Gita series – part 10. Chapter II. Verses– 13 and 14 Krishna begins His teachings on ‘atma’ which is known as the soul. “The soul which is covered by the physical body that undergoes changes like child, youth and old age. The soul also enters another body (after the death of the present physical body). A wise man is not affected by such changes. Oh! Kaunteya! (This means son of Kunti, mother of Arjuna) The seasonal changes, pleasure and pain arise out of perception and are subjected to beginning and end and are not permanent. Therefore, Bharata (Arjuna) do not get disturbed by them”. We should be clear that soul is different from the Brahman. Brahman is the static energy and the soul is the kinetic energy. Only in the soul our karmic account is embedded. Our happiness or otherwise is drawn only from our karmic account. The karmic account consists of the results of our past actions of our previous births. The soul leaves a body when the body perishes and when it re-enters another body, life is created in that body. The process of ageing does not apply to soul. The soul continues to exist till it exhausts all its karmic account or till the great dissolution.

Krishna says that learned men do not bother about the gross body and are concerned only with the subtle body. That is why birth and death do not affect them. They are not attached to material objects. On the contrary, those who are not learned (knowledge and learning in this context mean only the Brahman) attach importance to the perishable physical body. That is why when a physical body ceases to exist, they repent for it and sorrow and misery prevail over them. Krishna says that soul is permanent (which will be explained further in due course. It is not appropriate to say that soul is permanent. The only thing that is permanent is the Brahman) and physical body is temporary and that one should not develop attachments towards the objects that are perishable. Krishna, having said that, now proceeds to elaborate. Any feeling realized through senses will have an opposite effect. If weather is hot this month, during next month it could be cold. After sometime, weather again could be hot (seasonal changes).

When one is happy with an object today, his happiness is only short lived as any object has an end. Anything associated with duality (or opposites) are only illusionary in nature and is associated with maya. Such dualities should not be realised through our senses. For example climatic changes are felt through our skin, an organ of perception. Beauty of a flower is realized through our eyes, the sound of music is realized through our ears, taste is realized through mouth. If our senses are allowed to perceive, it leads to desire and attachment. If a physical body is not able to tolerate certain discomforts then they are to be endured. But what is the reason for realizing such dualities? It is our mind. When mind realizes that all objects are perishable, such dualities will not be felt. Krishna underlines the importance of tolerance. In these two verses Krishna addresses Arjuna as Kaunteya which refers to his mother’s lineage and Bharata which refers to his father’s lineage. (to be continued)