8.3 aksharam brahma paramam

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 8

<< Chapter 8 verse 2

SlOkam – Original

SrI bhagavAn uvAcha
aksharam brahma paramam svabhAvO’dhyAthmam uchyathE |
bhUthabhAvOdbhavakarO visarga: karmasamgyitha: ||

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

brahma – “brahma” is
paramam aksharam – the AthmA which is relieved from any connection to matter;
adhyAthmam – “adhyAthmam” is
svabhAva: uchyathE – nothing but matter;
bhUthabhAva udhbhavakara: visarga: – the act of emission (of male sperm into female ovary)  for procreation
karma samgyitha: – is called “karma”.

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

“brahma” is the AthmA which is relieved from any connection to matter; “adhyAthmam” is  nothing but matter; the act of emission (of male sperm into female ovary) for procreation is called “karma”.

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

The blest Bhagavān responded thus:-

‘The superior, imperishable (akshara=ātmā), is Brahma; nature (svabhāva) is called Adhyātma; and that act of emission by which beings are brought forth is signified as Karma.’

What is designated as Tad-brahma is the superior-indestructible (soul=paramam aksharam). Aksharam is that which is not subject to decay, and is the collective name for kshetrajñas (the informers of uninformed matter-stuff= matter-joined souls). So declare such Śruti—texts as :

Avyakta (indiscernible compound of spirit-matter) merges into akshara (the indivisible compound), akshara into tamas (the impartite compound).’1

And Paramam aksharam, the superior-indestructible (or indivisible) is ātma-nature, divorced or disengaged from prakṛiti (or akshara=the spirit-matter amalgam).

Svabhāva=Nature, is called adhyātma.’ The term adhyātma signifies Nature=matter, or that subtle elemental stuff and its accompanying erratic tendencies —the non-soul which adheres to soul, and which is referred to in the Panch-āgni-vidyā2, as that which has to be known (by the aspirants).

Both these (akshara and adhyātma) have to be known by the emancipation-seekers (mumukshu), —the one akshara (soul) as that which is worthy of election, and adhyātma (matter) as that which is worthy of rejection.

Next is karma, —act, —referring to that emittive act which results in the (final) fashioning out of creatures, the becoming human etc, —(embodied states). The emittive act (visarga) which results into this state, is the act of intercourse with the female. The Śruti declares :—’The waters sacrificed in the fifth (fire=woman) —comes to be called purusha (embodied soul)’.3 This act is called karma.

This karma as well as akshara and adhyātma are requisites of knowledge, to the moksha-seeker, so that by that knowledge he may know that he is to dread what it signifies and desist from involving himself in that which is worthy of rejection.

So teaches Gīta further on (Yadicchanto etc): ‘That, desiring, they observe (the vow of) Brahmacharya’ (VIII-11).

>> Chapter 8 verse 4

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  1. Sub: Up°: Avyaktam akshare līyate, aksharam tamasi līyate.Tamas=chaos.
  2. The subtile quintuple process, the last of which becomes the seminal fluid. It is the evolution of the soul in subtle matter, by a five-fold condensation or concentration. This is a spiritual descent into embodiment, called the Sacrifice of the Five Fires,
    Vide Chh: Up°: v-3 to 10 for a description.
  3. Chh: Up: ‘Pañchamām āhu-tāv-āpaḥ purusha-vachaso Charanti’. vide Bha: Vish: p: 1384,’.

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