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Dear Reader,

Here is the second installment of the Gita for Children that we started in the last Issue. We hope that you enjoyed the previous one. In case you have any questions, please write to

11. ‘Now who is this “I” that is wearing the body? It is the Atma Arjuna, it is the Atma! By the way, there is no such thing as My Atma, your Atma and so on. It is the same Atma that is present everywhere, wearing many dresses. There is only one Atma, period.’

12. ‘Are you wondering how this is possible? Maybe an example would make things a bit clearer. Just look up in the sky during the daytime. You will see some clouds here and there and empty sky in between. There is water vapour everywhere, including in the spaces between clouds. In some places this water vapour shows itself up as clouds; elsewhere, it is not visible, but it is present all the same.’

13. ‘Notice two other points. Firstly, the clouds keep on changing their shapes, and secondly, no two clouds are alike.’

14. ‘The same sort of thing happens in the world. The Atma pervades the entire world, indeed the entire Universe. Here and there, it manifests via the “dresses” called bodies, not only of humans but also animals, insects, etc. Thus, all living beings are the embodiments of the one Universal Atma.’

15. ‘Recall what I told you about clouds changing their shapes with time. The same sort of thing happens to a living being or the embodied Atma. The being passes through various stages such as childhood, youth, middle age, and old age.’

16. ‘When the body becomes old, the Atma just casts off the body and wears a new “dress”, that is it acquires another new body!’

17. ‘Arjuna, I am telling you all this because you started feeling sad about death. There is no need to because death is just a change of dress, that is all!’ Bhagavadgeetha

18. ‘Your problem is that like all people you are totally focused on the body. You think you are the body. Tell me; are those clothes that you are wearing Arjuna? No, it is just your clothing. You are not the clothes but different from them.’

19. ‘In the same way, neither you nor I or for that matter anyone else is the body. The Atma is our real nature. Death makes people sad because they foolishly identify themselves with the body and become upset when it is gone or about to go.’

20. ‘Arjuna, just think. You are a warrior and you have fought battles before. I am sure you have on occasions slain people in those battles. But all that killing earlier does not seem to have bothered you at all. Yet today, you are feeling miserable even before you have taken the bow in your hand. Why Arjuna, why?’

21. ‘Well, you wouldn’t know the answer and so let Me tell you. Arjuna, you are feeling miserable today because the people likely to die in this war are yours. It is this feeling of “mine” that is really troubling and not death per se. After all, you have slain adversaries before.’

22. ‘Arjuna, this feeling of “mine” comes because of body-consciousness or body attachment. And such an attitude automatically arises when a person thinks he is the body. But I remind you once again, you are NOT the perishable body but the Eternal Atma!’

23. ‘This Atma is indescribably beautiful and wondrous. It is Eternal and beyond both Space and Time. It is neither born nor does it die. Do you understand that Arjuna? Drona and Bhisma are all the Atma, just like you and I are. So how can they die? It is their bodies that would get destroyed, like clothing becoming worn out. Why feel miserable about something trivial like that? One day or the other, old clothes have to be thrown away.’

24. ‘Arjuna, thanks to this process of casting off bodies one after another, there is a practically endless cycle of birth and death for the body. But you must not focus on the superficial aspect. If you focused just on the body, you will see growth, decay and death. Those changes do not apply to the Atma. Those changes do not apply to you but only to your body. Focus therefore on the Atma and not on the body.’

25. ‘This Atma that I am now talking about cannot be cut. Fire cannot burn it nor water wet it. It is everlasting and all-pervading.’

26. ‘In a human being, the Atma shines as the Consciousness and as the Resident of your Heart. By the way, when I refer to the Heart, I mean your spiritual Heart and not the physical heart! This Divine Resident is also sometimes called the In-dweller, or simply as God. Since God is installed within you, you don’t have to look for Him all over the place; just look inside, in your Heart!’

27. ‘Let Me now come down from these sublime heights to something practical. You must be wondering what exactly you are since you have a body and I am here telling you that you are the Atma! The answer is simply this: you are in fact the Atma, but wearing right now clothing called the body. The Atma with a body is sometimes referred to as the JivAtma, or an embodiment of the Atma. Jiva means life or a living object; so JivAtma means Atma within a cocoon called the body. To put it differently, JivAtma is the Atma wearing the dress of the body and the Mind.’

28. ‘The JivAtma is thus like an actor wearing a particular dress. All are actors in this stage called the world. And all are, without being actually aware of this fact, playing different roles in the Cosmic Drama, scripted, directed and produced by God!’

29. ‘As you know Arjuna, in a play, all actors must speak their lines properly. In the drama of life, speaking proper dialogue means following one’s natural Dharma.’

30. ‘This thing that I have just referred to as natural Dharma is also called Swadharma or Atma Dharma. It simply means the Dharma of the Universal Self resident within or, if you prefer, the Atma within.’

31. ‘In simple terms, Arjuna, you must always act in conformity with Atma Dharma – that is what speaking the correct lines really means. Are you lost? Are you confused? Don’t worry; I shall make it simple for you. Following Atma Dharma simply means following the Path of Righteousness, in a perfectly selfless manner.’

32. ‘Consider what you are trying to do right now. A war is about to start between the forces of Dharma and Adharma, and you are supposed to be on the side of Dharma. And what are you trying to do? Drop out at the very last minute, giving all sorts of silly reasons!’

33. ‘Arjuna, do not forget that Destiny has made you take birth as a warrior. That is no accident! You must therefore go through life as a warrior, doing your duty in conformity with Atma Dharma. What exactly does that mean in the present instance? As a soldier, it is your duty to fight for Dharma and against Adharma. But you want to wriggle out of that duty, giving all sorts of lame excuses. Is that correct? Consider. In a drama, can an actor suddenly say, “I don’t like this part” and start playing another?’

(To be continued)