Never did I not exist, nor you, nor all leaders these
Nor shall any of us in future cease 2.12
Spirit moves in this body through childhood, youth and old age
Likewise to another body at death! Don’t worry about this change 2.13
Joy and sorrow come and go with senses like summer and winter
Bear with them unmoved or you will blunder 2.14
Arjuna, stay firm and don’t be moved by joy and sorrow
You’ll surely be ready for liberation tomorrow 2.15
Krishna speaks again.
Arjuna had laid down arms in the middle of the battle field. Arjuna’s dilemma was that to win the battle, he would have to kill his kinsmen, elders, teachers and friends. He was clear that this was not a price he was willing to pay for his victory.
Though a warrior by birth and training, fearless and confident by training, Arjuna’s moral compass did not allow him to cause destruction amongst people he had grown up with and respected. He would rather walk away as a loser than destroy what he had once loved as a victor. He seeks Krishna’s advice as one he trusts and respects. Krishna is his coach.
These are the first verses of Krishna’s long response to clear Arjuna’s mind. Krishna understands Arjuna’s dilemma. Arjuna’s concerns stem from the fear that by killing those who stand in front of him and against him, they will cease to exist. This is what all of us believe. The body to us is the living proof of our life and living. Once the body ceases to breathe, we believe that we cease to live and exist.
Krishna says no!
Krishna says that we never have ceased to exist and nor shall we ever cease to exist. He says we have always existed and shall continue to exist forever. There is an inner energy within us, the spirit, soul or whatever we may to call it, that stays the same even as we move from childhood through adolescence to adulthood and old age, as well as from life to what we call death. At death, Krishna says, it moves from this body to another. This inner energy lives on, merely changing from one shape to another.
Krishna tells Arjuna not to worry about this change of our inner energy. Life and death move the spirit the same way as joy and sorrow move through us in life. Krishna advises Arjuna to cope with these changes, whether joy or sorrow, life or death, with equanimity.
Death is merely a shift from matter to energy. Energy cannot be destroyed. Nor can the spirit be. What scientists say today, Krishna the Coach expounded several thousand years ago. As long as we understand that the spirit lives on, there is no need to fear death.
This is Krishna’s message to Arjuna.