Chapter II, Verse 28
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
Out of the unknown, beings are born; into the unknown they disappear; and between them beings dwell in (the land of) the known. What is there then to grieve, dear Prince?
Beginning, manifestation, destruction – the blind mind doesn’t know where it comes from or where it goes and only has glimpses the in-between state. Again, it’s a waste of energy to mentally fight an obvious law.
A couple decides to take a cruise for vacation. Most days they arrive in a new port. Once in a port, they see the local sights for the day, then board the ship again. In the evening, they celebrate before they fall asleep.
One morning the traveling couple may awake to find the ship is at sea for the day. When at sea, they occupy themselves with on-board amusements like gambling and reading. The next day, the ship arrives in another port which offers more sightseeing and different cultures. This scenario is repeated throughout the length of the cruise.
Limited consciousness is like the couple on a cruise ship. At birth, it wakes up to find itself in a new body and a different set of circumstances. At death, it sleeps until the next experience is ready. Most times, consciousness finds itself in a human body and in surroundings that are similar to previous experiences. On occasion the limited consciousness finds itself at sea in a disorienting set of circumstances.
The journey of limited consciousness progresses until it reclaims the ever-present, ever-joyous state of unlimited consciousness. Like the couple who returns home after they vacation, limited consciousness returns to its natural universal state.
Human beings exist only when consciousness is present. When one is self-aware (not unconscious), the ability to observe experiences is proof that a larger consciousness is present. If one’s consciousness were truly limited, then there would be no hope of progression and no ability to learn. Logic applied to personal experience scientifically proves the existence of the eternal and all-knowing conscious state.
In other words, I am conscious. I can imagine a greater state of consciousness. Through self-effort, I expand my consciousness. This is my experience so it must be true. It is logical to expect that once I reach the next state of expanded awareness, I will then be able to imagine and work towards an even greater state. If this were not the case, then humans would be like any other animal – bound to instinct with some shadows of individual personality. In addition, other humans have attested to and sometimes even displayed exponentially greater states of awareness.
Since only ignorance and attachment makes a human death appear to be final, Krishna advises Arjuna to stop worrying about the hide and seek game souls play in material form.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Bharata – The Average Human Devotee.
Arjuna is a descendant of King Bharata and this is a general epithet also applied to King Dhrtarastra who in the Bhagavad Gita represents the intellect blinded by the senses. In other words, Bharata is a devotee, but an ignorant one who is new to the path of enlightenment. Contrast the root “Bharata” with the root “Kuru” in other epithets for Arjuna. The “Kuru” dynasty represents the ida nadi and the pursuit of worldliness, while the Bharata dynasty represents the pingala nadi and the pursuit of enlightenment.
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