Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8

AKâARA-BRAHMA-YOGA

Arjuna asks what is that Brahman, which you say the wise men know. The word brahma has many meanings. It can mean the Veda, a brahmana, or Brahmaji. It can also mean something big. That can be anything. So, what is that Brahman? Then you mentioned akhilam karma. What does it mean? Is it past karma, present karma, or future karma?

What is this adhy¡tma and what is said to be adhibhuta? What is it that is called adhidaiva? Is there an adhiyajna in this body? Who is the adhiyajna to be understood?

Arjuna addresses Krishna¸a here as purusottama. Purusa means person and uttama means the highest, so, purusottama can mean the most exalted among persons. But Krishna¸a is not the most exalted among persons; he is the only person—as param brahma he is the only vastu that is there. So, here, purusottama means he is purusa and he is the one beyond whom there is none. We will see the meaning of purusottama in more detail in the fifteenth chapter.

The Lord had said that those people whose minds are steady, niyata, know Me even at the time of their departure from the body. How is this possible? At the time of death people will either worry about their survival or think of what is beloved to them. This is the basis of Arjuna’s question. At the time of death, when they have so many urgent concerns, how do they remember you? How are you recognized? How do you
become the object of their knowledge?

Thus Arjuna asked many questions in the first two verses of this chapter. In the following four verses Bhagavan answers each and every question and then continues to elaborate.