Ch 8 VERSE 6
यं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम् ।
तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भावभावितः ॥६॥
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
yam yam—whatever; vā—either; api—also; smaran—remembering; bhāvam—nature; tyajati—give up; ante—at the end; kalevaram—this body; tam tam—similar; eva—certainly; eti—gets; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; sadā—always; tat—that; bhāva—state of being; bhāvitaḥ—remembering.
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
”Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”
So this is a really important verse because it forces us to consider the purpose of my life. It gives me a context to make judgment about my choices, about my actions, my speech, my state of consciousness. If this principle that’s being spoken of here was actually fully embraced, if I understood that it is going to be that moment of my leaving this body, that moment, the state of consciousness that I am in, that which I will be remembering and reflecting on, will determine what’s going to happen to me, where I will be going from here.
And so for the yogis and for the transcendentalists, understanding this principle, they lived their life knowing that that moment was so important, that I should aspire to attain a state of transcendental consciousness that will be with me, that will be the state that I will be in, at that time when I am to leave my body.
What happens is that all living beings, according to their choices in life, the type of tastes that they develop, the things that they pursue, the places where they seek enjoyment and so-called happiness, that those things profoundly affect me. And if I understand that I need to get this all sorted and become focused on that which, at the end of this time that I have in this body, will make it so that I can be relieved of material existence, that I can attain the highest spiritual goal, that my life needs to be guided by this principle, that I should see this as being more important than anything else.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakur, in commenting on this verse, has stated:
“This verse, explains that just as by remembering Me (meaning Krishna) one attains Me, (as stated in the previous verse), so by remembering something else, one attains something else, being completely absorbed in, or being similar to that object (bhavitah) by constant thoughts (or bhava) of that object.”
In his commentary on this verse, Srila Baktivedanta Swami Prabhupad has stated:
“The process of changing one’s nature at the critical moment of death is here explained. How can one die in a proper state of mind? Maharaja Bharata thought of a deer at the time of death and so was transferred to that form of life. However, as a deer, Maharaja Bharata could remember his past activities. Of course, the cumulative effect of the thoughts and actions of one’s life influences one’s thoughts at the moment of death; therefore the actions of his life determine one’s future state of being. If one is transcendentally absorbed in Krishna’s service then his next body will be transcendental (or spiritual), not physical. Therefore the chanting of Hare Krishna is the best process for successfully changing one’s state of being to transcendental life.”
So in the reference which Srila Baktivedanta Swami Prabhupad makes to Maharaja Bharata and the deer: He was a famous king that was extremely pious, but deeply absorbed in this kingly position and managing his state. And towards the later part of his life, he retired from that position and went off to live alone in the forest as a sage, or a yogi, engaged in the awakening of this mood of transcendental love for God. And so his sadhana comprised worship and frequent chanting and meditation etc.
While living out in the forest in a small hut, he heard this roaring of an animal, a tiger, and he investigated and saw that it had frightened a she deer, who had fallen to its death. And there was a baby, a newly born baby deer there, and feeling great pity for this little animal, he took it to his hermitage and raised it. And he developed a great affection for the deer, so that even while he was doing his worship, his puja or whatever, he would sometimes just be checking if the deer is okay. [Mimes looking down to check on the deer.] And so you could see it was a break in his focus and meditation, and his attachment grew greatly for this animal.
And when it came time for him to leave his present body, his concern for the deer was there. And thinking about it and being worried what will happen to it caused him to then take his next birth as a deer, because that was where his focus was. But because he had developed some transcendental insight and made spiritual advancement he was able to remember what had happened. And so he later describes it as just existing in that body, waiting for that time to come when the natural death of that body would arrive, arise, so that he could move on.
And when he gave up that body he took birth in a family of brahmanas, spiritually focused people. But he could remember everything that happened, and so he was extremely fearful of developing attachments, of diverting himself. And so he acted like a deaf mute. He refused to learn, and to study, and would not speak. And so people thought, his father thought, that he [there] was something wrong with him, that he was mentally challenged. And so they gave him, as a young boy, jobs of like just chasing the birds away from the rice fields so they wouldn’t be eating the grains.
But then he later, as his body developed and grew, he left home and began wandering as a great avadhuta, a transcendentalist, who did not even bother to cover his body with any clothing, or to wash. He was just constantly fixed and in a transcendental state.
And there was an instance when, while wandering down the road, in deep meditation, a king who was being carried in a very luxurious palanquin, one of the carriers had suffered a leg injury. So they were looking for someone to help carry the palanquin. And they pushed him into, or forced him into this position. And he just complied, like it meant nothing to him. But because he was conscious of not wanting to hurt any living being, if he saw an ant or an insect on his path, he would step to avoid it, and it would jerk the palanquin. And so the king was being rocked from side to side, and he became extremely angry, chastising Jada Bharata, as he was known, and was going to actually inflict punishment on him.
And the king ordered that the palanquin be lowered, and he stepped out of it to chastise and beat Jada Bharata. And now Jada Bharata spoke for the first time in his life. And what he spoke to the king astonished the king; that this beautiful waterfall of transcendental wisdom flowed from Jada Bharata’s mouth. The king fell to the ground offering his obeisance, and begging forgiveness for what he had done, not recognizing him as a great transcendentalist.
So it’s a very wonderful story, and it points to the huge importance of the state of one’s consciousness at the time of death.
For those engaged on the path of bhakti yoga—since there is an understanding that within the spiritual realm one is engaged in the eternal loving service of the Supreme Lord, who is seen as the highest object of love, and the bhakta spends his life engaged in a practical way—his sadhana is centred around making an offering of his entire life in the loving service of the Lord. And so when one develops that consciousness, which is the consciousness of the soul itself, then at the time of death one will leave the material world and not have to take on a material body again, but will be able to enter that spiritual realm, and to engage in their eternal function of rendering loving service to the great object of one’s love, Sri Krishna.
Srila Madhva Acharya, in his commentary on this verse has stated;
“The Skanda Purana states that: There is no doubt that at the time of death it is not easy to remember the Supreme Lord due to the difficulties of dying. At the time of departure from the body one must be attuned to the inner nature. The word bhava means internal consciousness. The internal consciousness is that which abides internally, thus it is said it is the nature which abides within. Only if one contemplates something continuously does it become fixed as internal consciousness and manifest as a part of one’s nature. Otherwise what one will think at the moment of death will be mere ego related ideas derived from one’s own mundane empirical experiences.”
So this is the sadhana. This is the process by which one can awaken their true spiritual identity, become aware of their essence, their position, and be functioning in their—or engaged in their natural function, even while being within this body. This is the goal of the bhakta, the bhakti yogi. This is how one becomes purified, how one gradually attains the highest state of spiritual realization and experience. There is the awakening of actual love for God. And this then is what is manifest in the mind, when it comes time to leave the material body behind.
Thank you very much.