Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 (Part-2) Saankhya Yogah- Yoga Of Knowledge


dehino'smin  yathaa dehe kaumaaram yauvanam jaraa
    tathaa dehaantara praaptir  dheeras tatra na mhuhyati // 2.13 //
    Just  as in this body the embodied self passes into childhood, youth and old age, so  also does he pass into another body; calm man does not grieve at it.

Embodied  self means the soul assuming a physical body. Calm man means he who has Self-Knowledge  and does not grieve at it means that he does not grieve at death.

In  the progress of growth of the body, childhood dies when youth is born and youth  hood dies when the old age sets in.  Even  when childhood or youthhood no longer remains at the old age, man remembers his  early days fairly well. Thus `something' is common throughout the various  stages of growth which could remember the past experiences and none feels  unhappy about these changes.

For the SELF in this body, as is obtaining the change in the experiences of  childhood, youth and old age, so also is the change in the experiences on  obtaining another body. A wise person is not confused or overpowered by such  change in experiences.

Let us understand this statement properly. The Indweller - The self in  one's body is the same in one's childhood, youth and old age; similarly, on  obtaining another body, the Indweller in that new body also is the same self or atman.

Childhood, youth and old age are only with respect to one's physical body.  The SELF, without undergoing any change, remains the same in all the three  stages of bodily experiences. It is the same atman which is the  Indweller in any new body one may assume later, after the present body falls.  There can never be a time when atman is not there. Thus at all times, "I  am" does not change, but "what I am" may change. A wise person  is not confused or overpowered by such changes. If one thinks that "I" changes from "childhood I" to "youth I" to "old-age I" and to another "I" in another body, one must simply ask  oneself the question who is "That I" who recognizes all these changes  in "I"s. That "I" - That Recognizer I - That Seer I - "That Knower - I" is indeed atman, The SELF which  is Eternal - All-pervading, and  is never  subject to change.

The  Self does not die at the cessation of the childhood stage nor is it born again  at the commencement of the youth stage and so also with the next stage of the  old age. As the Self passes unchanged from one stage of the physical body into  another stage so it passes unchanged from one body into another. As one does  not grieve for the body when it passes through childhood, youth and old age,  similarly one should not worry or get himself deluded over when the soul passes  over to another body at physical death. Thus birth and death are spoken of with  regard to the physical body and not the soul.

At  the moment of death, there is no extinction of the individual. The embodied ego  of the dead body (the subtle and causal bodies) leaves its previous structure  and according to vasanas or mental impressions gained during its embodiment it  gets itself identified with another physical body where it can express itself  completely and seek its perfect fulfillment.

Now Arjuna may say: Well Krishna, all this talk about atman is interesting.  It is nice to know that all of us are in fact eternal, and atman is ananda  svarupa, Atma is All-Happiness. I have not experienced That Atma yet. Our  scriptures say so; you say so; I accept all that to be true. But that does not  help me much just now. The ups and downs of daily life do create pain and  sorrow. This is common experience. Whether it is justified or not, it is still  a fact that I am suffering from sorrow and distress at this time. Please tell me  how I must handle this situation. Anticipating such a request from Arjuna, Bhagavan  says:

maatraa  sparshaastu kaunteya sheetoshna sukha dukhadaah
    agamaapaayinonityaas  taamstitikshaswa bhaarata  //2.14 //

The  contacts of the senses with objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold,  pleasure and pain have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent ; endure  them bravely, O descendent of Bharata (Arjuna).

Objects  are perceived not by the sense organs viz. skin, ear, eye, nose and tongue but  through them.  The sense organs are the  channels through which the perceiving-ego gathers the knowledge of the objects  such as touch, sound, form, smell and taste. If this process of perceiver  contacting the objects through sense organs does not take place the objects as  such can not bring any response or reaction in any individual.

The  object remaining the same it can give different experiences to the same individual  at different times or at the same time to different individuals.  Cold is pleasant at one time and unpleasant  at another. Heat is pleasant in winter and not in summer. Food is welcome to a  hungry person but not to the one who just finished his lunch. So the sense  contacts that give rise to feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain,  favorable and unfavorable experiences come and go. They are therefore  impermanent in nature, giving pleasure at one moment and pain at another.  One should bear all the pairs of opposites  patiently and thus develop a balanced state of mind. Do not give yourself to  joy or grief on their account.

Joys  and sorrows are all responses of the mind to the conducive and non-conducive  world around us. They are but mental reactions - thoughts. Learn to be observer  of these emotions rather than get identified with them. Do not react but  reflect. Stand apart - be aloof in yourself - be just an uninterested witness  to the tumults of the mind. This attitude gives poise and balance.

The  pairs of opposites like heat and cold are impermanent as distinguished from the  Permanent Self, the Indweller. Actually there is no affinity between the Self  and the unreal pairs of opposites. But it assumed this affinity which can be  rooted out only when we cease to accept it. A woman bereaved of her husband say  fifty years ago, and if anyone called her as the wife of her husband Mr. so and  so she becomes alert and feels sad even today. It shows that the assumed  affinity has not yet broken off which means that though the objects are lost,  yet the assumed affinity persists which continues to cause anguish.   The more one is able to distance oneself with  this assumed affinity and identifies himself with the permanent Self, the less  one is affected by the agreeable and disagreeable conditions of life.

Mere  knowledge of agreeable and disagreeable senses is not bad. But attachment with  and aversion to them is a fault. Not to be affected by such an evil is  expressed by the term ‘endure them’. Moreover, body, the sense organs and their  actions have a beginning and an end. But the perceiver, the ‘I” never changes  and therefore we should remain unaffected by such transitory and fleeting  experiences which is called ‘endurance’.


yam  hi na vyathayantyete purusham purusharshabha
    samaduhkha  sukham dheeram so’mritatwaaya kalpate // 2.15 //

That  calm man who remains unchanged in pain and pleasure, whom these cannot disturb,  alone is able, O greatest amongst men, to attain immortality.

Titiksha  or the power of endurance of the pairs of opposites advocated here does not  mean a meek submission to sorrows in life (Stoic philosophy) but signifies the  equipoise of mind in both pleasure and pain entertained by a wise man based on  the knowledge of the Soul’s immortality.

Endurance,  coupled with the discrimination between the real and the unreal and detachment  from the worldly objects and pleasures, prepares the aspirant for right  knowledge, which alone leads to liberation.

Vedanta  defines endurance as the bearing of all afflictions without wishing to redress  them, while being free from all anxiety or regret on their account.

This  perfect sameness or equanimity amidst the ills of life means full and unbroken  consciousness of our oneness with the immortal Self. At that stage a person  becomes fit for attaining immortality or knowledge of Self - the ultimate goal  of life. Immortality means the  infinite experience of the Eternal and the Permanent.  Eternal life does not mean survival of death,  but it is the transcendence of life and death.

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