Mortal Vessel – In Gita Verse 18.72 O son of Pṛthā, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard this with an attentive mind? And are your ignorance and illusions now dispelled?
Krishna asked Arjuna did you understand DEATH IS THE END OF BIRTH, NOT OF LIFE.
To summarise the whole Gita Krishna says – The body dies; it is dying each moment. By watching the body, by waking up to an awareness of this mortal vessel, we begin to experience that which is not the body. To know that which is not the body, to know the soul, is to know life in its reality.
It is quite true that what we call life is not life. If it really were life how could it end in death? Life and death are two contradictory things so how then can death be the fulfillment of life? Death is the end of birth, not of life.
And because death comes at the end don’t think it only starts at the end. It is present in birth itself. It starts the very day one is born. After birth we die every moment. When this process of dying has been completed we call it death. What was in birth as a seed appears at the end in its fully-ripened form. Therefore nothing after death is for sure, but death is for certain. It is certain because it arrives with birth itself. Birth is just another name for death; it is the seed of death. Let this be carefully understood. You begin dying the day you are born. That life as we know it is not life but a long process of slow, gradual dying.
Because we are familiar with this gradual dying and not with life, we are always busy trying to save ourselves from it. All our plans and activities are aimed at some sort of security and self-defense. And what are we doing? Aren’t we busy defending ourselves against death all the time? Men also become religious for the same reason, in defense. It is because of this that they take to religion when they sense death drawing near. For the most part, the religion of old men is of this type. I do not call this real religiousness. It is just an aspect of the fear of death. It is the last safety-measure. Real religiousness does not come out of fear but out of the experience of life.
We should be aware that whatever we know at present is nothing but death – and this knowledge of death leads to immortality. The body dies; it is dying each moment. By watching the body, by waking up to an awareness of this mortal vessel we begin to experience that which is not the body. To know that which is not the body, to know the soul, is to know life in its reality because the soul was never born and therefore it never dies. The truth existed before your birth and it will continue to exist even after your death. This is life. Life is not a span between birth and death – on the contrary, birth and death are just so many incidents that take place during its course.
During meditation, when the mind is quiet and empty, something that is different and apart from the body can be seen. It cannot be seen when the mind is restless just as one cannot look into the depths of a lake when there are ripples on the surface. And so because of the continuous current of thought-waves rippling on the mind, what is hidden under them remains hidden – and we take the surface for the whole truth. The body, which is only one’s residence, seems to be all and everything. It creates the illusion that the body is one’s being, one’s life. You consider your totality as limited to the body and nothing more. This identification with the body, this illusion of being one with the body does not allow us to know our real selves, and we look upon the gradual process of dying that is taking place over a period of time as life. This is the same kind of mistake you would make if you looked upon the construction and destruction of your house as your own birth and death.
Krishna says this darkness disappears with the advent of mental peace. The illusion created by this mental unrest is dispelled by tranquility. What was hidden by the waves is revealed by wavelessness. And then for the first time we know the inhabitants of this body. As soon as we know him, death stops being anything more than casting off old clothes, and birth, and putting on new ones. And then there is a being who needs no clothes. The only man I call alive is one who knows this kind of life. Those who look upon the body as their being are all still dead. Their real lives are yet to begin. They are in a dream, asleep, in a faint. Without waking from this dream, without waking from this delusion that the body is his being, a man will never be able to know his own self, his essence, his mainstay, his life. The world is full of the dead, full of the living dead, and the majority of people die without ever having lived. They are worn out trying to defend themselves against death and they never come to know who is within, immortal, beyond death.Tags: Mortal Vessel