Have we been being forever?
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The natural impulse for survival in the living entity endorses the fact of eternal life. Otherwise, where does this innate instinct to survive comes even in a worm, an infant or even a trapped animal? The Bhagavad Gita (2.13) proclaims that the living entity in the material world is called dehi or one who lives in the body. The living entity becomes entrapped in a particular body by the enticement of one’s own desires. There are 8.4 million templates of various body types or species that are available to make the living entity enjoy their specific desires. The entrapment in the body also brings about an illusion to make the living entity relate to the illusory surroundings. Just like a virtual reality headset creates a simulation of an immersive, interactive experience for its user as if for real. Similarly, as corroborated in Bhagavad Gita (3.27) the entrapment of the living entity in a body creates an interactive and immersive illusion as if the living entity is performing all the actions, however, such actions are performed by the modes of material nature pretty much like the virtual reality software. The proclivity of the living entity to become enamoured by such immersive illusion is very deep. It is a common phenomenon where video games players identify themselves as their characters in the game. Video or virtual games are also entrapment within a virtual world. Like video game players, we are also entrapped in bodily illusion by identifying with the body we are in. This identification with the body make the living entity forget its real nature as an eternal spirit soul, however, the inherent nature for the want to stay eternally is reflected in its quest for survival.
Bhagavad Gita (2.13) further states that the transient change in the body from boyhood to youth to old age is felt by everyone. This gradual change of bodies befools us to believe I am this body, however, a little introspection can reveal that I am the same person in all these different transitory states. Since the body is changing and I am not, hence I will continue to live when the body diminishes by another change of body at death. Everything belonging to the body may be temporarily mine, just like on the board game of monopoly I may own different things as long as the game is on, but at the death of the body, all existing possessions are reset to zero in an onset of a new game in a different body. This also leads us to the eternity of life, which struggles for existence in the material world. Existence is eternal, however, the struggle is because of we being in an unnatural position, like the fish struggling to live in the land. We do not belong to the material world. We are spiritual beings belonging to the spiritual world.
One of the greatest quests of humankind is to understand the purpose of life. This puzzle remains unanswered for many speculative minds. One of the most bewildering questions in this regards is to derive the purpose of insignificant living entities like bacteria or worms who live for less than a day. Was their purpose so insignificant in the grand scheme of things that they come and go in a flash? This dilemma can only be reconciled by the eternity of living entities who recycle themselves in various bodies from insignificant worm to greater demigods.
The forgetfulness of our real identity is the cause of all miseries in the material world as it brings about a major conflict between our eternal existence as a servitor of God and our temporary and fleeting existence in a short game of life within a particular body. This forgetfulness is caused due to continual change of our body in the purview of time. Lord Krishna affirms in Bhagavad Gita (15.15) that remembrance and forgetfulness is provided by Him. This forgetfulness in the material body is provided as a readiness for the living entity to fulfil their desires in the next state or body. Without forgetfulness, one may not be able to sustain well in its current transitory state, as the remembrance of the older states poses conflicting priorities in the present. Therefore, Lord Krishna provides remembrance and forgetfulness to ensure the living entity can enjoy in illusion in their current states without having conflicting body states. The revelation of Bhagavad Gita was provided by Lord Krishna in order to reclaim the living entities from their illusory states back to their original state as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord. The living entity has to resolve this conflict between the original eternal state versus the fleeting illusory state in its material existence. This conflict resolution is only possible by surrendering our free will to follow the Will of Lord Krishna, which is also defined as Bhakti or devotional service. When one comes to the platform of devotional service the attraction for the original state will awaken and one will very easily give up the attachment to the illusory state, the source of all misery. It is to be understood that this conflict is the result of our changing states and it will stop when we stop changing bodies, which is only possible when we identify ourselves as eternal being and not as transient bodies.
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