Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

The doubt regarding the existence of the soul

Dont Despair: Remember Soul
The Second Ganadhara
The Third Ganadhara
The Fourth Ganadhara
  The Fifth Ganadhara
  The Sixth Ganadhara
  The Seventh Ganadhara
  The Eighth Ganadhara
  The Ninth Ganadhara
  The Tenth Ganadhara
  The Eleventh Ganadhara


Shri Amar Muni


On hearing that his two elder brothers Indrabhuti and Agnibhuti had become the disciples of the Bhagavan, the third brother Vayubhuti and other brahman scholars thought thus only "Bhagavan Mahavir is actually omniscient. When that is so, why should we entertain pride about our scholarship? We too should approach Bhagavan Mahavir and we too should venerate him and worship him. We too shall get rid of our sins by venerating the Bhagavan whom the three worlds glorify and whose refuge even such mighty scholars as Indrabhuti and Agnibhuti have sought. We too shall glorify the Lord and seek clarification regarding our doubts and the removal of them. So, the nine eminent scholars set off with their followers to meet the Lord. How full of faith they were and how deeply were they interested in tattvas. If the "two prominent leading scholars of our group have accepted the refuge of Bhagavan, let us also follow their footprints and do the "same". This was their faith. "If we can attain a life of the true tattvas, then let us give up this life of illusion". This was their deep interest in tattvas.

First of all, Vayubhuti accompanied by his five hundred disciples approached the Lord and stood before him. In those days, people had extraordinary love for spiritual education and scriptural studies and knowledge! Therefore, every tutor used to have hundreds of disciples gaining and realising scriptural studies under him. Every one of these eleven scholars had hundreds of disciples carrying out scriptural studies and following them wherever they went leaving behind their houses and relatives. Those disciples were absolutely polite and intelligent possessing power of discrimination; that if the preceptor dedicated his life at the feet of a great man, they also used to follow them and dedicated their lives to that great man. It means that they always followed them in the real sense of the word. What is the essence of human life? What should be the pollen and the fragrant dust of the flower of human life? What is the noble behaviour of the lofty levels to which human beings should rise from the level of animals?

The cause for the doubt: Vayubhuti approached the Bhagavan. The Bhagavan as before addressed him by his name and gotra (lineage) and mentioned his doubt even before Vayubhuti said anything, "O Gautam Vayubhuti; Your doubt is whether this body itself is the soul or the soul is different from the body? This doubt arises from two different Vedic texts.

"You have understood one of these two Vedic texts e.g. (Indian writing pg 72 angie) (Vijnanaghana eva) to mean that consciousness arises from the five basic elements namely the earth, the water, the fire, the air, and the sky; and that it gets destroyed when they are destroyed (dispersed). This implies that a thing like chetna or consciousness does exist, but it is the peculiar quality of the five material elements themselves, but not the peculiarity of the soul. It means that the body itself is the conscience soul.

On the other hand, you have obtained the other Vedic text, (Indian writing pg 72 angie)

From this text, you have come to understand that there is no voidness of the joys and sorrows for the soul so long as it is confined in the body, and that joys and sorrows do not touch the soul which is entirely freed from the body and which has attained salvation. It is clear from this Vedic text that it propounds the existence of some independent entity styled as 'soul', which dwells of course in the body but which is completely different from the body, which soul govens and controls the body movements. On account of this contradiction between two Vedic texts; the doubt arose naturally.

The theory that--the body, an aggregation (collection, combination) of the basic elements, is itself the soul'--is supported by this outward illustration of liquor. It is prepared out of flowers of a kind of grass, jaggery and water. None of these ingredients of liquor individually possess intoxicating power, but it appears when they are combined. From this it is evident that the intoxicating power does not lie in any of these substances individually, and it arises from their combination; and that this intoxicating power is not a different entity but is a peculiarity, dharma or nature of the aggregation of three ingredients. Similarly conscience and conscienceness is the dharma of the aggregation of the basic five elements, but is not an independent and different entity. Thus it is argued that the soul or consciousness is merely the dharma of the aggregation of the basic elements but not a different entity.

The Argument Regarding the Theory "The Soul is Different from the body':

It is necessary to realise this vital truth. "How can something which is not the nature of each of the substances, he the nature of the aggregation of those substances?" We know that there is no oil in a sand particle. If we grind millions of sand particles, can we get even a drop of oil? Since in each grain of sesame there is oil, however little the quantity be, we get oil when we grind a large quantity of sesame grains. In the same manner, in liquor also since the effect of intoxication sweetness and coolness that are experienced, are present at least to a little extent in grass, flowers, jaggery and water, respectively its clear experience is manifested in the aggregate of these substances when mixed and combined with each other. Otherwise, people could have prepared liquor by mixing (combining) any other substances. Therefore the inference is that what is present in each substance manifests itself in the aggregation in a higher degree.

Question: Then shall we believe that there is chetan or consciousness in every bhuta (basic element)? If so, why does not consciousness appear in every bhuta (basic element)? You can say 'it is latent, therefore it is not visible, and when the five elements combine, it becomes visible'.

Answer It means, "when the element (bhuta) is single, there is no other veil on the chetan or consciousness to envelop it; in other words the element itself is in the form of a veil, on account of which, the chetan or the consciousness is not visible, and when combined with other bhutas (elements), the same each element in aggregation becomes the revealer of the latent consciousness lying in it". But this is ~ contradiction. Can a veil become the revealer of a reality?

Question. No. It is not so. The element that is not combined with other elements is a veil, and the elements when aggregated possess a special type of combination on account of which they manifest chetan (meaning consciousness). Each element has no consciousness separately, but in combination it has; hence it is manifested in the combination. You may say that if it is present in combination it must be present in the individual. Let it be so, but it is not visible because the element is itself the cover (veil).

Answer This kind of special combination of elements is present even in a dead body, but there is no consciousness visible in it. Why is it so? What is the cause for it? If the absence of wind or warmth is the cause, those things can be supplied to the dead body.

Question: No. How can you produce the various kinds of winds like 'Pran' and 'Udan' etc. These things are not present in a dead body. Therefore there is no consciousness in it.

Answer It means "you establish the winds such as Pran and Udan as the regulator of consciousness and knowledge, whereas the true position is different from this. Consciousness chetan itself is the regulator of the winds called Pran etc. We see that those who perform Pranayam (breathing exercise) inhale and exhale wind in accordance with their volition (choice, desire). The essential point is that there is no consciousness in a dead body; therefore it implies that consciousness is not a natural quality of the bhutas or elements.

Question: Then, let us say that consciousness originates from the consciousness of the mother and it exists in the body until death. Now, what harm is there in this?

Answer: The harm is this. There is this great difficulty in believing so. Why is it that the samskaras ( the innate impressions) of the mother's consciousness are not inherited by the child? If the mother is by nature irritable, the son may be by nature calm or vice versa. What is the cause behind this difference? If you say that some inherited characteristics are attained by the children, the question is why are they not present in the lice which originates from the same mother? If it is said that consciousness arises from the combination of the semen and menses, how did the lice without that combination get that consciousness even though it may be very small, or short lived? If you say, "the mother causes the emergence of the consciousness in the child that continues till death", then the question arises what is death? If you say that it is the destruction of consciousness, then its implication is that "the consciousness is created as such that it exists until it gets destroyed"; but the question is what is the cause for the destruction of consciousness? It will not be correct to say that it is caused by disproportion, unevenness in the three humours of airbilious fluid and cough," because when this unevenness disappears after death, the maladies like fever and bronchitis (cough) caused by the disproportion of the humours do not appear. Therefore, it has to be believed that the disproportion has disappeared and air--bilious fluid and cough have been changed from disproportionate to proportionate amount; and it is said in the medical scriptures

"In other words their evenness is conducive to health, then he has to be alive again. You yourself say that chaitanya or consciousness exists when the humours are in the right proportion.

Question: There is no proportionate humour at all because there pollution of blood etc., in the aberrations are not abolished. When that is so, how can consciousness appear again?

Answer: Then the question is why are not the pollutions abolished? Were they curable or not? If they were curable then they must be cured by means of medical treatment. If they were not curable, why were they incurable? Were they incurable because of 1. the absence of doctors or 2. the absence of medicines or 3. the ending of the span of life?

1. It cannot be on account of the absence of doctors, because though there are doctors to treat them, many die.

2. In the same manner, it cannot also be on account of the absence of medicines, the same medicines brought about a cure in the past.

3. If you say that it is because of the ending of the span of life, viz, ayushya karma, then the question is where did this ayushya karma emerge and why is there the difference of time in the deaths of two sons of the same mother? Here is another proof to show that ayushya karma cannot be dharma or nature of the body embodying chaitanya or consciousness; otherwise. so long as the body exists that ayushva-karma would not have been destroyed. So you must accept that the soul itself has brought with it such karma viz. 'ayushya- karma' from previous birth, on the ending of which the relationship of the soul with the present body ended; hence, there appears no consciousness in the dead body. The essence of this argument is that chaitanya or consciousness is not at all the nature of the body. You might say "Chaitanya though being the nature of bhutas, on death, there is no special contact in five bhuta-particles of a dead body, or the special contact has left the body, hence there is no chaitanya (i.e., consciousness) in the dead body". If you say so, the meaning of "Special contact has left the body" is that 'the soul has left the body'.