(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 04 August 2018, Vrindavan, India, Bhagavad-gita 4.9)
In Germany Srila Prabhupada was speaking with professor Durkheim. In that discussion they were speaking about the soul being eternal and separate from the body. Prabhupada said, “The body actually does not die because it is never alive. Never was there a moment when it was alive. It is the soul that is alive and that makes the body move and animates it. But otherwise it is not alive.”
Of course, as conditioned souls, all this philosophy is something we can only remember and remind ourselves about, because to realize this is not so simple. To actually experience this is very difficult. But we see that some great personalities are completely dhira – completely undisturbed. They have absolutely no relationship with the material energy.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam there is the example of the sage Dadhīci (Canto 6). As we know, the demigods have a much greater level of enjoyment than human beings. They have a very long life and a very nice standard of enjoyment but there is only one problem – the demons. The demons are always attacking so there is always war and constant fights. On one occasion the demigods needed a weapon which was to be made from the bones of Dadhīci who had performed a lot of austerities. So they went to Dadhīci and asked him, “Can we have your bones?”
In most cases when people start to ask for our bones, we are not so eager to give our bones! But in this case Dadhīci had no concern whatsoever. He was ready to give these bones. He said, “Just wait a minute. Let me give up the body and then you can take the bones.“ So he had absolutely no attachment to the body; absolutely no identification with the body. For a Vaisnava the essence is to identify as the servant of Krsna and to simply begin devotional service.
bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje, (SB 1.7.6).
Then that devotional service will remove all the anarthas – all the unwanted things, including identification with the body.
So we may initially philosophically understand that we are not this body but we cannot realize it actually. It is more difficult to realize when we are about to be wheeled into the operating theater – at that time the blood pressure may be a little higher than usual. So it is difficult to have this aloofness fully realized. But philosophically we understand and then we engage in devotional service. It is through devotional service that we actually realize this experience of brahma-bhūtaḥ, of having nothing to do with the material energy – in a more advanced stage of devotional service. And it is at that stage also that we can engage fully in devotional service because these two enhance each other. As long we are in the bodily concept of life to a degree, we are not able to fully connect with Krsna. Part of understanding the nature of Krsna is also understanding our own nature as being his parts and parcels – his vibhinamsa – his separated parts and parcels and as such being of the same nature – being of sat-cid-ananda as Krsna is sat-cid-ananda. Then we can realize our potential. When we are not realizing it then we are in illusion.