Soul Slokas

Soul

This morning I was thinking about the soul and its eternal journey. So I went to Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is and found some of the important slokas that pertained to the subject of the soul.

As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change. (Bg. 2.13)

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain. (Bg. 2.20)

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones. (Bg. 2.22)

The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. (Bg. 2.23)

Soul Slokas

Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

TEXT 13

dehino ’smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati

dehinaḥ—of the embodied; asmin—in this; yathā—as; dehe—in the body; kaumāram—boyhood; yauvanam—youth; jarā—old age; tathā—similarly; dehāntara—transference of the body; prāptiḥ—achievement; dhīraḥ—the sober; tatra—thereupon; na—never; muhyati—deluded.

TRANSLATION

As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.

PURPORT

Since every living entity is an individual soul, each is changing his body every moment, manifesting sometimes as a child, sometimes as a youth, and sometimes as an old man. Yet the same spirit soul is there and does not undergo any change. This individual soul finally changes the body at death and transmigrates to another body; and since it is sure to have another body in the next birth—either material or spiritual—there was no cause for lamentation by Arjuna on account of death, neither for Bhīṣma nor for Droṇa, for whom he was so much concerned. Rather, he should rejoice for their changing bodies from old to new ones, thereby rejuvenating their energy. Such changes of body account for varieties of enjoyment or suffering, according to one’s work in life. So Bhīṣma and Droṇa, being noble souls, were surely going to have either spiritual bodies in the next life, or at least life in heavenly bodies for superior enjoyment of material existence. So, in either case, there was no cause of lamentation.

Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and nature—both material and spiritual—is called a dhīra or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies. The Māyāvādī theory of oneness of the spirit soul cannot be entertained on the ground that spirit soul cannot be cut into pieces as a fragmental portion. Such cutting into different individual souls would make the Supreme cleavable or changeable, against the principle of the Supreme Soul being unchangeable.

As confirmed in the Gītā, the fragmental portions of the Supreme exist eternally (sanātana) and are called kṣara; that is, they have a tendency to fall down into material nature. These fragmental portions are eternally so, and even after liberation, the individual soul remains the same—fragmental. But once liberated, he lives an eternal life in bliss and knowledge with the Personality of Godhead. The theory of reflection can be applied to the Supersoul who is present in each and every individual body and is known as the Paramātmā, who is different from the individual living entity. When the sky is reflected in water, the reflections represent both the sun and the moon and the stars also. The stars can be compared to the living entities and the sun or the moon to the Supreme Lord. The individual fragmental spirit soul is represented by Arjuna, and the Supreme Soul is the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They are not on the same level, as it will be apparent in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter. If Arjuna is on the same level with Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is not superior to Arjuna, then their relationship of instructor and instructed becomes meaningless. If both of them are deluded by the illusory energy (māyā), then there is no need of one being the instructor and the other the instructed. Such instruction would be useless because, in the clutches of māyā, no one can be an authoritative instructor. Under the circumstances, it is admitted that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord, superior in position to the living entity, Arjuna, who is a forgotten soul deluded by māyā.

TEXT 20

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

na—never; jāyate—takes birth; mriyate—never dies; vā—either; kadācit—at any time (past, present or future); na—never; ayam—this; bhūtvā—came into being; bhavitā—will come to be; vā—or; na—not; bhūyaḥ—or has come to be; ajaḥ—unborn; nityaḥ—eternal; śāśvataḥ—permanent; ayam—this; purāṇaḥ—the oldest; na—never; hanyate—is killed; hanyamāne—being killed; śarīre—by the body.

TRANSLATION

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

PURPORT

Qualitatively, the small atomic fragmental part of the Supreme Spirit is one with the Supreme. He undergoes no changes like the body. Sometimes the soul is called the steady, or kūṭastha. The body is subject to six kinds of transformations. It takes its birth in the womb of the mother’s body, remains for some time, grows, produces some effects, gradually dwindles, and at last vanishes into oblivion. The soul, however, does not go through such changes. The soul is not born, but, because he takes on a material body, the body takes its birth. The soul does not take birth there, and the soul does not die. Anything which has birth also has death. And because the soul has no birth, he therefore has no past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing, and primeval—that is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being. Under the impression of the body, we seek the history of birth, etc., of the soul. The soul does not at any time become old, as the body does. The so-called old man, therefore, feels himself to be in the same spirit as in his childhood or youth. The changes of the body do not affect the soul. The soul does not deteriorate like a tree, nor anything material. The soul has no by-product either. The by-products of the body, namely children, are also different individual souls; and, owing to the body, they appear as children of a particular man. The body develops because of the soul’s presence, but the soul has neither offshoots nor change. Therefore, the soul is free from the six changes of the body.

In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad also we find a similar passage which reads:

na jāyate mriyate vā vipaścin
nāyaṁ kutaścin na vibhūva kaścit
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre.

(Kaṭha 1.2.18)

The meaning and purport of this verse is the same as in the Bhagavad-gītā, but here in this verse there is one special word, vipaścit, which means learned or with knowledge.

The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we do not find the sun in the sky owing to clouds, or for some other reason, but the light of the sun is always there, and we are convinced that it is therefore daytime. As soon as there is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies—whether man or animal—we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the supreme consciousness is all-knowledge—past, present and future. The consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the superior lessons of Kṛṣṇa. But Kṛṣṇa is not like the forgetful soul. If so, Kṛṣṇa’s teachings of Bhagavad-gītā would be useless.

There are two kinds of souls—namely the minute particle soul (aṇu-ātmā) and the Supersoul (the vibhu-ātmā). This is also confirmed in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad in this way:

aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān
ātmāsya jantor nihito guhāyām
tam akratuḥ paśyati vīta-śoko
dhātuḥ prasādān mahimānam ātmanaḥ

(Kaṭha 1.2.20)

“Both the Supersoul [Paramātmā] and the atomic soul [jīvātmā] are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul.” Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of the Supersoul also, as it will be disclosed in the following chapters, and Arjuna is the atomic soul, forgetful of his real nature; therefore he requires to be enlightened by Kṛṣṇa, or by His bona fide representative (the spiritual master).

TEXT 21

vedāvināśinaṁ nityaṁ
ya enam ajam avyayam
kathaṁ sa puruṣaḥ pārtha
kaṁ ghātayati hanti kam

veda—in knowledge; avināśinam—indestructible; nityam—always; yaḥ—one who; enam—this (soul); ajam—unborn; avyayam—immutable; katham—how; saḥ—he; puruṣaḥ—person; pārtha—O Pārtha (Arjuna); kam—whom; ghātayati—hurts; hanti—kills; kam—whom.

TRANSLATION

O Pārtha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?

PURPORT

Everything has its proper utility, and a man who is situated in complete knowledge knows how and where to apply a thing for its proper utility. Similarly, violence also has its utility, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge. Although the justice of the peace awards capital punishment to a person condemned for murder, the justice of the peace cannot be blamed because he orders violence to another person according to the codes of justice. In Manu-saṁhitā, the lawbook for mankind, it is supported that a murderer should be condemned to death so that in his next life he will not have to suffer for the great sin he has committed. Therefore, the king’s punishment of hanging a murderer is actually beneficial. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa orders fighting, it must be concluded that violence is for supreme justice, and, as such, Arjuna should follow the instruction, knowing well that such violence, committed in the act of fighting for Kṛṣṇa, is not violence at all because, at any rate, the man, or rather the soul, cannot be killed; so for the administration of justice, so-called violence is permitted. A surgical operation is not meant to kill the patient, but to cure him. Therefore the fighting to be executed by Arjuna at the instruction of Kṛṣṇa is with full knowledge, so there is no possibility of sinful reaction.

TEXT 22

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

vāsāṁsi—garments; jīrṇāni—old and worn out; yathā—as it is; vihāya—giving up; navāni—new garments; gṛhṇāti—does accept; naraḥ—a man; aparāṇi—other; tathā—in the same way; śarīrāṇi—bodies; vihāya—giving up; jīrṇāni—old and useless; anyāni—different; saṁyāti—verily accepts; navāni—new sets; dehī—the embodied.

TRANSLATION

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

PURPORT

Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul, but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age. From old age, the change is transferred to another body. This has already been explained in the previous verse.

Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is made possible by the grace of the Supersoul.The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the atomic soul as one friend fulfills the desire of another. The Vedas, like the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, as well as the Śvetāśvatara Upanisad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Kṛṣṇa) is simply watching His friend. Of these two birds—although they are the same in quality—one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend. Kṛṣṇa is the witnessing bird, and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the cause of one’s changing his position from one tree to another or from one body to another. The jīva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body, but as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the supreme spiritual master—as Arjuna agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Kṛṣṇa for instruction—the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. Both the Kaṭha Upaniṣad and Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad confirm this:

samāne vṛkṣe puruṣo nimagno
’nīśayā śocati muhyamānaḥ
juṣṭaṁ yadā paśyaty anyam īśam asya
mahimānam iti vīta-śokaḥ

“Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord and knows His glories—at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties.” Arjuna has now turned his face towards his eternal friend, Kṛṣṇa, and is understanding the Bhagavad-gītā from Him. And thus, hearing from Kṛṣṇa, he can understand the supreme glories of the Lord and be free from lamentation.

Arjuna is advised herewith by the Lord not to lament for the bodily change of his old grandfather and his teacher. He should rather be happy to kill their bodies in the righteous fight so that they may be cleansed at once of all reactions from various bodily activities. One who lays down his life on the sacrificial altar, or in the proper battlefield, is at once cleansed of bodily reactions and promoted to a higher status of life. So there was no cause for Arjuna’s lamentation.

TEXT 23

nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi
nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ
na cainaṁ kledayanty āpo
na śoṣayati mārutaḥ

na—never; enam—unto this soul; chindanti—can cut into pieces; śastrāṇi —all weapons; na—never; enam—unto this soul; dahati—burns; pāvakaḥ—fire; na—never; ca—also; enam—unto this soul; kledayanti—moistens; āpaḥ —water; na—never; śoṣayati—dries; mārutaḥ—wind.

TRANSLATION

The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

PURPORT

All kinds of weapons, swords, flames, rains, tornadoes, etc., are unable to kill the spirit soul. It appears that there were many kinds of weapons made of earth, water, air, ether, etc., in addition to the modern weapons of fire. Even the nuclear weapons of the modern age are classified as fire weapons, but formerly there were other weapons made of all different types of material elements. Firearms were counteracted by water weapons, which are now unknown to modern science. Nor do modern scientists have knowledge of tornado weapons. Nonetheless, the soul can never be cut into pieces, nor annihilated by any number of weapons, regardless of scientific devices.

Nor was it ever possible to cut the individual souls from the original Soul. The Māyāvādī, however, cannot describe how the individual soul evolved from ignorance and consequently became covered by illusory energy. Because they are atomic individual souls (sanātana) eternally, they are prone to be covered by the illusory energy, and thus they become separated from the association of the Supreme Lord, just as the sparks of the fire, although one in quality with the fire, are prone to be extinguished when out of the fire. In the Varāha Purāṇa, the living entities are described as separated parts and parcels of the Supreme. They are eternally so, according to the Bhagavad-gītā also. So, even after being liberated from illusion, the living entity remains a separate identity, as is evident from the teachings of the Lord to Arjuna. Arjuna became liberated by the knowledge received from Kṛṣṇa, but he never became one with Kṛṣṇa.

TEXT 24

acchedyo ’yam adāhyo ’yam
akledyo ’śoṣya eva ca
nityaḥ sarva-gataḥ sthāṇur
acalo ’yaṁ sanātanah

acchedyaḥ—unbreakable; ayam—this soul; adāhyaḥ—cannot be burned; ayam—this soul; akledyaḥ—insoluble; aśoṣyaḥ—cannot be dried; eva—certainly; ca—and; nityaḥ—everlasting; sarva-gataḥ—all-pervading; sthāṇuḥ—unchangeable; acalaḥ—immovable; ayam—this soul; sanātanaḥ—eternally the same.

TRANSLATION

This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.

PURPORT

All these qualifications of the atomic soul definitely prove that the individual soul is eternally the atomic particle of the spirit whole, and he remains the same atom eternally, without change. The theory of monism is very difficult to apply in this case, because the individual soul is never expected to become one homogeneously. After liberation from material contamination, the atomic soul may prefer to remain as a spiritual spark in the effulgent rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the intelligent souls enter into the spiritual planets to associate with the Personality of Godhead.

The word sarva-gataḥ (all-pervading) is significant because there is no doubt that living entities are all over God’s creation. They live on the land, in the water, in the air, within the earth and even within fire. The belief that they are sterilized in fire is not acceptable, because it is clearly stated here that the soul cannot be burned by fire. Therefore, there is no doubt that there are living entities also in the sun planet with suitable bodies to live there. If the sun globe is uninhabited, then the word sarva-gataḥ—living everywhere—becomes meaningless.

TEXT 25

avyakto ’yam acintyo ’yam
avikāryo ’yam ucyate
tasmād evaṁ viditvainaṁ
nānuśocitum arhasi

avyaktaḥ—invisible; ayam—this soul; acintyaḥ—inconceivable; ayam—this soul; avikāryaḥ—unchangeable; ayam—this soul; ucyate—is said; tasmāt—therefore; evam—like this; viditvā—knowing it well; enam—this soul; na—do not; anuśocitum—may lament over; arhasi—you deserve.

TRANSLATION

It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.

PURPORT

As described previously, the magnitude of the soul is so small for our material calculation that he cannot be seen even by the most powerful microscope; therefore, he is invisible. As far as the soul’s existence is concerned, no one can establish his existence experimentally beyond the proof of śruti or Vedic wisdom. We have to accept this truth, because there is no other source of understanding the existence of the soul, although it is a fact by perception. There are many things we have to accept solely on grounds of superior authority. No one can deny the existence of his father, based upon the authority of his mother. There is no other source of understanding the identity of the father except by the authority of the mother. Similarly, there is no other source of understanding the soul except by studying the Vedas. In other words, the soul is inconceivable by human experimental knowledge. The soul is consciousness and conscious—that also is the statement of the Vedas, and we have to accept that. Unlike the bodily changes, there is no change in the soul. As eternally unchangeable, the soul remains atomic in comparison to the infinite Supreme Soul. The Supreme Soul is infinite, and the atomic soul is infinitesimal. Therefore, the infinitesimal soul, being unchangeable, can never become equal to the infinite soul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This concept is repeated in the Vedas in different ways just to confirm the stability of the conception of the soul. Repetition of something is necessary in order that we understand the matter thoroughly without error.

TEXT 26

atha cainaṁ nitya-jātaṁ
nityaṁ vā manyase mṛtam
tathāpi tvaṁ mahā-bāho
nainaṁ śocitum arhasi

atha—if, however; ca—also; enam—this soul; nitya-jātam—always born; nityam—forever; vā—either; manyase—so think; mṛtam—dead; tathāpi—still; tvam—you; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; na—never; enam—about the soul; śocitum—to lament; arhasi—deserve.

TRANSLATION

If, however, you think that the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed.

PURPORT

There is always a class of philosophers, almost akin to the Buddhists, who do not believe in the separate existence of the soul beyond the body. When Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke the Bhagavad-gītā, it appears that such philosophers existed, and they were known as the Lokāyatikas and Vaibhāṣikas. These philosophers maintained that life symptoms, or soul, takes place at a certain mature condition of material combination. The modern material scientist and materialist philosophers also think similarly. According to them, the body is a combination of physical elements, and at a certain stage the life symptoms develop by interaction of the physical and chemical elements. The science of anthropology is based on this philosophy. Currently, many pseudo-religions—now becoming fashionable in America—are also adhering to this philosophy, as well as to the nihilistic nondevotional Buddhist sects.

Even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul—as in the Vaibhāṣika philosophy—there would still have been no cause for lamentation. No one laments the loss of a certain bulk of chemicals and stops discharging his prescribed duty. On the other hand, in modern science and scientific warfare, so many tons of chemicals are wasted for achieving victory over the enemy. According to the Vaibhāṣika philosophy, the so-called soul or ātmā vanishes along with the deterioration of the body. So, in any case, whether Arjuna accepted the Vedic conclusion that there is an atomic soul, or whether he did not believe in the existence of the soul, he had no reason to lament. According to this theory, since there are so many living entities generating out of matter every moment, and so many of them are being vanquished every moment, there is no need to grieve for such an incidence. However, since he was not risking rebirth of the soul, Arjuna had no reason to be afraid of being affected with sinful reactions due to his killing his grandfather and teacher. But at the same time, Kṛṣṇa sarcastically addressed Arjuna as mahā-bāhu, mighty-armed, because He, at least, did not accept the theory of the Vaibhāṣikas, which leaves aside the Vedic wisdom. As a kṣatriya, Arjuna belonged to the Vedic culture, and it behooved him to continue to follow its principles.

TEXT 27

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ’rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

jātasya—one who has taken his birth; hi—certainly; dhruvaḥ—a fact; mṛtyuḥ—death; dhruvam—it is also a fact; janma—birth; mṛtasya—of the dead; ca—also; tasmāt—therefore; aparihārye—for that which is unavoidable; arthe—in the matter of; na—do not; tvam—you; śocitum—to lament; arhasi—deserve.

TRANSLATION

For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.

PURPORT

One has to take birth according to one’s activities of life. And, after finishing one term of activities, one has to die to take birth for the next. In this way the cycle of birth and death is revolving, one after the other without liberation. This cycle of birth and death does not, however, support unnecessary murder, slaughter and war. But at the same time, violence and war are inevitable factors in human society for keeping law and order.

The Battle of Kurukṣetra, being the will of the Supreme, was an inevitable event, and to fight for the right cause is the duty of a kṣatriya. Why should he be afraid of or aggrieved at the death of his relatives since he was discharging his proper duty? He did not deserve to break the law, thereby becoming subjected to the reactions of sinful acts, of which he was so afraid. By avoiding the discharge of his proper duty, he would not be able to stop the death of his relatives, and he would be degraded due to his selection of the wrong path of action.

TEXT 28

avyaktādīni bhūtāni
vyakta-madhyāni bhārata
avyakta-nidhanāny eva
tatra kā paridevanā

avyaktādīni—in the beginning unmanifested; bhūtāni—all that are created; vyakta—manifested; madhyāni—in the middle; bhārata—O descendant of Bharata; avyakta—nonmanifested; nidhanāni—all that are vanquished; eva—it is all like that; tatra—therefore; kā—what; paridevanā—lamentation.

TRANSLATION

All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation?

PURPORT

Accepting that there are two classes of philosophers, one believing in the existence of soul and the other not believing in the existence of the soul, there is no cause for lamentation in either case. Nonbelievers in the existence of the soul are called atheists by followers of Vedic wisdom. Yet even if, for argument’s sake, we accept the atheistic theory, there is still no cause for lamentation. Apart from the separate existence of the soul, the material elements remain unmanifested before creation. From this subtle state of unmanifestation comes manifestation, just as from ether, air is generated; from air, fire is generated; from fire, water is generated; and from water, earth becomes manifested. From the earth, many varieties of manifestations take place. Take, for example, a big skyscraper manifested from the earth. When it is dismantled, the manifestation becomes again unmanifested and remains as atoms in the ultimate stage. The law of conservation of energy remains, but in course of time things are manifested and unmanifested—that is the difference. Then what cause is there for lamentation either in the stage of manifestation or unmanifestation? Somehow or other, even in the unmanifested stage, things are not lost. Both at the beginning and at the end, all elements remain unmanifested, and only in the middle are they manifested, and this does not make any real material difference.

And if we accept the Vedic conclusion as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (antavanta ime dehāḥ) that these material bodies are perishable in due course of time (nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ) but that soul is eternal, then we must remember always that the body is like a dress; therefore why lament the changing of a dress? The material body has no factual existence in relation to the eternal soul. It is something like a dream. In a dream we may think of flying in the sky, or sitting on a chariot as a king, but when we wake up we can see that we are neither in the sky nor seated on the chariot. The Vedic wisdom encourages self-realization on the basis of the nonexistence of the material body. Therefore, in either case, whether one believes in the existence of the soul, or one does not believe in the existence of the soul, there is no cause for lamentation for loss of the body.

TEXT 29

āścarya-vat paśyati kaścid enam
āścarya-vad vadati tathaiva cānyaḥ
āścarya-vac cainam anyaḥ śṛṇoti
śrutvāpy enaṁ veda na caiva kaścit

āścaryavat—amazing; paśyati—see; kaścit—some; enam—this soul; āścaryavat—amazing; vadati—speak; tathā—there; eva—certainly; ca—also; anyaḥ—others; āścaryavat—similarly amazing; ca—also; enam—this soul; anyaḥ—others; śṛṇoti—hear; śrutvā—having heard; api—even; enam—this soul; veda—do know; na—never; ca—and; eva—certainly; kaścit—anyone.

TRANSLATION

Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.

PURPORT

Since Gītopaniṣad is largely based on the principles of the Upaniṣads, it is not surprising to also find this passage in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad.

śravaṇāyāpi bahubhir yo na labhyaḥ
śṛṇvanto ’pi bahavo yaḥ na vidyuḥ
āścaryo vaktā kuśalo ’sya labdhā
āścaryo jñātā kuśalānuśiṣṭaḥ

The fact that the atomic soul is within the body of a gigantic animal, in the body of a gigantic banyan tree, and also in the microbic germs, millions and billions of which occupy only an inch of space, is certainly very amazing. Men with a poor fund of knowledge and men who are not austere cannot understand the wonders of the individual atomic spark of spirit, even though it is explained by the greatest authority of knowledge, who imparted lessons even to Brahmā, the first living being in the universe. Owing to a gross material conception of things, most men in this age cannot imagine how such a small particle can become both so great and so small. So men look at the soul proper as wonderful either by constitution or by description. Illusioned by the material energy, people are so engrossed in subject matter for sense gratification that they have very little time to understand the question of self-understanding, even though it is a fact that without this self-understanding all activities result in ultimate defeat in the struggle for existence. Perhaps one has no idea that one must think of the soul, and also make a solution of the material miseries.

Some people who are inclined to hear about the soul may be attending lectures, in good association, but sometimes, owing to ignorance, they are misguided by acceptance of the Supersoul and the atomic soul as one without distinction of magnitude. It is very difficult to find a man who perfectly understands the position of the soul, the Supersoul, the atomic soul, their respective functions, relationships and all other major and minor details. And it is still more difficult to find a man who has actually derived full benefit from knowledge of the soul, and who is able to describe the position of the soul in different aspects. But if, somehow or other, one is able to understand the subject matter of the soul, then one’s life is successful. The easiest process for understanding the subject matter of self, however, is to accept the statements of the Bhagavad-gītā spoken by the greatest authority, Lord Kṛṣṇa, without being deviated by other theories. But it also requires a great deal of penance and sacrifice, either in this life or in the previous ones, before one is able to accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the pure devotee and by no other way.

TEXT 30

dehī nityam avadhyo ’yaṁ
dehe sarvasya bhārata
tasmāt sarvāṇi bhūtāni
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

dehī—the owner of the material body; nityam—eternally; avadhyaḥ—cannot be killed; ayam—this soul; dehe—in the body; sarvasya—of everyone; bhārata—O descendant of Bharata; tasmāt—therefore; sarvāṇi—all; bhūtāni—living entities (that are born); na—never; tvam—yourself; śocitum —to lament; arhasi— deserve.

TRANSLATION

O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature.

PURPORT

The Lord now concludes the chapter of instruction on the immutable spirit soul. In describing the immortal soul in various ways, Lord Kṛṣṇa establishes that the soul is immortal and the body is temporary. Therefore Arjuna as a kṣatriya should not abandon his duty out of fear that his grandfather and teacher—Bhīṣma and Droṇa—will die in the battle. On the authority of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one has to believe that there is a soul different from the material body, not that there is no such thing as soul, or that living symptoms develop at a certain stage of material maturity resulting from the interaction of chemicals. Though the soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it is not discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified in terms of the sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.

Text Pasted from; Causless Mercy

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