dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
"As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change."
This is the basic principle of spiritual understanding. Everyone is talking of spiritual knowledge, but very few of them may have what is actually the basic principle of spiritual knowledge. Here in this verse of Bhagavad-gītā...
[aside:] I think they understand English, everyone?
Devotee: Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: The basic principle of spiritual understanding... The basic principle of spiritual understanding is to know the spirit soul first of all. What is that spirit soul? That spirit soul is within this body. Dehinaḥ asmin dehe. Asmin, "this"; asmin means this, and dehe means the body. Asmin dehe, in this body, there is spirit soul who is called dehī. Dehī means one who possesses this body.
Just like your coat, your shirt, you possess this coat and shirt, not that you are the coat and the shirt. Try to understand clearly. This is my shirt; I am not this. I am different. I am within the shirt. Similarly, this body, this is gross, coat. Just like you, when you put on your dress, you have one underwear, shirt, and then over that shirt there is coat. It is very easy to understand; there is no difficulty.
Similarly, the spirit soul is within this coat and shirt. What is this coat? This gross body. There are five..., eight material elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego. These are eight material elements. And out of these eight, gross elements we can see or perceive with your material senses. I can touch this earth; I can taste the water; I can smell the air; I can feel the sky. In this way. These are gross.
And still there are finer elements, just like mind. Every one of us knows that there is a mind, but we cannot see it. What is that mind? Everyone knows that there is intelligence, but nobody can see what is that intelligence. Similarly, everyone has his individuality: "I am this," "I am very learned," "I am very beautiful," "I am white," "I am black," "I am Indian," "I am American," this is called ego. So this egotism is there, but we cannot see it. They are very fine things. There is existence, but our this present material eyes, material senses can have experience of the grosser type of materials, not of the subtler or finer types of material.
So there are three finer types of material and five gross materials, altogether eight. Bhūmir āpo 'nalo vayuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva, bhinnā me prakṛtir aṣṭadhā [Bg. 7.4]. These are the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything that we experience, they are different energies of the Lord. Just like we can feel there is fire when we feel heat or light.
We don't see the fire directly, but when we feel warm, we consider there must be fire. Or if there is heat..., I mean there is light, that is fire. Similarly, we can experience the presence of the Lord by His different energies. Parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis yathaiva akhilaṁ jagat [Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.22.52], this whole material manifestation... Because we can see only material things, gross things; but we cannot see, but we can perceive the finer materials.
So the finer materials: the mind, intelligence and egotism, and still finer is the soul. Try to understand. There is soul, but because we have got no vision to see, we think... The so-called scientists, philosophers, they are under conclusion that there is no soul, this is only body, that's all. This is the disease of this present material world. They are... They have no knowledge practically what is the basic principle of this life, and still they are passing on as scientist, philosophers, religionist, yogīs, svāmīs, but they have no knowledge... Clear conception of the soul, they have no knowledge.
So that clear conception of soul you can have from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. He is speaking to Arjuna, and that is recorded by Vyāsadeva and which is presented before us as the Bhagavad-gītā. So we are presenting the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā, as it is, without any malinterpretation. Because we cannot interpret Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is spoken by God, so what He has spoken, there cannot be any mistake, there cannot be any illusion, there cannot be any cheating and there cannot be any imperfectness of the senses.
Others, those who are called conditioned soul... Just like we have got our eyes, but the eyes... We are very much proud of our eyes. We say, "Can you show me God?" But the thing is that whether you can see God, whether you have got the requisite eyes to see God? Just like in your presence there are so many planets—leaving aside all other planets, the sun and the moon.
Every one of us can see in day and night, but still they haven't got sufficient knowledge about the sun and the moon. Why? Because their senses are imperfect. But still they are trying to explain about the sun and moon. That is cheating. They have no sufficient knowledge about the sun or the moon, still they are trying to speak about sun and moon.
If you have no sufficient knowledge on a subject matter and if you want to enlighten others with your speaking, that is cheating. Because you have no sufficient knowledge, why you are speaking to others? That is cheating. He is posing that "I know," but he does not know. This is cheating. Imperfectness of senses. They are declaring that "We are studying the planetary system by," what is called, "telescope." But who has manufactured this telescope? You have manufactured, or your brother has manufactured. But he has got imperfect senses. How the telescope will be perfect?
So this is going on. They are simply cheating public. They have no sufficient knowledge, still they are trying to speak of some subject of which they have no sufficient knowledge. Besides that, the scientist... One scientist proposes, theorizes something today, and another scientist makes this proposition, this theory, null and void and he speaks something else. That is also due to the imperfect of senses.
So that is called mistake or illusion. Mistake means calculation, mathematical calculation: "Two plus two equal to four"; but sometimes by mistake we may put "three" or "five." That is called mistake. And illusion, to accept something for something. Just like we are accepting, when somebody inquires, "Who are you?" you just give identification of your body: "I am such and such. I am an American. I am born of such father and mother, by a..." But this body is not yourself. You are spirit soul. Therefore it is called illusion. And because we are struggling on the platform of illusion, there is mistake, there is cheating, and the senses are imperfect. This is the position.
Therefore, the so-called modern scientific world, advanced, they do not know what is the actual living force within this body which is moving this body. So long the soul or the living force is within this body, it is moving. As soon as the spirit soul is out of the body, it is..., we call it is dead.
So we have got medical science for this body, we have got psychology for the mind—everything we've got—but where is the science of the soul, which is moving the body and the mind? Where is that science? Is there any such science? You are all students, I think. To understand what is the basic principle of moving this body and the mind, is there any department of knowledge in the universities all over the world to understand this science? Is there any?
Then where is your knowledge? Somebody is accepting the mind as the self, and somebody is accepting the..., this gross body as the self. They do not know that both the body and the mind, both of them are material. And the force, or the entity, which is moving this body and mind, that is spirit. So they have no knowledge.
So that knowledge is being imparted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, dehino 'smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Dehī, the soul, the proprietor of the body... Just like you are the proprietor of your body. When I touch your finger, if I ask even a small child, "What is this?" he will immediately say "My finger." He'll never say "I finger." "My finger." Just try to understand. When any part of your body I touch, if I ask, "What is this?" you will say, "This is my hand," "This is my leg," "This is my nose," "This is my..." Everywhere you will say "my." But nobody knows what is that "I." Nobody knows.
But the "I" is there. Otherwise, how you say "my"? When the "I" is not there, we cannot say "my." When you are sitting here, so long you are there, you claim, "This is my shirt," "This is my coat," "This is my book," "This is my friend," "This is my wife," "This is my husband." But when a man is dead, ask him; no reply "I" or "my."
So this human life especially meant for understanding what is that "I." In the bodily concept of life, just like animal, they fight with some piece of flesh, two dogs fighting. The one dog is claiming, "It is my flesh"; another dog claiming, "My flesh." But they cannot understand what is that "I." They are claiming "my," but they have no understanding of "I." Therefore, if a human being simply claims "my"—"my country," "my society," "my wife," "my husband," "my body," "my dress," "my furniture," "my home"—where is "I"? This they do not think. They have no knowledge.
In the school, college, university, there is no such knowledge what is that "I." Simply "my." So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for educating, educate people what is that "I." Everyone is engrossed with things, illusorily thinking "my," but he has no identification what is that "I."
So Kṛṣṇa is giving instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā that "I" within the body is there. And the "I," or the spirit soul, that is changing the body. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]. How changing? Just like a baby. A baby grows to become a child, a child grows to become a youth. Boy, a boy grows to become youth, a youth grows to become old man. So this change is not of that "I." It is a change of the outward body, which is known as shirt and coat. Just like you have coat and you have shirt also. But when the coat is not useful, you cannot use anymore, you throw away the coat, you keep your shirt, then again you find out another coat.
Similarly, the living entity, the living force within this coat, body and mind, there is the soul. The soul is changing one coat to another. Similarly, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. Dehāntara means accepting another body. The soul is changing dresses: sometimes this human form of body, sometimes the cat's form of body, dog's form of body, tree's form of body, beast form of body, demigod form of body, in this way. The same soul. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13].
So try to understand this. This is the basic principle of spiritual knowledge. If you understand yourself, then you understand God very easily. Because we are part and parcel of God. So if I understand myself... Suppose if I am gold, so I am gold part and parcel of the supreme gold. Therefore, if I can understand myself, then I can understand the Supreme. The small particle of gold... Just like goldsmith, those who are dealing with gold, you take a lump of gold for evaluating the price. They will simply rub the same gold on a stone which is called... What is that?
Devotee: Testing stone?
Prabhupāda: Testing stone. And by seeing the color and by testing it with acid, they will immediately evaluate the big lump of gold, what is the value. Similarly, we are a small fragmental portion of God. God is suppose the lump of gold, and we are a little particle of gold. So although we are little particle, by quality we are gold. God is gold; we are gold.
So if you can understand your position, then you can understand God also. Just like from a bag of rice you take a few grains and see, then you can understand what is the quality of rice in the bag and you can evaluate it, price. So if you try to understand yourself, then you can understand what is God. Or other way: if you understand God, then you understand everything. One way is ascending process, one process is descending process.
Just like on the roof there is some sound. Now we are here, we are not on the roof, we may conjecture or theorize what is that sound. Somebody will say some cat must be there; somebody will say that some man must be there. In this way, we can go on, speculate. This is also one process. This is called ascending process. And descending process means if there is one person on the roof, he says, "This sound is due to this," then that is also perfect knowledge. So we get knowledge from the higher authorities, that is perfect knowledge, and that is easier.
So if you study yourself, "What I am? Am I this body? I am this hand? I am this finger? I am this hair?" go on studying, one day it will..., you will come to the point of understanding, but it will take many, many years. But if you take from the authority, just like Kṛṣṇa says that the living force within the body, that living force is changing from one type of body to another.
Just in our life experience, every one of us knows that I was a child, I was a boy. Just like I am an old man. I remember when I was playing on the lap of my elder sister, I remember still, and my body at that time six months old. But I still remember my elder sister, she was nine years older than me, and I was playing on her lap and she was knitting. [end]