Gita : Ch-8. Slo-3
Srimad Bhagavad-Gita :
Slokam-3. ( The Supreme Lord said, The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called the self. Action pertaining to the development of these material bodies is called karma, or fruitive activities. )
Sri-Bhagavan uvaca :
aksharam brahma paramam svabhavodhyatmam ucyate,
bhutabhavodbhavakarah visargah karmasamjnitah.
Sri-Bhagavan uvaca = after listening Arjuna's doubts Lord replied;
paramam aksharam brahma = imperishable, otherwise indestructible, The Supreme transcendental, that is the Truth;
svabhavah adhyatmam ucyate = Paramatma Himself, take the jiva-bhavam in all living enities bodies,
through indriya-mano-bhuddhi, becomes Life-Principle, and the nature of brahmam ( jivatma) is known as
bhuta-bhavodbhava-karah = as the cause of the truth, of all living entities;
visargah = the kriya ( action/work ) ( yjnam ), of creation and development;
karma-samjnitah = is called as karmam ( action/activity ).
In response to the questions inquired about in the previous two verses, Lord Krishna answers them in the order in which they were asked in this verse an the next two beginning with the words aksaram paramam brahma meaning the supreme, imperishable ultimate truth. That which is immutable, which is constant, which is indestructible. The indestructible principle is the highest because it is eternal, it is the primal cause of all creation and is known as the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence.
In the Brihad-aranyaka Upanisad III.VIII.VIII we find: The knowers of the brahman state that the immutable brahman is that which is to be known. This immutable brahman manifests itself within the atma or individual soul residing within all sentient beings and is called as svabhava. The same principle existing as the monitor presiding over the physical body is designated by the term adhyatma which is the origin of all created beings and their development as well as their evolution from one lifetime to the next lifetime.
The Manu Samhita III.LXXVI states: The oblations of ghee or clarified butter offered into the sacred fire ascend up and reach Surya, the sun god in full, from which results in rains, from rains grow grains and from grains beings. That yagna or offerings in propitiation consisting of putting ghee and havi or sanctified seed grains into the sacred fire with sanctified Vedic mantras to propitiate the demigods causing the development and benefit of all beings is known as karma or actions. This includes by implication all ritualistic Vedic activities.
The renunciation of action and the focused concentration of the mind at the time of death is discussed in this chapter. The supreme absolute and immutable truth is the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and without changing its svabhavah or the nature which causes development and evolution which also manifests as the atma or soul.
Thus to remove any doubts about the paramount importance of the Vedic scriptures it is sometimes referred to as adhyatman or that which elevates the atma or soul, also that by which the atma is revealed. Similarly the jivas or embodied beings are also potentially svabhavah by helping oneself to elevate themselves. Therefore the jiva that which is made up of its innate nature. Since the attitude of the jiva is always to evolve the innate nature it is very beneficial.
Associated with internal organs the word bhavah indicating gross material elements is used; but since the internal organs do not all respond similarly in the same manner another interpretation of bhava could be not connected to gross material elements and that would fits with the word svabhavo which refers to the eternally pure atma or soul and connotes our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord Krishna.
The potency of the Supreme Lord which manifests the creation of gross material elements and the living entities to be elevated is known as visargah and is the special creative activity of the Supreme Lord.
In answer to these questions the Supreme Lord Krishna replies in three slokam-s. He answers three of the questions with the words aksaram paramam meaning the supreme indestructible reality which is imperishable and never is destroyed and is the essence in totality of all atmas or souls of all embodied beings. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad IV.V.XIV states that the atma is eternal and verily indestructible.
The jiva or embodied being is in a perpetual state of bondage and is explained in the Subala Upanisad as such: The unmanifest descends into the embodied soul and the embodied soul sinks into the darkness of nescience. But in this verse the word paramam meaning supreme qualifies the term aksaram and so its imperishable nature refers to the atma not associated with or disconnected from primordial matter and as such the only perception manifesting is realisation of the atma and one becomes omniscient.
Although in scriptural passages such as Brhadaranyaka Upanisad IV.IV.XXII stating O`Garga the brahman or spirirtual substratum pervading all existence is verily indestructible. In this case it refers to the ultimate reality; but not here because Lord Krishna Himself will speak later in chapter 15, verse 16 and 17of this indestructible as being different from the two types of created beings those who are perishable and those who are imperishable as He is exalted and being distinctly different from both is designated as the Supreme Being and Supreme Personality.
So here akarsam refers to the individual atma and when matter merges with it then it becomes embodied and is referred to as adhyatma which is a combination of matter, senses, intelligence and subtle elements surrounding enveloping the atma. Both the atma and matter should be well comprehended by those aspirants for moksa or liberation from material existence in order to know what in life should be accepted and what in life should be rejected.
Also one should be clear as to the discharge of one's daily duties and yagna or worship in propitiation and whether such propitiation should be offered to demigods like Indra the celestial chief of Surya the sungod or exclusively to the Supreme Lord. All actions of various types offered to anything other than the Supreme Lord have a reaction attached to them and are known as karma or reactions to actions and by these actions all types of movable and immovable beings are coming into existence.
The Manu Samhita III. LXXVI states that the oblations of ghee or clarified butter and havi or seed grains reach unto the sun where results in rain and from rain grows food and from food human beings. This should be understood by the aspirants for moksa with discrimination as one of the Vedic rituals not required for them to accept.
What is designated in verse one as tad brahma or the supreme spiritual substratum pervading all existence is the aksaram paramam or the supreme indestructible atma or soul. Aksaram is that which is not subject to decay or imperishable and is the collective given by the ksetrajnanis or those knowledgeable of the field of action or the informers of uninformed matter and atma embodied beings.
The Subala Upanisad II states avyakta the indiscernible compound of spirit and matter merges into the aksara the indivisible compound which descends into tamas or nescience. Parama aksaram is the superior indestructible atma nature which is completely disengaged from prakriti or the material substratum and not connected to even the aksaram which comprises embodied beings and combines both.
The word svabhavo is also called adhyatma and indicates subtle material elements and its accompanying erratic tendencies. These subtle elements are what adheres to the atma in the descent of the supra subtle quintuple process from spirit to matter, the last being the fifth stage which becomes the seminal fluids referred to in the Panca-agni-vidva or five-fold sacrificial fires which are described in the Chandogya Upanisad:V.III-X which is essential and has to be known by all aspirants.
Both aksara and adhyatma must be realised by the mumumkshus or emancipation seekers for moksa or liberation from material existence as aksara the immortal soul is that what is worthy of selection and adhyatma the embodied being incarcerated in matter is worthy of rejection. The sequence which manifests this descent into matter by the jiva or embodied being is called visargah and karma refers to that specific action which activates a corresponding reaction and determines the destination and manifestation of all creatures into embodied states whether human, animal, fish etc.
The final action which actually causes manifestation into material existence is known as procreation between males and females of different species. The Vedic scriptures declare that in the fifth stage the male discharges the sacrificial water into the females sacrificial fire and a new embodied being is created. This act is known as karma.
The knowledge of karma, aksara and adhyatma are all prerequisites of knowledge absolutely essential for those seeking moksa or liberation from the material existence. Otherwise one will be ignorant of what is worthy of rejection and what is worthy of attention and unable to properly interact accordingly. An example is following in verse 11 concerning brahmacarya or celibacy.
To be continued ...