इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते ।
एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विदः ॥१३-१॥
Lord Krishna addresses King Arjuna… O Arjuna! In spiritual parlance this human body is also called Kshetra… field where one can work out ones karma. And one who realizes this sublime truth is called Kshetrajna… the knower of absolute truth!
As per Bhagavad Gita, only a traveler of spiritual path was competent to understand this hidden sublime truth of life… that karma can only be worked out through a body! In absence of a body, it was not possible for a soul atman to manifest itself… gain absolute purity. Every soul atman… the spirit within needs a medium, a body to cleanse self of dross impurities within!
Lord Krishna says, O Arjuna: for every traveler of spirituality it was pertinent to understand that human manifestation… the existence of life in cosmic system was not without reason. For a soul atman to work out its karma, cleanse self of dross impurities within… a body was needed! Similar as one KG of pure gold existing in a lump of hundred KG of gold ore could not extract self of its own, and needs requisite mining machinery and processes … every soul atman also needs manifesting itself through a chain of 8.4 million bodies in its entire life cycle.
It is for this primary reason… a human body is also called Kshetra, a place for soul atman to work out its karma… remove dross impurities within! In its entire life cycle of 8.4 million manifestations… the initial 7.3 million manifestations by a soul atman occurred in insect, plant and animal life! In the remaining 1.1 million manifestations in human form… a soul atman was expected to reach cosmic end of life when human beings gained enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) forever. The path of spirituality demands human beings negating their karma to zero forever.
In absence of dross impurities within… the need for a soul atman to manifest another body now ceased to exist. The purified soul atman need not indulge in karma any further.
To understand precept of Kshetra in totality… we had to understand what karma of Hinduism was all about. As detailed in Hinduism scriptures, karma indulged by human beings in present life need not fructify in present life. This simply means… whatever karma we indulged in present life, the fruits of the same may become available to us in present manifestation, next life or many manifestations henceforth. When a gardener sows seeds in garden, plants and trees bore fruits only at the destined moment. We could never expedite ripening of fruits before the threshold period. Similarly, karma in actual life bore fruit only at opportune moment… never before!
As per Bhagavad Gita… human form was the highest manifest stage in cosmic life cycle! It was only in human form a soul atman could finally reach 8.4 millionth manifestation. This became possible when human beings by undertaking spiritual journey came to understand hidden cosmic truths of life… and gaining absolute purity at the end of journey, became pure soul atman forever. Spiritual path is a journey that every single human being on mother earth was mandated to take. Whether we travel spiritual path now in present life or leave it for future manifestations is our sole personal prerogative.
Human beings had free will. We had a total of 1.1 million manifestations in human form to cross over ocean of Samsara (earthly life) before we as a soul atman gained absolute purity. How we plan our life is up to us… even God Almighty did not interfere in earthly human affairs. We must never forget… we are not a body manifesting a soul atman but we are cosmic consciousness… a soul atman, the spirit within that manifested human body to work out its karma! It was purely in our interest to reach cosmic end of life… gain absolute purity forever! The purified soul atman finally entered abode of God… kingdom of God (termed Vaikuntha in Hinduism).
In Bhagavad Gita chapter 13 verse 1, Lord Krishna further says to Arjuna that knower of absolute truths of life was called Kshetrajna… the knower of all! Travelers of spiritual path, those in search of God truly understood what Lord Krishna meant by calling human bodies Kshetra and one who reached cosmic end of life… self realized souls like Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa or Maharishi Ramana as Kshetrajna. In simple words a Kshetrajna is one who gained enlightenment and reached cosmic end of life! Such a pure soul finally took moksha salvation and reached Vaikuntha (kingdom of God)… moment one left the mortal frame.
Ever since a soul atman left cosmic abode… it got mired in impurities similar as a rolling ball gathers moss! To cleanse self of dross impurities within started cosmic life cycle of every soul atman. Every single manifest stage including human form is but a temporary sojourn for a soul atman, the spirit within! As per Bhagavad Gita our soul atman, the spirit within was the only abstract truth of life! We are primarily a soul atman and not the manifest physical human form. To realize our true nature one had to travel spiritual path, never path of religion (path of rituals)!
Reaching stage of enlightenment is the ultimate goal of every Karma Yogi! Working our karma in right direction as detailed in Bhagavad Gita is travelling spiritual path in right earnestness. Indulgence in daily routines of life constitute part of karma but the hidden part of karma that played vital role in cleansing our true inner self is indulging in nishkama karma way of life… offering fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time. We had to indulge in selfless service all the time to reach God. God can only be reached by working for entire mankind… not indulging in self vested interests as is the norm of today!
Why do we forget that after death of mortal frame… what gets carried to next life was residual balance of karma, never the physical manifest riches of life! Indulging in good karma, positive karma was essence of spirituality. God can never be reached just by indulgence in teachings contained in sacred Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism. Our performing right karma, indulging in positive karma all the time was the most important attribute of spiritual aspect of human life! Realizing true inner self is reaching God in one’s lifetime.
Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – April 13, 2013
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