Take Good Care of Yourself

Dear Reader,

A young friend of mine recently and tragically died.  I am stunned and saddened.  All who knew him will miss him dearly.  I thought this would be a good time to offer you a passage from the Bhagavad Gita that in my sorrows over the years I have found profoundly helpful. I offer it to you, in hopes that you may find wisdom and at least a little solace in it as well.

The Blessed Lord spoke:
You have mourned those that should not be mourned,
And you speak words as if with wisdom;
The wise do not mourn for the dead or for the living.

Just as in the body childhood, adulthood, and old age
Happen to an embodied being,
So also he (the embodied being) acquires another body.
The wise one is not deluded about this.
Physical sensations, truly, Arjuna,
Causing cold, heat, pleasure, or pain,
Come and go and are impermanent.
So manage to endure them, Arjuna.

It is found that the unreal has no being;
It is found that there is no non-being of the real.
The certainty of both these propositions is indeed surely seen
By the perceivers of truth.
Know that that by which all this universe
Is pervaded is indeed indestructible;
No one is able to accomplish
The destruction of the indestructible.
These bodies inhabited by the eternal,
The indestructible, the immeasurable embodied Self,
Are said to come to an end.
Therefore fight, Arjuna!
He who imagines this (the embodied Self) the slayer
And he who imagines this (the embodied Self) the slain,
Neither of them understands
This (the embodied Self) does not slay, nor is it slain.
Neither is this (the embodied Self) born nor does it die at any time,
Nor having been, will it again come not to be.
Birthless, eternal, perpetual, primaeval,
It is not slain when the body is slain.

Weapons do not pierce this (the embodied Self),
Fire does not burn this,
Water does not wet this,
Nor does the wind cause it to wither.
This cannot be pierced, burned,
Wetted or withered;
This is eternal, all pervading, fixed;
This is unmoving and primaeval.
It is said that this is unmanifest,
Unthinkable, and unchanging.
Therefore, having understood in this way,
You should not mourn.
And moreover even if you think this
To be eternally born or eternally dead,
Even then
You should not mourn for this, Arjuna.
For the born, death is certain;
For the dead there is certainly birth.
Therefore, for this, inevitable in consequence,
You should not mourn.
Beings are such that their beginnings are unmanifest,
Their middles are manifest,
And their ends are unmanifest again.
What complaint can there ever be over this?

This, the embodied Self, is eternally indestructible
In the body of all, Arjuna.
Therefore you should not mourn
For any being.

[from The Bhagavad Gita, 2.11-2.30]

Posted on October 5, 2012 .