Infinite Soul

In the opening chapters of Bhagavad Gita (an authoritative scriptural book), there is a back and forth conversation going on between Lord Krishna and his foremost disciple and nephew Arjuna over the course of action that Arjuna should take when faced with an impending, inevitable but an unwanted battle. Both Lord Krishna and Arjuna are in the Battlefield of Kuruksetra where an epic battle is set to take place between Arjuna and some of his close relatives and friends.

The bone of contention is that King Duryodhana and his father Dhritarashtra have deliberately sidelined the sons of his brother Pandava from their rightful heritage of the Kuru Dynasty. All diplomatic efforts to salvage the situation have failed hence it has to be determined through a battle.

Lord Krishna, Arjuna, and his brothers are on one side against a host of close relatives and friends on the other side who include; King Duryodhana and his brothers (Arjuna’s paternal cousins), Karna (Arjuna’s half brother), maternal unlcles, spiritual teachers, and people he considers fathers, grandfathers, sons brothers, and well-wishers.

Arjuna then says to Lord Krishna, “Dear Lord, I am seeing my relatives and friends before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.” In short Arjuna has grown cold feet when faced with the reality that he has to fight against all those he considers family and possibly kill them in the process. He doesn’t want to fight them as he feels that victory in such a situation would not be worth it. He says to Lord Krishna “It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gains, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood.”

Lord Krishna then says to Arjuna “you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead. Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings: nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death.” This implies that even at the point of death, the spirit soul does not die but instead, transmigrates to a new body. And since the spirit soul does not die and is guaranteed to have a new body in the next birth, Lord Krishna urges Arjuna not to lament or mourn over death of any of his relatives or friends on the other side of the Battlefield.

Lord Krishna continues to tell Arjuna that “For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” This is to imply that the soul is not born, only the material body is born; and because it’s not born, it never dies, only that which is born dies. That the soul is ever existing and eternal; it doesn’t grow old as the material body does, body changes do not affect the soul. The soul doesn’t deteriorate like material things do, neither does it have by-products like say children; children can be brought into this world as a byproduct of material bodies and they appear as so and so’s children, but in reality they are also individual souls on their own journey.

There are sources which argue that the phrase used by Jesus when he said “this child is not dead but asleep” when he made reference to Jairus’ daughter who had been declared dead, literally implies that the soul is very much alive only the material body is dead.

The soul never dies; it remains infinite, eternal, and full of knowledge and consciousness, it is not ruled by time and space, rather it blends with the One in infinity.

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