We are all made of body, mind and spirit. The body is tangible; we can feel its boundaries. When a part of the body is sick, we can feel the discomfort. As long as we feel the body working smoothly, we say we are in good health.
What is unclear or unknown to us is that there is something within us that does not perish at death. Kṛṣṇa clarifies here that this is the Self, Ātman, the energy that never dies.
Our mind is subtle. We do not feel the mind in the same way as we feel the body. We do not feel its boundaries. Yet, we feel the effects of the mind: thoughts, desires, emotions etc. Modern scientific studies have shown that what we term as mind is spread all over the body. Mind and its intelligence are inbuilt into our cellular structure. Recent studies have shown that it is our root thought patterns not genetics, which in turn arise from our earliest experiences of powerlessness, which define the birth and development of our mind, and in turn influence the cellular structure. Earlier it was believed that genetic modifications to the cellular structure influenced the way we cognized.
The process where we perceive or receive information through five senses, internalize it with our root thought patterns, and respond based on our patterns is Cognition. Now it is proven that it is our root thought pattern that leads to our cognition and thereafter determines our genetics.
Even subtler is the spirit. In fact, many people question this entity called spirit. What it is, they ask. What is this thing called spirit or soul? We cannot see it and we cannot touch it. Becoming aware of this subtle spirit or soul is just what Self-realization is all about.
In these verses,
Kṛṣṇa says first that the spirit pervades the body – avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam. His definition of body is the body-mind system.
Secondly, He states that the body and mind are destroyed at death – antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śārīriṇaḥ.
Thirdly, He declares that the spirit does not die at death – vināśam avyayasyāsya na kascit kartum arhati.
Fourthly, He explains that the spirit is beyond our mental comprehension – anāśino ‘prameyasya.
When death happens, bodily functions stop and the senses, which are a function of the mind, stop working. The entire body-mind system is then left by itself and it degenerates. This part is clear to all of us who have seen death. What is unclear or unknown to us is that there is something within us that does not perish at death. Kṛṣṇa clarifies here that this is the Self, Ātman, the energy that never dies.
Sāṅkhya is the philosophy of reality—ultimate existentialism. Completion will lead you to experience that Sāṅkhya, the reality, existential reality—Tattva Satya, Satya Tattva!
What is death? Is it the spirit leaving the body that causes death, or is it that death forces the spirit into leaving the body? The body-mind system is perishable, that it has a definite shelf life and comes with an expiry date. However, beyond this expiry date, there is something that lives on and that is the spirit. This spirit is energy; it is the energy of life.
Kṛṣṇa urges Arjuna to fight saying, ‘Therefore, fight, O Bhārata, tāsmad yudhyasva bharāta’, with the full understanding that what he thinks of as real is unreal, that what he thinks of as permanent, Nitya is impermanent, Anitya and what he thinks he is about to destroy can, in truth, never be destroyed.
Kṛṣṇa tells him to open his eyes and see with pure pattern less perception; that what he is about to do will only destroy that which is going to perish anyway. Even if he wants to, Arjuna cannot destroy the imperishable, avināśi spirit that lives on.
Arjuna’s concern about the death of his kinsmen and elders arises out of his root pattern of fear and insecurity about his own death. He does not realize his true imperishable nature and therefore he is afraid of dying. By extension of this fear, he is afraid of others’ deaths as well, especially at his own hands. Kṛṣṇa tells him that there is no such thing as death and that death is unreal, anāśinaḥ.
All our lives we see people around us dying. Death is the only certainty in this otherwise uncertain world. Everyone, whether a beggar or a prince, must die. When we wake up from a dream, we don’t mourn our dream lives, as real as they felt at the time. Do we? No. In the same way, when we awaken into the highest state of consciousness, we have the same experience that this ‘real’ life was only a dream. There is nothing to mourn or fret over. The lineage of all enlightened masters has again and again supported Kṛṣṇa’s declarations with their own direct experience. The body is just the shell that houses your spirit. Even when the body perishes, you do not. It is impossible because you are eternal, Nitya; you are bliss, Ānanda.
Kṛṣṇa is firmly stating this reality that there is no such thing as death, nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ. He says what dies or seems to perish is unreal, nāsato vidyate bhāvo; it had no permanent existence anyway. What does have existence, what is truly real, exists now, has always existed and will exist forever!
Look in! When you drill with integrity and authenticity, normal perception itself is nothing but perception of God! Because any perception will directly lead you to the space of the root of all actions, including perception! You will see that the ultimate perception, what Kṛṣṇa declares as your true nature of eternal existence and indestructible energy becomes your reality!
Sāṅkhya is reality. What exists as reality is perceived by you without the interference, perversions created by your powerless patterns. Sāṅkhya is the philosophy of reality—ultimate existentialism. Completion will lead you to experience that Sāṅkhya, the reality, existential reality—Tattva Satya, Satya Tattva!