Gita Daily Readings

7th October
Chapter XIV: 14-15
If the embodied one meets with death when sattva is predominant, then he attains to the spotless worlds of the knowers of the highest.

Meeting with death in rajas, he is born among those who are attached to action; and dying in tamas, he is born in the womb of the senseless.

Commentary

Krishna has already emphasized the great truth that one's subsequent birth is determined by the bhava (state of one's inner being) at the time life departs from the body. Now he expands the idea.

If that bhava is sattvika, he will ascend to higher regions. Though in the literal sense the verse does imply that even if by accident the wicked man is in a sattvika state, e.g. he is in holy company, he will rise to a higher region; normally this is not possible. At the time of departure from the world that quality alone will prevail which has been predominant most of our life.

Two conclusions are derived from this:

(i) That we should endeavor to keep the heart and mind always sattvika, by remembering God constantly.

(ii) Whatever has been the biography of the dying man, those related to him would do him the greatest service if they, at the slightest premonition of the end, surround him with a spiritual atmosphere, singing of God's names, recitation of scriptures, etc., and prevent any show of worldly affections and attachments which will effectively prevent him from rising higher in evolution.

The fact has been clearly stated here that it is not inevitable that the soul returns to this earth; it may do so, or it may ascend to the regions of pure souls or descend into the worlds of the senseless (human or subhuman).

In photography, the quality of the print depends on the state of the negative. Similarly with nature. Abandon the complacent attitude that once a human being, always a human being. If the heart and mind are subhuman, where is the injustice in earning a subhuman birth?

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