During yoga teacher training last weekend we focused on Meditation and Mettā. The quote above really resonated with me after reading this article from Elephant Journal. I have been reflecting on this while meditating at home.
Bhagavad-Gita, Plain and Simple—Chapter Eight.
This is the twelfth installment of my Bhagavad-Gita series. You can find the previous discussion here.
Selecting Your Afterlife.
Arjuna: I have some questions. You just mentioned “spirit,” “soul” and “karma.” What does each term mean? You also mentioned “the essential reality of every object,” “of every divinity” and “of every effort.” What are these three essential realities?
Krishna: “Spirit” is the supreme indestructible energy. “Soul” is the inherent essence of one’s being. “Karma” is what creates the causes behind all the situations that come into being.
“The essential reality of every object” is to disappear. “The essential nature of all divinities” is the Original Person. “The essence of all efforts” is me, Krishna.
Arjuna: You also mentioned that devoted souls attain the highest destination by being aware of you at the time of death. Can you explain this more thoroughly?
Krishna: Whatever state of mind you are in at the end of one lifetime determines the type of existence you attain in the next. So, one who remembers me in the final moments of casting off the body attains my own nature, without a doubt.
Arjuna: So, although I might think of anything and everything throughout my life, if even by chance I think of you at the time of death, then . . .
Krishna: That is impossible. At the moment of death only spontaneous, unstoppable thoughts will fill our mind. If you wish to attain me by remembering me at the time of death, you must practice doing so throughout every moment of your life. Enwrap your mind and intellect in me by living your life according to my instructions. Then you will attain me. Have no doubt about it. If you practice uniting your thoughts to me, without wandering to other topics, your thoughts will carry you to the Paramount Divine Person.
Arjuna: How should I practice thinking about you?
Krishna: Contemplate the divine qualities of the Paramount Divine Person: ingenious, ancient, the leader of all, subtler than a sub-atomic particle, the maintainer of everyone, amazingly beautiful, radiant like the sun and beyond all darkness.
Invest the power from your breathing into the area between your eyebrows, and keep these divine thoughts in your mind always, up till the very end. This yogic meditation will be very powerful because it is empowered by devotion. It will take you to the Paramount Divine Person.
Arjuna: I want to know more about this practice.
Krishna: Alright. I will summarize for you the spiritual practices followed by mystics who desire, to the exclusion of all other desires, to enter into what the wise describe as “imperishable.”
First you must take full control of all your senses—doorways to the external world. Then, confine your thoughts within your heart and focus the consciousness in your breath towards the top of your head.
While contemplating me, vibrate this single spiritual syllable: Om.
If you can practice this, even while casting off your body, you will attain the topmost goal.
Arjuna: What is the essence of this practice?
Krishna: Always remember me with undivided attention. If you do this, my friend, you will gain me quite easily.
Arjuna: What happens then?
Krishna: When you achieve me, you will never again achieve another birth in this house of suffering and impermanence. Your soul will blossom into the fullest perfection of the topmost achievements.
Arjuna: What’s wrong with taking another birth, for example in the heavens?
Krishna: Every heaven up to and including Brahma’s is a place from which you must again return. But when you come to me, Arjuna my cousin, you will never know another birth.
Arjuna: But many people think that heaven is eternal, and that Brahma never dies.
Krishna: The wise know that Brahma’s day lasts for a thousand ages, and so does his night. When his day begins, all the creatures of the world become manifest. When his night begins, they all dissolve again into a state called “unmanifest.” Again and again they dissolve with his dusk and awaken with his dawn.
Arjuna: Does he ever die?
Krishna: Yes, eventually the entire creation dissolves. What is eternal and imperishable, however, is beyond him. Beyond his destruction is a non-material reality. It is never destroyed, even when everything else is annihilated.
That place, described as “non-material and imperishable,” the supreme destination from which no one departs, that place is my supreme abode.
Arjuna: How can I attain that abode?
Arjuna: What inspires such purity of love, undeviated to any other person or thing?
Krishna: He is within the core of every person, and permeates everything we see. When one really knows this, how can one’s love ever be distracted from him?
Arjuna: [After a deep pause] You said that such people can attain a destination from which they never desire to return. Can you say more about that?
Krishna: I will describe the two paths by which departed spiritualists move towards and away from that destination. The path which leads to spirituality takes one past the gods of fire, light, daytime, the waxing moon and the northerly sun. The path which leads back from the lunar heavens takes one past the gods of smoke, night, the waning moon and the southerly sun. So, there have always been two paths for the departed soul: a bright one and a dark one. The bright path leads towards the spiritual goal from which there is no return. The dark path takes one back to rebirth.
A spiritualist who knows these two paths is never thwarted.
Arjuna: It seems there are many details I need to know, before I can find the right path.
Krishna: Try to be a yogi by uniting your heart to mine. That is all you really need to do. Such a yogi surpasses all the best results that can be obtained on any path, through philosophy, ritual, austerity, or charity and attains the original, paramount abode.