The Bhagavad Gita Chapter II Verse 13

“tatah sankhas ca bheryas ca panavanakagomukhah sahasaivabhyahanyanta sa sabdas tumulo ‘bhavat”

“As is the body, the embodied Self passes through childhood, youth, and old age, so is its passage into another body; the wise thereat are not disturbed.”

 

In this verse Krishna is responding to Arjuna’s plea for assistance in making a choice to fight for control of his senses on the path to freedom.

As the physical body matures, ages and withers away, so does the ego.  The ego, also know as our sense of “I”  matures and ages with the body.  As a baby we become aware of ourselves and begin to “flex” our ego, so to speak.  We do not learn “mine” as much as we experience “mine”.  Somehow desire is not taught, it may be reinforced by others but it is part of our physiology.  We are no more taught how to be selfish than we are taught to age.

The “embodied Self”, referred to in this verse of the Gita, is not the ego, but our true selves.  Sometimes referred to as our spirit, energy, life force or prana.  It  is that part that provides the will to live, not to exist but to live with awareness.  This “embodied self” is also part of our physiology, just like our heartbeat and our breathe.  We can speed up our heart rate and breathing or slow them down but we can not stop them.  Our “embodied Self” is similar in that we do not think about breathing our pumping blood through our arteries and veins, it just happens.  We are our breathe, our blood our “embodied Self”.  They are all vital to our individual being our continuance of life.

If we are just existing, going through the motions of life, doing only what we need to make it through this day, week, month, etc,  we may only have glimpses of our embodied self.  If we are using our time and energy to chase and fulfill desires we may experience our embodied self even less frequently. Without self awareness our embodied Self remains latent inside us, dormant or hidden, but it is always a part of us whether we experience it or not.

If we do not become aware of the embodied self it might seem to be on the same cycle as our bodies and egos.  Being born, maturing, aging and dying.  With awareness, or wisdom our understanding of life expands to encounter the realization that our “embodied self” does not die.  Instead it passes from body to body until the time it reaches enlightenment, and only at that time does it stop the cycle of life and death.