8.21 avyakthO’kshara ithyukthas

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Chapter 8

<< Chapter 8 verses 20

SlOkam – Original

avyakthO’kshara ithyukthas thamAhu: paramAm gathim |
yam prApya na nivarthanthE thadh dhAma paramam mama ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

avyaktha: akshara: ithyuktha – [that mukthAthmA (liberated soul) is] known as “avykatha”, “akshara”.
tham – he
paramAm gathim – ultimate goal
Ahu: – (kaivalyArthis (those who seek self-enjoyment)) says.
yam – that state of liberation
prApya – after attaining
na nivarthanthE – where there is no return [to re-birth]
thath – that liberated state
paramam dhAma – my superior abode

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

[That mukthAthmA (liberated soul) is] known as “avykatha”, “akshara”. He [his state] is said as the ultimate goal (by kaivalyArthis (those who seek self-enjoyment)). That liberated state is my superior abode after attaining which there is no return [to re-birth].

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

‘It was called Avyakta, and Akshara. They say this is an exalted goal, a goal of glory, reaching which, they return not (to re-birth).’

Different in principle and kind than the non-intelligent avyakta, or indistinct (primordial) matter is this superior principle, viz; the other avyakta or subtle indistinct principle (ātma), the principle characterized by intelligence or consciousness (jñāna), contra-distinguished for this reason, from the previously spoken avyakta. It is called avyakta, or indistinct, for it is beyond any perceptive faculty to cognize as a thing cognized or demonstrated. The meaning is that it is a principle self-conscious, and is thus unique in its nature.1

Sanātanaḥ=ancient=eternal, because not subject to combination (or aggregation) or resolution (disintegration); that, which does not disperse or dissipate, when all the things, the elements —ether etc—, rudimental as well as derivative, dissolve, though it abides in them.

This is called the indistinct (avyakta), and imperishable, (akshara) in the texts:—

‘But those who worship the indefinite akshara, avyakta’ (XII-3).

‘It is called kūtastha (the fixed), akshara (the undecaying)’ (XV-16).

This, the versed in the Vedas declare to be the exalted state, or goal. This akshara, the exalted goal (paramām gatim), refered to already in verse:—

‘Whoso goes, leaving the body, goes to the exalted goal’ (VIII-3), is ātma, existent in its pure state, isolated from matter (prakṛiti).

This state of ātma’s own nature realised is that, from which, when reached, there is no reversion (to re-birth or union again with matter); and it is called, ‘My paramam dhāma’ or My superior place or department, over which I hold rule, or sway. The other place or department over which I exercise control is the non-intelligent matter; the other place or seat over which I hold similar control is the jīva-prakṛiti, or the life (or ātma)-substance which is incorporate with the non-intelligent matter-substance. And My superior place or seat over which I have control (paramam niyamana-sthānam) is the mukta (liberated)-nature, disjoined from the non-intelligent material substance’s connection. And this is the place or state from which there is no return.2

Or the term dhāma may signify luminosity, luminous meaning intelligence or consciousness, (the characteristic attribute of ātma). The param dhāma—the superior illustrious state, is the state of the ātma, with expanded (or infinite) consciousness in its free state, contrasting with the restricted (or finite) consciousness (or intelligence) of the ātma, by reason of its association with matter.

It is next shown that the goal of the jñāni (or God-seeker) is the most superb state, exalted above any other.

>> Chapter 8 verse 22

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  1. These are the Two Postulates of Achit and Chit; vide, Bh: Gi: VII-4 & 5.
  2. Cp: with V-17, where this non-returning state was shadowed forth.

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