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Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII – Verse 15

Reaching the highest perfection and having attained Me, the great-souled ones are no more subject to rebirth, the ever-changing abode of misery. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8, 15)

That state is called the highest perfection. Is then perfection possible for man? Yes it is, according to Vedanta. Imperfection is ignorance, in all its phases of egotism and selfishness. When that ignorance is removed then egotism and selfishness also depart and then man becomes perfect. Love of God brings light and wisdom and perfection. The children of God, those who love Him and know Him as their own Mother — they become perfect. Love purges the soul of all impurity. And in the clean soul resides God. God works through such a soul. God becomes the very Soul of such a soul, and that is perfection.

‘Reaching the highest perfection the soul attains Me,’ says Sri Krishna. ‘And having attained Me, the God or Ishvara, having reached My being, they are no more subject to birth.’

Birth is the cause of all suffering. The body is the seat of pain; it is the great disease we want to get rid of. It is part of nature, ephemeral, subject to all kinds of trouble. We think that no happiness is possible without this body. Therefore we are so attached to it.

We cannot think of ourselves as Spirit, because we live too much in the senses. And therefore we want to be born on this earth again and again. But the yogi, the spiritual person, knows that he is the Spirit, and the body is only an instrument necessary on this gross, material plane. He knows that this earth is not the only place where the soul can enjoy. Rather it is an inferior place. There are spheres of much greater happiness, and there the soul lives in a subtle body. So the yogi is not attached to this life. To depart from here does not mean too much to him. This is not the only life as we are so apt to think! Thousands of times we have had bodies and perhaps we will have other bodies thousands of times again. Why then be so desperately attached to this particular life?

That is the attitude of the yogi. But he goes still farther. In due course he realizes that even subtle bodies are not eternal and are not necessary at all for the highest enjoyment. He finds that happiness is the natural condition of the soul, its very nature. The soul is potentially divine. It does not depend on any vehicle, gross or subtle, for its happiness. As long as the soul is attached to a certain body, so long it can enjoy only through that medium. But the medium diminishes the original joy. It is joy filtered. And in the process it loses! If this is realized, then rebirth becomes unattractive. Then there is no desire to be born again on earth. Then the soul longs for its true abode, it longs to live its life in full, not hampered by any medium. Then begins mumukshutva, longing for liberation. Then arise in the soul pure desires, which point Godward. Then the soul longs for Truth. And through devotion and wisdom it reaches  that state of perfection spoken of in this verse:

‘Reaching the highest perfection and having attained Me, the great-souled ones are no more subject to rebirth, the ever-changing abode of misery.’ (Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII – Verse 15)

 Only the Highest can give us the highest. Unless we take refuge in the Highest, we cannot expect the highest results. Devotion and aspiration for the Highest alone saves us from rebirth. The supreme Spirit alone can give us mukti, freedom.

Source - Reflections on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Atulananda – Prabuddha Bharata December 2003 issue.