I love to read books and especially love the practice of ‘lectio divina’ which is a slow reading of sacred literature. It’s the process of allowing the text to speak to you (so to speak) and staying with words, passages or verses that stir some feeling, some emotion. Here is the verse that I felt curiously moved by and drawn to again and again last year.
“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.” Sri Krishna, Bhagavad-gita 2.12
I was first taken with the principle of equality found here. I can imaging Krishna in the middle of the battlefield making a sweeping gesture with his arm and saying to Arjuna, ‘Look! We are all in the same boat of eternal time. You, I, everyone - we are not going anywhere. We live forever!’ What a generous offer of connection - you, Me, the kings ... any of us, all of us. It’s a verse of comfort and it’s not Krishna as God, the great controller, but Krishna inviting us into relationship.
The verse also blows our safe sense of time right out out of the water. Much as we hate and fear death, we have become conditioned to the reliability of beginnings and endings. We are strangely comfortable with time as it presents itself in this world and the notion that we cease to exist after our last breath in this body. Here that is challenged. ‘Never was there a time’ - not past, not present, not future - that we did not or will not cease to be.’ Wait, really?
Trying to grasp a sense of the eternal can be mind boggling. At times we have to say to ourselves - don’t try to understand, just stand under. Take shelter in the grand possibility of what this verse offers, the incredibly glorious idea that life comes from life and will always be alive. That we never, ever die. Then at other times, as we make spiritual progress in the task of uncovering our true self and our life in relationship with Krishna, we will begin to sense eternity and time beyond time.
This beautiful verse invites us to be in the present moment and conscious that we, the soul, are the life of the body, and are very different from the body itself. It is the platform upon which all spiritual practice must stand. If this first point is missing, the rest of the equation is off balance and forever wrong.
Well, not forever in the sense of eternal - but enough to keep us bound to this time-ruled world for a very long time, drawn to seek peace, truth, and happiness from this body instead of the soul within.
Happy New year!