Gita series – part 12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter II. Verses– 17-18:

In the earlier part Krishna has said that the difference in perception is realised by learned men. Now He elaborates further. Krishna continues to address Arjuna thus “Know that by which everything is pervaded is indestructible and none has the power to either create or destroy that. It is said that the physical body that covers the indestructible, unexplainable and limitless Brahman (God) is perishable (the physical body). Therefore Bharata, fight” (verses 17 and 18). {Please note that during our discussions, the words ‘the Brahman’ and ‘the soul’ are used quite frequently. Though the difference between these two has been explained on several occasions, again it is explained here for easy reference. When we refer to the ‘Brahman’ (Paramatma) it means God. When ‘soul’ (jivatma) is referred, it refers to the ‘life’ of an individual. The Brahman is omnipresent, but the soul is restricted to a life that may take different physical forms in different births. Soul is the place where karmic account of a life is embedded and this determines ones pleasure or pain. There is another school of thought who says that the Brahman and soul are not different and the representation of the Brahman in a body is the soul. If this is to be accepted, the soul should also act as a witness to our actions which leads to the question ‘who is responsible for our actions’ and ‘what is responsible for our happiness and sorrow’. Surely, the Brahman will not give either happiness or sorrow as He does not get involved in actions. He remains only as a mute spectator to our actions. It is the karma in the soul that prompts us to do this or do that. For easier understanding, it is better to look at the Brahman and soul differently and in fact, it is so. It is always conceived that the Brahman lies within the soul.}

Krishna says that that what we see or hear or anything that we do in association with our senses is all due to the Brahman. Without the will of the Brahman the whole universe would not have come into existence as it appears today. None in this universe has the capacity to challenge the Brahman as the Brahman is omnipresent and omnipotent which are His unique qualities. Men of knowledge are capable of distinguishing between what is eternal and perishable. Krishna uses a word ‘sarvam’ which indicates both fixed and movable things. For example a mountain is a fixed object and a man is a movable object. When we say universe, the term includes both. After having explained the source of creation, Krishna says that physical bodies are perishable. The flesh and blood are only the sheaths that cover the Brahman. Though the Brahman is the same in every life, the external visible differences will one day vanish along with the gross body, when the soul leaves the body. It is to be clearly understood that at the time of death, only the soul leaves the body and the Brahman continues to exist even in a corpse. This is because of His omnipresence nature. Otherwise His omnipresence nature has no value. The Brahman also exists in the soul that had left the body. All these concepts can be realized only through immanent act of mind in association with consciousness. Therefore Krishna says that all physical bodies are perishable one day and the Brahman who is within all beings is imperishable. Even if a physical body is killed it does not mean that the Brahman is also killed as the Brahman cannot be destroyed by anybody. Pointing out these facts, Krishna asks Arjuna to fight with kurus. Krishna addresses Arjuna as Bharata reminding him of his father’s lineage. (to be continued)

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