The Self, the God within soul, is neither at any time born nor does he at any time die, for what he undergoes in the name of death is a mere change of apparel. He cannot also be anything other than Self, because he is birthless, permanent, eternal, and primeval.
Sings Lord Krishn:
“They are both ignorant,
he who believes that the Self slays
and he who thinks that he is slain,
for he neither slays nor is he slain.’’
He who regards the Self as the slayer and he who regards him as the slain are both unaware of his real nature, for he neither kills nor can he be killed.
“Neither ever born nor dying,
neither at any time coming into being nor ceasing to be,
the Self is birthless, perpetual, unchanging, and timeless,
and he is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.”
Disintegration, death, of the body does not annihilate the self. The Self alone is real, timeless, unchanging, and eternal.
Who are you? A follower of the eternal Dharm? What is for ever? The Self. So you are a follower, a disciple, of the Self. The Self and Brahm (God) are synonymous.
And who are you ? A worshiper of the eternal Dharm. What is immutable? The Self, of course. That is to say that you and I all are adorers of the Self?
But if we are not familiar with the spiritual path to the eternal truth, the way of following the dictates of the Self until he is one with the Supreme Spirit, we have nothing that is worthy of being described as changeless and everlasting. We are on trial for the final absolution and in close proximity to God if we pine for him, but we cannot be deemed as having been admitted as long as we are credulous enough to accept blindly one wrong convention or the other masquerading as Sanatan Dharm.
So, if anywhere on the earth there is a man who is aware of the true nature of Self and his ultimate goal, and who is eager to take to the way which will eventually lead his Self to the Supreme Spirit, he undoubtedly also belongs to the fold of Sanatan Dharm-the changeless and eternal.
Lord Krishn sings:
“How can he, O Parth,
who is conscious of the Soul within as imperishable,
permanent, birthless, and immutable,
kill or move another to kill?”
Arjun is addressed as Parth, for he has made a chariot of the earth-made body and is preparing to take a perfect aim at the Supreme Spirit. The man who knows that the embodied Soul is indestructible, permanent, beyond birth, and unmanifest-how can he make others slay or be a slayer himself?
Destruction of what is indestructible is impossible. And, being beyond birth, the Self is also never born. So why grieve for the body?
This idea will further be elaborated in the next verse:
“Like a man who puts on new garments
after discarding his worn out clothes,
the embodied Self, also, casts off tattered bodies
and transmigrates into other bodies that are new.”
The Soul rejects bodies that have been ravaged by old age or some other disease and dresses himself in new apparel just as a man throws away old, torn clothes and puts on new clothes. But if new clothing is needed only when the fabric of old clothes is weakened, why do young children die?
These “garments” have yet to grow and evolve. It was said a little earlier that the body rests on sanskar, the impressions from action attained in the course of a previous existence. When the store of sanskar is depleted, the Self discards the body. If the sanskar is of two days’ duration only, the body will be on the brink of death on the second day itself. Beyond sanskar there is not even a single breath of life; sanskar is the body and the Self assumes a new body according to his sanskar.
According to the Chandogya Upanishad, “A man is primarily his will. As is his will in this life, so does he become when he departs from it.” It is the firmness of his will in one life that determines what a man will be in the next. Man is thus born in bodies that are shaped by his own will. So death is a mere physical change: the Self does not die.
Lord Krishn sings:
” This Self is neither pierced by weapons,
nor burnt by fire, nor made damp by water,
nor dried up by wind.”
Weapons cannot cleave the Self. Fire cannot singe him. He cannot also be drenched by water, nor withered by wind.
“The Self, which cannot be pierced or burnt
or made wet or faded, is uninterrupted, all-pervasive,
constant, immovable, and eternal.”
The Self cannot be cut or pierced through; he cannot be burnt; and he cannot be soaked. Even the whole firmament cannot contain him within its expanse. The Self is beyond doubt, ever-fresh, omnipresent, immovable, constant, and everlasting.
Arjun has pronounced family traditions to be eternal. So, according to him, the war will destroy Sanatan Dharm itself. But Lord Krishn finds it an example of ignorance and points out that the Self alone is eternal.
If we do not know the means by which we can realize our Self and his goal, we have no inkling of Sanatan Dharm.
That which is eternal is so strong and impregnable that arms cannot pierce it, fire cannot burn it, and water cannot wet it. Nothing that belongs to the material world can touch it, let alone food and drink.
If we do not know the way to this embodied God, we are yet uninitiated into the spirit of Sanatan Dharm.
Knowing that this immutable, eternal Self pervades all, what should we look for?
Lord Krishn sings:
“Knowing that the Self is unmanifest,
a non-object to the senses, incomprehensible
because he is a non-object to the mind, and changeless,
O Arjun, it does not befit you to grieve over him.”
The Soul is unmanifest and not an object of the senses. He cannot be grasped by the senses. He is present even when there is the association of senses with their objects, but he cannot be comprehended. He is beyond thought. He is eternal and he is present even when the mind and its volitions persist, but he is beyond perception, enjoyment, and access. So the mind has to be restrained.
Lord Krishn has told Arjun that the unreal has no existence and neither is the real ever nonexistent. The Self is that reality. It is the Self that is changeless, constant, eternal, and unmanifest. They who know essence have found the Self adorned with these traits. Not linguists nor the affluent, but only seers have known the unique character of the Self.
The Supreme Spirit alone is real. By restraining the mind, the worshiper sees him and becomes one with him. At the moment of attainment he realizes God and, the very next moment after this, he finds his own soul adorned with Godlike traits. He sees then that this Self is true, eternal, and perfect. This Self is beyond the reach of thought. Free from any deviation, it is called immutable.
Lord Krishn then uses simple logic to demonstrate contradictions between Arjun’s thoughts.
“You ought not to grieve,
O the mighty-armed, even if you think of him (the Self)
as ever-born and ever-dying.”
Arjun ought not to mourn even if he regards the Self as constantly born and constantly dying.
“Since this also proves the certain death of what is born
and the certain birth of what dies,
you ought not to grieve over the inevitable.”
Even the assumption that the Self is ever-born and ever-dying only goes to establish that the born must die and the dead must be born. So Arjun ought not to grieve over what must be, for sorrowing over something which is inevitable is inviting yet another sorrow.
Lord Krishn adds:
“Why grieve over the matter, O Bharat (Arjun),
when all beings, disembodied before birth and disembodied after death,
appear to possess a body only between the two events?”
All beings are body-less before birth and also body-less after death. They can be seen neither before birth nor after death. It is only between birth and death that they assume the form of a body. So why grieve uselessly over this change? But who can see this Self?
Lord Krishn answers the question in next verse:
“Only a seer views the Soul as a marvel,
another one describes him as a marvel,
and yet another one hears him as marvel.
While there are some who hear him and yet know him not.”
Sri Krishn has said before that only enlightened, realized, sages have viewed the Self. Now he elaborates the rareness of this vision. Only a rare sage sees the Self-views him directly rather than just hear of him. Similarly, another rare sage speaks of his substance. Only he who has seen the Self can describe him. Yet another rare seeker hears him as a wonder, for even hearing the voice of the Self is not possible for all because it is meant only for men of high spiritual attainment.
There are people who hear the Self and yet know him not, because they are incapable of treading the spiritual path. A man may listen to, countless words of wisdom, split hairs, and be eager to acquire the highest wisdom. But his attachments are possessed of irresistible might and after only a short while he finds himself reversed to worldly business.
Lord Krishn sings:
“Since the Self dwelling in all bodies is unslayable,
O Bharat, it does not befit you to grieve for living beings.”
Arjun ought not to mourn for living beings because the Self, in whatever body he is, can be neither slain nor pierced through. Duly expounded and treated with authority, the point at issue that “the Self is eternal” is concluded here.
~ Reverd Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans ~
~ mrityunjayanand ~
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