Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 8, Verse 11

यदक्षरं वेदविदो वदन्ति
विशन्ति यद्यतयो वीतरागा: |
यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति
तत्ते पदं संग्रहेण प्रवक्ष्ये || 11||

yad akṣharaṁ veda-vido vadanti
viśhanti yad yatayo vīta-rāgāḥ
yad ichchhanto brahmacharyaṁ charanti
tat te padaṁ saṅgraheṇa pravakṣhye

yatwhich; akṣharamImperishable; veda-vidaḥscholars of the Vedas; vadantidescribe; viśhantienter; yatwhich; yatayaḥgreat ascetics; vīta-rāgāḥfree from attachment; yatwhich; ichchhantaḥdesiring; brahmacharyamcelibacy; charantipractice; tatthat; teto you; padamgoal; saṅgraheṇabriefly; pravakṣhyeI shall explain

Translation

BG 8.11: Scholars of the Vedas describe him as Imperishable; great ascetics practice the vow of celibacy and renounce worldly pleasures to enter into him. I shall now explain to you briefly the path to that goal.

Commentary

God has been referred to by many names in the Vedas. Some of them are: Sat, Avyākṛit, Prāṇ, Indra, Dev, Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān, Puruṣh. In various places, while referring to the formless aspect of God, he has also been called by the name Akṣhar. The word Akṣhar means “imperishable.” The Bṛihadāraṇyak Upaniṣhad states:

etasya vā akṣharasya praśhāsane gārgi sūryachandramasau vidhṛitau tiṣhṭhataḥ (3.8.9)[v2]

“Under the mighty control of the Imperishable, the sun and the moon are held on their course.” In this verse, Shree Krishna describes the path of yog-miśhrā bhakti, to attain the formless aspect of God. The word sangraheṇa means “in brief.” He will describe the path only briefly, to avoid emphasizing it, since the path is not suitable for everyone.

On this path, one must perform severe austerities, renouncing worldly desires, practicing brahmacharya, and living a life of rigid continence. Brahmacharya is the vow of celibacy. Through it, a person’s physical energy gets conserved, and then transformed through sādhanā into spiritual energy. An aspirant who practices celibacy enhances memory power and the intellect for comprehending spiritual topics. This has been previously explained in detail in verse 6.14.