Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gitabhasya of Jagannatha Prakasa: 2:19-28: More on the Soul, Death and Rebirth

The Gitabhasya
Of Jagannatha Prakasa
Translation and Commentary by Jagannatha Prakasa (John of AllFaith © 1993/2008)
Sankhya Yoga:
Yoga of the Intellect

2:19: Anyone who considers the slayer or anyone who knows the slain and thinks him killer or killed lacks discernment. No one slays nor is anyone slain.
    This of course is speaking of the nature of the living entities not condoning killing. Without justification we are required to practice ahimsa or non-violence. Given the state of our society this seems worth noting here!

2:20: The immutable soul is not born, does not die, at no time did the soul come into being, nor will the soul come into being hereafter. The soul is unborn, eternal, permanent and ancient. The soul is not killed when the body is slain.

2:21: How can that person who knows the soul to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable, O child of Partha, slay anyone or cause another to kill?

2:22: Just as a person casts off worn out clothing and accepts new clothes, even so the embodied soul discards worn out bodies and enters into new ones.

2:23: The soul cannot be severed by weapons, burnt by fire, soaked with water, nor dried by the wind.

2:24: The soul is unbreakable, inflammable, cannot be moistened nor dried. The soul is eternal and all-pervading, equable, immovable and infinitely constant.

2:25: The soul is said to possess no external attributes. The soul is inconceivable and unchanging. Therefore knowing the soul to be thus, you should not lament.

    Sri Krsna insists that by using his keen intellect Arjuna should understand that the nature of the soul is such that no matter what occurs during the war, the individuals participating in it will in reality remain untouched.

    Armed with this knowledge Arjuna should ready himself to do his duty as a warrior (Kshatriya).

2:26: Moreover, if you determine the soul to be constantly born and eternally dying, even then, O mighty armed one, you ought not to lament.

    The Lord is reasoning with Arjuna, asking him to use his God given mind to help him ascertain the truth. It is against our divinely wrought nature to be blind followers and yet we fall easily into patterns of unthinking dogma! The One God wants us to use our intellect, but to use it to advance in His service. This is always in our best interests. Sri Krsna therefore tells Arjuna, even if you don't accept what I'm telling you, consider this...!

2:27: For those who are born death is certain and for those who are dead birth is certain. For the sake of the inevitable you ought not lament.

2:28: All beings are unmanifested in the beginning, manifested in the middle, and again unmanifested in the end. O descendant of Bharata, where therein is cause for lamentation?

    If Arjuna accepts the view of those who say there is no eternal soul, even then physical death is certain and so he should not lament the inevitable. It is equally certain that life will go on and children will be born. The soul, whether eternal or finite, is truly amazing and follows the natural course (marga) of life and so there is no cause for remorse in any case.

Jai Jagannatha!
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