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Thread: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

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    Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Namaste,

    Having given some thought to the nature of rebirth recently, I have been pondering over this quote from Gita when Krishna tells Arjuna that "whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body... that state he will attain without fail" and trying to understand it properly. I am already aware that the mode of the new body will be determined by one's past actions (karma) and, as the text from the Gita I have just referenced, one's state of mind. But it sounds almost as if the text suggests that if a man, dying on his deathbed, considers up until the last moments of his life who and what he is and what may lie in the great beyond after he draws his last breath, will be reborn as a human in the next life. But what if this man has spent much of his life committing the most heinous of crimes, generating bad deeds and karma for himself and others... would his merely contemplating his life as a human and remembering his being human save him from say becoming reborn as a lower form of consciousness, such as an animal? Also, which would be more indicative of the nature of soul's next body - his karma or his bhava, or is it a mixture of both?
    "Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

    ॐ गं गणपतये नमः
    Om Gam Ganapataye namah

    लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु ।
    Lokaah SamastaaH Sukhino Bhavantu

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté sunyata07

    Quote Originally Posted by sunyata07 View Post
    . But what if this man has spent much of his life committing the most heinous of crimes, generating bad deeds and karma for himself and others... would his merely contemplating his life as a human and remembering his being human save him from say becoming reborn as a lower form of consciousness, such as an animal? Also, which would be more indicative of the nature of soul's next body - his karma or his bhava, or is it a mixture of both?
    A reasonable assessment. Yet in MHO in the last seconds of ones life , of those that are not at peace with themselves, there is not much contemplation going on, other then struggling to remain alive.

    It is the person infused with sattva that will have little problems remembering the name of the Lord, or his iṣṭa-devatā. During the last few minutes ( I am told) the jñānendriya-s ( organs of cognition) start to shut down. This in turn brings havoc, fear and desperation. Not much clear thinking goes on to remember things of choice. Yet to the wise that is seated in the SELF, all the commotion occurs outside of his/her level of peace. S/he remains grounded in peace.

    Let me ask you do do this... you are alive and awake, fully capable of making choices of your actions and thoughts. Let me ask you to keep the Lord's name in your mind/presence for a day, or 1/2 day. Is this possible for you to do this? Then compare that to one that is just about to pass away.
    What is possible to do and think from one that is fully alive and can make choices to one that is about to pass... the lamp of the will is about to be extinguished. What will that person be thinking ( the one of crimes, mischief, etc)?

    praām
    Last edited by yajvan; 06 November 2009 at 09:30 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Namaste:

    Interesting topic, not just of the Gita, but just in life (or death, as that is the topic) .

    Personally I believe the animal birth to be somewhat of a myth,although I have been told it can happen, only in rare circumstances. They are twofold: when severe alcoholism or drug addiction has had a grip, and in tragic sudden accidents. In both cases mental confusion, albeit for different reasons, is the state of mind. In the first case, the addiction has led to unclear thinking. In the second case, it is because of a lack of time for preparation.

    This preparation is a key factor. In my personal experience, (not much, really, just observing my own parents and other elderly people) most people dieing of old age, or incurable disease seem at peace with themselves. Even those with atheistic tendencies have a sense of 'I accomplished what I could" and enter pre-death consciousness in a relatively clear frame of mind. There is great relaxation as the minute approaches in a natural way. It is not a fight to the bitter end, as some would say. Now this is just my own view from personal experience and from the tradition I follow.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Namaste Sunyata,

    Quote Originally Posted by sunyata07 View Post
    Having given some thought to the nature of rebirth recently, I have been pondering over this quote from Gita when Krishna tells Arjuna that "whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body... that state he will attain without fail" and trying to understand it properly. I am already aware that the mode of the new body will be determined by one's past actions (karma) and, as the text from the Gita I have just referenced, one's state of mind. But it sounds almost as if the text suggests that if a man, dying on his deathbed, considers up until the last moments of his life who and what he is and what may lie in the great beyond after he draws his last breath, will be reborn as a human in the next life. But what if this man has spent much of his life committing the most heinous of crimes, generating bad deeds and karma for himself and others... would his merely contemplating his life as a human and remembering his being human save him from say becoming reborn as a lower form of consciousness, such as an animal? Also, which would be more indicative of the nature of soul's next body - his karma or his bhava, or is it a mixture of both?
    Quite a valid & thought provoking doubt.

    I shall offer my opinion here which is not much different from what Yajvan ji has offered.

    It is not as easy as it seems. My father used to tell a few real life stories of dying people ... some people cannot utter a simple word like, "RAM" at that time. And at the last moment, I have myself seen people getting more attached to things they loved than anything else. Lord Krishna says, "SadA TadbhAvbhAvitah" in the same verse i.e. at the last moment he will have only those thoughts which he has nursed his whole life.

    Now what is this, "BhAv" or "thoughts" ? Does it mean that if he thinks of wealth he will be born as a wealthy person. No, this verse doesn't say so. He will be born with the same BhAv i.e. with attachment to wealth. It also doesn't guarantee that he will be born as a human being. A dog may have his own idea of wealth, say "lots of juicy bones".

    On birth in other species (mentioned by EM), it should be much more than what has been expressed. Otherwise, a dog born as dog has hardly any scope to improve & human being however, cruel & selfish will have a guaranteed life as a human being every time. Apart from Hindu scriptures which speak of such births, it is explained in detail in Buddhist's scriptures too. The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying gives a detail picture of what happens after death, as has been told by the masters. According to this book, the JivAtma after death, roams here & there before its time to take birth again ripens. At that time, it gets attracted to thoughts related with a particular species etc. & thus gets attracted to the waiting womb.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    wouldn't it make sense that people who live like animals are reborn as animals? they may be bad or barbaric people by civilised peoples' standards but they are born into a place where people live like animals so they are basically a product of their environment. Most people in the world probably live like this. Also animals which are domesticated and have a relationship with humans (pets) are probably likely to be reborn as humans. Maybe that accounts for population growth (domestication of animals)?

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Quote Originally Posted by rainycity View Post
    wouldn't it make sense that people who live like animals are reborn as animals? they may be bad or barbaric people by civilised peoples' standards but they are born into a place where people live like animals so they are basically a product of their environment. Most people in the world probably live like this. Also animals which are domesticated and have a relationship with humans (pets) are probably likely to be reborn as humans. Maybe that accounts for population growth (domestication of animals)?
    Yes, if God thought like you !

    God, by definition, is just ( as he is omnipotent, there is no incentive for him to be unjust). If what you say is true, then those who are born rich & born in wealthy countries will always be born like that & those who are born in poverty will always be born poor ! This is no justice. This defies the Karma theory. Your birth is decided by your Karmas i.e. action. In fact, it would be correct to say that your birth in a particular environment is decided by your past actions & not that your present environment decides your next birth !

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Quote Originally Posted by sunyata07 View Post
    Namaste,

    Having given some thought to the nature of rebirth recently, I have been pondering over this quote from Gita when Krishna tells Arjuna that "whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body... that state he will attain without fail" and trying to understand it properly. I am already aware that the mode of the new body will be determined by one's past actions (karma) and, as the text from the Gita I have just referenced, one's state of mind. But it sounds almost as if the text suggests that if a man, dying on his deathbed, considers up until the last moments of his life who and what he is and what may lie in the great beyond after he draws his last breath, will be reborn as a human in the next life. But what if this man has spent much of his life committing the most heinous of crimes, generating bad deeds and karma for himself and others... would his merely contemplating his life as a human and remembering his being human save him from say becoming reborn as a lower form of consciousness, such as an animal? Also, which would be more indicative of the nature of soul's next body - his karma or his bhava, or is it a mixture of both?
    Shruti says.punah pranah punaratma , means there is reincarnation , what the body is taken , that is other matter .
    One very interesting scientific proof I tell you . When there is some heavy storm , earthquake etc. some animals specially dogs start barking in a very strange voice and this is due to wavelengths they receive . Now if there is a death case to be happened in vicinity , the dog in adjacent area will start barking in a very strange voice as if he is seeing some special thing usually like seeing another stout dog .

    Shruti says that the master of death , Yamraj has two dogs with him see

    Shwanau chaturakshau shabalau , te shwanau yam rakshitarau chaturakshau

    Means your four eyed stout dogs , O, Yamraj .

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    A person dies when his brain is dead and the brain works without oxygen for about 3 to 4 minutes, after the heart stops. IMHO, like Lord Buddha who under the bodhi tree saw all of his previous incarnations, during these 3 to 4 minutes, the person sees his entire life and perhaps the veil of maya is removed and could clearly decide what he wants to become in his next life so that he can partially neutralise his bad karma.

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Quote Originally Posted by kd gupta View Post
    Shruti says.punah pranah punaratma , means there is reincarnation , what the body is taken , that is other matter .
    One very interesting scientific proof I tell you . When there is some heavy storm , earthquake etc. some animals specially dogs start barking in a very strange voice and this is due to wavelengths they receive . Now if there is a death case to be happened in vicinity , the dog in adjacent area will start barking in a very strange voice as if he is seeing some special thing usually like seeing another stout dog .

    Shruti says that the master of death , Yamraj has two dogs with him see

    Shwanau chaturakshau shabalau , te shwanau yam rakshitarau chaturakshau

    Means your four eyed stout dogs , O, Yamraj .
    Perhaps dogs have the ability to see auras. They can certainly sense fear.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Bhagavad-Gita: 8:06 - On being reborn

    Yet in MHO in the last seconds of ones life , of those that are not at peace with themselves, there is not much contemplation going on, other then struggling to remain alive.
    What is possible to do and think from one that is fully alive and can make choices to one that is about to pass... the lamp of the will is about to be extinguished. What will that person be thinking ( the one of crimes, mischief, etc)?


    Namaste, Yajvan. That's a good observation. I find that it's actually quite true that people who have led a more wanton or destructive lifestyle will be much "body-conscious" than most other people. Perhaps their impending death may even heighten their sense of body consciousness, so that in the last few minutes of their life they will think of things that relate to how they can be affected on a physical level: "Will I burn in hell?" or "When I die [the body] will I cease to exist?" Depending on the number and severity of transgressions, some individuals will be more prone to thinking back over their lives than others. Some will probably be too rooted in fear for living in the moments before death that they will not think back to what their lives have meant, what kind of choices have led up this to moment. Then again, others as you have pointed out, will most likely be unable to think of anything but the "judgement" they face when they die (if there is such a belief in their minds).

    Last of all, and this is a very extremist example I am using, you may have the psychopath who works for his whole life for the benefit of himself. This character honestly has no guilt or regrets about what he has done to himself or to others. He will commit horrific acts of murder on his closest family members without feeling sorrow or regret, and probably has never really had a "friend". Living in this state of no-guilt and focus only for himself, what state of bhava might he have at the time of this death? Perhaps he has atheist views, and has no care whether there is a hereafter or not. It's an extreme example, I am giving, but for hypothetical reasons I am wondering about if when I read about how bhava can determine the next birth.

    In my personal experience, (not much, really, just observing my own parents and other elderly people) most people dieing of old age, or incurable disease seem at peace with themselves. Even those with atheistic tendencies have a sense of 'I accomplished what I could" and enter pre-death consciousness in a relatively clear frame of mind.
    Now what is this, "BhAv" or "thoughts" ? Does it mean that if he thinks of wealth he will be born as a wealthy person. No, this verse doesn't say so. He will be born with the same BhAv i.e. with attachment to wealth. It also doesn't guarantee that he will be born as a human being. A dog may have his own idea of wealth, say "lots of juicy bones".

    On birth in other species (mentioned by EM), it should be much more than what has been expressed. Otherwise, a dog born as dog has hardly any scope to improve & human being however, cruel & selfish will have a guaranteed life as a human being every time. Apart from Hindu scriptures which speak of such births, it is explained in detail in Buddhist's scriptures too. The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying gives a detail picture of what happens after death, as has been told by the masters. According to this book, the JivAtma after death, roams here & there before its time to take birth again ripens. At that time, it gets attracted to thoughts related with a particular species etc. & thus gets attracted to the waiting womb.
    Namaste EM and Devotee,

    Interesting that you say you think the animal rebirth is more of a myth than anything. I agree with you in that I am inclined to think rebirth into higher and lower planes is not as simple as some people have believed. I don't believe it's as straightforward as being reborn into an animal of slaughter after one has been cruel to animals in the previous human life. If you consider the example in my last sentence of the individual who has been cruel to animals and who unneccesarily commits himsa to creatures he sees as being "below" him, or perhaps killing them for his sport. I would imagine this mentality would not just be confined to his being unkind to animals; let us say he behaves in this manner for his entire childhood without proper instruction or admonishment from parents or guardian figures. If he is allowed to nurture this destructive side, would his bhava eventually lead him to commit himsa against his fellow human beings, and maybe even his family?

    Haha... "juicy bones" - well, it's a good analogy, I guess. I have often wondered what will happen to my dog after she dies. Eventually rebirth as a human, I hope. But maybe I will begin another discussion on animal rebirth another day. For now, I think I'd rather focus on human rebirth as humans are capable of (as far as we know) self-questioning. While I have not read the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, I have read somewhere before that Tibetan Buddhists believe that the period of time between death and rebirth lasts for 49 days. Another interesting question might be how much of its past life can a jivatman remember, or well its memories disappear the moment the prana leaves the body entirely?

    OM Shanti
    "Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

    ॐ गं गणपतये नमः
    Om Gam Ganapataye namah

    लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु ।
    Lokaah SamastaaH Sukhino Bhavantu

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