I, Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath sa-shaktikaayai bow down at the lotus feet of my first Guru, my revered father Pandit Shri Murli Dhar ji Mishr, Vidya Guru Kaul Shiromani Shri Shivanand Nath ji, Yoga Guru Paramhamsa Shri Balendu Giri ji Maharaj, Tantra Guru Shri Shri Anta Devji Maharaj, Vama Guru Shri Kaleshwaranand Ji Maharaj and all the compassionate Masters, divine souls of Gurumandala.. I pray for their love, support and guidance always..
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥22॥
vaasaansi jeernaani yathaa vihaaya
navaani grihnaati naro ’paraani |
tathaa shareeraani vihaaya jeernaanya
nyaani sanyaati navaani dehee ||22||
vaasaansi— garments, clothes; jeernaani— worn-out, old; yathaa— just as; vihaaya—sheds, drops, leaves; navaani— new; grihnaati— accepts, puts on; narah— a person/ man; aparaani— others; tathaa— likewise; shareeraani— bodies; vihaaya— casting off, having left; jirnaani—worn-out, too weak to support living; anyaani— other; sanyaati— enters, conjoins; navaani— new; dehee— the embodied/ the soul, one who lives in the body
Meaning : Just as, after discarding the worn-out clothes a man puts on the other new ones, likewise after leaving the worn-out bodies the embodied one unites with other new bodies.
Statements from the Masters who are established in reality are too difficult to accept for ordinary. It therefore takes cultural and religious conditioning to install such programs in your mind. Barring few exceptions all the religions that originated in the erstwhile Bharatvarsh are grounded in the Law of Karma irrespective of whether they accept the existence of God or not. For example Buddhism doesn’t accept the concept of God in the same sense as Vedanta does yet it believes in the Law of Karma. These Karmic religions of Indus Valley further emphasize that there is a cycle of birth and death till one attains liberation or Moksha or Nirvana.
Although Abrahmic religions such as Christianity and Islam also talk about the Karma and cycle of rebirth in their books but in such an encrypted way that makes it difficult to understand for the ordinary minds. Their Law of Karma and rebirth seems to be somewhat paused till the “Day of Judgement” when in the Heavenly courts all the dead will be summoned from their graves and God will pronounce the judgement. They shall be sent to heaven or hell to enjoy or suffer the fruits of their deeds. The logical question would be – After having finished their rewards or punishments, what next? Whether the texts explicitly mention about anything further or not but the logical conclusion is that the God would begin again. And a cycle of similar events start again.
However this misunderstood concept creates a delusion. That event of “World’s Dissolution” or the last day seems too far off in the time for most of the believers and they feel it will take eons before the “Judgement Day” comes to face them. As judgement day has been taken as the last day of this world hence practically they have only ‘this life’ to live and do their Karma, to seek forgiveness for their sins or engage in the bandagee of Khudaa – the God almighty till the qayyaamat comes. On the contrary Vedanta based religions are postulating this judgement day to be happening when the last day of this world happens subjectively i.e. on the the soul/individual Atma leaves this physical world.
You can clearly see how there are no differences in the way all the religions, though seemingly opposed to each other at superficial levels, deal with the topic of immortality of soul. So, whichever faith you belong to, if you are contemplating death – there is no real death ever! The essence in this body that is “You” survives beyond death.
This particular shloka from Gita is about the law of reincarnation and thus essentially connected to the Law of Karma as well.
Putting things in context, Krishna once again clarifies to Arjuna the properties of the Self.
नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावक: |
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुत: ॥23॥
nainam chhindanti Shastraani nainam dahati paavakah |
na chainam kledayantyaapo na shoshayati maarutah ||23||
na— not; enam— this soul; chhindanti—shred, pierce; shastraani— weapons; na— nor; enam— this Self or soul; dahati— burns, destroys; paavakah— fire; na— not; cha— and; enam— this soul; kledayanti— moisten or wet; aapah— water; na— nor; shoshayati— dry; maarutah— wind or air
Meaning – Weapons can not pierce It, fire does not burn It, water does not moisten It, and the air does not dry It.
Krishna has already told that the Self is indestructible but as he is speaking to his student who is in the battle field. Reiterating the same quality of soul He deliberately uses the word Shastaani (weapons). It also shows that Krishna hasn’t forgotten the sole purpose of giving this wisdom to Arjuna – making Arjuna stand up and respond to the situation that has been presented before him.
The field of illusion, ignorance or Maya has three levels. The Self is the experiencer of these three states staying aloof from the impressions and disturbances of these. Just as someone’s real death in his/her dream becomes unreal and untrue upon waking in the same way when we once know the Self by transcending the three states or levels (deep sleep, dream and waking) of experiences by reaching 4th or Turya we know for sure the falsity of even waking experiences. This experience of Self is bliss.. and once attained it never ceases to exist. Having experienced this Reality of Self you may still live the waking reality as usual, you may continue to experience the dream state and dreamless sleep but now there’s an undercurrent of knowledge – I remain what I am, I stay unchanged, unaffected, unmoved despite my body and in spite of these changes of states happening around me. This bliss of ultimate knowledge, the Self that I truly am can not be destroyed.
CONTEMPLATION FOR YOU –
There is this extremely popular story of Prahlaad (immense joy or bliss is the meaning of this word) in which it is told that he wasn’t hurt even when thrown in the abyss. Nothing happened to Prahlaad when his aunt Holika took him in the blazing fire. The fire couldn’t touch him. This story we all have heard as children and believed it verbatim. We were told that trust in God can save us from everything.. but I invite you to re-view your understanding with your expanded wisdom now.
The Self is that joy (prahlaad) unto Self that never dies once it is born.
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath