by purujit dasa
My father is gone. Or is he?
suyajño nanv ayaṁśete
mūḍhā yam anuśocatha
yaḥ śrotā yo 'nuvakteha
sa na dṛśyeta karhicit
Yamarāja continued: O lamenters, you are all fools! The person named Suyajña, for whom you lament, is still lying before you and has not gone anywhere. Then what is the cause for your lamentation? Previously he heard you and replied to you, but now, not finding him, you are lamenting. This is contradictory behavior, for you have never actually seen the person within the body who heard you and replied. There is no need for your lamentation, for the body you have always seen is lying here.
This is an excerpt from yet another Vedic literature called the Srimad Bhagavatam. Yamaraja is here talking to a group of relatives of a deceased Suyajna for whom they lament. Let’s imagine a situation like that, when a person dies. It takes what… a mere moment? Utmost a few seconds and then it’s finished. He’s a goner. Now what do we see? A dead body lying on a bed, right? Now, take a remote and rewind this movie one second before he died. Take a snapshot. Cool. Keep it. Now let’s go one second forward. This is where he already died. Take another snapshot. Great. Now, what you have are two situations. Snapshot one is the living body. Snapshot two is the dead body. If the life is a mere combination of chemicals, what makes the difference between snapshot one and snapshot two?
Mike Robinson: Suppose we assume that a human being has no soul...
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then you must explain the difference between a living body and a dead body. I have already explained this at the beginning. As soon as the living force, the soul, is gone from the body, even the most beautiful body has no value. No one cares for it; it's thrown away. But now, if I touch your hair, there will be a fight. That is the distinction between a living body and a dead body. In a living body the soul is there, and in a dead body the soul is not there. As soon as the soul leaves the body, the body has no value. It is useless. This is very simple to understand, but even the biggest so-called scientists and philosophers are too dullheaded to understand it. Modern society is in a very abominable condition. There is no man with a real brain.
SSR 1d: Reincarnation and Beyond
If you analyze yourself silently, "What I am? I am this finger? I am this body? I am this hair?" you'll deny, "No I am not this." So beyond this body, what is, that is spiritual. That we can feel. Similarly, as we cannot find our self within this matter, although I'm here, that we can distinguish, the distinction between dead body and living body, something minus. That something is spirit.
Bhagavad-gītā 8.21-22 -- New York, November 19, 1966
If there’s no soul and everything is matter, why are we discriminating between dead and living? Is such discrimination illusion? Why not then wake up from it and release all the murderers(who killed a so-called living body) from prisons, cancel off medical science(which is supposed to keep the body “alive”), stop caring about our body altogether and commit suicide? If we think, we’re just the body, why not wine and dine with a corpse? Cuz that’s what the body is, right? Take for example a person, who died a few seconds ago. All the chemical elements of his body are still present. His organs, his ears, his eyes, his tongue, his brain, his heart –everything of the body is there.
Suppose my father has died. Now I am crying, "Oh, my father is gone. My father is gone." But if somebody says, "Why do you say your father is gone? He is lying here. Why you are crying?" "No, no, no, that is his body. That is his body. My father is gone." Therefore in our present calculation I am seeing your body, you are seeing my body, nobody is seeing the actual person. After death, he comes to sense: "Oh, it is not my father; it is my father's body." You see? So we become intelligent after death. And while we are living, we are in ignorance. This is the modern civilization. While living... Just like people have insurance policy to get some money. So that money is received after death, not during life. Sometimes during life also. So my point is that so long we are living, we are in ignorance. We do not know "What is my father, what is my brother, what I am." But everyone is under the impression, "This body is my father, this body is my child, this body is my wife." This is called ignorance. If you study the whole world, during living time everyone will say that "I am Englishman," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim." But if you ask him, "Actually are you so?" That... Because this body is Hindu, Muslim, or Christian, because by accident the body is produced in a society of Hindu, Muslim, or the body is born in a particular country, therefore we say, "I am Indian, "I am European," "I am this," "I am that." But when the body is dead, at that time we say, "No, no, the person which was within the body, that is gone. It is a different thing."
Just try to understand how much ignorant we are. We are all in ignorance. This education is wanted because people, by this ignorance, they're fighting with one another. One nation is fighting with another, one religionist is fighting with another religionist. But it is all based on ignorance. I am not this body.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.11 -- Edinburgh, July 16, 1972
Srila Prabhupada urges people to realize: “we are all in ignorance”. On daily basis we are dealing with our lovers, friends, parents, children, yet we never come in contact with them truly. All we are interacting with is their bodies. In such a hallucinatory state, on the basis of such bodily conception we are very enthusiastically starting wars and ugly creatures like racism, sexism, nationalism, religious discrimination, speciesm are sprouting like mushrooms after rain. But the body is dead. Always. It only appears alive when the spirit soul is occupying it. It is just like a car. A car never moves on its own accord. It’s only when the driver gets in, starts the engine and drives off when you realize that the Knight Rider was just a Tv show and that your car has just been stolen.
(to be continued...)