In the preceding Chapter Bhagavan explained about His integral Self and spoke of the deluded ones seeking finite fruit while the wise seek Brahman along with knowing Adhyatma, Karma, Adhibhuta, Adhidaiva and Adhiyajna. Arjuna could not grasp the intricacies of these terms and the secret of knowing God. Hence he puts seven questions to the Lord to know about these six terms and how to realize God. The ‘Akshara’ means indestructible or imperishable. As this Chapter deals with the imperishable and absolute nature of God and the Pranava Mantra ‘OM’, which symbolizes it, it is entitled Akshara Brahma Yoga. In this chapter Bhagavan elucidates about the methodology to gain Brahman – how one can reach Brahman through concentrated yoga and single-pointed meditation. This is the path which leads one to the supreme abode wherefrom there is no return. The chapter also mentions the path of return, a realm of temporary bliss, to which one is transported, only to be brought back to the world of limitation. The imperishable Brahman whose nature is transcendental and immanent pervades this perishable world of things and beings. Whatever one pursues in this world one gains that alone. By pursuing the Self one realizes the Self. Krishna advises mankind to surrender the mind and intellect to the Self while the body is engaged in action which will lead the seeker to the ultimate state of Brahman. He further advices to turn the attention from the mundane world to the Supreme Self within and to control the senses and mind through spiritual practices and thereafter to let the intellect direct such controlled mind to single-pointed meditation upon the pranava mantra OM. By continuous and sustained meditation one will reach the supreme abode of Brahma.
Confining the mind in the heart – Although external stimuli can be prevented through controlling senses , it is always possible for the mind to get disturbed on account of the accumulation of past impressions gathered from the external world of change and pleasure. It is therefore advised that the mind which is the tool for emotion and feeling should be confined to the heart. Here heart does not mean the physical part of the body but an imaginary centre of the mind from which all positive thoughts like love, kindness, devotion, surrender etc. emanate which means the mind whose functions are checked.
As the moment of departure from the physical body is not known to anybody Sri Krishna advises Arjuna that one should always keep the mind and intellect absorbed in Him when he will come to Him alone. Sri Krishna emphasizes the need to practice Yoga at all times. If one practices meditation through out one’s life fixing the mind on God, God consciousness will remain steady even at the time of death instead of on worldly objects. Just as in the disturbed waters of a lake pebbles lying at the bottom cannot be seen, the Self that is indwelling in one’s body cannot be experienced due to agitated mind. Sri Krishna therefore suggests a way out by the practice of which this problem could be got over. He suggests meditating on `OM’ which is the symbol of the Supreme Purusha, Brahma. The repetition of `Om’ creates a harmony in the nervous system and the entire personality of the practitioner will feel single-pointed consciousness which will lead to the experience of the Supreme Consciousness.
The Supreme Lord who creates the Universe is Brahma. The Lord describes the day and night of Brahma each of which lasts for thousands of ages. He says those who know the day and night of Brahma they really understand the terms day and night. From the unmanifested all the manifested worlds proceed at the coming of the `day’ and at the coming of the ‘night’ they dissolve into that alone which is called the unmanifested. But the Supreme Purusha stands as a witness apart from this process of evolution and dissolution. Therefore, those who remember and meditate on the Supreme Being as the eternal witness, at the time of death, will never have re-birth in this world but will reach the Supreme itself, which is beyond space, time and causation. Sri Krishna explains how Yogis realize the Supreme Self at the time of death. He mentions the two paths by which the souls of the Yogis travel. The realized Yogis following the path of Light will merge in the Supreme Being and will have no return; they attain Liberation. The others who have attachment for the material world will go through the path of darkness and will take birth in the mortal world to go through the cycle of birth and death afresh. A Yogi knowing these two paths will not follow ritualistic practices expecting to enjoy their fruits because he understands that everything other than the Self is a source of pain and is transient. Hence he is always immersed in the awareness of Eternal Consciousness. He ultimately attains the Primeval Abode.
The basic advice given by the Lord is that this mortal world is the place of pain and sorrow and is non-eternal and hence the one with God-Consciousness will alone reach the highest perfection i.e. Liberation. Therefore, The Lord emphasizes that one should constantly practice Yoga and meditation so that even at the time of death God-thought alone will come instead of the thoughts of attachment to this materialistic world.