The Starting Point

April 7, 2017

One of Lord Krishna's first statements to Arjuna at the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita establishes the basis upon which all efforts to understand life, and it’s many moving parts, should stand on. He says, “While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worth of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.”


It’s a strong statement and jolts the reader as it must of done to Arjuna. After all, Arjuna gave many good reasons not to fight and in today’s world he would be seen as a hero for doing so. It begs the question -  if the wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead then who is left?


The soul.


Krishna establishes from the outset that it’s only from the perspective of the soul that we can solve any challenge of life, big or small. Because the soul is life. All the rest is detail.


He then goes on to describe the soul in such riveting detail that the reader cannot help being moved because the verses are speaking of us, of who we are within ourselves, and who others are too.


“For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”


“This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”


“It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.”


Imagine that! We are ‘unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval’. We are ‘unbreakable and insoluble’! We are ‘indestructible’! Such reflections and meditations are worthy to make us  jump with joy and dance with abandon!


Krishna goes on to describe how the soul accepts a body and ends up in this world, each of us in our own particular situation, yet connected because of our ultimate relationship with Him. Life is no doubt complicated as we search for peace and happiness in all corners of the world. If we start our day with a sense of ourselves as living, breathing souls, then that peace and happiness will be much closer to home, much easier to experience, and much easier to share.




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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.