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The doubt regarding the existence of the soul

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The doubt regarding the existence of the soul

Shri Amar Muni

Two sorts of vyapti

It has already been said that if we like to use inference, we should know previously the relationship of dependence between 'sadhya' and 'hetu' (major term and reason). Now it is necessary to state clearly that there are two kinds of Vyapti-Sambandhas:

1. the relationship of agreement in presence viz. Anvaya--vyapti (relationship through co-existence of two,

2. vyatireka vyapti (the relationship of agreement of the two in absence ).

Anvayavyapti (Agreement in presence): This is the statement of the presence of the hetu and sadhya Where there is the hetu (reason) there is the sadhya (major); as in the case of smoke and fire.

Vyatireka--Vyapti:- (Agreement in absence): This is said to be present in a situation where the relationship is opposite to Anvaya e.g. where there is no sadhya there is no hetu as where there is no fire as in a lake, there can be no smoke. Another example, if other philosophers do not believe in the omniscient Jinendradeva as the reverend Supreme Lord, then there is no Jainatva (Jainhood) in them.

1. Where there is no Anvyavyapti but where there is only Vyatireka-Vyapti we cannot make any inference, just as when we see a man doing strange abnormal actions, we infer that he is possessed by a ghost. But here when we have not seen a ghost, how can we find Anvayavyapti e.g "Wherever there are abnormal actions, there is ghost's possession." We have not seen such a thing previously because a ghost is not a thing that can be seen. Yet where there is no possession by a ghost there is no abnormal action. This kind of Vyatirekavyapti is found, and if this is found, we infer possession by ghost. Absolutely in the same manner, activity and refrainment from activity are seen in a living body and not in a dead body; so, as in the case of possession by ghosts, we can make an inference about possession of the body by the soul. We can say: "Wherever there is no soul's contact, there are no independent activities".

2. A machine manifests a regular and particular kind of working, but the body as opposed to the machine manifests many strange activities. Therefore, we have to infer the existence of some entity dwelling inside the body as in the case of a body possessed by a ghost.

3. The body is like a beautiful mansion supported by two pillars; therefore there must be somebody as its creator and a governor of its actions just as in the case of a house or a cottage in a forest. The body is a machine-like system. All the activities in the body are mechanical. In the head there is the brain which functions like a highly sophisticated computer or a telegraphic office. It is the centre of such activities as receiving messages, communicating them, formation of concepts by associating meanings to perceptions by means of sensitive nerves and under that office there are for the enjoyment of soul the sense-organs, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the skin which are media through which the sovereign soul is overwhelmed with joy on seeing the glories and gracefulness of creation. They are like five windows through which the soul perceives the world around by the intervening medium of the senses. The soul as the proprietor-sovereign, by means of these five senses, enjoys such things as dreams, music, gardens, flowers, sweets and soft objects, that are presented to him. In the same manner, musical instruments are fitted in the throat of this mansion of the human body, the heart contains power, below it there is a store and a kitchen and still below urinal and latrine. Who has built this amazing factory? Who governs, controls and organises all these things? The answer has to be that it is the Soul. If we say that God is the creator of those things, he is proved to be an engineer with imperfect knowledge and abilities because he has created a body which is greedy of food and drinks and which has to move about carrying the burden of such foul things as urine and faeces. Why did God create such an imperfect body? See the pitiable condition of man. He can look ahead but cannot see what is lying and happening behind! Why did He create such an imperfect eye? In this world, some are beautiful; some are ugly: some are healthy and some are unhealthy; some possess eye-sight and some are blind. Why did He create such differences? If you say that all these things occur according to their karmas (luck) here the question arises "Whose Karmas are they?" If you say that they are the soul's karmas then the existence of the soul (jiva) is proved.

4. The body, the senses and the limbs are the objects of enjoyment. If so, who is the one who is the enjoyer? Just as there is somebody who takes delight in wearing fine dress, there is an entity which takes delight in possessing a beautiful body. Who is this entity enjoying pleasures? The two legs and two hands are like servants. Who makes use of them? The answer is that it is the soul or the sovereign Atmavam that extracts work from them. The jiva is like a sovereign king ruling over the body and residing in it. As long as the king lives in the palace, the palace is kept clean and all its parts also have a new look but if the king leaves the palace, it becomes desolate and ruined because without the householder the house is void and vacuum. If the gardener in the form of 'soul' (jiva) is not there, the body withers away like an uncared for garden. Who can take care of the body and can enjoy it if there is no soul?

5. The five senses are merely instruments. If that is so, who is the controller of the senses, whose purposes do they serve? Naturally, it is the soul that gets them to do work. Pincers and forceps cannot work by themselves. Someone must be there who uses them and gets work done by them.

6. If the body, the senses and the limbs carry out their work in obedience to the orders of some independent governing entity, then who is that independent governing entity? The answer is clear. It is the soul. It itself moves the pupils of the eyes here and there to see as desired, and makes the hands and legs move according to its own desire. It can also, as desired, keep them still. The body cannot be considered the owner controlling these various activities, because it is a form of a combination of all those various senses and organs. The body is not an independent entity. We cannot consider even the mind as the ordering entity because even that is dependent. It does not like to drink bitter medicine; yet it has to drink such medicine. Who makes it drink such medicine? When a person is sick, the mind hankers after eating unwholesome food; still who restricts this mind and stops it from eating what it likes to eat? It is the soul that does this. The soul is an independent proprietor. The mind is the manager. The mind sends waves to the various senses according to the inner tastes, likes and dislikes of the lord and owner dwelling in the body; and impels the various senses and organs to engage themselves in violent or non-violent activities etc. Those who utilise rightly this very valuable independence in giving the mind a good direction, in impelling the senses and organs to be of the pure soul, in the right way, and who engage themselves in auspicious activities, can cross the ocean of samsar.

7. Who controls and regulates the various activities of the body, limbs and senses? Who checks the sneeze? Who makes the eyes close to stop seeing something undesirable? Who makes the feet stop in the middle, while walking? Who impels the organ, on seeing the danger, at once, to stop passing urine? In the same manner, who is the one that saves us from speaking reproaching words intended to be spoken due to anger. Who is the independent controller of such actions an-l activities? Who organizes all these activities? Naturally, we must admit that the soul does all these things.

8. When a quarrel arises among the senses, who functions as the judge to settle the dispute? As for example, the eyes inform us that a certain article is made of silver, while the touch reveals that it is tin-coated. The entity that thinks about it and gives an undoubted judgement is the soul; not the hand or the mind; because they are merely instruments. When the eyes see a green mango they inform us that it is sour. But when soul makes the tongue taste it, and it gives a sweet taste it disproves the idea given by the eyes. Without the soul as the interpretor and judge, how can the dispute between the tongue and the eyes be compromised, since their objects are utterly different and individually independent and since their perceptions are contradictory? Who says, "By sight I find that the mango is sour and unripe; and by taste, I find that it is ripe and sweet?" Here we have to admit that the sayer 'I' is the soul.

9. This body like a house or money is an object of attachment. If so, who develops attachment for the body? The house, money, iron-safe, furniture and other such objects cannot exercise any attachment by themselves because they are inanimate. The one who develops attachment for all these is an independent, individual, animate entity. "My body is tired. Now it cannot walk around as ordered by you". Who says this? The body itself cannot say this. The one who has such attachment for the body is the soul. Now you see that attachment arises from practice, hence how can a new-born child have attachment for his own body? Since it is new born, it has no practice. Therefore, we have to believe that becaue it has attachment even from birth, it has inherited impressions of attachments from its previous births. Thus, the independent existence of soul as the link between the two births is proved.

10. Who experiences the joys and sorrows of the mind? A man eating delicious food is in a happy mood; but suddenly, if he receives a telegram which says that he has incurred a loss of thousands of rupees, he becomes sad on hearing this news. Who experiences mental agony? The joy of having eaten delicious food exists in the body; and no harm has been done otherwise; so, we have to believe that the soul experiences that agony. In the same manner, when we get a festering finger cut off, the body seems to have been freed from pain because it is saved from further festering and pain. But who worries throughout life by thinking "Alas! I have lost my finger?" It is the soul which experiences this life-long sorrow.

11. The body of a child acquires its shape from its parents; still, at times the child is seen possessing different qualities and nature which are dissimilar to those of its parents. Why so? By nature, the mother may be irritable, while the child may be calm, cool and peaceful. Why So? It has to be admitted here that in the two bodies, there are two independent and different souls which have brought into this world, the different impressions of their experiences of their past (janmas) births. Therefore, the two persons differ from each other in nature and possess different qualities. The impressions or impact of both are different.

12. The potter knows that form soft clay, an excellent pot can be made, so he works on the soft clay to get desired pot. This signifies that for the activity or the withdrawal of an activity, we should have prior knowledge of the means of the desired ones and the hated ones. Then only can we move toward the means of the liked ones and withdraw from the means of the hated ones. A new born child has to suck its mother's breast for the satisfaction of its hunger. From where did the child get the knowledge that the sucking of the mother's breast is the means to satisfy its hunger. You may say that the mother makes him aware of it but that is not the case. She can place the tip of her breast in the mouth of the child. That is all. But who taught the child the process of sucking? The mouth of a child is not like a blotting-paper which can naturally suck the milk of its mother; nor is it a magnet which naturally attracts and absorbs milk. If this is so, why does the child give up sucking of its own accord, after it is satisfied? Consequently, we have to admit that the child engages itself in sucking because of the knowledge of the means and its desire. This knowledge that sucking breast-milk satisfies its desire is derived from the impact of the experience of its previous birth. We have to believe that the child's soul had experiences in its previous birth and those experiences created the impressions, otherwise who is the container (supporter) of the Samskar (past impressions)? The body of a newly born child is inert. So, it cannot be the container. What relation does it have with impressions of the previous body, since it did not exist in the previous birth? How can this inanimate body know what is liked and what is hated?

Knowledge is not a quality of the body. If the knowledge is not a quality of the body, then is it worthwhile that it should eat Kheer, a sweet milk-pudding first; and take curry afterwards and gather both in the stomach? The body has no consciousness. Are there separate compartments in the stomach? No, but there the soul is incapable of keeping them separate; therefore, it has to bear with all this. It is capable of placing them separately in the mouth and of chewing them separately. All this is the work not of the body, but of the conscious soul; and therefore when soul gives up the body, the activity of eating ceases, even if the body exists. This proves that the activity is of soul; not of the body.

13. In the same manner, in the twins born to the same parents, we find differences in respect of nature, fondness, habits, tastes, desires, attachments, etc. Why so? The parents are the same. In the same manner, one of the twins learns with a little teaching, while the other does not. Why so? One experiences great delight in carrying out religious and spiritual activities like worshipping God etc. while the other has less interest in them. Both grow up in the same environment but why this difference? It must be admitted here that those sufficiencies and deficiencies. and inabilities arise on account of the varied impressions of previous births. This implies the existence of the soul.

  1. In the lives of persons, we see the psychophysical activities of the mind, voice and the body; the desire for carrying out the four endeavours (purusharthas, (Prana) breathing, or consciousness of (jnana-Darshan) knowledge and precept, the sentiments of anger, pride, deception, avarice, passions and the various leshyas (mental states) like the Krishna (Black) Leshya etc. the instincts, (Samjnas) relating to food, sensual pleasures, possessions and fear, the inauspicious tendencies like attachment, hatred, joy, lamentation, sorrow and agitation, perturbation etc. the inauscipious tendencies like pardon, forbearance, tolerance, politeness, and non-violence, truth and self-discipline etc. Who is the possessor of all these qualities? The inanimate body cannot be the possessor of these qualities because though the body remains in the same condition, these tendencies keep on changing. Sometimes, man exercises direct perception, sometimes through inference; sometimes

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  3. world-creatorship in the Vitrag god which creatorship lies in causes like Karmas, etc.

Question: Well, if it is said that there is no god, then this negation itself proves the existence of God. Doesn't it?

Answer: Let it be so. By the name of Ishwar, the wealthy people of that name "Ishwar", or those who possess royal prosperity and splendour, and even the Paramatma who possesses supreme prosperity are proved to exist.

20. The word that is pure (not a compound word) and etymologically derive-i denotes a reality. For instance, the word, "Ashwa", which means a horse is derived from the world 'Ashu', which means that which runs swiftly. In the same manner, the word Jiva', denotes an entity that lives. One who is living-is a Jiva. The Atma is that which moves through different modifications.

21. The entity which has other words and modifications is real and is independent by existence. The body is called by various names such as Sharir, Kaya, Deha, Kalevar. These various names of the body denote the existence of the body. Similarly, the words Jiva (the living being), Chetana (consciousness), atma (the soul), Jnanawan (the enlightened one) is the other independent word denoting the Jiva. Therefore they prove the existence of the soul or Jivaraja. Imaginary words do not indicate any existing reality; e.g. a peasant's Ta Ra Ra Ra faltering sounds do not: have any similar other- word. Such imaginary words do not denote any substantial and real object.

22. The thing finally liked. It often happens in life that we discard a thing which we like less to secure a thing which we like more. People discard their rest to carry out business, because they like business more than rest, but people discard also a harmful business if they can get more money by some other more beneficial source; because they love money. But a man possessing wealth spends it to secure medical aid for his sick son because he loves his son more than money. Since he loves his wife more than his son, if some grief is caused to his wife by his son or his daughter-in-law, he will advise his son and daughter-in-law to live separately. If a fire breaks out in his house, and if at that time, he is on the ground floor and if his wife is upstairs, and if there is fear of her being burnt to ashes within a second, will the husband go upstairs to save his wife's life? No, he will simply jump out of his house because, although he loves his wife, he loves his own body more than his wife. There is a further step. If the daughter-in-law is tired of the tortures of her mother-in-law and finds the heartlessness of her mother-in-law, she burns her body and commits suicide. She sacrifices even her body. For whose sake? What is more loveable than the body? The answer is that it is the soul. The daughter-in-law thinks, "I can't bear this agony. Let me die (viz. sacrifice) my body in fire and let me by death go to the other world, so that I may not have to bear tortures". Who is this 'I' here? It is the soul. It is the soul which sacrifices the body to get rid of the endless agony and anguish.

23. The amity, regard and goodness shown by others are liked whereas quarrels, grief, agitation, the superiority complex of others are not liked. By whom? By the soul, not by the body. Here one that is actually pleased or displeased by these things, is not the body, but the soul, because the body does not gain or lose weight or beauty by seeing other's amity or agitation. It is the soul that experiences either elation or depression, either loss or gain, in terms of emotion. If somebody is laughing or smiling, seeing that physical gesture, we say, that this is a mere show. In fact, he is inwardly unhappy. How can we use the word inwardly, if there is only the body and no substance like soul? What do we mean by saying 'inwardly?' It means that the soul of that person is inwardly really unhappy, though outwardly he seems to be cheerful.

24. At times we come across some persons who remember a previous birth. Such things do happen. Such a person remembers that in his previous birth, he lived at a certain shop, house and children etc. These experiences are authenticated by the relatives. These things may be still existent. He may say "I was doing business here: I was living here etc". Who is this 'I' and 'my' and 'me' etc. You may say that the 'I refers to that man's soul who has come here from that previous life and that soul remembers its past experiences. The body of the present life which is quite new has no contact with the body of the previous birth. The previous body is totally destroyed and the previous life is completely ended. Then who is here that remembers the past events. It is soul that remembers, the soul being eternal and imperishable was living in the past life.


A brief classifcation of the inferences relating to the soul:

1. Activity and refraining from activity.

2. Entrance of a ghost: the possession of a body by a ghost.

3. The creator of the mansion in the form of human body.

4. The one who organises and controls the bodily functions and enjoys the experiences relating to the body.

5. The handling of the senses as instruments.

6. The one who directs the limbs, senses, tongue, utterances and the mind in proceeding or retreating.

7. The one who controls the movements of limbs.

8. The arbitrator of the dissensions (disputes) among the senses.

9. One who experiences that the body is "Mine" and functions likewise.

10. The qualities of children differing from those of their parents.

11. The one who knows and experiences the joys and sorrows.

12. The knowledge of liked and disliked things.

13. The difference between twin children regarding their taste, likes and dislikes.

14. Yoga (Activities of mind, body and voice); Upayoga (concentration of mind, consciousness of the soul); The psycho-physical activities and propriety, Bhava (mood): mental attitudes, tendencies and instincts like `leshyas', (mental state) and samajnas (instincts).

15. The supporting basis of the qualities like knowledge.

16. Doubt. If the soul is doubted, it is real.

17. Illusion (wrong knowledge).

18. The opposite entity.

19. Negation. What is negated here, lies surely elsewhere.

20. The basically and etymologically derived un-combined world `jiva.

21. The alternative words, the other words.

22. The thing that is loved finally, that is most beloved.

23. Loved and hated.

24. The recollection (remembrance) of previous life (birth). What does soul mean? We must not forget that after we realize the existence of the soul, we must treat soul as more important and more lovable than our body and the perceptible world. We should be very willingly and strongly determined in our mind that:

(a) `I' means the eternal and the never-perishing soul:

(b) `I' means the soul dependent on the karmas bound in the previous births.

(c) `I' means the soul that is often untiringly committing on inauspicious activities of the mind, voice and body; and thereby gathering and heaping newer and newer burdens of karmas upon itself;

(d)`I' means `my' soul that is afflicted with and distressed by the disease on account of the very body which is created, protected and nourished by the self.

(e)`I' means `my' soul that will be dismissed at an unknown time on an untimely occasion:

(f) Soul that is wandering through the varied yonis (that is the place of being born in the samsar).