God, Souls and Maya are eternal entities

Swami Nikhilanand
Swami Nikhilanand

This Article discusses the uttar pakch, that begins in chapter 2 of the Gita.
Thus far, Arjun acts like an agyani – one who does not have correct spiritual knowledge – so that Krishna can reveal the correct knowledge for the benefit of the souls of the world.

Arjun’s fundamental confusion is the same confusion we all have: we believe we are the physical body, and we have forgotten that we are the Divine soul.

Shree Krishna begins by telling Arjun that he is speaking like a learned pandit – because he gave Krishna a whole lecture on why he was not going to fight the war – and yet he is grieving for his relatives in the way an unlearned man would. He tells him that the learned do not grieve for the dead or for the living (chapter 2, verse 11) because whatever exists today has always existed and will always continue to exist (chapter 2, verse 12).

Whatever Exists Now Has Always Existed and Will Always Exist
The Ved states that there are three things that exist eternally. There is no fourth existence, or tattva. The three eternal tattva are: brahm (God), jeev (souls) and maya (the material energy that produces the world). All three have no beginning and will never end. All three have existed forever and will continue to exist for all eternity, because an existing thing cannot cease to exist, and a non-existent thing cannot be brought into being (chapter 2, verse 16).

Although we call God the creator, yet He has never created any souls, nor has He created maya. The souls have existed forever and are as old as God – eternal. Maya is also an eternally existing energy, because energy cannot be created or destroyed.

During the dissolution of the universe, both maya and the souls stay within God in a dormant form. When God re-activates the mayic energy, the universe is created, and the souls are sent forth to be born. Thus, souls have always existed, and have been taking birth after birth since eternity in this endless cycle of srishti and pralaya of the material universe.

Who Dies and Who Is Born?
So who actually dies or is born? If something has always existed, then it cannot be born; and if something will always continue to exist, then it never dies. That means that all three – God, the souls and maya – were never born and can never die. The only thing that can be born is a physical form made out of mayic energy. That form is temporary: it was created, and it can be destroyed.

If you go to the beach and use the sand there to make a sand castle, then you created a form out of something that was already there. You created the castle, not the sand. When a wave washes away your sand castle, then the castle is destroyed, but not the sand. Similarly, mayic energy manifests in various forms in this universe – as planets, stars, galaxies, etc., as well as the bodies inhabited by the living souls.

The mayic energy is eternal, but the physical forms created by it are temporary – they are born and they die, just like your sand castle.
Our physical body was born and will one day die, but not the soul. The physical body passes through the phases of birth, growth, maturation, decline and death (chapter 2, verse 13), but not the soul, because the soul is eternal and unchanging.

The soul is indestructible (chapter 2, verse 23) and is not killed by the death of the physical body (chapter 2, verse 20). When the body dies, the soul moves on to another body, just like we cast off old, worn out clothes and take new ones (chapter 2, verse 22).
Therefore, only the physical body can die, and that was a certainty at the time of its birth, because whatever is born must one day die (chapter 2, verse 27).

For Whom Should We Grieve?
Then for whom should we grieve? For the physical body whose existence was always known to be short-lived and whose death was guaranteed the moment it was born? Or for the soul which can never be killed and will go on to take another body?
Neither is worth grieving for. So it is only the unwise, or those who do not realize their Divine identity as the soul, who grieve for the death of anyone’s physical body.
Thus, Shree Krishna advised Arjun to perform his duty by fighting the war, and to fear neither his own death nor the death of the relatives against whom he would fight, because he cannot kill their soul, and they cannot kill his.
Therefore, he should simply do what is right and do not worry about who will kills and who will be killed in the war.
After this, Shree Krishna explained to Arjun about the law of karm and that from that point of view as well, he should fight the war. That will be the topic of the next article.

Disciple of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj:
Swami Nikhilanand Ji is a Canadian born Hindu spiritual leader based in Austin, Texas. He is a sanyasi disciple and pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.
Attracted to the teachings of Hinduism from a young age, Swamiji eventually let his deep spiritual longing lead him to India, where he was most fortunate to come under the guidance of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Thereafter, living in the ashrams of JKP, he extensively studied Hindi, the philosophy of the prime Sanskrit scriptures (Vedas, Darshan Shastras, Gita, Bhagwatam), and practiced meditation in the tradition of raganuga bhakti. In 2003, he was given sanyas.
Now, with the blessings of his Guruji, he offers satsang programs throughout America, engaging audiences with his clear explanations of Hindu philosophy coupled with inspired chanting of Sanskrit mantras and shlokas and charming nam sankirtan. His informative and compelling speeches provide practical insight into how to adopt the teachings of Sanatan Dharm into our daily lives, and inspire us to awaken our inner spiritual potential.
To stay in touch with Swami Nikhilanand Ji, like his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SwamiNikhilanand or follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Swami_Nikhil.

Swami Nikhilanand

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