न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः ।
न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ॥२-१२॥
na tva eva ham jatu na sam no tvam neme janadhipaha
na chaiva na bhavishyamah Sarve vayamatah param ॥ 2-12 ॥
In Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 12 Lord Krishna epitomizes concept of reincarnation, rebirth… past lives in a perfect and beautiful manner. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna thus: it is not a fact that I did not exist at any point of time nor you or all these kings did not exist. Our existence is not limited by one birth or lifetime. Practically, we all were eternal, existing since beginning of time!
We all may have had numerous births in past and would continue to do so even in future. By indulgence in war, if death of few kings (few bodies) occurred then it was immaterial as these souls’ atmans would manifest a body again in next life. Grieving over death of loved ones reflects on our Kshatriya dharma, a prerequisite to following path of dharma (righteousness).
In Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 12 Lord Krishna wants to emphasize on Arjuna that we were primarily a soul atman, the spirit within and not the manifest physical human form. We were primarily a spirit existing from times immemorial, beginning of time. The physical body was only a medium for our soul atman, the spirit within to cleanse self of dross impurities within!
Quoting bhagavad gita chapter 4 verse 5 wherein Lord Krishna says to Arjuna… bahüni me vyatîtåni janmåni tava cårjuna! O Arjuna: Both you and I have had many births (reincarnations)! So it is not true that you or I did not exist in past! You and I have had many rebirths (reincarnations) of which you may not be aware. The physical self was temporal, meaningless as far as cosmic life was concerned. We had to understand the cosmic design created by God.
Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 12 confirms that until now Arjuna was not aware of cosmic form of Lord Krishna. By addressing Lord Krishna as sakha (friend) in previous shlokas (verses)… Arjuna considered both self and Krishna a physical entity, a body rather than a soul atman, the spirit within! Krishna knew well that unless Arjuna clearly understood this basic principle of life… he would never agree to fight this war of dharma (righteousness) and continue acting coward.
Arjuna had to understand difference between physical manifest self and soul atman, the spirit within! Only then his affiliation towards Bhishma Pitamah and Guru Dronacharya can be nipped in bud. No sooner death occurred… all earthly ties came to naught. Earthly ties never carried to next manifestation. One born earlier as son could manifest in next life as grandfather. As per Lord Krishna, only residual balance of karma of present life moved to next manifestation.
Rather our soul atman, the spirit within manifested a new life form based on residual balance of karma of previous life. It the residual balance of karma at the time of death of body demanded one manifest form of a laborer in next life… one just could not be born a Prince! The law of reincarnation, rebirth was closely related to inscrutable laws of karma. As we sow… So shall we reap nothing less or more… says doctrine of karma!
Lord Krishna wanted to project before Arjuna impermanence of physical manifest life, the human body! As per Krishna, Everything manifest was temporal, transient… fleeting! The moment someone died, all equations on earthly plane come to naught! No matter how best we tried… earthly bondage with dead body could never be revived. With death of human body… all earthly relationships ceased to exist for ever. Why lament for those who get killed in war?
As per Lord Krishna… souls’ atmans existed from times immemorial. For all practical purposes… we neither had a beginning nor an end. As long as Pralaya (dissolution of entire cosmos) does not occur… we were all eternal beings that would continue to manifest life after another until human beings reached stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation moksha. A liberated soul finally entered Vaikuntha (kingdom of god) forever… a point of no return!
The concept of reincarnation (rebirth) has been grossly misunderstood by most worldwide. Reincarnation does not mean rebirth of a soul in a new body. This just could not be. As souls’ atmans were eternal… had no beginning or an end… how could they die! Unless death occurred… there could never be a rebirth! For a birth to occur… something has to die! The concept of rebirth of a soul in a new body is absolutely flawed. Why?
As per Lord Krishna in Srimad Bhagavad Gita… every soul atman in cosmos was eternal, existing from beginning of time. In its lifetime every soul atman undergoes a cycle of 8.4 million manifestations of which initial 7.3 million manifestations occur in insect, plant and animal life. In the remaining 1.1 million manifestations in human form… one was expected to reach stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation moksha.
Reaching stage of enlightenment and finally salvation moksha announced end of cosmic journey for a soul atman, the spirit within! Manifestation to manifestation, body after body every soul atman manifests a new life form based on residual balance of karma of that moment. The soul atman remaining the same… only the outer garment changes, similar as changing of guards at Buckingham Palace!
As per Krishna we were primarily a soul atman and not the manifest physical human form. We as a soul atman manifested human body to work out our karma, remove dross impurities within. Moment our karma negated to zero… we reached stage of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (stage of absolute nothingness), finally becoming a bodhi, a Jina… a Mahavira forever. The discourse by Krishna to Arjuna conveyed only one meaning… human beings reaching god at the earliest.
Amongst all present in battle of Mahabharata… only Arjuna was competent to decipher what Krishna had to deliver! The sayings of Krishna can never be understood literally. The inner underlying meaning can only be grasped through path of contemplation… self enquiry (path of Neti… not this, not this) if one were to reach God in present life time.
Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – Sep 5, 2014
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