“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.20)
न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतो ऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे
na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
“It just seems too far-fetched. It’s comforting, for sure. To know that I have lived before. That everything will be okay moving forward. That death is not the end. In some ways, it is the beginning of something new.
“But there is just no tangible proof to reincarnation. No one remembers where they were prior to this birth. How, then, can we believe the existence will continue moving forward?”
1. What happened to my childhood form?
I remember living through it. At the time, I wasn’t aware how tiny it was in comparison to the adults. It was just how I lived. I didn’t know that my voice was drastically different from everyone else’s. You’re a kid; you don’t know much.
Looking back on it now, childhood seems completely foreign. A different life altogether. I lived through it, but that childhood body is gone. My parents cannot pick me up and rock me to sleep. I won’t fit into that car seat.
2. Can I ever be truly young again?
There is diet and exercise; I will grant you that. I don’t have to look like a blob. I can alter the shape of the body to some degree. I can’t really change skin color. The eyes are shaped the way they are. I can certainly influence to the limits of good health, though.
Then there are the advancements of science and medicine. Apply some cream over wrinkles and you look ten years younger. Makeup, plastic surgery, you name it and there is an option.
But this doesn’t actually make you young again. That youthful form is gone, forever. I can’t eat the way that I used to. I never cared about calorie count or eating late at night. Now I have to watch everything. I am not the same person, though I technically am.
3. Am I not the same person today?
It would be foolish to say that identity has changed along with the body. In fact, I have been the same individual from the very beginning. That tiny dot on a sonogram shown in the doctor’s office. That little football-shaped being emerging from my mother’s womb.
I don’t remember those experiences, but it was still me. This concept of changing bodies is rather easy to understand. Shri Krishna demystifies the topic of reincarnation by transferring the same concept to the before and after-lives.
That is to say the body is always changing, while the individual remains the constant. The body changes completely at the time of death. The individual inside departs for something new.
Birth is accepting the full change. A new lifetime. A different kind of body, but the same person on the inside. These are the basics of reincarnation, or what is better described as transmigration of the soul.
As the soul travels through these different bodies, there is also a superior kind of soul accompanying for the ride. He travels with me wherever I go. I am never truly alone. He is identical to the Supreme Lord. This means that God is always with me.
Neither should I lament for the destruction of the body nor should I think that everything is hopeless. There is the chance to influence the next kind of birth. Connect with the Supersoul, Paramatma, and be in yoga. The yogi fully conscious of Krishna no longer has to suffer rebirth. They return to a spiritual body and the distinction between spirit and matter no longer applies to them.
No longer to apply,
From that position high.
Distinction of body and spirit where,
Because connection to Krishna there.
So reincarnation easy to understand,
Soul different from leg and hand,
Which already changed so much,
In future to repeat as such.
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