Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This influence of karma affects body and mind. But, what was said in the Ashtavakra, in reality these are all external things. The effect of karma does not touch you at all.
This matter is one step ahead; so both are true. See, do you ever feel that, ‘I never grew old, or aged, I am the same?’ Isn’t that true? Ask any elderly person, no matter how old, he will tell you that he doesn’t feel he is going to die and poor fellow dies. And he looks at someone else and says, ‘Poor fellow died, I am not going to die’. Doesn’t it feel that way? It does!
There is something within us which never dies. That is why we feel that we are permanent. All others will come and go.
And then there is another thing that is true, that according to our karma and time, old age creeps into the body. Hairs fall off. In the past it used to take me one hour to comb my hair, then half an hour, and now, not even one minute! Maharajji doesn’t have to do anything! So some changes occur with time, we should observe that. On one level, if we observe, everything is changing, our thoughts are changing, and we are no longer the person we were yesterday. Isn’t that so? The person you were five years ago, and the person standing here today, are they different or not? Is that true or not? Yes! Yet it is not the same person who used to be; this is on one level. On another level, the same person is standing here who was here ten, twenty or twenty-five years ago. Isn’t it? So both are true, this is true and that is also true. Everything changes, this is true, and some things never change, that is also true. Ashtavakra emphasises on that which never changes. Gita also emphasises on that which is changing, such as karma, how to manage it etc.