The Coronavirus pandemic has caused untold misery and loss across the world. This, coupled with the emergence of new variants, projects a rather grim picture of the future. How many more lives will this pandemic claim, how long will it last, how many more variants are likely to emerge, and most importantly, when will this raging pandemic end?
With no light visible at the end of the tunnel; humankind is suddenly struck with the tragic but true fact—life is extremely fragile and uncertain. No one knows what may happen in the next moment; and what little time we may have with our loved ones when a sudden rise in body temperature, a sudden onset of cough, or a sudden gasp for breath may change the situation irretrievably.
Countless many have lost a loved one in the devastating Covid waves that have battered India. Some so sudden that their near and dear ones haven’t had the time to fathom what struck them. They have been drowned by grief, unable to deal with the loss, and wondering why it had to happen to them.
Let’s look to the Gita and take a look at what Krishna told Arjuna about the impermanence of life, it gives us some helpful advice to cope with our loss.
The Body is Impermanent
According to the Bhagavad Gita, the soul of the deceased person simply passes from one body to another after death. Someone who is born is sure to die, and after dying, is sure to take birth again. Just as we change clothes or as a person passes from boyhood to youth to an elderly individual; the soul, too, transcends from one body to another; it merely changes its physical body.
Krishna tells Arjuna that he has no reason to lament the loss of his loved ones since they are certain to be reborn again. Instead, he should rejoice that they will gain new bodies and attain a new purpose.
The Soul Never Perishes
“Avyakto ’yam achintyo ’yam avikāryo ’yam uchyate
tasmādevaṁ viditvainaṁ nānuśhochitum arhasi”
(Chapter 2, Verse 25)
The soul is spoken of as invisible, inconceivable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.
The Bhagavad Gita in the above shloka expounds that the soul is eternal and infinite in its existence. It does not perish with the body; nor does it come into existence with it. The soul is never born—it only takes form when a body is born. The soul does not deteriorate, nor does it have any by-products. The by-products of the body, namely children, are also individual souls; and, owing to the body, they appear as children of a particular set of parents.
Even though the body of our dear one has perished, the soul has been transmitted to another body. Hence, one should not lament the passing away of a material body, since that is impermanent and the soul is eternal. Grieving for the body is foolish since the soul is invincible, immutable, and inconceivable.
It has been denoted in the Gita that as soon as Arjuna voluntarily surrendered to Krishna for instruction was when he became free from all lamentations and anxieties. If we accept the teachings and doctrines of the Bhagavad Gita wholeheartedly, it would be much easier for us to comprehend and accept the loss of a loved one, also knowing that death does not actually mean the end for anyone. It only means an end of a relationship in the current form.
If we imbibe and abide by this wisdom, we can better deal with the loss of a loved one and attain peace of mind and serenity.