Gita Series – 96: Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII. Verses 20 – 22:

Far beyond this unmanifest, there is yet another Unmanifest, which is eternal and does not get destroyed even when the entire beings are annihilated. The same Unmanifest is also known as Supreme Goal, My abode. Those who attain this highest state of Mine, are not reborn. Arjuna, that eternal Puruṣa (Purusha), within whom all beings exist and by whom all this is pervaded, is attainable only through steadfast devotion.”

Before proceeding with discussion on these verses, let us hear what the Living Master says about Brahmaloka, which has been discussed in the previous posting.

Brahmaloka is a little above the Māyātattva (tattva 6). As it is "still" material, it never touches the tattva 5, which is not material but completely spiritual. Therefore, being Turya a level belonging to tattva-s 3 to 5, where there is "still" a universe to be witnessed. Hence Turya is the Witness or the state of the Self as a Witness. In tattva-s 3 to 5, the ones who attained Turya have baindavadeha-s or bodies composed of Bindú, which is not material but spiritual.

Turyātīta is beyond Turya and therefore beyond the universe, whether in its material (tattva-s from 6 to 36) or spiritual (tattva-s from 3 to 5). Turyātīta is the very state of Śivá and Śákti. Both are aspects of the Highest Reality known as Paramaśiva. Hence, Turyātīta is the highest state a being can attain. Brahmaloka is only a little about Māyā, the deep sleep of ignorance. Even so, the limited beings cannot attain Brahmaloka except making tremendous efforts. Turya and Turyātīta can only be achieved by the most eminent among the sages.”

The Unmanifest that has been discussed in the previous posting is not the ultimate. The unmanifest referred in the previous verse refers to tasmāt avyakta. Tasmāt means that and avyakta refers to primordial nature or productive principle. Now, Krishna says that there is One beyond this. He has already made subtle references to this One in earlier verses as well. Now He elaborates on this. (The Living Master again clarifies the difference between Brahmā and Brahma. Brahmā refers to the Creator and Brahma refers to the Ultimate Reality. He also says that by using Brahman to mean both the creator and the Ultimate Reality, could lead to confusion in the minds of readers. Therefore, Brahman in our discussions means the highest Reality and not the creator who unveils of the act of creation. The creator is referred by Brahmā.)

What Krishna refers in this verse is the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, much beyond human comprehension. This Ultimate Reality does not get annihilated during annihilation. He is eternal. During the process of annihilation, everything, including prakriti gets absorbed into the Brahman. After everything is annihilated, He alone remains in His full glory. When the process of annihilation is complete, He alone remains as bright as ever and as same as ever, in spite of the fact that, the entire sentient and insentient things got absorbed unto Him, including Brahma.

Brahman is also referred as Purusha by Krishna. This Purusha is the Supreme Goal for the purpose of liberation. One gets liberated by merging with the Truth, Knowledge and Bliss, by which He is known. He does not have a form. Krishna says that He can be attained only by pure devotion. Devotion is nothing but total surrender unto Him.

The Brahman can be summed up as the one who is the Supreme in everything. For example, He is the embodiment of truth, knowledge, bliss, etc. That is why Taittirīya Upaniṣad says that Truth, Knowledge and everything else is Brahmā. Krishna says that liberation can also be attained by pure devotion. Devotion is comparatively easier way to get liberated from transmigrations. But the devotion should be pure and humble. The Lord does not like pomp and vanity. Krishna addressed these verses in His capacity as the Brahman or Brahma, the Supreme Lord.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII. 23-26

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII. 27-28

Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX. 1 - 3