In Chapter 8 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna addresses an important question posed by Arjuna: How are You (the indestructible) to be realized at the time of death by those of steadfast mind? (Gita 8-2.2) In response, Shri Krishna gives a reply over several paragraphs. At first, Krishna says,
He who departs from the body, thinking of Me alone even at the time of death, attains My state. There is no doubt about it (Gita 8-5).
The Kena Upanishad is so named because it asks many fundamental questions that begin with the phrase, “by whom” – or “kena”. By whom willed and directed does the mind alight upon objects of the world? The Kena is one of the most metaphysical of the Upanishads, as it discusses the subtle reality of the indestructible Brahman. In conjunction with Chapter 8 of the Gita, it forms a pillar of the knowledge of the One supreme reality. The Kena addresses both the impersonal and personal aspects of Brahman, so as to engage the needs of all levels of truth-seekers.
The Bhagavad Gita is based on a dialogue between the student, Arjuna, and the teacher, Lord Krishna. The scripture unfolds in the form of questions and answers. Prince Arjuna is paralyzed by inaction while in the midst of the battlefield of action. His doubts appear as questions, and Lord Krishna responds with explanations of various aspects of yoga to help inspire Arjuna to action. In Chapter 8 of the Gita, Lord Krishna expounds on the Yoga of the Indestructible for Prince Arjuna.
The “Sahanavavatu mantra” is one of the shaanti (peace) mantras which has its origins in the Taittiriya Upanisad. This mantra is often used as a “universal” prayer, to send the message of peace and prosperity. The mantra may also be used to invoke God’s blessings for harmony amongst teacher(s) and student(s).