The Bhagavad Gita | Study Guide


Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Bhagavad Gita Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 June 2019. Web. 4 Oct. 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2019, June 7). The Bhagavad Gita Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved October 4, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)



Course Hero. "The Bhagavad Gita Study Guide." June 7, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Bhagavad Gita Study Guide," June 7, 2019, accessed October 4, 2023,

The Bhagavad Gita | Chapter 8 : Absolute Freedom | Summary



Arjuna urges Krishna to tell him about the nature of the Self, God, and action. He also asks Krishna to explain worship and how to be with God at the time of death. Krishna explains that true freedom is "union with the deathless," or God. He defines action as the Self's creative power that "causes the whole world to be." Human beings will enter whatever state they are in at the moment of their death. Therefore, because one never knows the time of one's death, it is essential to meditate at all times. This way, a person who thinks of Krishna when their last breath is taken will be with God. Thus, Krishna tells Arjuna, "Meditate on the Guide /... the Primordial / Poet, smaller than an atom / ... brilliant as the sun." Beings who meditate continuously on Krishna, he adds, and "whose love / has grown deep through meditation" will not need to be reborn.

According to Krishna, one single day or night for God lasts four billion years. Embodied beings come from God at the dawn and sink back into the "unmanifest nature" of God with nightfall. Beyond the realm of unmanifest is another realm, which is the unmanifest state of primal existence. When all things are destroyed with cycling of the universe, primal existence is what remains. Krishna says men who reach this state, which he calls "supreme dwelling," will not be reborn again. He calls each of these rare individuals a Supreme Being. Krishna brings forth all matter in the time of light and destroys all matter in the time of darkness before it dissolves again into dormancy. The enlightened person understands this part of the universe's ongoing nature.

Krishna then explains how men of yoga will be reborn, or return again. Men who die during the six months of darkness will be reborn. Those who die during the six months of light will not be reborn and "go to absolute freedom."


In this chapter Krishna gives Arjuna a deeper understanding of the workings of the universe and how they coincide with rebirth and freedom from the cycle of rebirth. Again, the interchanging use of terms such as Supreme Person, God, and Krishna are part of a complex understanding. A person of yoga mediates on the nature of the Self and God as existing beyond the body, mind, and senses as a supreme, unchanging soul. Through meditating upon this supreme soul or Krishna, that person will achieve freedom. They will be unattached to either suffering or serenity while living. In this state, while meditating on the union of God and Self, a person will find release from the cycle of rebirth when they die. They will become one again with God (or the Supreme Person, Self, essence of the universe). However, Krishna insists that this union will happen only if the enlightened person dies in light, such as daylight, firelight, or during the six months when the days are lengthening. If the enlightened person dies in the dark of the year or at night, then they will enter the cycle of rebirth once more. The concept of light and dark is symbolic of the larger cycle of rebirth and liberation from rebirth.

The nature of time in this worldview is expansive, as Krishna explains. This worldview sees the time period of embodied existence as spanning four ages, lasting billions of years. Over the period of these four ages, the embodied world moves from a perfect state into an increasingly corrupt one, and then the cycle restarts.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Bhagavad Gita? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!