Gita series – part 15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter II - Verses– 28-29:
“Oh! Bharata! All lives before their births were not visible, after their present lives too, they become invisible, but in between they are visible. This being the situation, why should you lament? (verse 28). Someone behold this soul in amazement. Yet another describes this concept (concept of soul) as something marvelous, one more listens to this (knowledge of the soul) as surprising and yet another even if he listens to this (the sermons on the soul), he will not understand (verse 29)” thus says Krishna. The present physical body is for this birth alone. Nobody knows the shape and form it had in the previous births nor can anybody know about the shape and form of their future births. We are aware of our shape and form only in this birth. Therefore we should not get attached to the gross body that we have, which is sure to be non-existent at a future date. However, the soul remains the same and it does not undergo changes along with different physical bodies it may have. This is so because, soul is eternal and without changes. The lack of knowledge in identifying the soul as different from the gross body leads to attachments and desires. This in turn leads to love and bondage. Love and bondage are only towards the gross body, as we are not aware (lack of knowledge) of the soul. When such physical bodies die, we become grief stricken. As long as we are under the illusion of physical attraction our miseries and sorrows continue to exist. If one give a serious thought to this, he can realise that all our sufferings or happiness are associated only with physical structure that is subjected to aging, decay and death. Due to our ignorance we are unable to look beyond the skin. The skin is merely a covering for the filth and dirt underneath. That is why Krishna says attachment should not be developed to such physical bodies.
The one, who has realized the soul, looks beyond the gross bodies and knows that the soul that exists within him also exists in others as well. The concept of the soul has not been understood properly. A proper Guru alone can impart the knowledge of the soul. But that Guru should have known the soul by himself. A mere study of Vedas, Upanishads and scriptures alone do not convey the requisite knowledge that is required to realize the soul. At the most, they can create awareness. This can be intrinsically explained by somebody who knows the soul out his own experience. This is what Krishna explains. The subject of soul cannot be taught like science or history. This cannot be explained that easily. We have seen earlier, that soul can be explained by negations and affirmations. The basic qualifications for knowing the soul are dedication and practice. A realised master can tell you that soul has no form, no shape, it has neither birth nor death, it does not undergo changes, etc. But ultimately, it is the effort of the practitioner that counts. According to Krishna it is rare to find persons, who are really interested in knowing the soul. It is said in other scriptures that even an attempt to realize the soul depends upon our karmas. For accumulating good karmas, we need to have good thoughts and actions.