“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22)
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरो ऽपराणि
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्य्
अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ‘parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
A friend recently purchased a new home. As a result, they sold the existing one they lived in. As complicated as the buying and selling processes were, nothing compares to the daunting task of cleaning out a home that you’ve lived in for years. This friend makes the following remarks after a day of emptying just one of the rooms:
“Let me tell you something. Going through my closet was amazing. Some stuff has been sitting there for ten years; I kid you not. So many shirts and pants that I completely forgot about. It was like going shopping. Forget buying anything new. Everything was sitting there for me.”
A common experience from everyday life such as this provides a deeper understanding of the more complex subject of birth and death and the unclear picture of the existence moving forward. Time is infinite in both directions, beginning and end. Whatever we consider to be the start of creation, understand that there was time prior to that.
Travel all the way to the end, to the moment of universal devastation, as effected by Mahadeva. Realize that time will not cease. Something will occur afterwards. Shri Krishna confirms in Bhagavad-gita, that again and again this world comes to be, populated with living beings.
भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)
Returning to the present, the experience within life at this precise moment in time, we should know that the existence will continue after death. The comparison is to changing clothes. Like putting on something new out of the closet and taking off what you were wearing.
Birth and death are like the complete change of clothes. The time in between is like going through the day, where we may spill something on the shirt while eating lunch. Perhaps the clothes wear out over time. Regardless of what occurs, the clothes do not define us.
Others may identify us that way. They ask for our racial identity, as if the facial and skin characteristics have any bearing on who we truly are. They may offer respect if we are in a high occupation like judge or doctor. They may look at us derisively if we are a common worker, such as a truck driver or coal miner.
External viewpoint does not make a difference. Every living thing is a spark of spirit. Atma is rooted in Paramatma. There are two souls inside of every person. One is the individual and the other is someone else, who is the same identity spread throughout the creation.
God and myself. We are together. He is inside of you, as well. No matter where I travel, that relationship will not break. I may be unaware, such as during the traumatic experience of birth. I may need someone to remind me, such as through the chance meeting with the spiritual master.
If birth and death are like changing clothes, I can shift my attention towards a higher objective. Make the most of the living experience. Find true bliss and happiness right now. Work in such a way that I won’t be subject to the ebbs and flows of the changes brought on through transmigration.
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
Anyone who knows the transcendental nature of the birth and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not have to take birth again. Janma ceases for them. They achieve liberation. They no longer become vulnerable to the distinctions based on body, which is separate from spirit. They achieve liberation and continue forward in the blissful life of devotion: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Choosing what to wear,
In closet to find in there.
Like going shopping through,
Shirts, pants and coats too.
So this body accepting,
Until at end rejecting.
Focus proper on Krishna instead,
And towards liberation be led.