Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Strength Within.
Verse 2.18: The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been discussing the characteristics and importance of the soul.
Today, we continue with this theme and learn in this verse that, in addition to many other things, the soul is indestructible, immeasurable and eternal.
You know, it’s interesting how we, as a society, are so preoccupied with the external. In our day to day lives, we are inundated with descriptions of and advertisements for the material body—beautiful people with the right body, hairstyle, clothes, makeup, accessories etc., and encouraged to pursue them at all cost.
Our knowledge of how to make our physical “look good” is far advanced, but what about the soul?
Who even bothers to ask about descriptions of the soul? Very few people. In fact, I imagine most would be hard pressed to even name a scripture, or text, that gives specifics of the nature, size and qualities of the soul. This is one thing which makes the bhakti texts so special. We are fortunate to have them, since as naturally inquisitive beings, vague answers can be quite unsatisfying, especially concerning important topics.
We know so much about the body, which we have mistakenly identified with for millions of lifetimes, so isn’t it just as natural that we should become equally, if not better versed, about who we really are?
Just as each of us know the eye color, hair color, size of clothing, and physical capabilities of the machine we currently operate (the body), similarly we should just as easily be able to list all the qualities that define the soul which is operating that machine.
This verse is educating us about the qualities with which we should be associating ourselves. The soul can never perish by any means. This is what it means to be indestructible. It’s strength is something we can take comfort in when we are feeling weak.
The soul cannot be measured. The Gita gives descriptions of how small the soul is, pointing out that it cannot be measured by any material means, hence it is immeasurable.
And finally, the soul is eternal. This means we do not need to fear death because while the machine, the external coverings we currently inhabit may wither away and cease to function, the soul, the real “I,” will never die.
Coming to know and embody these three characteristics provide the bhakti yogi so much hope and strength. Self-help books often say “We should look to see the positive qualities within ourselves.” Well, I doubt anyone can find more comforting and empowering qualities than these ones. So remember this, as you continue your journey as a spiritual warrior.
All the strength you are searching for is truly within.
Vrindavan 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.
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Editor: Thaddeus Haas