By SIVA PRASAD :
Krishna says (2:19, 2:20) that Atma neither
kills nor is killed and only the ignorant think
otherwise. It is unborn, eternal, changeless
and ancient. He further says that Atma changes
physical bodies like we discard worn out garments
to wear new ones.
In a scientific context this is well explained by the
law of conservation of energy and the principle of
inter-convertibility of mass and energy. If Atma is
equated with energy, Lord Krishna's words become
crystal clear. The law of conservation of energy
says that energy can never be destroyed, but can
only be converted from one form to another. For
example, thermal power stations convert thermal
energy into electricity.Abulb converts electricity
into light. So, it is just conversion and there is no
destruction. A bulb has a limited lifespan.
fuses, it is replaced by a new bulb, but electricity
still remains. This is similar to the way in which we
discard worn out clothes for new ones.
For us death is an inference, not an experience.
Our understanding is that all of us will die one day
and we infer this when we see others die. To us,
death means bodies getting immobilised and senses
ceasing to function. There is no way for us to know
about our own physical death or to experience it,
except for what we infer i.e. death is a certainty for
us all. Our lives revolve around death and the fears
associated with it.
Lord Krishna says everything else is possible, but
death isn't a possibility, it is just an illusion. When
clothes are worn out, they can no longer protect us
from the elements and we replace them with new
ones. Similarly, when our physical body is unable
to perform its duties, it is replaced.
(The writer is senior IAS officer with the Punjab Government)