XVI - Page 155 Home | Index | Previous | Next

This Body is only One of Many you have Worn

Similarly, you may have done a number of spiritual practices and enjoyed a variety of spiritual experiences in a previous birth, after which you gave up your life. Now in this life, you resume your spiritual journey and even before you attain old age you may gain spiritual fulfillment. In thinking about this kind of thing you may be taking only the present life into account, considering only the efforts and consequences of the actions of this birth. But in the eyes of the Lord, all your past lives, all your past efforts and past consequences are considered. Krishna said, "Dear child, in the end, each body is destroyed by time. Know that you have existed in countless bodies and have gone through countless cycles of births and deaths for ages past, as far back as anyone can count."

The very meaning of the word for body in Sanskrit, is 'that which wears out'. It is born as a lump of flesh. During its growth it becomes a beautiful attractive body, but then ultimately it becomes old and loses its strength and attractiveness. The body is an inert, insentient thing. During a lifetime it undergoes a number of changes and then eventually gets worn out. But now you may have a doubt. How can the body be called inert and insentient? It is talking, it is walking, it is living, it sees, it hears, it feels, it experiences pain, it is full of activities. This living body cannot be called inert. But, once you wind the mechanism of a watch, it also starts working and moving. From that moment on, the hands of the watch will be going around and the bell will be chiming every hour. But that is not sufficient reason to say that the watch is alive. Because of the power it got when you wound it, this watch functions properly. In the same way, because of the life energy given by God, your body talks and performs various functions. Without the divine principle animating it the body cannot function, just as the watch cannot function without being wound.

But now another question arises. A watch is working but it does not change its form and size, whereas a body will be growing. How can you account for this? If it is merely an inert thing how can it grow? Inert things do not grow. But if you sweep the floor and collect the dust and put it in a dustbin, even that heap will grow. When you go on feeding this body with all sorts of food, this body also grows. As the food heaps up inside, the body grows. A heap of dust may grow but you cannot say that it has life. Similarly, just because you find your body growing you cannot infer that it is alive. The body itself is just an inert thing. But it is full of consciousness, because its very basis is divinity. Always remember that basis. It is this divine consciousness that supports and activates the living principle in all beings.