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It is explained in the Bhagavad Gita that every life is governed by deeds and actions from past life which is why some people are blessed with a silver spoon in their mouth while some suffer, which means life is pretty much predetermined. Now how will the life be determined for people in their very first birth since they have no previous birth to derive from ?

marked as duplicate by Akshay S, Chinmay Sarupria, The Destroyer Jan 31 at 5:58

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! There is no first birth to start with. Everyone has infinite births going back in time infinitely. – Chinmay Sarupria Jan 30 at 14:57
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    @ChinmaySarupria that is an answer to the question. – Zanna Jan 30 at 15:30
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    @Zanna I don't have any source so I can't post answer. But this question is already answered before but I haven't been able to find it yet. – Chinmay Sarupria Jan 30 at 15:33
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Now how will the life be determined for people in their very first birth since they have no previous birth to derive from ?

According to Vedanta, there is no first birth. The Jivatma has no beginning in the cycle of life and death.

The great Vedantic philosopher Rāmānujāchārya has stated in his work Vedartha Sangraha, or "summary of the meaning of the Vedas," the following:

The crown of Vedas i.e., The Upanishads, which lays down the good of the whole world, enshrines this truth: A seeker, after first acquiring a true understanding of the individual self and the Supreme and equipped with the performance of the duties pertaining to his station in life, must devote himself to the meditation, worship and adoring salutation of the blessed feet of the supreme Person. This done with immeasurable joy leads to the attainment of the Supreme.

The individual self is subject to beginningless nescience, which has brought about an accumulation of karma, of the nature of both merit and demerit. The flood of such karma causes his entry into four kinds of bodies — heavenly, human, animal and plant beginning with that of Brahma downwards. This ingression into bodies produces the delusion of identity with those respective bodies (and the consequent attachments and aversions). This delusion inevitably brings about all the fears inherent in the state of worldly existence. The entire body of Vedanta aims at the annihilation of these fears.......

The [Brahma Sutra] aphorisms connected with this issue are, ‘Partiality and cruelty are not to be ascribed to Brahman, because of the dependence on karma’, and ‘If it be said, “There is no karma, as there was no differentiation” we deny that supposition on the ground of beginninglessness; it is reasonable and so found in actuality (B.S. 2;1:35-36)’.

The Brahma Sutras, written by Rishi Vedavyasa, themselves state that the Jivatma has no beginning in samsara; there was no "first birth."

2.1.34 - Not inequality and cruelty, on account of there being regard; for so (Scripture) declares.

2.1.35 - If it be said 'not so, on account of non-distinction of deeds'; we say, 'not so, on account of beginninglessness'; this is reasonable, and it is also observed.

Ramanujacharya's commentary for Sutra 2.1.35:

But before creation the individual souls do not exist; since Scripture teaches non-distinction 'Being only this was in the beginning.' And as then the souls do not exist, no karman can exist, and it cannot therefore be said that the inequality of creation depends on karman.--Of this objection the Sûtra disposes by saying 'on account of beginninglessness,' i.e. although the individual souls and their deeds form an eternal stream, without a beginning, yet non-distinction of them 'is reasonable' (i.e. may reasonably be asserted) in so far as, previous to creation, the substance of the souls abides in a very subtle condition, destitute of names and forms, and thus incapable of being designated as something apart from Brahman, although in reality then also they constitute Brahman's body only. If it were not admitted (that the distinctions in the new creation are due to karman), it would moreover follow that souls are requited for what they have not done, and not requited for what they have done. The fact of the souls being without a beginning is observed, viz., to be stated in Scripture,'The intelligent one is not born and dies not' (Ka. Up. I, 2, 18); so also the fact of the flow of creation going on from all eternity, 'As the creator formed sun and moon formerly.' Moreover, the text, 'Now all this was then undeveloped. It became developed by form and name' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 7), states merely that the names and forms of the souls were developed, and this shows that the souls themselves existed from the beginning. Smriti also says, 'Dost thou know both Prakriti and the soul to be without beginning?' (Bha. Gî. XIII, 19.)--As Brahman thus differs in nature from everything else, possesses all powers, has no other motive than sport, and arranges the diversity of the creation in accordance with the different karman of the individual souls, Brahman alone can be the universal cause.


Summary

The Jivatma is eternal (was never created), and has always been in Samsara. According to the Vedas, the Jivatma takes birth in a body according to it's karma done in previous bodies. This implies that the soul has no first birth.

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You said:

Now how will the life be determined for people in their very first birth since they have no previous birth to derive from ?

Actually, your answer lies very much in the Bhagavad-Gita itself. There is no such thing as "first birth" for a Jiva. "First birth" implies souls are created but that is not the case since every Jiva has always existed just as Bhagavan has always existed. Krishna Himself states this explicitly in the Bhagavad Gita:

It is not at all that once I did not exist, nor (that) you, nor that all these kings (did not exist at anytime). And surely it is not that all of us shall not be existing hereafter. (Bhagavad-Gita 2.12)

Sripad Ramanujacharya has tried to rearrange these words to make it more easier to comprehend in his commentary on this verse:

"I, who am, as you know, the Lord of all, in beginningless time prior to this present, did not cease to exist, that is, did certainly exist. It is not that these embodied souls like you, who are subject to (My) control, did not exist, that is, I and you, "hereafter" that is, after the present time, shall not be existing. We shall (all) be certainly existing. Even as there is no doubt in regard to the fact that I, the Supreme Self and the Lord of all, am eternal in the same manner you (i.e. you, Arjuna and these) who are (all) embodied individual souls, are also seemed to be eternal"...

Later, in Bhagavad Gita 2.20, Krishna Himself again stress on the eternal nature of the soul:

Neither is this (Self) ever born, nor does (it) ever die. It cannot be that it (i.e. this Self), having been in existence (in the past), will not be in existence again (in the future). This (Self) which is unborn, eternal, constant and ancient (as well as new), is not slain when the body is slain. (Bhagavad-Gita 2.20)

So to sum it up, there is no such thing as "first birth" for any individual jiva. Souls are never created, just like Bhagavan is never created. Bhagavan and individual Jivatmas has always existed and will be also remain to do so.

  • "Neither is this (Self) ever born, nor does (it) ever die. It cannot be that it (i.e. this Self), having been in existence (in the past), will not be in existence again (in the future)." - Then what happens on attainment of moksha. Also its hard to imagine life was there without first birth. – user1232138 Jan 30 at 23:54
  • @user1232138 The soul gets freed from the cycle of rebirth. – Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Jan 31 at 7:47
  • "Also it's hard to imagine life was there without first birth" - Think of a number line where 10 is moksha but there are infinite numbers before 10. – Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Jan 31 at 7:49
  • Thank you Surya, the concept of moksha makes better sense to me now. However I'm still finding it hard to understand how a soul incurs bad karma if it was always present and never born. Who or what ascribes it bad karma and why? Who decides its joy or misery in manifest form? Shouldn't all souls have the same nature and meet the same fate and be joyful or miserable since they were all equal and always present? – user1232138 Jan 31 at 8:10
  • @user1232138 The Jivatma is always eternal but due to eternal, we cant say it has infinite births before. Where this Jivatma was before this Samsara etc.. even if we get answer from texts we wont be satisified because we havent realized. All these answers are found only through yogic sadhana to path of Moksha. Personally I think Jiva has its first birth in Samsara but what caused it is something we ourselves have to find the answer! – Akshay S Jan 31 at 10:18
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According to Sri Krishna, we are born out of the Avyakta and again with death merge with the Avyakta(Gita 2/28):

O descendant of Bharata, all beings remain unmanifest in the beginning;; they become manifest in the middle. After death they certainly become unmanifest. What lamentation can there be with regard to them? (Translation by swami Gambhirananda)

This whole creation or Maya is known to be 'Anadi' ie without any beginning.

Sri Krishna says to Arjuna (Gita, 4/5)

[The Blessed Lord said O Arjuna,] many lives of Mine have passed, and so have yours. I know them all, (but) you know not, O scorcher of enemies!

He however assures all by saying (Gita, 7/14):

Since this divine Maya of Mine which is constituted by the gunas is difficult to cross over, (therefore) those who take refuge in Me alone cross over this Maya.

(All translations by Swami Gambhirananda)

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