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How Is It Possible That There is No First Birth?

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न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपा |
न चैव न भविष्याम: सर्वे वयमत: परम् || 12||

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

Bhagvad Gita 2.12

देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा |
तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति || 13||

Just as the embodied soul continuously passes from childhood to youth to old age, similarly, at the time of death, the soul passes into another body. The wise are not deluded by this.

Bhagvad Gita 2.13

मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदु: खदा: |
आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत || 14||

O son of Kunti, the contact between the senses and the sense objects gives rise to fleeting perceptions of happiness and distress. These are non-permanent, and come and go like the winter and summer seasons. O descendent of Bharat, one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

Bhagvad Gita 2.14

It’s helpful to distinguish between three aspects of a human’s existence: 1) the physical body (sthula sharira) 2) the subtle body (sukshma sharira), and 3) consciousness (chit or satcitananda).

Interestingly, the subtle body and consciousness do not have a beginning. They have always been there. There never was a first time that someone became aware or had a thought. This is because the subtle body and consciousness are eternal and non-changing.

The physical body, on the other hand, is not eternal. It is born and it dies. The physical body is a manifestation of the subtle body. It is not the same as the subtle body, but it is derived from it.

What is Atma?

Atma is one all-pervasive consciousness that is manifest in us all. It is the eternal principle that resides in the subtle body or consciousness. The subtle body is like a vehicle for atma to experience this physical world.

There was no first birth for a human being. We’ve had an infinite number of prior births because this universe was preceded by an infinite number of universes. The universe is cyclic, meaning there is an infinite number of loops. You have undertaken an infinite number of prior births. Therefore, there is no first birth.

What We Learn From the Gita

The subtle body and consciousness are always there, whether we are aware of it or not. It is only when we become aware of it that we can begin to work on ourselves and grow spiritually. The Gita teaches that we are eternal spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience. The physical body is just a vehicle for atma to experience this physical world.