In the thirteenth discourse of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna to teach him about nature and spirit, the field and the knower of the field. Krishna explains that the body including the mind, ego, desire, aversion, intellect and other such factors make up the field. The immortal soul, or spirit, is the knower beyond the field. It is that piece of us that witnesses our thoughts, actions, reactions – it is the true self. It is the Lord. once we become aware of this we cannot injure another, for we would be injuring ourselves.
This discourse, for me, is one of the more important ones. It’s where we make the distinction between what is real and unreal. Rene Descarte, the philosopher, famously said “I doubt therefore I think, I think therefore I am” when trying to determine if the world around him was real. He knew that the only thing he could truly pinpoint as real was his own thoughts that were ‘watching’ the world around him. He didn’t know if the entire world was a creation of his own mind or not. To me, this is the same concept as what is being revealed in the Gita through this discourse. Everything around us, in a sense, is a creation of our own mind even when we decide that it’s all real. It is our perceptions that skew our world, that give it meaning, that assigns value (good or bad) to the experiences around us. When we detach from those perceptions and sit back and watch the show, we become the knower of the field. And when we do that we begin to see how we truly are all one, all having this earthly experience together, of being human. And we begin to know that being human is simply a state that we are observing, it is not our true essence. When we are able to detach from this state – even if only for a moment – we begin to see the world very differently. A community of souls experiencing what it’s like to be human.