“We are not this body, but an eternal atma!” A statement that is repeatedly and heavily emphasized in spiritual discourses, affects an audience in a multitude of ways. It may trigger an intrinsic curiosity in some and confusion in others. It may even inspire some to immaturely feign a position on that platform while others may not even bother beyond a poetic, coffee table discussion.
Therefore, essential historic examples embedded in Dharmik scriptures, facilitate the present generations in reconciling between the knowledge of “we are not this body”, with the obvious practicality of, “we have this body at our disposal”.
Moreover, param Brahman appears in this world to demonstrate the synergy between apparent and transcendence. The purpose of His actions and teachings are binary; to effectively submit to the laws of the universe (Krida), and simultaneously to gradually rise above the body and material governance (Lila). Krida, is defined by rules and regulations and Lila, is full of loving spontaneity, devoid of any laws. The Lord does not reject the body nor ignore the position of the soul.
A great philosopher once said, “Between me and God, there is the body (i.e., physical body, country, race and civilization). The needs of which when denied, costs payment with interest; this accumulated burden eventually perpetuates a deeper identification with the body.”
Requisite survival of the body is indispensable to serve the cause of transcendence. Similarly, the larger cultural bodily needs lie in a healthy country and race, which also needs to stand and endure. Certainly, the body, country, race and religion are not our end goals, but they are precious tools to achieve our objective. Thus, Sri Krishna declares in the Gita, “Whenever there is a decline in Dharma, I come to establish it again and again.”
Therefore, crucial work is to transcend the material realm, however, the urgent need of the moment is to secure the body, cultural civilization and a Dharmik country. Denial of the latter condition causes continuous confusion. Actually, the Mahabharata beautifully illustrates this principal of, “being in this world to go beyond this world.”
Hence, to strike a balance between knowing, “I am not this body”, and living in a way that the macro and micro body thrives to assist our freedom, unbound by time and place, is real Dharma.
Does that make sense?