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Article CXIII: Reincarnation and the Self

In Chapter II: Verse 10, Krishna begins his explanations to Arjuna with the principle of reincarnation. Reincarnation implies that when the physical body dies, the soul transmigrates to a new body. In the case of enlightenment, the soul is freed from physical associations and becomes undifferentiated from the Divine. Whatever the path of the soul, the soul does not die. The soul is immortal and exists beyond life, death, and time. However, the physical body is transient, with beginning and end -- birth, life, and death. Hence, Krishna emphasizes non-attachment through the immortality of the soul. With non-attachment in action, one can orient to the Divine Self within. One can continually un--cover or dis--cover the Atman, or Self, within. Ultimately Atman is no different than Brahman, the Divine -- ultimate consciousness-existence-bliss, beyond time, space, and causation. The process of discovering the Self within is the path to enlightenment, and the complete discovery of the Self within leads to realization that the Self is Divine. "Ayam Atma Brahma" is one of the great sayings of the Upanishads, which can be translated as "This Self is Brahman."

Gita Full Text:

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter II -- Translated by Swami Chinmayananda

Sanjaya said:
1. To him who was thus overcome with pity and despondency, with eyes full of tears and agitated, Madhusudana spoke these words.
The Blessed Lord said:
2. Whence is this perilous condition come upon thee, this dejection, un-Aryan-like, heaven-excluding, disgraceful, O Arjuna?
3. Yield not to impotence, O Partha! It does not befit thee, Cast off this mean weakness of heart! Stand up, O Parantapa (O scorcher of foes) !
Arjuna said:
4. How, O Madhusudana, shall I, in battle, fight with arrows against Bhishma and Drona, who are fit to be worshipped, O destroyer of enemies!
5. Better indeed, in this world, is to eat even the bread of 'beggary' than to slay the most noble of teachers. But, if I kill them, even in this world, all my enjoyments of wealth and desires will be stained with blood.
6. I can scarcely say which will be better, that we should conquer them or that they should conquer us. Even the sons of Dhritarashtra, after slaying whom we do not wish to live, stand facing us.
7. My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity; my mind is confused as to duty. I ask Thee. Tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me, who have taken refuge in Thee.
8. I do not see that it would remove this sorrow that burns up my senses, even if I should attain prosperous and unrivalled dominion on earth, or even Lordship over the gods.
Sanjaya said:
9. Having spoken thus to Hrishikesha, Gudakesha, the destroyer of foes, said to Govinda: "I will not fight" ; and became silent.
10. To him who was despondent in the midst of the two armies, Hrishikesha, as if smiling, O Bharata, spoke these words. The Blessed Lord said: 11. You have grieved for those that should not be grieved for; yet, you speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.
12. It is not that at any time (in the past) , indeed, was I not, nor were you, nor these rulers of men. Nor, verily, shall we all ever cease to be hereafter.
13. Just as in this body the embodied (soul) passes into childhood, youth and old age, so also does he pass into another body; the firm man does not grieve at it.
14. The contacts of 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 descendant of Bharata.
15. That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for realising the Immortality of the Self.

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