Chapter II, Verse 22
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
Nay, as one putteth away his worn-out robes and taketh new ones, so the spirit putteth away the old garb of flesh and passeth into others afresh and anew.
Like a human discarding old-clothes for new, the soul (individualized consciousness) discards a broken or aged body for a new one.
Krishna gives an example of the nature of individualized consciousness, described in the previous verse. This analogy may be more easily understood by the ignorant yet receptive consciousness of Arjuna as the son of Pritha.
When one’s perspective is anchored in the causal state of consciousness, the various bodies inhabited in different incarnations may seem like clothes hanging in a closet. Everyone has favorite clothes, as well as practical clothes that might be worn for work, or for exercise, or for a costume party. Similarly, each single unique consciousness has bodies that serve specific purposes in different lifetimes. Sometimes one is an athlete, other times a soldier, another time a wise father or a loving mother, or a successful businessperson, or a political leader, and more! No matter how many hundreds or thousands of bodies that a soul inhabits during its journey to enlightenment, each body has a unique purpose designed for the lessons of that particular life.
Consider that each lifetime is similar to one grade year in schooling. Like the student who progresses through each grade taking important lessons forward, the individualized consciousness collects and builds upon previous experiences. Subconsciously, the soul seeks progress and liberation even as the child seeks to complete his lessons and graduate.
Embrace who you are now and who you become tomorrow will be even better.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Vihaya is used for both the casting away of clothes and the casting away of bodies. Significant when using the Bhagavad Gita as a Sanskrit primer, because it places the emphasis on the future by not differentiating the past action.
Grhnati (grabh) and Samyati (sam ya) are used for “taking” clothes and “encountering” a new body. Grabha is the “taking possession of” things. In this case, grabha signifies putting on any clothes of choice. Samyati needs to be clarified to add a judgement of “right” or “correct” in this use of encountering a new body. The individualized consciousness reincarnates in the correct body for its progression, where as a human being can wear any clothes that fit whether or not they are correct for the situation.
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