Great Men Think Alike: about Rebirth

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1.Death and birth are like sleep and the waking state respectively—Tirukkural in Tamil by Tiruvalluvar couplet 339.


2.The affinity of the body and the soul is like that of the egg and the chick within. The soul departs from the body even as the chick deserts the egg—Tirukkural in Tamil; couplet 338.


3.One should cease to identify oneself with one’s false bodies, like an actor giving up his assumed mask –Adi Shankara in Viveka Chudamani Verse 292 in Sanskrit.

nest and bird

4.‘’For death had illumined the land of sleep

And his lifeless body lay

A worn out fetter, that the soul

Had broken and thrown away’’ (Longfellow in Slave’s Dream)


5.You grieve for those who you should not grieve for, and yet you speak words about wisdom. Wise men do not grieve for the dead or for the living (Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 2-11)


6.Just as a person casts off worn out garments and puts on new clothes, even so does the embodied soul cast off worn out bodies and take on others that are new (Bhagavad Gita 2-22)


7.Weapons do not cleave this self, fire does not burn him; waters do not make him wet; nor does the wind make him dry. He is said to be un manifest, unthinkable and unchanging. Therefore knowing him as such , you should not grieve — (Bhagavad Gita 2-23 & 2-25)


8.He is never born, nor does he die at any time, nor having come to be will he again cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, permanent and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain (Bhagavad Gita 2-20).

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9.If the red slayer thinks he slays,

Or if the slain thinks he is slain,

They know not well the subtle ways

I keep and pass and turn again (Emerson in his poem Brahma).


10.When Crito asks, ‘In what way we bury you, Socrates? Socrates answers, ‘ in any way you like, but first you must catch ‘me’, the real ‘me’. Be of good cheer, my dear Crito, and say you are burying my body only, and do with ‘that’ ,whatever is usual and what you think best.


11.Gautam the Buddha consoled the mother who lost her only son while yet a child by asking her to go into town and bring him a little mustard seed from any house where no man has yet died. She went and found there was no family where death has not entered. Buddhist nun Patacara consoled many bereaved mothers in the following words:


12.‘ weep not, for such is here the life of man

Unasked he came, unbidden went he hence

Lo! Ask thyself again whence came thy son

To bide on earth this little breathing space

By one way come and by another gone….

So hither and so hence—why should ye weep? (From Psalms of the Sisters quoted by Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan in his Book on Gita)


13.Repeated birth, repeated death, and repeated lying in mother’s womb—this transmigratory process is extensive and difficult to cross: save me O Destroyer of Mura (Murahari=Krishna), through your grace!—Adi Shankara in Bhaja Govindam, verse 21.


Compiled by London Swaminathan; read earlier post Great men think alike : about Wealth.

Pictures are taken from various websites;thanks. Contact:



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