brahma. Even if we observe our day break, a huge ball of fire in the form of sun appears suddenly from the horizon and that starts our day. The same ball when it sets becomes night. What is happening to us in a day is happening for billions of years for God Brahma.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 14

Chapter  8 Brahma Yoga Verse 14
Shloka
Sahasrayugaparyantam aharyad brahmano viduh;
Raatrim yugasahasraantaam te’horaatravido janaah.
Translation
Those who know the day of Brahma, which is of a duration of a thousand Yugas,
and the night, which is also of a thousand Yugas’ duration, they know day and night.
Interpretation
In this sloka Lord Krishna turns his attention to the duration of the day and night for Brahma. This in a way is linked to the liberation of souls which were created by Brahma. Lord Krishna says that the duration of the day for Brahma spans over a thousand yugas. That means for thousand yugas Brahma will be doing “shrishti Rachana”. Then followed by that we will have the night for Brahma where he will take rest. That also continues for a thousand yugas. A person who knows this secret of Brahma’s day and night will actually know the duration of the day and night.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
The simple way of calculating one day for Brahma is by counting yugas. We have 4 yugas and Kali yug is the smallest of all these and it lasts for 4,32,000 years. The treyta Yug is double that of Kaliyug and lasted for 8,64,000 years. The Dwapara yug is three times as long as Kaliyug and that lasted for 12,96,000 years and Satya yug lasts for four times the duration of Kaliyug for 17,28,000 years. These four yugas constitute a maha yuga and the maha yuga rotating 1000 times will constitute one day of Brahma. If you add all the 4 yugas that totals to 43.2 lakh years and that when multiply that with 1000 that gives one day of Brahma which is 432 Crore years or 4.32 billion years and one night of Brahma is around 430 Crore years. Brahma lives 100 years like that. Brahma will die after this.
If we look at the formation of earth from the big bang theory it happened around 4.5 billion years ago and around 4.28 to 4.31 billion years ago water appeared on the World heralding the start of life on planet earth which is described in the Gita as the beginning of the shristhi by Brahma. So that means we are almost approaching the end of one Brahma day. Exact calculations will tell when this World will end, but the truth is World is going to end very soon.
This is called “shrishti Rahasya” or the secret of creation of Brahma. From ancient times our sages have been busy calculating the exact beginning of the day of Brahma and that is around 4.28 to 4.31 billion years. The day roughly lasts between 4.30 to 4.32 billion years. This puts us in the big danger of the World ending at anytime. The sins are multiplying, the moral values are degrading and everything points out to a great sunset of this Shrishti where Brahma will again go to sleep for another 4.3 billion years and a new sun will appear after that and the life will start all over again.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 13

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 13
Shloka
Maamupetya punarjanma duhkhaalayamashaashwatam;
Naapnuvanti mahaatmaanah samsiddhim paramaam gataah.
Translation
Having attained Me these great souls do not again take birth here,
which is the place of pain and is non-eternal; they have reached the highest perfection.
Interpretation
After talking about the people who meditate and chant om and the people who remember God in every task of theirs, and attaining Him, Lord Krishna in this sloka talks about what happens to the person who attain Him. He says that once the persons attain Him, their souls will be called as great souls. Such great souls will not take birth again in this world which is a place for all kinds of pains and the world which is non-eternal. We all know that only God is eternal and everything else is non-eternal. Such souls have reached the highest perfection so it is the end of the journey for them.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Many things that are mentioned here have already been touched upon to a fair degree but one thing that is not discussed a lot is the pain that one experiences in this World. Every soul that comes to this world by taking a body has to go through this pain. Its not the pain to the body but it is the pain to the soul. Why does soul needs pain? It needs pain to evolve. What is this pain? Will everyone experience it? The answer for that is No. It is not a pain that everyone experiences but it is the pain experienced by those who don’t believe in giving pain to the body or those who have attained a degree of spirituality.
Let me explain. Suppose someone angers you or does something bad, many people usually reciprocate by either physical violence or verbal violence. They scold first and then get down to physically abuse the person. Such people are at a spiritually lower level and can never feel the pain of the soul. They give and take physical pain and will live in that level only. But a spiritually evolved person is someone who doesn’t believe in verbally abusing or physically injuring someone. Such a person is sensitive and he shows empathy and starts feeling the other person’s pains. Such souls only experience the pain.
Now the question is, why do good souls face the pain. They face the pain to become great souls. When your soul pains it thinks and it gains strength. The strength it gains doesn’t come from external sources but it comes from internal sources. There was an instance when Vivekananda suddenly left his guru Ramakrishna  and went off. He didnt talk to him for years. All the spiritual journey that they both did together got halted. It created a great pain in Ramakrishna’s soul and he gained the strength to overcome the pain. The strength itself created a magnetic pull where Vivekananda came to Ramakrishna one day and from then on, he was with him till Ramakrishna’s last breath.
Pain gives power and that power acts as a magnetic force which pulls like minded souls towards it. As our knowledge increases our questions also increase and one tends to drift apart trying to get answers to these questions independently. When two souls that are meant to be together drift apart, it causes a pain and that pain is very different from the other forms of pain that one experience. That pain is necessary to gather strength and that is what happens in this non-eternal world. Souls that attain perfection never goes through all this and they are great souls which live in the abode of the Almighty.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 10
Shloka
Sarvadwaaraani samyamya mano hridi nirudhya cha;
Moordhnyaadhaayaatmanah praanamaasthito yogadhaaranaam.
Translation
Having closed all the gates, confined the mind in the heart
and fixed the life-breath in the head, engaged in the practice of concentration,
Interpretation
This sloka is the second part of the message that Lord Krishna wants to convey Arjuna. In the first part He talked about the different quests that people undertake. In this part Lord Krishna tells how to attain perfect concentration, before proceeding to the event that Lord Krishna says. There are three steps that He mentions, first is he needs to shut all the doors and windows of thought and then he should merge the head and heart into unity of thought and then proceed to fixing the concentration of his mind in breathing, then he automatically proceeds into the state of complete concentration.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
This is a three part sloka where in the third part Lord Krishna wants to reveal an important message. In this second part he talks about how a person can attain concentration. There are three steps one needs to follow. Closing the gates is like shutting the thoughts coming from the external source. Second is mixing the heart and mind. We all have thoughts which are different in heart and mind, so to proceed to concentration one has to unify both.  Last is concentrating on one’s breath in order to focus. You need to have an object to focus upon and concentrating on one’s breath is the best way of doing it. Now we will await what Lord Krishna has to say in the third part of the sloka.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 9

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 9
Shloka
Yadaksharam vedavido vadantiVishanti yadyatayo veetaraagaah;
Yadicchanto brahmacharyam charantiTatte padam samgrahena pravakshye.
Translation
That which is declared imperishable by those who know the Vedas, that which the self-controlled and passion-free enter,
that desiring which celibacy is practised—that goal I will declare to thee in brief.
Interpretation
In this sloka Lord Krishna talks about the real goal that a person who practices the above three qualities looks for. The first quality in the life of a person is to attain imperishability by learning vedas. Imperishable means that person who cannot be defeated by anyone. The second quality is the path that people who attain the highest level of self control and the passion free people choose. The third quality is the person who practices celibacy looks for. All of them are looking for the same thing. What is that Lord Krishna is going to say in the next sloka.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
This sloka talks about the quest for something that Lord is going to tell. One way of doing this quest is attaining the knowledge about various rituals, also called vedas. When you know all the rituals you will know how to do things and what should be done at an appropriate time. The second quest is the quest for self control and passion free life. We all say that passion is a must for a person’s growth. Then why are we saying that people quest for passion free life?
It is because if you have passion, you are attached to results. Initially, meeting targets and achieving results is good. But going forward, getting bound to these results and passions is undesirable for the spiritual growth. That is why the quest for passion free life begins. The third thing is the practice of celibacy. Celibacy means not indulging in copulation that leads to birth of a child. Children bring responsibilities and binds an individual. When he doesnt want to get bound, he choose to move into celibacy and leads a pious life. What does all these quests bring? Let’s await Lord Krishna’s answer in the next sloka.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 8

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 8
Shloka
Prayaanakaale manasaachalenaBhaktyaa yukto yogabalena chaiva;
Bhruvormadhye praanamaaveshya samyakSa tam param purusham upaiti divyam.
Translation
At the time of death, with unshaken mind, endowed with devotion and by the power of Yoga,
fixing the whole life-breath in the middle of the two eyebrows, he reaches that resplendent Supreme Person.
Interpretation
This sloka is the continuation of the previous sloka where Lord Krishna talks about the Supreme nature of God. The focus in this sloka shifts to the person from God. Here lord Krishna talks about what a person who is dying should do in order to attain the moksha. He says that a person at the time of his death should merge himself with devotion towards God and his mind should be unshaken from the thoughts of God, just like a person who does yoga with an unshaken mind. He then has to fix the breath and concentrate on the area in between his two eye-balls to reach the abode of Almighty.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Here we are talking about the concept of Samadhi. Samadhi is one surest way of attaining moksha, and samadhi can be attained only when we shift our focus entirely to God. A person sits for meditation and the meditation he undertakes as a part of samadhi is his last meditation and he should not open his eyes anymore. In olden days, rishis go to samadhi when they feel that whatever they had to do in this mortal world is accomplished. A samadhi can be undertaken only by a spiritually evolved soul. Ordinary souls cannot even dream of attaining samadhi.
A person has to renounce everything and should have zero attachments, then only he will be eligible for samadhi. The best example one can take for samadhi is of Swami Vivekananda. He attained Mahasamadhi at an early age of 39. On July 4th 1902, Vivekananda  went to Belur math in Karnataka and met his disciples. Morning he meditated for few hours and after spending the entire day with them, he again went to meditation in evening after sunset and asked his disciples not to disturb him. He was in the yoga mudra when he attained samadhi somewhere in the night or early morning and his disciples found his lifeless body in the morning. His soul left the body through his crown chakra leaving a rupture in his brain. Samadhi is the surest way of reaching the Almighty at the time of death according to Lord Krishna.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 7

Chapter 8 Brahma Yoga Verse 7
Shloka

Kavim puraanamanushaasitaaramAnoraneeyaamsam anusmaredyah;

Sarvasya dhaataaram achintyaroopamAadityavarnam tamasah parastaat.

Translation

Whosoever meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, the ruler of the whole world,

minuter than an atom, the supporter of all, of inconceivable form, effulgent like the sun and beyond the darkness of ignorance,

Interpretation

After talking about the person thinking about Him and about other beings at the time of death, Lord Krishna shifts His attention to the God and the nature of the Almighty. He describes the nature of Almighty in the following parts. He says that God is Omniscient which means knower of everything. He is the ruler of the whole World from the time immemorial. God is minute and he is smaller than an atom or even a particle, God is also of the form that can never be known to anyone, He is radiant like sun and He is beyond the darkness of ignorance, that means He is the source of all enlightenment.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here we get all the forms of God. We know that God is the knower of all and the ruler of everything but here we get to know more about the nature of God. First is the size. Here Lord Krishna says God is smaller than an atom. In those days the smallest known particle is an atom. But after that we know about electron, proton and neutron which are smaller than atom. Then we have neutrino, glueon and photon which are the smallest and now scientists have discovered Higgs boson the smallest particle also called God Particle. God, according to Lord Krishna is even smaller than that because, we do not know what is inside Higgs boson and who created that. So, God is the tiniest and minutest particle in the Universe.

The other qualities of God is when God is present in even in the tiniest of particles, then can anyone know the form of God? God cannot be given any shape. So, we give different shapes to that power to worship. We make idols and worship Him in human form and even in animal form. But no one really knows the real form of God. God despite being inconceivable, has a radiation more powerful than that of the sun and the light which can any kind of darkness from this world. In the next part of the sloka Lord will tell us what happens to that human who meditates God.