Reincarnation Changing Bodies, Reincarnation

Published on October 25th, 2015 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

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Understanding Reincarnation from Bhagavad-gita

Bhagavad-gita in just a few words sheds so much light on the subject of reincarnation. In the Eighth Chapter Sixth Verse Lord Krishna says:

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”

Changing Bodies Large

The process of changing one’s nature at the critical moment of death is explained here. It is a very scientific process and in one line only we can understand the whole thing. Our state of mind at the time of death determines the state we will attain after death.

So we can understand from this that we are eternal. Even though our bodies will get old and die, we, the spirit souls within the bodies, do not die. Death is simply the soul leaving one body and going somewhere else.

And this verse very clearly and scientifically states what determines our destination after leaving this body. And that is our state of mind.

So there are many examples. If one is very much attached to swimming and surfing in the ocean then the human form of body is not very good for that. So if at the time of death one is dreaming about swimming and surfing in the ocean then Krishna may mercifully award him the benediction of getting the body of a fish in his next life. In that way he can swim in the ocean to his hearts content.

But a fish does not have the ability to ponder the meaning of life. All a fish is conscious of is how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex and how to defend himself. His thoughts will never be able to rise above these basic animal needs. It is only in the human form of life that we have the ability to question: “Why am I here?”, “What is the purpose of life?”, “Where did I come from?”, “What will happen after death?”. Finding the answers to questions like this is the purpose of human life. This is how the Brahma Sutra starts: ahato brahma jijnasa: “The purpose of life is to question about brahman.” Brahman means the spirit.

So the human form of life is a great facility which we can use to raise our consciousness form the material platform to the spiritual platform. And from reading this verse we can understand if we die in Krishna consciousness then after death we will certainly attain the state of Krishna consciousness.

So how can one die in the proper state of mind? Maharaja Bharata thought of a deer at the time of death and so was transferred to that form of life. However, as a deer, Maharaja Bharata could remember his past activities.

Of course the cumulative effect of the thoughts and actions of one’s life influences one’s thoughts at the moment of death; therefore the actions of this life determine one’s future state of being. If one is transcendentally absorbed in Krishna’s service,then his next body will be transcendental (spiritual), not physical. Therefore the chanting of Hare Krishna’s is the best process for successfully changing one’s state of being to transcendental life.

Srila Prabhupada has given us a very perfect method so that we can live in this material world but at the same time remain conscious of Krishna constantly. So if we practice this, constantly thinking of Krishna, constantly chanting Hare Krishna, then naturally at the time of death we will be thinking of Krishna and we will attain the state of Krishna consciousness after death.

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37 Responses to Understanding Reincarnation from Bhagavad-gita

  1. prathiba chatterjee says:

    Respected Sir, I would like to continue. i feel very good when i read your letter.

  2. Lakshmi says:

    I am not receiving any mails from you. I enjoy reading your emails. Pls dont disconnect this .

    • You are still subscribed but I am not writing the mails very fast because I have so much other service. In the meantime I suggest you READ SRILA PRABHUPADA’S BOOKS. You will find so much wonderful inspiring Krishna consciousness there…

  3. made oka subawa says:

    Haribolo… Hare Krishna…All Glories To Srila Prabhupada…The Karma’s (accumulative of our action) will brings us to reincarnation except that karma is dedicated to service (bhakti) our Lord Shri Krishna

  4. Seema says:

    Hare Krishna Sir,
    if a person is suffering from a disease related to thought disorder like schizophrenia, how can we convince that person for Krishna Consciousness. I am talking about my brother, I really wish if he could have become aware of Krishna Consciousness.

    • Hare Krishna Seema

      It is very difficult for these people who have problems with their minds to take to Krishna consciousness. The beginning of Krishna consciousness is controlling the mind. This control of the mind is necessary for making advancement in Krishna consciousness. And these people have no control over their minds unfortunately.

      But he will benefit by taking Krishna Prasadam and by hearing the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.

      Krishna consciousness can cure all these mind problems but it is very hard for the people who are affected by these problems to actually follow the process like chanting a regular number of rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra.

      Sometimes devotees spend a lot of energy preaching to this type of person and even get them to live in the temples, etc, but usually it does not work out very well. It is best to spend our time and energy preaching to people who have the ability to comprehend what we are saying, they have to have a properly functioning mind really.

      But of course your brother you have to make some effort. So Prasadam is very powerful, hearing the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra from the lips of a pure devotee is very powerful, and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books is very powerful. So if somehow he can become attached to one or more of the nine processes of bhakti [sravanam kirtanam smaranam pada sevanam archanam vandanam atma nivedanam] then there is no reason actually why he can not become a pure and great devotee of Krishna. Krishna consciousness really is transcendental to and does not depend on the mind.

      But practically speaking generally these people are very difficult to preach to and very unstable. So you can try but I think it is not a very good idea to dedicate a huge amount of time and effort to it. We have to put our energy where it will be appreciated and have some good effect.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  5. Deepika Sharma says:

    I want to know about holy book Geeta

  6. prathiba chatterjee says:

    Hare Krishna, Thank you for sending me such glories of Srila Prabhupada.. I must be thankful to get such a knowledge. I wish i will get more knowledge about Shri Krishna.

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Ram Rama Hare Hare

  7. HARE KRISHNA,

    I AM VASKAR HALDER TRYING TO BE A DEVOTE OF ALMIGHTY KRISHNA. I WANT TO ASK YOU ONE THING IS THAT IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE
    “BHA-GAVAD GITA AS IT IS”- PDF VERSION DOWNLOADABLE FOR FREE- NOT ONLY FOR ME ACTUALLY I PREFER PRINT VERSION BUT TO MAKE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT GITA AND TO SPREAD KNOWLEDGE IS IT POSSIBLE AND ALSO SUGGESTING EVERY DOWNLOADER(PERSON WILL DOWNLOAD FOR FREE) TO READ PRINTABLE VERSION. I THINK THAT AS IT WILL BENEFIT EVERY ONE AND ALSO THEY MAY PURCHASE PRINT VERSION ALSO THEY WILL VISIT TEMPLE ALSO WILL BE ALE TO MEET DEVOTE.

    ON THE OTHER HAND AS YOU WILL ALSO GET MORE SUBSCRIBER TO SPREAD KNOWLEDGE.

    ANOTHER REQUEST, AS I KNOW I AM JUST A KIT SINNER EVEN FAR BAD THAN A SERVANT, SO I WILL REQUEST YOU TO TAKE MY “PRONAM” ALSO GIVE ME BLESSING BY FORGIVING ALL MISTAKES AND OTHERS.

    NOTE: I AM ASKING ONLY FOR BHA-GAVAD GITA NOT FOR ALL BOOKS OF KRISHNA STORE.
    PLEASE CONSIDER MY REQUEST.

  8. archan says:

    hare krsna ☺
    Have a doubt dies living someone and marrying that person irrespective if caste affects one’s krsna consciousness?

    • We should marry someone who is a devotee of Krishna. And the idea of the marriage should be that we will help each other advance in Krishna consciousness and bring some nice children into the world and train them up as devotees of Krishna.

      The point is you should marry a devotee and the purpose of the marriage should be to increase your service to Krishna.

  9. hariprakash says:

    If we are part of shree krishna.. then whats the significance of having different kinds of looks and appearances.. if this body has no significance then what is the purpose behind being male, female..brahmin non brahmin etc.. why are these discriminations for??..

    • Hare Krishna Hariprakash

      We are part of Krishna but at the same time we have our own identity and our own individuality.

      So we are a different person from Krishna. That is why we can love Krishna. There is no meaning of love unless there are two persons.

      As far as the material bodies in the material world there is no significance. We are not these material bodies. They are changing all the time. It is just like putting on a shirt. We are not the shirt. One day we can wear a blue shirt, the next day we can wear a red shirt. That does not make us blue or red. No. We are the spirit soul withing the body. That is important, that has some meaning, our spiritual body.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  10. hariprakash says:

    Hare krishna

    If i m a part of krishna.. what is the significance of human faces and gender ??. Because we dont choose either of the above..

    • Hare Krishna Hariprakash

      There is no permanent significance of human faced and gender. These are parts of our temporary material body which is constantly changing. So at the time of death, according to our consciousness at the time of death, we will be transferred to a different body that will have a different face and possibly a different gender also.

      So the material body is not important. The whole point of Krishna consciousness is to come to the realization that we are not these material bodies but we are the eternal spirit soul which is within and which is controlling these material bodies.

      So it is us, the eternal spirit souls, that are important, not the temporary material bodies.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  11. Nisha Iyer says:

    Hare krsna. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

    I have a question prabhuji. As u explained that at whatever state of being one quits the body, will attain the next body.
    But during earthquake, heart attacks, accidents, sudden death. One is in a shock state of mind. And what if he is a krsna conscious person but he is shocked when he has an accident or gets heart attack. This death happens in a fraction of a second.
    Then how are we suppose to remember narayana at the time of death. As yumdutas will take away the soul immediately.

    Please advice prabhuji.

    Regards,
    Nisha

    • Hare Krishna Nisha

      That is why we have to practice to always remember Krishna. So whatever happens we will be remembering Krishna at the time of death.

      At the time of death what is the most prominent thing in our life will come into our minds. So if the most prominent thing in our life is Krishna He will come into our mind at the time of death.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  12. Hare Krishna

    If according to this text that reincarnation is according to last thoughts or desires as given in example of the person who might like swimming and surfing and therefore would be reincarnated as a fish but isn’t that in contrast to the perception of Hinduism that each life depending on virtue is an elevated life form from the previous till the soul is cleansed enough to attain salvation?

    • Hare Krishna Ash

      Your ‘Hindu’ philosophy is incorrect, wrong, bogus. It is true for the lower species that there is an elevation from one species to the next automatically. But once the spirit soul reaches the human form of life he has developed consciousness and the conception of right and wrong, good and bad. And he has the ability to choose to do good or to do bad. So the future incarnations of the soul in the human form of life are determined by how he utilizes his minute independence. If the soul uses his independence for good then he is elevated but if he uses his limited independence to do bad then he is degraded back into the lower species of life in his next birth.

      So it is not that one will automatically advance after the human form of life. He can either go up or go down depending on the choices he makes in the human form of life.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  13. Oka Subawa says:

    Haribolo, Hare Krishna Prabhuji….

    PAMHO, reincarnation is the effect of the karma but when the karma touch “bhakti” – Krishna bhakti then there’s no reincarnation. Is that correct prabhuji? Krishna is only understood by “bhakti”

    Bhakti mean selfless services without material desires

    Your servant,

    • Hare Krishna Oka

      Reincarnation only stops for pure devotees of Krishna. The point is if we maintain some material attachment even while we are serving Krishna, then because of that material attachment we will be forced to take birth again in the material world. But a pure devotee of Krishna has no attachment to anything in the material world. His only attachment is to Krishna and serving Krishna. So for such a pure devotee of Krishna there is no reincarnation.

      But also such a pure devotee of Krishna does not mind taking birth again in the material world if that is what Krishna wants him to do. A pure devotees attachment is to serving Krishna. So a pure devotee does not actually see any difference between the material and spiritual worlds. He can engage in the service of Krishna in the material world or he can engage in the service of Krishna in the spiritual world. The point for him is to be always engaged in the service of Krishna. It does not matter, serving Krishna in the spiritual world or serving Krishna in the material world.

      But the devotees who are not pure, the devotees who maintain some attachment to things in the material world, they are not free from reincarnation. They will have to keep on taking birth in the material world and suffering until they become pure devotees of Krishna free from any material attachments.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  14. Taruna says:

    Sir I am very scared of death . I fear ambulance , hospitals and thought of loosing my my any lived one . Can Krishna help me !!

    • Yes. You need to become Krishna conscious and realize you are not this material body, you are the spirit soul within the body. And as the spirit soul you will realize you are eternal and you never die. So you need to study the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If you do that then all your problems will be solved.

  15. Shashank says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu!

    Sometimes it becomes monotonous and difficult when I try to read books daily. I was wondering if there was a sort of forum where the curious people could discuss things at length with the devotees book wise and verse wise to check if our understanding is complete (may be with cross referenced verses on same topics). Because while only reading books I still feel missing out on something, as if I am not doing enough.

    Thanks for this great website !

    • Hare Krishna Shashank

      It is because you have not read Prabhupada’s books enough, not chanted Hare Krishna enough, not distributed enough of Srila Prabhupada’s books to the fallen conditioned souls.

      Actually Srila Prabhupada is personally present in his books and so is Krishna and the whole disciplic succession. You are not missing out when you read Prabhupada’s books. That is maya tricking you only. Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books is the best association.

      We have started:

      http://findkrishna.com

      for the sort of devotee sadhu sanga you are looking for. You can create an account there and associate with the devotees there.

  16. rudy says:

    “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”
    Please give some example so that the above statement can be understood

    What is a soul? What is it made of How does it operate? What proof is there that it exists and that our consciousness is not only a product of our brain activity

    • Hare Krishna Rudy

      There are many examples. In the article I gave the example of someone who is very attached to swimming in the water and if at the time of death he things of swimming in the water then in his next birth he can take the body of a fish so he can very comfortably swim in the water all the time.

      Every species of life provides some facilities for something and depending on the consciousness of the person at the time of death he will take his next birth in an appropriate body that matches his consciousness.

      If a human being acts like an animal for example. Animals eat, sleep, mate and defend. So if a human is only concerned with these base animal instincts of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, then actually he is not human, he is a two-legged animal, so his consciousness is animalistic, not human. So his next birth will be in an animal’s body to match his animal consciousness.

      The idea is to elevate our consciousness to Krishna consciousness so we remember Krishna at the time of death. That is the purpose of this Hare Krishna movement. To reorganize our lives so we are able to always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna.

      As far as the soul, we are the soul, the body is just an outer covering like a dress or a shirt. It is the soul that is acting. The body is a machine only which is operated by the soul. Without the soul the body is lifeless and useless. The proof that the soul exists is consciousness. The consciousness is the symptom of the soul. When the soul leaves the body the consciousness ceases and nothing can bring that consciousness back. Even if the brain is still in perfect condition if the soul has left the body there is no way you can get consciousness back. The scientists may be able to stimulate the brain and cause some activity in it but they can not bring the consciousness back. That is the proof that the brain activity is not the cause of consciousness. The brain activity is caused by the consciousness, the soul.

      The soul is made of pure spirit. Brahman. The soul is made of the same substance that Krishna is made of. We are qualitatively the same as God but we are very tiny and He is unlimitedly great. It is something like comparing a drop of sea water to the ocean. Both are salty, both are qualitatively the same, but the ocean is so great and the drop is so small.

      So the soul is ‘made’ of spirit, brahman, the same substance that Krishna is ‘made’ of.

      The soul is eternal, it never takes birth and never dies, so the soul is never ‘made’. Like Krishna, the souls have no beginning and no end. They are eternal.

  17. Lila says:

    Hare Krsna
    All glories to Srila Prabupada
    I would like to know if you are in agreement with Rochana das.
    If you are, I would like to be removed from your mailing list.
    Thank you

  18. Cleveland says:

    PAMHO
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada

    Hare Krsna prabhu,
    Please tell me how an individual’s desires along various levels of intensity affects and plays a role in his state of mind and state of consciousness. Please tie your reply and explanation into the subject title of this article.
    Your insignificant servant,

    bhakta Cleveland

    • Hare Krishna Bhakta Cleveland

      This whole material world is driven by our desires. This material world is only a manifestation of our desires. The purpose of the creation of this material world is to provide a place where we can live out the illusion of trying to be happy separately from serving Krishna.

      Actually we are all eternally servants of Krishna. It is only because our true nature has been covered by illusion, by maya, that here in the material world we have forgotten our eternal relationship with Krishna.

      And we have forgotten our relationship with Krishna because we wanted to become the master ourselves. We wanted to become like Krishna. So of course that is not possible actually. Krishna is eternally the master and we are eternally the servants of Krishna. We are servants eternally. We can never actually become the master.

      But sometimes some of the living entities develop this desire to become the master. So it is Krishna’s great mercy upon us that He creates this material world as our playground and He sends us here and we can try to play god here. And that is what everyone is trying to do here if you note it carefully.

      So this material world is created by Krishna based on our desires. It is however created in such a way that our desires will be always frustrated ultimately. So that after many, many births of suffering and frustration in the material world a thoughtful person will realize there is only Krishna and he will surrender to Krishna and serve Krishna.

      Our consciousness is a product of our desires. Whatever desires we have we work to fulfill them, we meditate on them, so this creates our consciousness. This is of course connected to the subject matter of this article which says our consciousness at the time of death determines our next birth.

      So the whole idea is to desire to become Krishna conscious and if we work for fulfilling that desire under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master then we will certainly attain Krishna consciousness and that will be the perfection of our lives.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • nikhil agrawal says:

        After death does soul takes immediate body or after 1 yrs people do barshi after 1 yr they say after one yr soul gets another body

        • Hare Krishna Nikhil

          There is not a fixed time like this. It is an individual thing and depends on the consciousness of the soul at the time of death. If he is sinful the servants of Yamaraja will come for his soul at the time of death and take him to the hellish planets. He may have to suffer there for a very, very long time. Thousands and thousands of years or more, to suffer the punishment for the sinful activities he has performed in this life. Only then will he get the chance to take birth again. And there is no guarantee it will be on this planet. There are so many planets and universes and he can be sent to any one of them.

          In India people imagine that the souls of the loved ones take birth again in the same families and while this may happen sometimes it is not normally the case at all. Normally the time of death means we are separated from that soul forever practically. The example is given that on a river you see some twigs and sticks floating by together in a bunch and after a while there is some turbulence in the water and those sticks all go in there own directions and never meet up again. That analogy is used to describe our situation in the material world. We come together, like the twigs in the river, as a family and then there is some disturbance and we are all separated never to meet again.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

  19. aashish says:

    Hare Krishna,
    . all glories to Srila Prabhupada.. Prabhu ji my name is Aashish saxena. I have question which is really makes me confused . One of my family member is the devotee of one spiritual Master and that Master says to meditate on divine light in the heart and then the Master send the yogic transmission to the hearts of the disciple and remove their samskar and with this process the disciple will merge into God after leaving body.
    Also I have question one of my Christian friend showed me in the bible it is written that only Jesus is the way to God all other ways are evilish…. And it Is written in bible that if anyone not believe in Jesus will cast out to the hell on the judgement day. And my friend said to me all are evil except Jesus…..
    So I’m hurt and confused please Prabhu ji help me to remove these things from my mind it will be blessings for me from you. Please …..
    Hare Krishna.

    • Hare Krishna Aashish

      Yes. So many people are preaching so many crazy things. It is very confusing for the general people. As far as meditating on divine light it is nonsense. One can not meditate on light. There has to be some substantial substance to meditate on. If one is meditating on ‘divine light’ and some nice girl walks by then immediately he will be meditating on the nice girl. This is hopeless, meditating on ‘divine light’. It will have no effect whatsoever. We need to meditate on Krishna. We have seen that great devotees like Haridas Thakur become completely detached from all material activities and desires simply by chanting Hare Krishna and by meditating on Krishna. In this age the only practical way to spiritual advancement is chanting Hare Krishna. There is no other way.

      As far as your Christian friend and his Bible although there are many very nice things in the Bible and we accept Lord Jesus Christ as an empowered incarnation of Krishna we do not have any actual recordings of the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament of the Bible was not written by Jesus. It was written by his disciples and not till thirty years or more after his death. The Bible is full of contradictions and the Christians, although sometimes seemingly sincere, are very confused and have no actual idea of God at all.

      Over time the Bible has been adjusted for political and other reasons so we do not have a clear and actual record of the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this ambiguity and the contradictions in the Bible Christians have come up with so many incorrect ideas and philosophies. So we can not accept the Bible as an authoritative book. We have to accept the Vedas as the authority. So in Bhagavad-gita we find that Krishna says: yada yada he dharmasya… “Whenever there is a discrepency in following the religious principles I descend Myself [or send my representative] to reestablish the religious principles.” So we can clearly understand that this is an ongoing process and Krishna Himself has come, many incarnations have come and many pure devotees have appeared and their mission is always the same. To reestablish the religious principles and to protect the devotees and to kill the demons. And this is going on time and time again.

      It is because the nature of the material world is forgetfulness. So religious principles are established by Krishna or His representative at one point in time but after some years everything is distorted and the actual purpose and the original message is lost. So there will always be this need in the material world for Krishna and His representatives to appear time and time again to reestablish the religious principles. So we accept Lord Jesus Christ as one of Krishna’s representatives who reestablished the religious principles in one place and at one time. But Jesus is not the only representative of God. This is another faulty Christian idea. They say God only has one son, Jesus. But how is it that I can have many sons but God can only have one son? If that were true I would be greater than God. So this idea is wrong. Nonsense. God has unlimited sons. In fact we are all sons of God.

      There are so many problems with Christianity and the Bible and Islam and the Koran and the Jews and their books. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that the scriptures of the meat eaters are contradictory. In fact a meat eater is unable to understand spiritual life. So we are never going to find anything very substantial or very authoritative in the scriptures of the meat eaters.

      Everything in their books is derived from the Vedas but they do not have the proper or complete understanding. Particularly now so many years after Lord Jesus Christ has disappeared from our vision…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa



About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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