--> Skip to main content

There Is Death And Birth Only When We Think We Are The Body

When we think that we are bodies, there must be going and coming, time and space. The body idea is called avidya, or ignorance. That is maya, so difficult to understand. We keep ourselves bound by wrong thinking. We are all in the same position in which Vishnu was when he incarnated as a female hog. He had entered a sow’s body and was living happily in that body. And when Shiva told him that he was Vishnu and asked him why he had forgotten himself, he did not believe it nor did he care. He was satisfied with this little pig family. Then, Shiva killed the sow’s body and Vishnu assumed his heavenly form. Then he wondered at his own folly, how he could ever have been satisfied with that pig life.

We do not know any better, so we are satisfied with this limited human life. And some of us want to be gods. Yes, we can be gods, too, by performing good deeds. Then we will enjoy a god body and god powers and god pleasures. But what of that, says Vedanta. Gods also must die. That is not the highest. The highest is immortality. That immortal spark is in us. When we long for that alone, when all our desires are directed to know That, then when the body goes, we will enter into the Immortal, because no other desire is there. The emptiness of life is seen. ‘He comes into Me.’ There is no return to earth for one who has no desires.

Those who have realized their identity with Brahman in samadhi attain immediate liberation. They do not have to go to any place or to return from anywhere, nor are they in the least concerned with time or season, light or darkness. They identify themselves with Brahman, and as such they are bodiless, free from body-consciousness, even during their life.

Source - Reflections on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Atulananda – Prabuddha Bharata February 2004 issue.