Eternal unmanifest state is immortal and that is called enlightenment (or attainment) of the supreme goal. way of achieving that eternal, unmanifest state. Lord Krishn tells Arjun this way of achieving that eternal, unmanifest state.
“O Parth that God in whom all beings exist
and who permeates the whole world is realized by steady devotion.”
Steady, unswerving devotion means the act of remembering none else except God so as to be one with him.
Lord Krishn then reveals when even men of such devotion are within the limits of rebirth and when they are beyond it?
“And, O the best of Bharat,
I shall now enlighten you on the ways by which,
after giving up their bodies,
yogi arrive at the state of birth-lessness as well as of rebirth.”
Freedom from rebirth, as we are about to see, is achieved by those who dwell in the light of knowledge.
Lord Krishn adds:
“They who depart from the body in the presence of bright flames,
daylight, the sun, the waxing moon of the bright half of a month,
and the dazzlingly clear sky of the time when the sun moves northwards,
attain to God.”
Fire is a symbol of God’s radiance as day is of knowledge. The bright half of a lunar month stands for purity. The six virtues of discrimination, renunciation, restraint, tranquility, courage and intellect are the six months of the ascendant motion of the sun. The state of upward motion is the progress of the sun to the north of the equator. Enlightened by knowledge of the reality which is quite beyond nature, sages attain to God and they are then not reborn.
But what happens to the worshipers who do not realize this state of divine magnificence in spite of their devotion?
Lord Krishn teaches in next verse.
“Dying during prevalence of the darkness of a gloomy night,
the dark half of a lunar month,
and the six months of the downward course of the sun,
the yogi who desires fruits of his action attains to the dim light of the moon
and is reborn after enjoying his rewards in heaven.”
That Soul is yet far removed from God who departs from the body when the sacred fire of his yagya is smothered by smoke, when the night of ignorance prevails, when the moon is waning in the dark half of a month, when gloom prevails on all sides and the outward-looking mind is infested with the six vices of passion, wrath, greed, delusion, vanity and malice; and he is reborn.
Does it mean, however, that along with his body the worship, too, of this seeker is destroyed?
Lord Krishn adds:
“The way of brightness that leads to God
and the way of darkness that takes one to the afterworld
are the two eternal ways in the world.
One who takes the first achieves birthlessness,
whereas the treader on the second is subject to repeated birth and death.”
Both the ways, of light and darkness, of knowledge and ignorance, have been forever. But the merits of worship are never destroyed. The one who dies in the state of knowledge and brightness achieves ultimate salvation, but the one who departs from the body in the state of ignorance and obscurity has to come back and undergo yet another birth. And this succession of one birth after another goes on until there is perfect light; until that moment the seeker has to carry on his worship.
The problem is fully resolved at this point and Lord Krishn then dwells upon the means which are essential for the attainment of final liberation.
“You should always rest upon yog, O Parth,
for the yogi who knows the reality of the two ways is never deceived.”
Knowing the two ways well, the yogi is aware that his act of worship will not be destroyed even if he is reborn because of dying in ignorance. Both the ways have also been forever. So Arjun should at all time practice yog and devote himself to worship.
“Knowing this secret, the yogi transcends the rewards of Vedic study,
sacrificial rites, penance, and charity, and so achieves salvation.”
By his contemplation of God, the fruit of yagya, the yogi who comes to know the identical Supreme Spirit by direct perception rather than by just belief or assumption goes beyond the promised rewards, and is liberated for ever. This direct perception of the Supreme Spirit is named Ved-that which has been directly revealed by God himself.
So when that unmanifest essence itself is known, there remains nothing more to know. After this even the need for the Ved is therefore done away with, for the knower is now no different from him who had revealed it to their seer-composers. Yagya or the appointed task was a necessity earlier, but once the reality is known there remains nothing else to pray for.
To subject the senses along with the mind to austerities is penance, but even that is unnecessary now. A total self-surrender, in thought, speech and action, is charity. And the auspicious fruit of all these is the attainment of God. And all these are now unnecessary because the desired goal is no longer away from the seeker.
The yogi who has realized God transcends the rewards of all these virtuous acts-yagya, penance, charity, and others, and achieves absolution.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~