Even if you think the spirit is born and will always die

Arjuna, stop fretting and let your eyes dry   2.26

 What is born must die, what dies will be born anew

Stop crying and do what needs to be done now  2.27

 All that lives can’t be seen before birth, or after death

Why mourn what’s seen only between birth and death  2.28

 Some see the spirit in wonder, some hear the spirit in wonder,

A few experience the wonder, some never understand its wonder  2.29

 Arjuna, the spirit within you can never perish

Stop crying for things that live and perish   2.30

In the last few verses, Krishna told Arjuna that the spirit is undying. he said that fire cannot burn, sword cannot cleave, wind cannot dry and water cannot wet the eternal, immortal, ever expansive, spirit.

As a Coach par excellence, Krishna makes Arjuna consider all options before he decides. Krishna poses an alternative to Arjuna. The alternative is a spirit that does die.

Krishna tells Arjuna to stop worrying about the immortality of the spirit. Assume, he says, for a moment that the spirit too like the body it occupies is born and then dies. It is a natural law that all that is born must die. All that is created is destroyed.  Nothing we do can change this law.

A young mother came crying to Buddha. ”Revive my child’ she begged. ‘People tell me you’re God. People tell  me you bring the dead back to life. Please give life to my dead child.’ She lay the dead body of the child at Buddha’s feet and wept holding his feet.

Buddha knew that nothing he said would make the mother feel any better. She was no Arjuna, a man, generally rational and no mother. Each client requires a different approach.

Buddha said softly, ‘ Mother, please bring me a spoonful of mustard seeds from any house where no one has died before. I shall then do what i can.’

The young mother heard only one part of what Buddha said. The Master  had told her to do something that would revive her dead child was all that she heard. She immediately set off.

She knocked on the first door she came across and begged for a spoonful of mustard seeds, pleading she needed it to save her child. The lady of the house came out immediately with some mustard seeds. Then, the mother asked, ‘has anyone died in this house before?’

Perplexed, the lady of the house thought and said, ‘ Yes, several in fact. My husband’s grandparents were born here, lived here and died here, and others too. Why do you ask?’

The young mother burst out crying and ran without answering. She then knocked on other doors and kept knocking through the day. By sunset, she was tired. As she sat down to rest on a river bank and bend down to drink some water, the realization of what Buddha had asked her to do dawned on her.

There can be no birth without death. There can be no creation without destruction.

The young mother ran back to Buddha and fell at his feet. ‘I now understand’ she said, ‘ I cannot change the cosmic law. I have learnt much from you. Please accept me as your disciple.’

Arjuna is not half as wise as this young mother. Krishna has to coach him for hours before the truth dawns on him. Or perhaps, like most of us, he is too clever.