Only one thing promised has not been covered and will be taken up now: Action—specifically, the means of reestablishing our original situation of Eternal Happiness.
That which the knowers of sacred knowledge call the Imperishable, which the ascetics desire to enter into, and desiring which they practice God-action, I will explain in summary.
In this verse, where Krishna says he will explain in summary, the Sanskrit also means ‘in private’. So it seems that there is something in His explanation that is not immediately apparent.
- God-action – By divesting oneself of the role of the doer of action in surrender to God in meditation, action that occurs spontaneously is God-action and not one’s own. God as the instigator of these actions (kriyas) is known as Shakti.
The gates of the body shut, the mind and heart shut, and prana established in the head through yoga-concentration,
This explains in part, how one comes to enter into the Imperishable at death (previous verses).
Other translations I have read say that these gates of the body and the mind and heart, should be under the control of the individual. But my own path of surrender (Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga) naturally leads to a different conclusion: When we surrender to God in meditation, these gates will close without any help from us, and indeed, this is precisely what happens. Hence my own translation of this verse (and others) reads a bit differently.
The openings of the body, which include the organs of sense, are said to be the nine gates. These openings, when closed, stop the attention (consciousness) and Life Energy (prana) from escaping the body. As to the mind and heart, they are also under restraint by virtue of having nothing to do—the senses are not delivering anything for the mind to work with, and the heart, ‘the seat of emotions’, is also inactive because there is nothing getting triggered by mental content or the senses. This gives prana the opportunity to ascend into the head and become concentrated there.
The concentration of prana in the body is the true meaning of the ‘yoga-concentration’ that precedes the meditative state and divine union (yoga).
Uttering the singular imperishable vibrational sound of Truth Itself, OM, surrendering the body and thinking of Me, one goes to the highest goal.
Leaving the body at death, remembering and thinking only of Krishna, OM takes one to the Highest goal.
- Death – Literally, ‘end-time’. Physical death, or the timeless state reached in meditation through the practice of God-action.
- ‘Me’ is Krishna, meaning ‘dark, black’. In other words, hidden. The Absolute, the highest order of God, is hidden from us—the physical eye cannot see It, yet It is present as Krishna, whom Arjuna can see. The embodiment of Krishna suggests one’s attention rest on one’s personal God—the first Divine Other known to the Real You in the Absolute before Creation, or Krishna Himself, Guru (Krishna is Arjuna’s guru).
How, you may ask, could anyone manage to remember to do this in the midst of dying? Good question. I think this tells us that actual physical death is not all that is being suggested here, though it would still work at death if one were able to do it. Meanwhile, if we practice yoga as we’ve been taught, it should come easily.
But what if death is instantaneous? Another good question. I will answer from experience: Twice in recent years, I have been confronted by immediate death while driving at high speeds. In both cases, the mere moment allowed brought God to mind. But then I have been practicing yoga for years.
Om is uttered at the beginning and end of sacred undertakings, and is mentioned here in the context of the commencement of passing beyond death to go into the one Imperishable Absolute. Om is the vehicle that takes one to God, whether at death of the body, or at the end of time in yoga (union).
Om is the vibration of all of Us. When vibration is perceived, it is perceived as sound. Remembering God at death, this sound is audible in passing from this world into the next, and takes one to the Imperishable Absolute. But not everyone will hear it, perhaps because their thoughts are somewhere else. They may not be thinking of God, or surrendering to God, because they are afraid, or thinking of loved ones, or someone or something they are particularly attached to.
OM is Absolute because it is eternal, imperishable and unchanging…because We are eternal, imperishable and unchanging…so our relationship, which is based on our sameness, is eternal, imperishable and unchanging—always the same.
When one has practiced surrender to God in meditation long enough to comprehend surrender, one finds themselves naturally surrendered to God at end-time. Then Om will take them to the next phase of their journey, or to the end of it.
For the yogi, one who is always engaged in yoga, who thinks of Me constantly, the mind not going elsewhere, ever, I am easily reached, Son of Pritha.
A yogi is someone who is always engaged in yoga. He becomes addicted to it and naturally has his thoughts on God at end-time. To the yogi, always thinking of yoga is no different than always thinking of God. The God-mind is always on, and God is easily reached, in meditation and out, while living or at death.
Now there is one more little thing that comes to mind that may be linked to that idea of something more being left unsaid: There is a tenth gate! This opening of the body is the pharynx. This would take us to a discussion on khechari mudra, but that is a long subject and will have to wait.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),