Coming out of the Closet. ~ Vrindavan Rao

Via elephant journal
on Jun 30, 2013
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Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Shopping Around.

Verse 2.22: As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

Who doesn’t like to do a little shopping? I know I do, especially when it comes to looking for new clothes.

There’s just something about purchasing a new garment: the way it feels, the way it hangs, the color, style, or it’s design which makes it special. Marketers use these feelings to convince us that buying new clothes represent the “new” you. Oddly enough, this doesn’t seem to be that far from the truth.

Over the past several weeks, we have been discussing the nature of the soul and its eternality. So, if the soul never dies, what happens when the body is no longer suitable and capable of carrying on in this life?

Quite simply, the soul leaves the body and puts on a new one, just like a new set of clothes.

We could even say that as we’re going through this life, we are unconsciously (for the majority of us) shopping around for our next body. How so? By cultivating desires. All the desires we accumulate and nourish impact and color the thoughts circulating through our minds.  Ever notice this? At least for me, as soon as I want something, (really, really want something), I can’t think of anything about else. I become obsessed with thinking about how I will satisfy my desire.

So, the thoughts and desires that we cultivate throughout our life sets the stage to “purchase” the next body once this one has run it’s Let's-Go-Shoppingcourse.In shopping for material clothes, we go through the same process. Although the time frame for choosing an item may be mere seconds, there are certain motivations or inclinations that push us to purchase the item.

This means that we need to become more aware. If we can actually have an impact on the type of body we will receive in our next life, then we need to become increasingly conscious of our desires.

As aspiring bhakti yogis, however, the goal is different. The goal is to quit shopping period!

The bhakti yogi would prefer to make this life, in this body, their last. Why? Because the soul is eternal and continuing the cycle of adopting different temporary bodies will never give the soul satisfaction, regardless of how strong, beautiful, or intelligent that body maybe. Just as the time may come when you look at your closet and think, “This is ridiculous. I have way too many clothes.” Similarly, the bhakti yogi thinks “Doesn’t matter. If I get another body, I’m still going to be subject birth, disease, old age and death. I want out!”

Ending this cycle of constantly wanting and buying new clothes/bodies is what the Bhagavad-gita is all about. It’s for all of us are curious about and have decided—enough is enough, no more shopping!


Vrindavan RaoVrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.

She especially loves the Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita. In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of Everyday Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook and via Twitter.

Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to write, read, give presentations, sing and work out.

Like elephant bhakti on Facebook.

Editor: Thaddeus Haas


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7 Responses to “Coming out of the Closet. ~ Vrindavan Rao”

  1. Hi, Vrindavan.

    I have this question about reincarnation. Is this a reality for you, or just an extended metaphor? And if reality, is there any describable possible factual basis for it, or is it just a matter of religious faith, like I used to believe in heaven and hell as a kid growing up Catholic?

    Personally, I don't find the Gita to be reincarnation-centric at all, even though it's clearly there, of course. But I need to turn it into metaphor or just disregard it, since I personally have no belief in it as reality.


    Bob W.
    Yoga Demystified

  2. Thaddeus1 says:

    It's a reality Bob, not metaphor.

    Here's some links to think take a look at and get you started.

    Also, just think about it relation to thermodynamics. Energy can't be created or destroyed, just change form.
    I would also caution against drawing such a firm conceptual line between "facts" and belief. These aren't as far apart as many would like to believe.

  3. Thanks, Thad.

    The Wikipedia article is great. All the rebuttals I would make are all voiced in the article itself, so I refer curious readers there. I couldn't add anything further of importance.

    As for energy, of course all my energy and molecules turn into something else. In fact, all of the molecules in our bodies turn over on a regular basis while we're alive. But that's quite different from any particular remnant of a recognizable me showing up anywhere except in my kid and my grandkids, etc. But that's genetics, not reincarnation.

    I do Iike reincarnation as an elaborate metaphor for "what we do now has an impact on future generations". But for me, no more than that.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Demystified

  4. Thaddeus1 says:

    You're most welcome Bob.

    Just not sure why it's any weirder to be born twice than once. I guess we'll all find out in the end.

  5. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Hi Bob!

    Enjoying the warm sunny day outside, I actually neglected my laptop for a bit! Looks like Thad already answered your question. 🙂

    With respect to believing in it…I guess that's one of the challenges we all face – isn't it? Often it isn't until we experience something that we "feel like we believe in it", whether it be with respect to reincarnation or something else. As I'm sure you're well aware of, the Gita does quite rightly point out that belief just based on our senses can lead us astray as we have imperfect senses, make mistakes and maybe subject to be illusion.

    However, faith can grow and even looking at reincarnation as a metaphor for "what we do now has an impact on future generations" is a great starting place. 🙂

  6. Thanks for your thoughts, Vrindavan. I overdosed for good on that kind of faith by the time I was 15 growing up ultra-traditional Roman Catholic. Not for me anymore.

    Of course our senses are imperfect. We just have to do the best we can, still exercising our best judgment, taking those imperfections into account as best we can.


  7. Poet Desh says:

    wonderful way of putting the eternal divine message in today's language! liked it.
    -Poet Desh