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"Some see the soul as amazing. Some speak of the soul as amazing,
While others hear of it as amazing.
Still, no one truly knows the soul."
First, let's read this section of Glorious Song of God:
2:11: The Blessed One said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.
2:12: 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.
2:13: As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul also passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.
2:14: O son of Kunti, sensory perceptions afflict one with cold, heat, pleasure and pain. They appear and disappear and are impermanent. Therefore endure them all O descendent of Bharata.
2:15: One who is never distressed, O best among men, and who remains unaltered [in the face of] suffering and pleasure and is patient, he is eligible for immortality.
2:16: Being does not come from the non-existent, nor does non-being arise from the eternal. This is the considered conclusion of those who see the truth.
2:17,18: Know you by Whom all this imperishable is pervaded. The destruction of this immutable is not possible for anyone.
All these bodies are perishable, but it is said of the eternal embodied soul that it is indestructible and immeasurable, therefore fight, O descendent of Bharata.
2:19: Anyone who considers the slayer or anyone who knows the slain and thinks him killer or killed lacks discernment. No one slays nor is anyone slain.
2:20: It [the immutable soul] is not born, It does not die, at no time did It come into being, nor will It come into being hereafter. It is unborn, eternal, permanent and ancient. It is not killed when the body is slain.
2:21: How can that person who knows the soul to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable, O child of Partha, slay anyone or cause another to kill.
2:22: Just as a man casts off worn out clothing and accepts new ones, even so the embodied soul discards worn out bodies and enters into different ones.
2:23, 24: This soul cannot be severed by weapons, burnt by fire, wetted with water, nor dried by the wind.
It is unbreakable, unburnable, It cannot be wetted nor dried. It is eternal and all-pervading, equable, immovable and eternally constant.
2:25 - 28: The soul is said to be unmanifested; It is inconceivable and unchanging. Therefore, knowing the soul to be thus, you should not lament.
Moreover, if you determine the soul to be constantly born and eternally dying, even then, O mighty armed one, you ought not to lament.
For those born death is certain and for those dead birth is certain. For the sake of the inevitable you ought not lament.
All beings are unmanifested in the beginning, manifested in the middle, and again unmanifested in the end. O descendent of Bharata, where therein is cause for lamentation?
2:29: Some see the soul as amazing. Some speak of the soul as amazing, while others hear of it as amazing. Still, no one truly knows the soul.
As you know my beliefs do not stem from any particular religious tradition however I do hold to the Vedic wisdom that says: The lotus grows in the mire.
In other words, Truth is where one finds it.
It is my belief, harmonious with the teachings of many mystics the world over, that there exists a Golden Bowl and a Silver Thread.
Consider this important passage:
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them":
2 While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain;
3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, And the strong men bow down; When the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look through the windows grow dim;
4 When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, And all the daughters of music are brought low;
5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, The grasshopper is a burden, And desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All is vanity."
These material forms we occupy for a few short years are but temporary shells made of prakrti (dull matter). They are but vehicles in which the Self rides through a darkened existence in search of Jyoti (Spiritual Light) and Sabd (Spiritual Sound) on our way to Sabd-surt (God consciousness). This is the secret of the chariot in which Sri Krsna and Arjuna are seated during the glorious battle of Kuruksetra.
The entire battle of Kuruksetra can be contempated as an internal experience of the atman (the individual soul), seen as Arjuna, seeking to understand the paramatman (the High Soul), seen as Sri Krsna (and this can correctly be understood as Arjuna seeking either God or his own Self: The journey in most ways is the same because one who truly knows the Self knows God -- although Self is NOT God (acintya bheda bheda tattva).
This is what Koheh'leth Y'shua (Master Jesus) sought to explain, "I and my Father are one," and yet again, "My father is greater than I"). Both are true for one who has eyes to see:
1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
You see, there is another nature that we can arise to. One that utterly transcends prakrti (in saguna). This is purusa (in nirguna), the realm of the Infinite and the Master of that realm is the Adi Purusam, the Ek Devata, the Utterly Transcend "One God". It is from and to this higher realm that the jiva atman, the individual soul, sojourns.
The vehicle, the chariot, will eventually break down and become useless. This may happen at any time and in any possible way. My eldest son was murdered in 1984 before he had the chance to experience much of life while my maternal grandmother lived to be 106 years young.
One never knows.
There are no guarantees.
The soul, the jiva, the self, the atman... as this Sacred text says, is not effected in any direct way by the modes of the material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance). "Some see the soul as amazing. Some speak of the soul as amazing, while others hear of it as amazing. Still, no one truly knows the soul" (Gita 2:29).
We can somewhat know material nature (prakrti). It is this "stuff" that our sciences study, our capitalists manipulate and with which out conscious minds relate, but the Soul is something else entirely!
"I" and something else entirely!
"YOU" are something else entirely!
"We" are "amazing!"
Gita 2:19: Anyone who considers the slayer or anyone who knows the slain and thinks him killer or killed lacks discernment. No one slays nor is anyone slain. So your question, if the jiva is not effected by the modes of material nature how does it experience? Moreover how does life have any meaning at all other than for the temporary here and now if the Soul is utterly trancendant?
"Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well."
Understand that we are speaking here of topics that transcend human reason and material experience . We must therefore use what the Vedas refers to as "flowery language," that is to say, our words will be vessels that contain our thoughts rather than literally presenting them.
In the metaphorical heart of all material beings there is a Fountain. Our diverse experiences within the material expansion collect there as though in a filter. In psychological terms this can be thought of as the subconscious mind. Here are stored all of our memories, our thoughts, our fears, our smells, our tastes, our hopes and dreams, all of our sensations from our present life in the material realms. From this Fountain the Soul, using a Pitcher, skims off those experiences that It desires, those that speak to It's greater quest (to its dharma and marga).
These distilled experiences are then poured into the Golden Bowl. We know that there is an umbilical cord connecting a pre-birth baby to its mother. Similarly, there is a cord that attaches the jiva within the Dark Cloud of material existence to It's Real Self. This is known as the Silver Cord or Silver Thread (it looks more like a thread to me than a cord).
Our various experiences take place within the confines of Samsara, the Wheel of Material Existence. Once this Wheel is broken from the Well of material existence, which is to say once the inhabited body dies and the soul departs, no further communication occurs between the self and the Self. When this happens, incidental memories, one's name, place of birth, etc. are quickly forgotten however those things that were distilled from one's experiences remain within the Wisdom of the Self. This is why most people don't remember their previous lives and why some people seem to "have more common sense," "intuition" etc. than others.
Therefore those who are wise are encouraged to take advantage of this human form of life in order to produce fruit or experiences that are conducive to spiritual realization and liberation.
"Remember your Creator"
Peace my friend,
~John of AllFaith
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
~ I Corinthians 13:12