“The self is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. The self is not slain when the body is slain.” This quote from the Bhagavad-Gita (2:20) as read by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda, a world-renowned yoga spiritual master, explains that the body’s essence—its life force particles—remain to exist long after the body’s death. This is what Jagad Guru spoke to his audience during a lecture on the topic of the existence of self.
On this deeply involved topic, Jagad Guru teaches that “a life particle is what brings matter to life, or makes matter appear like it’s alive. Matter by nature is dead and a life particle is, in essence, intrinsically alive.” Therefore, our body—made of matter—may die, but our essence lives on in the life particles that were previously wedded within the matter substance of our physical body. When our life force particles are “in connection with matter, then matter appears to be alive. But matter, by nature, is always dead.”
On the other hand, Jagad Guru proclaims, “My existence is not going to cease” upon physical death because we do not live in the matter of our body, but in the life force particles. “Life is alive. Life is life. So, I am life. I am a life particle….the body takes on its natural characteristic: dead, a dead body, when the life particle leaves it.” He explains that this is a very traditional view, varying slightly throughout different religious perspectives, but this was even a perspective held by Socrates.
God, the Supreme Person, is our Best Friend. Spiritual life is relating with God, loving Him, as our very Best Friend. We are related to God eternally through a bond of kinship. He is our closest relative and the very foundation of our existence. There can be no person closer to us in an absolute sense than our Supreme Friend. However, when we come into this material dimension, we are immediately plunged into forgetfulness. Although we are eternal spiritual beings, part and parcel of the Supreme Person, when we fall under the influence of material nature, we forget our spiritual origins.
We become covered by layers of material energy that we take to be our self. Instead of knowing that we are the spiritual individual merely wearing the material clothes of the body and mind, we become convinced that we actually are these clothes. Our natural spiritual inclinations and activities become increasingly suppressed as we become more and more absorbed in the world of matter. We forget what our life was like before we entered the material world, and also do not remember our past lives within the world of matter. We even forget our relationship with very closest Friend, the topmost love of our life, God.
The depth of our forgetfulness is so severe that many of us have completely forgotten that God even exists. And among those of us that do at least remember His existence, very few remember what He is like. In such a forgetful condition, it is very difficult for us to have a close relationship with Him. We feel much closer to our parents, spouse, children, peers, even our pets, and so we spend most of our time and energy cultivating our relationships with them. Because we do not feel a deeply intimate and loving personal connection with God, we do not give this relationship priority in our lives – even though He is actually the closest Person to us.