Bhagwad Gita - Chapter 4

Bhagwad Gita - Chapter 4

Every soul has had unlimited janm

In the last artcle, Shree Krishna states that He states that both He and Arjun have had unlimited janm. Let us dwell on this a bit more.

Every soul has had unlimited janm

As we learned in the second chapter, souls are eternal. They have existed for as long as God has existed. The third entity – maya – is also eternal. Thus, God, the souls and maya have been here forever. Maya continues to cycle through its two phases of existence – srishti (creation) and pralay (dissolution) – with the help of God. When God activates maya, then the universe is produced; and when God deactivates maya, then the universe is dissolved. Thereafter, God again activates maya, and the universe is manifested again. Thus continues the eternal cycle of srishti and pralay of the mayic universe.

Souls either exist in the state of bondage under maya, or in the state of liberation in God. Those who are under maya have been so since eternity. They are born again and again in the mayic world until they surrender to God, and with His grace become liberated. Those souls who are under the bondage of maya continue to take rebirth in various bodies as long as the universe exists, and when the universe is dissolved, they wait in a dormant state for the next srishti. So we see that all souls have had unlimited births (janm) in this mayic world, forever caught in the cycle of birth and death within the larger cycle of the birth and death of the universe.

God has also had unlimited janm

God also takes janm in this world (not only ours, but in all the other brahmands in the universe as well). He tells Arjun that just as souls have had unlimited janm, so has He had unlimited janm. This is because He repeatedly keeps taking avatar as is required to accomplish certain tasks on the earth planet, as stated in shloks seven and eight of this chapter.

The difference between God’s janm and a soul’s janm

Is there any difference between His janm and a soul’s janm? He says that for one, He remembers all of His janm and all of ours, but we don’t remember any of them. A soul’s memories of previous lifetimes are buried deep in their unconscious section of the mind; thus those memories can’t be accessed by the conscious mind of an ordinary person. So who knows what we have been and done in all of our unlimited past lives? Not us – only God knows. And He knows all the unlimited actions of unlimited past lifetimes of unlimited souls. This is why we call Him omniscient. In contrast, we are very little knowing, because even an intelligent person would have trouble recalling what he ate for dinner last Tuesday, let alone what he did in his previous birth.

Is there any other difference between our janm and God’s janm besides the fact that He can remember all of His and all of ours, and that we can’t? In the ninth shlok, Shree Krishna states that His janm is Divine, which implies that a soul’s janm is not Divine, or is material in nature. What is a Divine janm as compared to a material janm? We will learn this in the next article.

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