The truth that all scriptures declare unequivocally and which we would have to realise to become free from sorrow, old age and death, is that human beings have divinity in them, that is, they are divine. God first created matter and the universe, and then life, too, including human beings, to enjoy His creation. The same God who pervades all also dwells in all bodies. Here the ego or sense of ‘I’-ness deludes him and he looks at the body as ‘I’ and fails to realise that he is God. This ignorance or lack of self-knowledge is the singular cause of all problems and sufferings
Another truth we need to realise is that the self never dies or ceases to exist, but only changes bodies, birth after birth. When a body is worn out, the being that is eternal leaves that body and enters a new one. This leads to the inevitable question: If a human being is God, why can’t he save his body from perishing and live in the same body forever, free from old age and death?
The Bhagavad Gita tells us why this eternal being ‘perishes’ and changes bodies and also shows the way to overcome the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It reveals that all beings, comprising the self, have five gross elements along with mind, intellect and the ego. As long as the nature of the being is intact, he dwells in the body. He perishes when his intellect is lost due to attachment and desire. The eternal self then leaves the body with the senses and the mind and goes to another body. The Gita says when the being performs actions with his mind on objects, he develops an attachment to these objects. Attachment gives rise to desire, desire to anger, anger to delusion, delusion to confusion of memory and confusion of memory to a loss of intellect. When the intellect is lost, the being’s form perishes. The eternal self then leaves the body and goes to a new one.
The human being, who is in fact God, can save himself from perishing by steadying his intellect. One who steadies his intellect will not perish or change the body. He will become a non-perishable being and dwell in the same body. The being can steady his intellect by becoming free from desire and the ego and by realising that he is God, an eternal living being, not ‘I’/ man or woman. Verse 2:71 of the Gita says that the man who abandons all desires and acts without yearning, without the sense of ‘mine’ and without the ego, attains everlasting peace.
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