Five Questions To Doubt An Existence

[Krishna and Arjuna]“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.12)

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न त्व् एवाहं जातु नासं
न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः
न चैव न भविष्यामः
सर्वे वयम् अतः परम्

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param

1. Who is that?

“I have never heard of that person. Are you sure they are real? Perhaps you are making this up. You are playing a trick on me. What is the use? Be serious, for a change.”

2. Where do they live?

“I have never heard of such a place. You say that is where this unknown person lives. If you are going to play a trick on me, at least pick a location that people have heard of. Oh, I see. If you chose a real place, then it would be easier for people to see through the ruse.”

3. What do they look like?

“What does this mysterious person look like? Oh, that doesn’t resemble anyone I know. I have never seen someone who looks like that. Are you sure they are real? This is an actual, living person?”

4. What have they done?

“How would I know this person? If I visited the city they live in, will others know who they are? What is the impact they have made on the community?”

5. Why can’t I see them?

“I want to meet them. Why is it that I am unable to see them? That must mean they don’t exist. Okay, I haven’t met every single person who lives in this world. I neither have the time nor the interest. But if I were ever skeptical about the existence of someone, I should expect to at least be able to see them one time.”

It is the great mystery. Like magic someone appears. I may have lived within this world for thirty plus years prior. I had my own journey through life. I vividly recall important moments from my past. During childhood. While I was in school. Joining the corporate workforce. Getting married.

[Krishna and Yashoda]Then, all of a sudden there is a new person in my life. I get so accustomed to their association that I wonder how I ever survived without them. I did not need to run a compatibility test prior to the meeting. They entered my life. We brought them home from the hospital.

No one had to teach us what to do. There was love from the outset. There was this constant attention to protection that continues to this day. It is like the higher forces of nature expected this response. They knew the parents would come through and deliver for the dependent one.

If I ponder the matter a little further, I realize the same must have been true in the past. Those grandparents who have since departed entered this world in a similar way. To where have they gone? It is like travelling through air. Despite the best efforts to avoid the influence of air, by hiding in your house for years, by covering your face, by staying away from others, air manages to travel without obstruction.

“Just as the air or wind cannot be checked by anyone, the two nostrils, situated in one place, enjoy the sense of smell without impediment.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.29.11 Purport)

This travel of the living entity cannot be perceived by the senses. There is no way to trace the travel of the living being. Both for where they go after life is over and from where they have come originally. But this lack of perception makes no impact on the existence itself.

From the above review, a person can respond in the negative for each of the questions posed, but this has no bearing on viability. A person may not know who I am. My sphere of influence might not include their association. I have yet to touch their life directly.

Whether they perceive or not, I still exist. The same applies for every other living entity. Just because I cannot see where someone goes after death does not mean that they cease to exist. The skeptic will insist that life is over at that point. They will mock the idea of continuous existence, in the manner of lasting durability. They think it is a fairytale, something we tell ourselves to appropriately deal with the loss.

Bhagavad-gita explains that in the case of that which exists, there is no cessation. Life never actually ends. The beginning and endpoints we arbitrarily create are based on visible perception in the combination of spirit and matter. Matter has no endurance in this regard, and so that is why a person’s existence is not based on their association with it. In other words, birth and death do not determine an existence.

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ॥

nāsato vidyate bhāvo
nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ’ntas
tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.16)

Shri Krishna explains that the existence continues. He told this specifically to Arjuna under the context of a military conflict. In that situation, it would be easy to notice departure. Soldiers dying. Death, either instant or drawn out. A person here one minute and gone the next.

Not only would the existence continue, but that same existence was true in the past. Before everyone arrived on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Prior to the application of influence, where the human being could perceive in a way that they retained what they saw and noticed.

[Krishna and Arjuna]The perception or lack thereof has no impact on the existence itself. Whether Arjuna could see the future or not, those kings assembled for the fight would move on. At some point in time the departure would take place, and after that their existence would continue. Genuine spiritual life begins with this understanding. It is the platform from which to ask the next important question. If I am here right now and I will continue to exist in the future, what is the best way I should live?

In Closing:

With questions persistence,
To prove an existence.

Of someone not able to see,
How alive then to be?

In the past already came,
In the future occurring the same.

To the spiritual lasting endurance,
Continuation from Krishna assurance.

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