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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 21

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 8 श्लोक 21

अव्यक्तोऽक्षर इत्युक्तस्तमाहुः परमां गतिम्।
यं प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम।।8.21।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

8.21 He who has been mentioned as the Unmanifested, the Immutable, they call Him the supreme Goal. That is the supreme abode of Mine, reaching which they do not return.

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

8.21 What is called the Unmanifested and the Imperishable, That they say is the highest goal. They who reach It do not return (to this Samsara). That is My highest abode (place or state).

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

8.21. [The scriptures] speak of This as Unmanifest and Changeless and declare This is to be the highest Goal. Having attained which people do not return, this is My highest abode.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

8.21 अव्यक्तः unmanifested? अक्षरः imperishable? इति thus? उक्तः called? तम् That? आहुः (they) say? परमाम् the highest? गतिम् goal (path)? यम् which? प्राप्य having reached? न not? निवर्तन्ते return? तत् that? धाम abode (place or state)? परमम् highest? मम My.Commentary Para Brahman is called the Unmanifested because It cannot be perceived by the senses. It is called the Imperishable also. It is allpervading? allpermeating and interpenetrating. Para Brahman is the highest Goal. There is nothing higher than It. This is the true nondual state free from all sorts of limiting adjuncts. The attainment of Brahmaloka (the region of the Creator) etc.? is inferior to this. Only by realising the Self is one liberated from Samsara. (Cf.XII.3?XV.6)

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

8.21 He Himself who has been uktah, meantioned; as avyaktah, Unmanifest; the aksarah, Immutable; ahuh, they call; tam, Him-that very unmanifest Reality which is termed as the Immutable; the paramam, supreme; gatim, Goal. Tat, That; is the paramam, supreme; dhama, abode, i.e. the supreme State; mama, of Mine, of Visnu; yam prapya, reaching which Reality; na nivartante, they do not return to the worldly state. The means for gaining That is being stated:

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

8.21 See Comment under 8.22

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

8.20 - 8.21 Superior, as an object of human end, to this unmanifest (Avyakta), which is inanimate Prakrti, there is another state of being, of a kind different from this, but also called Avyakta. It has only knowledge-form and is also unmanifest. It is the self, Atman. It is unmanifest because It cannot be apprehended by any means of knowledge (Pramanas). The meaning is that Its nature is unie and that It can be known only to Itself. That is, It can be understood only vaguely in the ordinary ways of knowing. It is eternal, namely, ever-enduring, because It is not subject to origination and annihilation. In texts like For those who meditate on the imperishable, undefinable, the unmanifest (12.3) and The imperishable is called the unchanging (15.16) - that being the self. It has been called the unmanifest (Avyakta) and imperishable (Aksara); when all material elements like ether, etc., with their causes and effects are annihilated, the self is not annihilated in spite of It being found alone with all the elements. [The elements are what constitute the bodies of beings.] The knowers of the Vedas declare It as the highest end. The meaning is that the imperishable entity which has been denoted by the term highest goal in the passage, Whosoever abandons the body and departs (in the manner described) reaches the highest state (Dhama) (8.13), is the self (Atman) abiding in Its essential nature free from the contact with the Prakrti. This self, which abides thus in Its essential nature, by attaining which It does not return, - this is My highest abode, i.e., is the highest object of My control. The inanimate Prakrti is one object of My control. The animate Prakrti associated with this inanimate Prakrti is the second object of My control. The pristine nature of the freed self, free from contact with inanimate matter, is the highest object of My rule. Such is the meaning. This state is also one of non-return to Samsara. Or the term dhama may signify luminosity. And luminosity connotes knowledge. The essential nature of the freed self is boundless knowledge, or supreme light, which stands in contrast to the shrunken knowledge of the self, when involved in Prakrti. [The description given above is that of Kaivalya, the state of self-luminous existence as the pure self]. Sri Krsna now teaches that the object of attainment for the Jnanin, is totally different from this:

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

The word avyakta of the previous verse is explained. That which is avyakta is without destruction: Narayana. As the sruti says, eko narayana asin na brahma na ca sankarah: one Narayana existed, and not Brahma or Siva. Attaining my eternal form (mama paramam dhama), they do not return. The word aksara may also be interpreted as the impersonal brahman, in which case dhama paramam mama means “my form of light,” since dhama also means “light.”

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Lord Krishna now gives the evidence for His avyakta or unmanifest being aksara or imperishable having neither birth or destruction and impossible to be perceived by the mind and senses. The Mundaka Upanisad I.I.VII states: Similarly from the aksara this creation comes into being. The aksara is declared to be paramam gatim the supreme goal of human existence and the ultimate destination. The Katha Upanisad III.XI states: There is nothing higher than the Purusha. He is the ultimate reality and the paramam gatim. The proof of it being the supreme goal is verified by the words na nivarttante meaning one never returns again to the material worldsonce they attain Lord Krishnas supreme dhama or abode. The six causative case by the word mama meaning my is used in the sense of identity as when one states Rahus head which is all that remains of Rahu, it means only that. Therefore Lord Krishna, Himself is the paramam gatim and no other. This is the purport.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The avyakta the unmanifest and aksara the indestructible is the resplendent Supreme Lord, Krishna Himself, upon whom attaining there is no more returning to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. The Garuda Purana states: The avyakta is the Supreme Lord Himself. It shows the use of the word dhama or abode as also denoting the resplendent form of the Supreme Lord. Showing that the resplendent Supreme Lords form and abode are both indicated such are the confidential meanings understood by those of spiritual wisdom.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Lord Krishna now reveals His superior conscious avyakta or unmanifest which is different in principle and substance then the unconscious avyakta or unmanifest of Brahma which is non-intelligent and operates according to set parameters. Lord Krishnas superior avyakta is characterised by eternality due to its possession atma tattva or soul realisation. Thus it is also characterised by jnana or consciousness. Avyakta is also known as indistinct because it beyond any perceptive faculty of the mind or senses to cognise it as a perceivable reality. The purport is that avyakta is a principle of self-consciousness and as such is completely unique in its nature. The word sanatanah meaning eternal because His supreior avyakta is not subject to combination and aggregation or resolution and disintegration and never disperses or dissipates when all the material elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether in there rudimental forms and derivative forms dissolve away although His superior avyakta abides within them. This is why the Vedic scriptures call it avyakta or indistinct as well as aksara or indestructible. Those steeped in the wisdom of the Vedic scriptures have declared that this is the paramam gatim or supreme exalted goal to be achieved. Lord Krishna previously mentioned aksara in verse three of this chapter and will later mention it again in chapters XII.III and XV.XVI. The superior state of avyakta is where atma tattva or soul realisation abounds and when once reached immediately precludes forever the subjection to union with matter again as there is no more rebirth for reincarnation has been terminated. Lord Krishna specifies their destination with the words dhama paramam mama meaning His supreme personal abode of eternity, knowledge and bliss where all things reciprocate fully with Him and is the abode of the liberated beings. The word dhama also denotes luminosity as in the light of consciousness which is the primary attribute of the atma or soul. Thus Lord Krishna is indicating His paramam dhama as non-different from the infinite consciousness of the atma in contrast to the limited state of consciousness one possesses who is oblivious to the atma due to being deluded by the illusory material energy known as maya and cherishing the association of the senses with sense objects. The other avyakta where resides praktiti or the material substratum which contains all living entities and which is perishable is controlled by Lord Krishna as well through His manifestation as the eternal atma or soul within the etheric heart of all created beings throughout all existence. This is the abode of the non-liberated beings. From the superior avyakta there is no return to samsara the cycle of birth and death. The next verse will show how the goal of the jnani or knower of the Supreme Lord is the most sublime state of consciousness, more exalted than any other.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Lord Krishna now reveals His superior conscious avyakta or unmanifest which is different in principle and substance then the unconscious avyakta or unmanifest of Brahma which is non-intelligent and operates according to set parameters. Lord Krishnas superior avyakta is characterised by eternality due to its possession atma tattva or soul realisation. Thus it is also characterised by jnana or consciousness. Avyakta is also known as indistinct because it beyond any perceptive faculty of the mind or senses to cognise it as a perceivable reality. The purport is that avyakta is a principle of self-consciousness and as such is completely unique in its nature. The word sanatanah meaning eternal because His supreior avyakta is not subject to combination and aggregation or resolution and disintegration and never disperses or dissipates when all the material elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether in there rudimental forms and derivative forms dissolve away although His superior avyakta abides within them. This is why the Vedic scriptures call it avyakta or indistinct as well as aksara or indestructible. Those steeped in the wisdom of the Vedic scriptures have declared that this is the paramam gatim or supreme exalted goal to be achieved. Lord Krishna previously mentioned aksara in verse three of this chapter and will later mention it again in chapters XII.III and XV.XVI. The superior state of avyakta is where atma tattva or soul realisation abounds and when once reached immediately precludes forever the subjection to union with matter again as there is no more rebirth for reincarnation has been terminated. Lord Krishna specifies their destination with the words dhama paramam mama meaning His supreme personal abode of eternity, knowledge and bliss where all things reciprocate fully with Him and is the abode of the liberated beings. The word dhama also denotes luminosity as in the light of consciousness which is the primary attribute of the atma or soul. Thus Lord Krishna is indicating His paramam dhama as non-different from the infinite consciousness of the atma in contrast to the limited state of consciousness one possesses who is oblivious to the atma due to being deluded by the illusory material energy known as maya and cherishing the association of the senses with sense objects. The other avyakta where resides praktiti or the material substratum which contains all living entities and which is perishable is controlled by Lord Krishna as well through His manifestation as the eternal atma or soul within the etheric heart of all created beings throughout all existence. This is the abode of the non-liberated beings. From the superior avyakta there is no return to samsara the cycle of birth and death. The next verse will show how the goal of the jnani or knower of the Supreme Lord is the most sublime state of consciousness, more exalted than any other.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 8.21

Avyakto’kshara ityuktastamaahuh paramaam gatim; Yam praapya na nivartante taddhaama paramam mama.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 8.21

avyaktaḥ—unmanifest; akṣharaḥ—imperishable; iti—thus; uktaḥ—is said; tam—that; āhuḥ—is called; paramām—the supreme; gatim—destination; yam—which; prāpya—having reached; na—never; nivartante—come back; tat—that; dhāma—Abode; paramam—the supreme; mama—My