Deciding for the Future

Srila Prabhupada speaking

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Continuing with our series of a True account entitled Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers… A search for meaning carries Bob Cohen, a young American Peace Corps worker halfway around the world, to an ancient village in the midst of West Bengal. There, in a small bamboo hut, he finds a teacher who is able to tell him everything he ever wanted to know.

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Nine, New York—July 4, 1972

Deciding for the Future

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Now, you are a very intelligent boy. You can try to understand this philosophy. It is very important. For sense gratification people are wasting so much energy. They are not aware of what is going to happen in the next life. There is a next life, but foolish people are ignorant. This life is preparation for the next life. That they do not know. The modern education and its universities are completely in darkness about this simple knowledge. We are changing bodies every moment—that is a medical fact. After leaving this body, we will have to accept another body. How are we going to accept that body? What kind of body? This can also be known. For example, if someone is being educated, one can understand that when he passes his examination, he is going to be an engineer or medical practitioner. Similarly, in this life, you can prepare yourself to become something in the next life.

Barbara: [Bob’s wife] Can we decide what we want to be next life?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, you can decide. We have decided that next life we are going to Kṛṣṇa. This is our decision—back home, back to Godhead. Suppose you want to become educated. After this decision that you are going to be an engineer or you are going to be a medical practitioner, with that objective you prepare and educate yourself. Similarly, you can decide what you are going to do next life. But if you don’t decide, then the material nature will decide.

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Changing Bodies

We Are Not These Bodies, We Are Soul

…within this body there is soul, and the body is changing every moment, but the soul is there. Just as a soul comes from the womb of his mother with a small body, and that small body changes—it becomes the body of a boy, it becomes the body of a youth, then it becomes the body of an old man, then it vanquishes… That we have to admit. We may say that the body is growing, but actually, the fact is, body is changing. It is medically admitted that we are changing our body every second. We are changing our blood corpuscles, and therefore a change of the body is taking place, and that is being manifested in a different shape only. Actually, we are changing every moment our body. So the ultimate change, when this body cannot be worked any more, just like a dress, when it is torn, when it is too old, you have to change it. Similarly, when this body becomes useless, no more, it cannot be pulled on any more, you take another body. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir. As we are, in our practical life, we are changing our body every moment, similarly, the last stage of changing this body is called death. Just as I give up this body, I have to enter into the womb of some kind of mother. These things are explained in the Vedic literatures. (Srila Prabhupada from lecture; San Francisco, April 2, 1968)

The soul is eternal, it is changing body, different bodies, and there are 8,400,000 different forms of body. According to his desire, he is entering another body.

…in the hundreds and thousands of universities all over the world there is no department of knowledge where the science of the soul is taught. Actually, we are all spirit soul. From Bhagavad-gītā we understand that we are transmigrating from one body to another, even in our present lives. All of us had at one time the body of a small baby. Where is that body? That body is gone. Presently I am an old man, but I remember that I was once a small baby. I still remember when I was about six months old; I was lying down on the lap of my elder sister, who was knitting, and I was playing. I can remember that, so it is possible for everyone to remember that he had a small body. After the baby’s body I had a boy’s body; then I had a youthful body, and now I am in this body. Where are those bodies? They are gone now. This is a different body. It is explained in Bhagavad-gītā that when I give up this body, I will have to accept another body. It is very simple to understand. I have changed so many bodies, not only from childhood to boyhood to youth, but according to medical science we are changing bodies every second, imperceptibly. This Process indicates that the soul is permanent. Although I have changed many bodies, I remember my baby body and my childhood body—I am the same person, soul. Similarly, when ultimately I change this body, I shall have to accept another. This simple formula is stated in Bhagavad-gītā. Everyone can reflect on it…(Srila Prabhupada from; Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System)

A person or an animal is not the material body; rather, the material body is the covering of the living being. Bhagavad-gītā compares the body to a dress and elaborately explains how one changes dresses one after another. The same Vedic knowledge is confirmed here. The living being, the soul, is constantly changing bodies one after another. Even in the present life, the body changes from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth, and from youth to old age; similarly, when the body is too old to continue, the living being gives up this body and, by the laws of nature, automatically gets another body according to his fruitive activities, desires and ambitions. The laws of nature control this sequence, and therefore as long as the living entity is under the control of the external, material energy, the process of bodily change takes place automatically, according to one’s fruitive activities.

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