even if thou thinkest of the self as being constantly born and constantly dying, even
then, Oh mighty-armed, thou shouldst not grieve.
For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve.
Krishna's expressions are very clever and guarded! He does not concede that the self is born and it dies. But if you think so, even then there is no cause for grief.
We should learn to accept the inevitable. As a famous prayer goes: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." Birth and death are inevitable, so why worry?
In the second verse, we see the cautious wording. Death is certain for that which is born and birth for the dead. But, where is it said that the self is born or it dies? Birth and death belong to the illusion (conventional or traditional usage), not to the self, the substratum for the 'I'. I am not born nor do I die; birth and death belong to the confusion. At best, "birth" and "death" are conventional expressions like the "rising" and "setting" of the sun. For not even the "body" dies finally. Birth and death are two apparent stages in a ceaseless change. They have social implications, but cease to be true when investigated into.
When you drive along a tar road in the morning, you find a mirage. When the sun sets, the mirage disappears (dies). Oh, no, it is not dead; the next morning, when the sun rises, the mirage is born again!
We can accept the inevitable with wisdom and courage only if we are firmly rooted in the truth or the permanent reality which is totally unaffected by these passing phenomena.
Web Editor's Notes