View Full Version : prayā́ṇakālaḥ

15 November 2015, 06:18 PM
hariḥ oṁ

This post is not for the praghaṭāvid (general reader) nor vibhīṣikā (frightened); it is for the one that ponders, has little aversion to death (abhiniveśa¹) and approaches ideas
with an open mind (udghāṭita-manaḥ).

This post will be on prayā́ṇakālaḥ - time of death & departure. This does not suggest the timing of death as offered in jyotish knowledge, but that extinguishing point
of the body where it no longer functions as a living/breathing entity.

I wrote in a past post¹

The body is always coming to its end as time (kālá) leans into it; due to this fact we know this body as a house (kāya – house) of death.
Because this house is dying with time it is called symbolically a cremation ground. From this point of view one then can say śiva roams from cremation
ground to cremation ground. That is, he resides there because this house or body has (or is) Being and energy. But one knows just because the body may fall ( pass on)
that does not suggest that Being, śiva is altered or destroyed. It is not destroyed because it was never born. The cause of death is birth and Being, essence, sattā
is nirantara = having no interval (in space or time) ,uninterrupted , perpetual , constant.

We as humans are grouped in ādhibhautika - belonging or relating to created beings ~ society~ and or the surroundings of beings. The body of ours, the ‘chariot’
is śārīrika = relating to the body; contained in the body, is perishable. As we know śárīra means ‘that which is easily destroyed’. It is kṣaraḥ - ‘melting away’, perishable;
This again is the material side of our being, that which comes and goes.

We have in general 3 stages : beginning , middle, and end. Some may get a bit more granular and call out 6 stages which is also acceptable. Yet for this post we’re focused on endings.
This then sets the stage for the conversation at hand … many know within the bhāgavad gītā kṛṣṇa-jī talks of what can occur at the end of one’s life and this is called out in the 7th chapter (7.30) and 8th chapter, which we will review.

Setting the stage
Within the 8th chapter , śloka’s 1 and 2 , arjuna poses 8 questions ( some count 9) to kṛṣṇa-jī. This last question is: how, at the time of death, can You be known by the niyatātmabhiḥ ?
It is this point i.e. to be known, that I wish to visit in this post. Many who have read the bhāgavad gītā will think : this is done by remembering Him (māmeva smaran) at the time of death. Yet there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Who is this niyatātmabhiḥ ?
This is the self-disciplined; it is the yogin that perhaps is not fully baked ( as the wise say). It is he/she that , at the time of death, is doing abhyāsa yoga yuktena
(practicing the means of yoga). This would be the essence of the 8th śloka found in chapter 8 of the bhāgavad gītā.

What is considered the time of death ?
This is interesting and worth splitting hairs over… one can be on their death bed, comfortable, but most likely uncomfortable and weak, but not at their moment of death.
Visits from family, friends and priests may occur and the person is still within his/her faculties i.e. they can converse, respond, make choices and the like.
The time of death is when the outside world ( the surroundings) is no longer available to this person. Others have no idea what the person is hearing, thinking, smelling, etc.
In fact it is said at this juncture the dying person’s senses are retreating, withdrawing; this death time as it occurs – the final retreat of all cognitive senses.

Another cycle of death
In the 4th śloka, chapter 8, kṛṣṇa-jī says adhibhūtaṁ karaḥ bhāvaḥ or the nature (bhāvaḥ) of objects/the physical world is decay (karaḥ).
I mention ‘objects’ because they too ( such as automobiles, bikes, houses, etc.) are perishable (karaḥ) and decay.

We are born we have a beginning, then a middle then an end. We are in this decay cycle also ( just like our universe, a star, or an auto). One can think of it this way:
When we are born we grow to become a young child – the infant in us has passed, decayed, ‘died’ and was replaced by being a young child. We become a teen and the
young child decays ‘dies’ and is replaced by our new ‘teen’ status. This ‘teen’ status decays and is replaced by being an adult. We ( the body – śárīra) are in a continuous
stage of decay and dying all the time.
And what of during the day? Wake decays to dream then to deep sleep. All the senses withdraw. No one hears , sees or thinks in this deep-deep sleep. So , we're practicing
‘dying’ daily. Yet many get upset. I will be gone, I am finished! I want to live a thousand years. Yet the inevitable will occur one day… the decay of the physical system will no
longer support the life-function. And to this kṛṣṇa-jī says why worry over the inevitable ?

So this is the baseline of thinking… Now what needs to be discussed in the next post:

what is to be remembered?
are there alternatives ? that is, what if the person is not fit to remember?
are there additional insights that are not easily visible ?

iti śivaṁ


abhiniveśa is one of the 5 kleśa-s ( afflictions) that are destroyed by yoga. This is from patañjali’s yogadarśana ( yoga sūtra's).
We look to chapter 2, the 3rd sūtra calls out 5 kleśa-s that are destroyed :
avidyā - ignorance
asmitā - egotism
rāga - desire
dveṣa - aversion
abhiniveśa - this abhiniveśa is defined as adherence, as intentness , affection , devotion. Where do we see the indication of fear? What is implied here is the adherence to cling to life , this is the kleśa ( affliction). That strong desire due to ignorance that I wish not to perish, not to go away...I wish not to be extinct! Due to avidyā one thinks they perish forever and wish to cling to life...the fear born of ignorance ( the 1st kleśa listed above).

past post: post 6 and 7 found here: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?4908-Regarding-Symbols&p=126711&highlight=#post126711
niyata = disciplined, steady + ātmabhiḥ = ātma = self

16 November 2015, 06:37 PM
hariḥ oṁ

At the time of one’s death - utkrānti ( passing away, stepping up) what should one be settled-into ? What to think ? Kṛṣṇa-jī says remember Me.
Now this can be a tall order for one on their death bed. Here is where there is some additional thinking and pondering on this matter. The points offered will be
based upon the wisdom offered by abhinavagupti-ji, from his gitārthasaṁgraha¹ ( commentary and translation on the bhāgavad gītā through the eyes of non-dual (advaita)
kaśmir śaivism).

Being fit at the time of death
asvasthāvasthāyāyṁ - when in this state (avasthā) and the body is not fit/ill (asvastha) how then is it possible to remember the Supreme ?
And further , what is ‘remembering Me ?’
Here is one view on this matter… if we look to the 5th śloka of the 8th chapter of the bhāgavad gītā there is one word ‘ca’ that makes a difference.
This term is defined as ‘and , both , also , moreover , as well as’. It reads antakale ca māmeva smaran - at the end (antakale) of life also (ca) remembering
(smaran) me certainly (māmeva).
Now from the precision of perception offered by abhinavagupti-ji he sees it like this: antakale’pi māmeva smaran . This grammar convention shown of antakale’pi is
writing in ‘short form’ antakale api. What does this api mean ? It is defined as ‘and , also , moreover , besides’ . Compare ‘api’ to ‘ca’ and there is little difference.
When translated abhinavagupta-ji he sees api = also, but not as a forceful ‘must do’. Such as talking to a child and saying, eat your carrots ALSO, or said differently,
AND you better finish your carrots. You can see the force/compliance that is implied. Abhinavagupta-ji translates it as , if at the time of death if he also thinks of the Supreme ,
this possibility occurs and the native will also (api) be carried to the Supreme.

The point being offered
The notion of recalling/becoming established in the Supreme at the time of death is ~also~ another option. Practicing (abhyāsa) during one’s life (recall abhyāsa
means repeated or permanent practice, perpetual) is also wise. One is fit and and in good health during this period; but if you recall from post 1 above one is kṣaraḥ ‘melting away’,
perishable. We are decaying as I type this post, yet we are competent for abhyāsa , for one’s practice - yogī yuñjīita satatam - one’s practice is done in continuity.

See the subtle point? If one is in a continuous perishable condition called life, then it seems to make perfect sense to align one’s self to Kṛṣṇa-jī's
words of ‘remembering Me’ while in a condition that we are mindful and capable - fit for doing this, even though we meet the definition of dying daily.

The wise agree on this point: What one thinks all of their lives will be on their mind’s at the last breath¹. If we are captured by the world of diversity ( money, possessions, must do’s,
career, etc.) there is a higher probability this will be one one’s mind in the end due to vāsana-s ( impressions) stamped and re-enforced day-in and day-out.

So, now the question - what does Kṛṣṇa-jī's words of ‘remembering Me’ mean? How do we get comfortable with this before the body perishes and is no longer a viable chariot
for the Self/Being/pure awareness ? Let’s address that in the next post.

iti śivaṁ


abhinavagupti-ji in his gitārthasaṁgraha – properly listed as bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha of mahāmāheśvara rājānaka abhinavagupti-ji and edited by paṇḍitá svāmī lakṣman-jū first reviewed 1933, then 1978, then again revisited in 1990 with new insights.
A simple note to the reader:

I have read the bhāgavad gītā throughout my life; It has been explained by many and in different ways; This translation is the most robust – yet it is not for the tender-hearted ( entry level practitioner). That is, even if I have studied this book some 5 years back I would have put it down and left it. It is only recently that the true value of this knowledge from the vantage point of trika (advaita kaśmir śaivism) has begun to flower.

will be on their mind’s at the last breath - this is supported and pointed out in the 6th śloka of the 8th chapter we are discussing.

17 November 2015, 08:27 PM
hariḥ oṁ

What is ‘remembering Me’ mean ? We know that kṛṣṇa-jī is the Supreme, He is kaviṁ purāṇam (ancient all-knowing) So, is remembering Him thinking of
his manifested form? He is ananta ( infinite). Thinking of Him using differentiated awareness puts Him into a finite position of space and time, no doubt
short of His pure Being , infinite status. See the pickle ?

For us, in human form, the perfect remembrance (smaran) of Him is god consciousness - awareness of Being in continuity ( never without it in wake, dream or sleep).
But this is not the question arjuna poses IMHO. He asks in the 2nd śloka of the 8th chapter, how are you (kṛṣṇa) to be known by the niyatātmabhiḥ - the self-disciplined at the time of death
(prayā́ṇakālaḥ) ? The finer points here are:

the person blessed with god consciousness (bhagavat- cetanā) is fine and well. He is well-cared for by the Supreme. He know doubt is self-disciplined, yet this has blossomed in him as bhagavat- cetanā, so the notion of what should occur at the time of death is not necessary. How so ? This fortunate person is already with the Supreme.
the person without self-discipline (nacaryācaraṇa¹) is nominated for the knowledge that is pointed out in the 6th śloka – that is, what ever his/her last thoughts that will this person’s destination.
the niyatātmabhiḥ - the self-disciplined is another condition. For this, at the moment of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) kṛṣṇa offers the 10th śloka:

prayā́ṇakālae manasā’calena bhaktyā yukto yogabalena caiva |

bhruvor madhye prāṇam āveśya samyak sataṁ paraṁ puruṣam upaiti divya ||10

This śloka can be viewed from several different vantage points… the conventional view which by its very nature is esoteric to begin ith has the following general translation which is
offered by me, all blemishes in translation are mine:
at the time of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) within one’s mind (manasā) one completely (samyak) and without deviation (acalena - fastly fixed) fixes their life-force (prāṇam)
between (madhye) the brow (bhruvor) with full devotion (bhaktyā) and the strength of yoga (yogabalena) the bestowed virtue ( sa + taṁ) of the divine (divya)
Supreme Being/Person (paraṁ puruṣam) is thus ( iti) together (upa)¹.

The advaita kaśmir śaivism point of view which takes our (my) appreciation deeper and wider, will be reviewed to the best of my ability in the next post.

iti śivaṁ

nacaryācaraṇa = na+caryācaraṇa not or without + the practice of discipline,
upaiti - thus ( iti) together (upa) – this also can thus (iti) at the time of , upon (upa) ; this then would start the śloka: thus at the time of (upaiti) death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ).

19 November 2015, 08:11 PM
hariḥ oṁ

prayā́ṇakālae manasā’calena bhaktyā yukto yogabalena caiva |
bhruvor madhye prāṇam āveśya samyak sataṁ paraṁ puruṣam upaiti divya ||10 bhāgavad gītā 8th chapter

Here is another view offered by me i.e. my translation of the above … ( again, all blemishes in translation is affixed to me)
at the time of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) the highest state paraṁ puruṣam (kṛṣṇa), the virtue of ( sa+taṁ) of the divine (divya), thus (iti) coming together (upa)
resides in the middle (madhye) between (bhuvor) the breath (prāṇam) and should/can be accessed with strength of yoga (yogabalena),
without deviation (acalena) , completely (samyak), without letting the mind (manasā) wander i.e. full devotion (bhaktyā).

What is key here :

breath /life force -prāṇa
location – bhruvor & middle most madhye or madhya
the strength of one-pointedness – yogabalena : fixity - ācalena and completely – samyak

What is found between (madhya) the breath or prāṇa ( inward, middle, outward) is niṣkala – without parts , some call the transcendent, others
may call it pure awareness, this is none other than the Supreme. This is where the fixity (ācalena or ācalana) is suggested - in-between, in madhya
( center-most, middle). Prāṇa no doubt is breath and requires inward (apāna) and outward (prāṇa) movement.
Yet this middlemost condition is of great import. Why so ? Let’s look at a few items.

this term we know as the brow or eye-brow is bhrū ( from the term bhruvor of the 10th śloka we are reviewing)
bhrū is rooted in bhram which is defined to spread, to drive though
bhruvor madhye is then the center of the brow :

bhrūmadhya ‘houses’ ājñā which is command , direct ; the command center (cakra)
this center, ājñā, also goes by the name bindu = spot or dot
it ( this spot) also infers piṇḍala a bridge , causeway

This bhrūmadhya location
Within advaita kaśmir śaivism it (bhrūmadhya) is none other than madhya-vikāsa, meaning the expansion/development (vikāsa) of the middle (madhya) state.
Note the alignment of vikāsa to bhrū, both deal with expansion. This madhya-vikāsa is something that is accessed. We think we ‘develop’ it but this is not so,
it is there all the time. What we develop is our ability to access it. We find this theme of 'access' in multiple kaśmir śaivism āgama-s , kārikā-s and tantra-s.

Now what is this center (madhya) ? Why is it so often the subject matter of kaśmir śaivism ? It is saṁvit, some write saṁvid.
This term means consciousness, but a consciousness that knows thoroughly, completely , wholly, without blemish, stainless. It is therefore Supreme Consciousness.

This view is supported in the pratyabhijñāhṛdayam by kṣemarāja-ji which addresses the re-recognition of one’s being or Self-Pure Awareness.
It is the ~summary~ of the īśvara-pratyabhijñāhṛdayam. Now why would I burden you with all this housekeeping? It is because the īśvara-pratyabhijñāhṛdayam
deals with the re-recognition of one’s status back to the Supreme or īśvara a.k.a kṛṣṇa-jī, hence the alignment of kṛṣṇa-jī’s words within the school of advaita kaśmir śaivism.

Here is the śloka from the pratyabhijñāhṛdayam ( of which have a total of 20 śloka-s )
via the unfoldment (vikāsāt) of madhya there is the obtaining/attaining (lābhaḥ) of the bliss (ānanda) of absolute consciousness or pure awareness (cit)||17
(cit is sometimes defined as brahman, Pure Thought, etc.) It too is referred to as cirprākaśa or the light of consciousness.

The (upāyāḥ) approach offered by kṛṣṇa-jī in 10th śloka we are discussing is aligned to this view. Both take the support of madhya.

yet one may ask, what of the fully-realized being at the time of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) what occurs with them ?
Let’s look at this next…

iti śivaṁ

20 November 2015, 11:35 AM
hariḥ oṁ

yet one may ask, what of the fully-realized being at the time of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) what occurs with them ?
This is from the paramārthasāra¹ - the essence (sāra) of the highest Reality (paramārtha)

tīrthe śvapacagṛhe vā naṣṭasmṛtirapi parityajandeham|
jñānasamakālamuktaḥ kaivalyaṁ yāti hataśokaḥ||83

the one who has disregarded sorrow (hata-śokaḥ) leaves (parityajan) the physical body (deham) at an auspicious place (tīrthe) or at the house (gṛhe) of an outcast (śva-paca¹), even if (api) his memory disappears (naṣṭa-smṛtiḥ), he is the liberated (muktaḥ-jñāna), he attains (yāti) absolute unity (kaivalyam)||83

The term kaivalya has several meanings: absolute unity is one of them, so is isolation, perfect isolation , abstraction , detachment from all other connections , detachment of the soul from matter or further transmigration's. It suggests ‘without duality, without diversity’.

This suggests for the mukti ( the liberated ) death just occurs in space, time and to this 'chariot' known as the body (śārīrika); it has little affect on this person's Being.

iti śivaṁ


paramārthasāra - the original author was ādiśeṣa patañjali. The original work composed was 85 śloka-s in length . Abhinavagupa-ji’s translation took the vantage point of advaita kaśmir śaivism and expanded the offer to 105 śloka-s and a non-dual point of view.

​patañjali múni was also called ādiśeṣa patañjali known fo his yogadarśana some call the yoga-sūtra-s. He is recognized for his offering of the paramārthasāra . His alignment was more to śāṁkhya dṛṣṭa (view) as it deals with puruṣa and prakṛti; yet one would say his aliment properly called out would be to śāṁkhya + yoga dṛṣṭa and too vivekaja mārga ( the path of discrimination i.e. Self from non-Self). He also wrote the mahābhāṣya - or the ‘great explanatory work , exposition’ on pāṇini’s rules of grammar found in the aṣṭādhyāyī. It is little known that he also wrote on āyurved ; his work is called carakapratisaṃskṛtaḥ
patañjali - some say the derivation of his name is pata + añjali

añjali = open hands placed side by side and slightly hollowe + pata = falling
· The legend says that śeṣa ( the divine serpent) incarnated and fell (pata) into open hands (añjali) of a brahmin (realized being) no less; and this incarnation was none other than patañjali. · We can see why he would be called śeṣa- patañjali.

abhinavagupti-ji is also known as mahāmāheśvara rājānaka abhinavagupti-ji

I thought , since I have talked much about abhinavagupta, I would offer the meaning of his name. In one of his works abhinavagupta himself calls out abhinava + gupta as always new + hidden. Yet we can take his name as abhi + nava + gupta.

​abhi - is a prefix to verbs and nouns that expresses to , towards , into , over , or upon. The hi root is to convey , bring , procure , yet is also to send forth set in motion , impel , or urge-on
nava - new , fresh , recent , young , modern
gupta - protected , guarded , preserved; hidden, concealed , kept secret - from gup too hide , conceal
From this one can suggest this name means one that is always headed towards or seated in that which is young, fresh and anew. What is that? Consciousness or Awareness. Always present without decay ( vimala - stainless , spotless , clean , bright , pure); Yet at the same time hidden or concealed as one does not 'see' this Consciousness or the state of Consciousness in the open, it is sahaja or innate, hereditary , original , natural in us.
His name then suggests ( to me) his mukta status (liberated , delivered , emancipated ), secure in the SELF. It also suggests abhinavagupta's status as a guru, He that moves sends forth set in motion, others to nava, a fresh start of Consciousness that is hidden or concealed; he as guru un-conceals the concealed in the śiṣya-s.

​śva-paca - śva = śvan = dog or hound + paca = the act of cooking. Hence śva-paca = a dog eater.

21 November 2015, 01:50 AM
Here is another view offered by me i.e. my translation of the above … ( again, all blemishes in translation is affixed to me)
at the time of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) the highest state paraṁ puruṣam (kṛṣṇa), the virtue of ( sa+taṁ) of the divine (divya), thus (iti) coming together (upa) resides in the middle (madhye) between (bhuvor) the breath (prāṇam) and should/can be accessed with strength of yoga (yogabalena), without deviation (acalena) , completely (samyak), without letting the mind (manasā) wander i.e. full devotion (bhaktyā).

This is a new translation to me. :)


22 November 2015, 01:06 PM
hariḥ oṁ

I offer a rhetorical question that requires us to visit chapter 11 (athaikādaśodhyāyaḥ) some call viśvarūpadarśanayogaḥ (viśvarūpa-darśana-yogaḥ) or the yoga of seeing (darśana) His/ kṛṣṇa-jī’s universal form (viśvarūpa).

If we look to chapter 11, from the 12th śloka onward, it is arjuna that informs us that he see’s the Supreme’s (paramaṁ) viśvarūpa , universal form that has no beginning, middle or end, it is without limit. You are akṣara ( imperishable), ananta (boundless , eternal , infinite), the source of all deva-s (devamajaṁ), all pervading (vibhu), without birth says arjuna. You have many (aneka) arms, bellies, eyes, legs, mouths ; I see you on all sides (sarvata); you are the knower and the knowable ( the subject and the object). This suggests in no uncertain terms that the Supreme (paramaṁ) is all and every-thing, everyone, every place, without boundaries of space, place or cause, size, shape or status , no matter if human, deva, animal, particle, wave, thought, feeling, etc.

Once we know this and appreciate this, then the rhetorical question: where can I run that I am not running into the Supreme? Where can I walk that I am not only using His energy (śakti) to do this, but am walking on the very creation (tattva-s) that are Him also ? That every part of 'me' is authored and originated in Him ? What can I possibly do, think, go, etc. that is not within His laws of nature , not within His body ?

Revisiting prayā́ṇakālaḥ
Now that said, let’s revisit chapter 8, called by some akṣarabrahmayogaḥ (akṣara-brahma-yogaḥ) where we have been discussing prayā́ṇakālaḥ - time of death & departure.
Upon the time of death and departing, where can one depart to that would not be within the purview of the Supreme? There is nothing outside of the Supreme. Even the notion of 'outside of' is impossible.
Where can one go , in any direction, that the Supreme would not already be there to begin with? This anuttara (unsurpassable) Being is on all sides (sarvata) and all-pervading (vibhu).
Even this idea of death that has been discussed is the Supreme. He says so in the 31st śloka the He is the destroyer of worlds (loka-kṣaya-kṛt-pravṛddhān-llokān-samāhartumiha) and people in these worlds
or lokān samāhartum; He is the controller of death ( chapter 10, 29th śloka – I am yamaḥ).

It is our ignorance that thinks, oh yes there is me and then there is this all-pervading-ness that is other than me; this Supreme, that must not be me, that there is somehow two. This is the blunder of being human.

What's the point - 3 conditions
What is the point here ( from my vantage point) ? (1) One can, at the moment of death (prayā́ṇakālaḥ) be one of controlled mind praśāntātmā – the ‘ tranquil-souled ‘ ,
composed in mind , peaceful , calmness , ~ even-ness~ and have that opportunity to be absorbed into god-consciousness (turīya) ; Or (2) that person could have
previously established bhagavat-cetanā ( god consciousness ) and be in that condition upon surrendering his/her body back to all the elements ( tattva-s) , some call dropping the body;
or (3) one is outside of those two conditions just mentioned, but now dies in god’s consciousness. See the point?

In general speaking terms:

one may pass-on fully aware of the Supreme and the relationship to this Being; this person while in good health enjoyed this status of alignment to the Supreme while living. Life
was filled with this joy, even-ness, etc. Death to them is just another event that occurs; the body drops, but what occurrs for them as they are firmly established in bhagavat-cetanā ? All is well and good.
another person , at the last movement of breath has the opportunity to enter into this understanding\experience. During his/her life they lived a disciplined (niyatātmabhiḥ) life, engaging in abhāsya ( practice) of sādhana and the like . Then it is suggested that these people practice bhrūmadhya or madhya-vikāsa to ‘launch’ themselves one last time into turīya.
Yet even the person that dies un-mindfully, that did not practice during their life-span, how can they possibly die outside of god’s consciousness ? This is, out side of the Supreme? It is impossible. Even with their last breath it is still His breath, or closing of the eyes one last time, it is His eye's, the last thought, it His thought. There can be no condition or case made that ( even of wake-dream-sleep) that would be outside of this Being.

Hence in the final analysis it is being established (mind-filled) with bhagavat-cetanā ( god consciousness) and the enjoyer of this condition; or it is not being mindful of this level of awareness
but still being in god’s consciousness, the owner, still within Him, yet without the direct personal experience of it.

iti śivaṁ