Reflections on GITA by Professor V. V. RAMAN
11. dehinosmin yathā dehe kaumāraṃ yauvanaṃ jarā
tathā dehāntaraprāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati 2.13
As this body (goes through) childhood, youth, and old age,
So (does the soul) pass on to another body.
The steady of mind don’t grieve this.
When we wake up in the morning we remember that we went to sleep the previous night. However, when we recall our life of a few decades ago, it is not so clear that it was the same person. As we grow and changes occur, earlier experiences become nebulous: many are totally forgotten. We undergo transformations from childhood to youth to mid-life and old age. The changes tend to erase from memory what seemed real and important at one time.
In the Hindu vision, so explains Krishna here, the embodied soul witnesses these phases of life and then moves on to another body. Life, death, and rebirth are not unlike waking hours, sleep, waking up again.
A Homeric hymn refers to a Trojan by the name of Tithonus. This youth is taken away by the goddess Eos who falls in love with him. Wishing to be with her for ever, Tithonus asks for immortality. This is granted. But as the years roll by, Tithonus becomes old, his body and face are wrinkled with age. He can’t stand his longevity. He pleads for mortality, wants to go back to earth, here to grow slowly and die.
We see from this story that it is better to be in a mortal body that grows and dies, than to live indefinitely and suffer the pangs of senility. We can be immortal only in a disembodied state. We are immortal, but we renew the physical body again and again. This is the idea of reincarnation in the Indic worldview.
I felt that this was well worth sharing....When I started my journey into Sanatana Dharma, reincarnation was what I struggled with most. Most likely because of all the religious indoctrination I had been subjected to since practically birth. One day I was reading from the Upanishads about it and something just clicked...a remembrance perhaps and from there on out it feels so perfectly right and natural that our souls are endless and continue the process of birth/death again and again until we reach perfect enlightenment/moksha. There are too many coincidences/synchronicities/miracles/familiar feelings/longings/soul connections and many more evidences that I cannot believe otherwise.