The Gita says that each one of us has had multiple births in the past. Millions, billions, I don’t know, maybe countless births. The soul keeps changing from one body to the next. Probably once an ant, to once a deer to once a human being and so on. It also adds that attaining liberation is possible via a human birth alone – because only in this birth do we have the ability and capacity to understand what liberation really means and takes. In all these births, we have in one way or another been associated with all the people around us. In one, today’s sister may have been an uncle. In another, today’s uncle may have been a grand-daughter, and so on.
This is somewhat like an experience most people who love to drive would have had, especially long distance. More often than not, on short patches of maybe 50 kilometres, we will find another vehicle that drives at nearly the same speed, and maintain a temporary unsaid relationship. Navigating through the same traffic, passing the same slow cars in equal frustration (followed by relief), once taking the lead, once falling behind, almost having a mini unarticulated drag race. You know it’s nothing, yet the feeling of a duel is palpable, even if only to yourself and the other driver, while all other passengers are blissfully unaware. And then one car, either yours or theirs, needs to make a pit stop – to buy water, to drink some chai, to have a bite, to fill some petrol, or just take another path. And the race is over, almost abruptly. Only to be resumed a few kilometres later, but this time with another vehicle. And another after that, and another. The cycle repeats ad infinitum. Until the journey itself comes to an end, i.e. liberation.