Life and Death and Heaven
28 – 29
Beings are such that their beginnings are non-manifest, their middles are manifest and their ends are non-manifest again, so why worry?
Someone experiencing this, amazed and full of wonder, tells another who hears of it and is amazed, but even though he has heard about it he cannot know it.
“Someone experiencing this” — ‘this’ refers to the above and previous verses of this chapter.
Self-reference: You cannot know Truth by hearing about it (or reading about it), but only through your own ‘direct experience‘. Direct experience can be had for a brief moment with the use of certain techniques*, or through spontaneous samadhi attained in Surrender Meditation (shaktipat kundalini yoga, sahaja yoga, natural meditation).
The one in the body is eternally inviolable in the body of all, Bharata. Therefore, you do not deserve to be compelled to lament any born being.
“The one in the body” is the ’embodied one’ as described earlier. It cannot be slain, cannot die, cannot be harmed, and cannot harm.
“in the body of all”: This has two meanings: (1) What is said is true for everyone, and (2) what you really are is not located somewhere, but is everywhere. As a non-physical individual, you have no limitations, so you are not limited by space or time.
In other writings, I have talked about our connectedness through our sameness as divine, perfect, non-physical individuals, but this verse demonstrates yet another way in which we are all connected: What each of us really is, is this unlimited, all-pervasive individual. We each ‘wear’ a body made up of everyone. And because we each constitute everyone else’s body, everything we think, say, or do, affects them. Conversely, everything everyone else thinks, says or does, affects us. The way this plays out is determined by the order of our original connection, our original conscious awareness of each other.
Bharata — Krishna is once again referring to Arjuna as Bharata, ‘constantly-knowing’ in the sense of knowing Truth. We all already know Truth, whether we are aware of it or not. Enlightenment is simply becoming aware of what we already know.
Self-reference: Which of these describes you? (1) Constantly engaged in acquiring knowledge, (2) constantly knowing Truth/God but not realizing that you know It, or (3) enlightened.
“you do not deserve to be compelled to lament any born being” — “to be compelled” are my own words interjected to clarify the statement. Otherwise, we would be left with, “you do not deserve to lament any born beings”, but Krishna is trying to spare you of sorrow, not blame you for an error. He is trying to help you to eliminate errors altogether.
Also, considering your own dharma, you deserve not to feel compelled to hesitate. Indeed, anything superior to battle for a Kshatriya is not known.
Once again my interjection, “‘not to feel compelled’ to hesitate” satisfies the Sanskrit meaning. Krishna is urging Arjuna to get on with it and ignore his compulsions.
“Kshatriya” — A warrior. Kshatriya means ‘to give protection from harm’.
“your own dharma” — The word dharma means ‘the way things really are’. The Sanskrit is svadharma, which refers to one’s own personal dharma — your own special condition, the way you really are; your essential quality, unique ability or talent, what is good and right for you to utilize in your life. Ultimately, everyone’s svadharma is spiritual in nature. Meanwhile, we do the best we can.
Self-reference: One does what must be done in life that is in accordance with one’s svadharma. Arjuna is a warrior. What are you? To consider your own dharma, look in these four basic categories: Are you a (1) God-person, (2) a protector or leader, (3) a business person, merchant or artisan, etc., or (4) do you serve someone else.
Better one’s own dharma done poorly than another man’s done well.
— Bhagavad Gita
Which category do you fit best? What is your special gift, talent or ability? Are you honoring that dharma? Or are you an enlightened or liberated God-person living an exclusively spiritual life without exception (without doing other things, such as working a job, running for office, etc.)?
And if by good fortune they should gain the door to heaven, happy are the Kshatriyas to encounter such a battle.
“the door to heaven” — In the battlefield, a king or warrior fighting in defense against another king, is said to achieve heaven upon death. Heaven refers to the paradise where the virtuous are transferred until the time comes for re-entering earthly bodies.
Self-reference: Do you defend your ‘kingdom’ from being taken over by another? In order to answer this question, ask yourself, What is my ‘kingdom’?. HINT from chapter two, verse 15:
All activities of the mind vanished, I sit happily as the ruler within the city whose gates are nine [the body], not acting at all, nor causing action.
— Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, ch 5, vs 13
This is also a good time to remember what this ‘battle’ is. Do you remember?
* “certain techniques”: Enlightenment Intensives — Click on “Jack Wexler” to see an excellent video on Enlightenment Intensives. To find an intensive near you, click on “Contacts Around the World”. More links can be found here — scroll down to “Enlightenment Intensive Contacts”.
Bhagavad Gita — All installments of chapter one in one place on your computer. 58 pages, instant download, $10.