Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

The doubt regarding the existence of the soul

Dont Despair: Remember Soul
The Second Ganadhara
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Don't Despair: Remember soul

Shri Amar Muni

We need not despair entertaining such thoughts as "'I' means not my body, but my soul that has been crushed by karmas from times immemorial. Then how can my efforts for (instincts). emancipation be possible and fruitful? If the soul has been experiencing enormous afflictions and agitations through countless births as a slave to karmas where is the possibility of having an end to it?" Of course, we need not think thus in despair yet we must be aware of this fact so that we may not be enticed and indulge in the qualities of the body aud senses and external objects, i.e., the enjoyments of sensual objects and sexual pleasures, carrying on incessantly their activities and propensities, which result in collecting terrible karmas.

What awareness is necessary? Don 't forget the immortal soul:

We have to keep this awareness so that in the illusion of the pleasures of the mortal body, we may not forget our own loveable immortal soul. The body requires excellent inanimate objects, sensual pleasures, pride and prestige, food and drink, pomp and power, joys and jubilations etc. Ensnared in such enticements and cravings of the body, the soul commits sinful Karmas by committing such follies as developing an illusory faith, committing sins, devloping attachments and hatred, falling into the pits of pride and deception, and engaging itself in futile and sinful behaviour and sinful usage of utterances. Committing such sins the soul gets itself caught in the bondages of terrible Karmas.

What is body?: Where has the body to be caught in bondage? The body which will one day stop working, will break down all relations with the soul. Thee body staying in this world will dismiss the soul from her. In this respect it can be said that the body can assert its supremacy over the soul and paralyse it. It is now not at all prepared to have any connection with the soul and the welfare of soul. And the result is that the soul will have to be imprisoned in another body, in the next birth. And in that birth the soul will have to suffer inordinate agonies and anguishes on account of the effects of the sinful Karmas of previous births.

For the emancipation of the soul from all these Karmas and bodily enslavements, as well as births and deaths, even one's father or one's dear wife is not capable of freeing the soul from those agonies. Moreover the soul, for experiencing the fruits of such sinful Karmas has to assume an inferior state of a series of low births. There it cannot in the least engage itself in the sensibility, faith, and observance of religion, and cannot carry out elevating spiritual activities or austerities. In consequence living the life of solely sinful behaviour, the Karmas of a terrible nature increase, and consequently the soul will have to take birth in very many inferior and despicable states of existence and will have to experience countless agitations and agonies. Who has to experience all these things? You' have to experience them. That means, 'your' soul has to experience them. No one else. Who experiences the fruits of your Karmas Not your body, but your soul, which has been and which will have to continue to wander through the confounding mazes of the Samsar.

What is the Meaning of 'I'

Yet you need not give way to despair or fear because your other form of soul is absolutely beautiful. On it you cast a glance and contemplate a little on that form of your soul. Your' means whose? Your soul's, whom you recognise as 'I'. Now you see the glory of 'I'.

1. 'I' means the soul that achieves a victory over the body and the senses, by means of spiritual knowledge and activities of the devotion to God, and sacrifices and austerities.

2. 'I' means the soul which possesses instead of false faith, the right faith, the right vision, the vows of renunciation and repugnance to sinful acts, hatred and disgust towards sensual objects and the spirit of renunciation, the quality of serenity, cheerfulness and the propensity to entertain sublime contemplations.

3. 'I means the soul that is capable of newer and newer sublime and noble contemplations irrespective of the condition of the body.

4. '1' means the soul which can bestow upon all the souls of the universe, the boon of non-violence and fearlessness and which embodies such lofty virtues as spiritual strength, ethical excellence, righteousness, celibacy and refrainment from sensual pleasures.

5. 'I' means the soul that has the power of attaining an absolute victory over the inner enemies like attachment etc., and which can exercise such magnificent qualities as faith, politeness, discretion, indifference towards the world, refrainment from sins etc.

6. 'I' means the soul that is the proprietor of supreme peace, poise, and serenity, supreme tolerance, supreme forbearance, noble thoughts, and supreme spiritual tranquillity etc.

7. 'I' means the soul which has the potentialities of supreme virtues by means of which it can gradually rise up to the auspicious deliverance of the supreme state of soul's pure existence characterised by infinite and ineffable felicity, etc. It is not the body but the soul. Is not this form of the soul the very embodiment of beauty? It is the first in beauty and so it is the first in power. How can we become so fortunate as to possess such a beautiful form of soul In this state of soul there is the occasion of being petty, caught in narrow conceptions and faulty propensities or actions. In this discussion there is no significant digression from the running contemplation and deliberation. Now we shall think upon the various 'Pramanas' (evidences) and beliefs and doctrines of various Darshans (philosophies) and testify the truth in them.

The Upamana pramana (the testimony of comparison) regarding the existence of the soul: We can establish the existence of soul by means of the Upamana Pramana because we have to employ the comparative method in this connection, and we can compare the soul to air etc. The soul is like air, just as physical indolence, inflation of the belly, a loud release of wind from it and such things prove the existence of air in the body. In the same manner, the various activities and refrainments prompted by the desirable and undesirable propensities of the mind, anger, pride, etc., which appear on the face, the circulation of the blood, the shaking of the sinews and nerves etc. prove the existence of the invisible incentive substance called 'soul' in the body. We cannot see the wind but when a paper or a piece of cloth is flying we say that the wind is causing it to fly or shake. In the same manner, we can say that the activities and commotions of the various senses and organs of the body and the activities and propensities of the mind etc., are all caused by soul, though we may not be able to see soul. Someone may say, "If the soul is like wind, (a) we should be able to experience its presence by the sense of touch, and (b)it must exist in different forms in the various organs of the body, manifesting itself just like the wind called 'Prana Vayu', the 'Apana Vayu' the 'Udana Vayu' etc." Here we can only say that their opinion is wrong because an example can never be similar in all respects; it is only partially similar. Here we have to establish the existence of an invisible substance by means of a partial comparison.

The Arthapati Pramana (Deductive testimony)

Even by means of the Arthapatti Pramana, we can, establish the existence of soul. For example, Devadatta appears healthy with a sound and strong body, though he does not eat food for months during day times. We can deduce from this fact that he must be eating food at nights, because the robustness of physical health cannot exist without food. In the same manner, we can infer that the consciousness, the activities and the refraining movements which are not visible in the dead body, are seen in a living body, hence they are Indicative of the existence of the soul inside the body, because without someone dwelling in the body and accomplishing these movements in the organs---voice, mind and senses, these cannot happen. Thus by means of the deductive method we can prove the existence of the soul.

The sambhava pramana (Probability evidence)

Even by means of the sambhava pramana we can prove the existence of soul because even the sambhava pramana is a kind of inference. For instance, one hundred includes fifty and fifty. Therefore, if somebody has with him one hundred rupees, we can infer easily that he has with him fifty rupees as well. In the same manner, the tendencies of liking etc. and similar activities, the consciousness, and the movements of a newborn child indicate the existence of an invisible power and that is soul. The soul is one of these invisible things. So we can say by Sambhava pramana that soul lies concealed in the body as the prime cause of all these activities and movements.

Aitihya Pramana By means of the Aitihya pramana, we can prove the existence of soul. Aitihya Pramana means historical proof. The wise learned people had the belief that soul exists. Even a layman may say, regarding a man lying on the death-bed is still alive, there soul exists in his body" etc. This is historical testimony.

The testimony of Agama (scriptures). The theories expounded in the various schools (systems) of philosophy

Now, let us think of the testimony given by the Agams (scriptures). There are six schools of Darshanas (systems of philosophy) namely Nyaya Darshana, Vaisheshika Darshana, Vedanta Darshana, Shankhya Darshana, Yoga Darshana. Let us also see what the scriptures of Jain Darshan say about this subject. A detailed discussion will be made further regarding the various philosophical scriptures and their beliefs in various types of the form of soul, and also a discussion on the point that two contrary darshanas expound two contrary views regarding this truth. But first we have to understand these theories in brief and then scrutinize them.

The Theory according to the Vedanta Darshana

According to the Vedanta philosophy soul is one named Param-Brahma. The jivatma and the paramatma are one entity. This is monistic mysticism; but this theory is not convincing because among the jivas (souls) of the universe differentiations and diversities are found, e.g., some jivas are happy, some are unhappy; some are enlightened; some are ignorant; some are human beings and some are animals, birds etc., some are religious minded believing in soul, and some are nihilists; some are violent, and some full of mercy. In this manner, if there is one soul, one spiritual reality, in this universe, how could there be such difference and diversities? Moreover, according to the monistic mystical philosophy, the bondage and deliverance cannot happen in their true sense.