bhaktyā yukto yoga-balena caiva
bhruvor madhye prāṇam āveśya samyak
sa taḿ paraḿ puruṣam upaiti divyam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 8.10
One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and, by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In this verse it is clearly stated that at the time of death the mind must be fixed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For those practiced in yoga, it is recommended that they raise the life force between the eyebrows (to the ajna-cakra). The practice of shat-cakra-yoga, involving meditation on the six cakras, is suggested here. A pure devotee does not practice such yoga, but because he is always engaged in Krishna consciousness, at death he can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His grace. This is explained in verse fourteen.
The particular use of the word yoga-balena is significant in this verse because without practice of yoga—whether shat-cakra-yoga or bhakti-yoga—one cannot come to this transcendental state of being at the time of death. One cannot suddenly remember the Supreme Lord at death; one must have practiced some yoga system, especially the system of bhakti-yoga. Since one’s mind at death is very disturbed, one should practice transcendence through yoga during one’s life.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
(combined commentary for verses 9 and 10)
Without practice of yoga it is difficult to withdraw the mind from sense objects. Without withdrawing the mind from sense objects, it is difficult to constantly think of the Lord. Therefore one should execute bhakti along with some type of yoga practice. The Lord here speaks of such bhakti mixed with astangayoga (yoga misra bhakti) in five verses.
The Lord is omniscient (kavi). But though one may be omniscient, like Sanaka and others, one is not eternal. Therefore, the Lord is described as purana, without beginning. Though he is both omniscient and without beginning, this does not indicate that he becomes the instructor of bhakti as paramatma. Therefore he is called anusasitaram, the teacher, by mercy giving instructions about devotion to himself when he appears as Krishna or Rama. Though he is merciful, he is still a difficult object to know factually: compared to the smallest he is even smaller. Then, is he like the jiva, the size of an atom? No, he is also of the greatest size, spreading everywhere, since everything is contained within him (sarvasya dhataram). Thus he is said to be inconceivable in form (acintya rupam). Though he appears of medium size, as a human being, his manifestation is independent of all others. Thus he has a form (varna), which is like that of the sun (aditya), revealing both himself and others. Thus, though he is the possessor of maya sakti (prakrti), his form is transcendental to prakrti or maya (tamasah parastat).
At the time of death (prayana kale), with unwavering mind, engaged in bhakti with constant remembrance of me as described above, he attains me. How does he attain unwavering mind? He attains it through the strength of his practice of yoga (yoga balena). The yoga process is then described. Fixing his prana in the ajna cakra (bhruvor madhye), he attains me.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
8.9 – 8.10 He who focusses his life-breath between the eyebrows at the time of death with a mind rendered unswerving through its purification achieved by the strength of Yoga conjoined with Bhakti practised day after day; and he who contemplates on the ‘Kavi’ i.e., the Omniscient, the ‘Primeval’, i.e., who existed always, ‘the Ruler,’ i.e., who governs the universe, ‘who is subtler than the subtle,’ i.e., who is subtler than the individual self, ‘who is the Dhata’ of all, i.e., the creator of all, ‘whose nature is inconceivable,’ i.e., whose nature is other than everything else, ‘who is sun-coloured and beyond darkness,’ i.e., who possesses a divine form peculiar to Himself — he who concentrates on Him, the Divine Person described above, between the eyebrows, attains Him alone. He attains His state and comes to have power and glory similar to His. Such is the meaning. Then He describes the mode of meditation to be adopted by the seeker of Kaivalya or the Jijnasu (i.e., of one who seeks to know his own self or Atman in contrast to one whose object is God-realisation).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
One who is endowed with bhakti or loving devotion meditates with a steady mind on the Supreme Being. The reason for such sublime steadiness Lord Krishna is also stating that one having developed the power of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness; and possessing the ability to raise the life force directly through the Sushumna channel fixing it between the eyebrows at the ajna-cakra or third eye a person attains the effulgently, resplendent Supreme Lord of all.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The performance of beneficial activities at the time of death by those whose state of equanimity has achieved mastery of the life force and are able to direct it to the ajna cakra or the space between the eyebrows etc. is spoken now by Lord Krishna. Yet even for those who are bereft of mastery over the life force, true moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death comes about only through buddhi or spiritual intelligence, bhakti or loving devotion and vairagya or renunciation. So even in the absence of complete mastery on the strength of possessing equanimity from possessing buddhi, bhakti and vairagya liberation will be attained especially for the adepts.
In the Bhagavat Purana it is stated: Relishing the nectarian lilas or divine pastimes of the Supreme Lord, prompted by loving devotion to Him, those who are pure in heart have gained the wisdom of spiritual intelligence as a result of renunciation and also have attained the Supreme Lord, Himself in Vaikuntha, the eternal spiritual worlds. While others have through equanimity of mind succeeded with great effort in conquering the powerful impulses of material nature; those endowed with spiritual intelligence worship the Supreme Lord exclusively achieve dominance over material nature without any effort. The Moksa Dharma states: Those exalted beings who take exclusive shelter of the Supreme Lord, propitiating Him exclusively with fixed single minded attention attain Him, which far superior to any other endeavour. The Vyasa Yoga states: Through spiritual intelligence, loving devotion and renunciation moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death is assuredly available; but for those possessing equanimity of mind, moksa is expeditiously so.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
One becoming full fledged in the power of yoga or the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness in the form of concentration and meditation, possessing unending devotion, who at the time of death directs the life force through the sushana channel in the spinal cord and fixes it at the ajna chakra between the eyebrows, meditating with steadfast mind on the Supreme Lord Krishna most assuredly attains Him.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
8.10 Prayana-kale, at the time of death; after first brining the mind under control in the lotus of the heart, and then lifting up the vital force-through the nerve going upward-by gradually gaining control over (the rudiments of nature such as) earth etc. [Space, air, fire, water and earth.] and after that, samyak, avesya, having fully fixed; pranam, the Prana (vital force); madhye, between; the bhruvoh, eye-brows, without losing attention; acalena manasa, with an unwavering mind; he, the yogi possessed of such wisdom, yuktah, imbued; bhaktya, with devotion, deep love; ca eva, as also; yoga-balena, [Yoga means spiritual absorption, the fixing of the mind on Reality alone, to the exclusion of any other object.] with the strength of concentration-i.e; imbued with that (strength) also, consisting in steadfastness of the mind arising from accumulation of impressions resulting from spiritual absorption; upaiti, reaches; tam, that; div yam, resplendent; param, supreme; purusam, Person, described as ‘the Omniscient, the Ancient,’ etc. The Lord again speaks of Brahman which is sought to be attained by the process going to be stated, and which is described through such characteristics as, ‘What is declared by the knowers of the Vedas,’etc.:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
8.9-10 Kavim etc. Prayana-etc. He who would meditate in this manner (i.e. as described in the verse) etc. The Sun-coloured. The Sun-colour does not delmit the Absolute (Vasudeva-tattva). However, a comparison with the sun is drawn because the absolute too transcends the darkness of ignorance consisting of the varied wrong notions, like fancying forms etc. This is the idea here. In between the eye-brows : [This may be understood] as above.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
bhaktya yukto yoga-balena caiva
bhruvor madhye pranam avesya samyak
sa tam param purusam upaiti divyam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
prayāṇa-kāle — at the time of death; manasā — by the mind; acalena — without its being deviated; bhaktyā — in full devotion; yuktaḥ — engaged; yoga-balena — by the power of mystic yoga; ca — also; eva — certainly; bhruvoḥ — the two eyebrows; madhye — between; prāṇam — the life air; āveśya — establishing; samyak — completely; saḥ — he; tam — that; param — transcendental; puruṣam — Personality of Godhead; upaiti — achieves; divyam — in the spiritual kingdom.