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Concept Of Soul Substance In Indian Philosophies

Published: 18.06.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015


Acharya Mahapragya Pravas Samiti 's president Shri Babulal Sekhani along with his team requesting Acharya Shri to extend his Bidasar stay

The Form of Soul in Indian Philosophies

A living being is one that lives, that feels livingness and life-determining karma. That is why a creature is known as a living being. (jāhā jīveti jīvattaṁ āyuyaṁ ca kammaṁ upjīvati tamhā ‘jīve’ tti vattatvaṁ siyā.)

In the scripture ‘Bhagawatī Sūtra’ 23 names have been given for a living being1:

Jīva (living being), Jīvāstikāya (living entity), Prāṇa (vitality), Bhūta (living being), Satva (living being), Vijña (one who knows), Veda, Cetā (one who is conscious), Jetā (victorious), Ātmā (soul), Raṁgaṇa, Hinuka, Pudgala (matter), Mānava (human being), Kartā (doer), Vikartā (transformer), Jagat (world), Jantu (living being), Yoni (form of life), Svayaṁbhūta (self-living being), Saśarīrī (having a body), Nāyaka, Antarātmā (conscience).

1. Jīva (living-being)

Living means 'to sustain life' and livingness means 'to be or to exist with utility, knowledge and conation'. The meaning of the experience of life-determining karma is to enjoy a definite period of life. All the worldly beings possess life. Knowledge and conation are the inherent characteristics of all the living beings. Every living being has its own span of life. Because of going on living like this, a creature is known as a living being.

2. Jīvāstikāya (living entity)

A living being gets different forms of life, depending on its karmas. But there is no difference in the innumerable space points present in the body. It does not matter whether the body is big or small. There are as many space points in the body of an ant as are there in that of an elephant.

3. Ātma (soul)

That, having consciousness, is known as soul.2 The number of such souls is infinite.3 These souls have their independent entities.4 They are not the part of some other soul or a supersoul. The consciousness of every soul too is infinite. It is capable of knowing innumerable objects of knowledge. All the souls are alike so far as the form of consciousness is concerned but the extent of development of consciousness is not the same.5 The cause of difference in development of consciousness is its karma.6

4. Prāṇa (vitality)

A living being respires, that is why it is known as 'someone respiring'.7

5. Kartā (doer)

Soul is the doer. A doer is a creature that does something (katta ti kartā karmaṇāma). It has been said in the book 'Ātmasiddhi' (self-realization) - There is no consciousness in a non-sentient being, only a living being has consciousness. There can be no karma, and therefore, no karmic bondage without a conscious motivation.

Hence, it is clear that it is the living being that is responsible for karmic bondage as only a living being has a conscious motivation. So long as a living being continues causing karmic bondage, the bonds of karma go on. As doing karma depends on the will of the being, it cannot be said that soul is, by nature, the doer of karmas. It proves then, that doing karma is not the inherent quality of soul, because in that case, karmic bondage would not depend on its will and the real form of the being would be revealed much earlier. Even God cannot be said to motivate for doing karma as God is of an absolutely pure form. Attributing him of the blame of motivating for doing karma would be like accusing him. Thus, we come to the conclusion that it is the soul that causes bondage of karmas. When a being dallies in its conscious nature, it is the doer of its pure nature and when it dallies in its defiled mode, it is said to be the doer of karmas.

There is an incident of the pre-historical period. Lord Ṛṣabha, the first Tīrthankara of Jain religion was alive at that time. One day his 98 sons came to see him. They said to him, "Bharata has usurped the kingdoms of all of us. We all want our kingdoms back and that is why we have come to you to seek your help and advice. The Lord said, "I am afraid I cannot get you back your kingdoms, but I can get you a kingdom that no one can usurp". The sons said, "What is that kingdom like?" The Lord said, "That kingdom is - attainment of the soul."

The sons said, "How can it be done?" Then the Lord said,

saṁbujjaha kiṁ na bujjhaha sevohi khalu peccha dullahā,
no hu vaṇamaṁti rāiyo, ṇo sulabhaṁ puṇarāti jīviyaṁ

Try to attain enlightenment. Why are you not doing that? The night that is gone is gone forever. It does not come back.
In the same way, human life, once lost, will be lost forever. You may not get it again.

Enlightenment has been associated with Jain religion since pre-historical period. Now, what is enlightenment? It is the way to the liberation of the soul. All the paths that lead us to the absolute liberation of soul come under the compass of enlightenment. There are three kinds of enlightenment - knowledge enlightenment, perception enlightenment and conduct enlightenment. From the view point of Jain philosophy, we cannot get salvation only by knowledge, nor can we get it only by perception and conduct. We can attain salvation only by the inherence of all the three of them. The main principles of Jain philosophy are as follow:

  1. Soul is i.e. there is an existence of soul.

  2. It is reborn i.e. Jain philosophy believes in rebirth.

  3. It is the doer of karmas.

  4. It bears the fruits of its karmas.

  5. There is bondage and there are causes for it.

  6. Salvation is and there are means to achieve it.

According to Jain philosophy, the liberated souls are called super souls. According to this ideology, every soul is capable of being a super soul. A soul can be a super soul if its time, nature and self-exertion are favourable. It gets liberated from all the bonds and appears in its pure and natural form. Jain ideology is a spiritual ideology from the very beginning to the end. Its entire concept is based on the soul.8

One who knows soul, knows everything. Generally speaking, all the elements are equal from the point of view of existence, but from the point of view of value, soul is the most valuable element. "A thing exists", when we think like this, no consciousness is expected but when a thing gets knowledgeable, its existence is determined by consciousness. This is the first stage of the relation of a thing with consciousness. In the second stage it is evaluated and then its usefulness or futility is determined. Soul has got a very significant place in Jain philosophy. Only soul is desirable and attainable; nothing else is. Development of soul is well-being. The beauty of the soul is the real beauty. One may not be good-looking, but if his soul is developed, he becomes extremely handsome and benefactor. One who does not think of the well-being, may be good to look at, but not handsome in the real sense of the world. It is one's viewpoint that plays an important role in evaluating what is beautiful and what is causing good and well-being.

na rammye nāramyaṁ prakrati guṇato vastu kimapi,
priyatvaṁ vastūnā bhavati ca khalu grāhakavaśāt.9

Regarding the form of soul, two traditions have been particularly effective in Indian ideologies:

1. Theistic Tradition:

Soul and super soul are the basis of all the religions of the world. The grand and magnificent building of religion rests on these two pillars. Some religious traditions of the world are theistic as well as pertain to the soul and some are atheistic. The former is one according to which God is regarded as the whole and sole, and the controller of the world. He is regarded as the Almighty. Everything in the creation depends on him. He is known as Brahmā, creator and almighty god. According to this tradition, whenever unrighteousness is on the increase and righteousness is on the decrease, god takes birth on this earth and creates the universe, destroying the bad and wicked people. He sows the seeds of righteousness and good conduct.

2. Atheistic Tradition:

The other tradition is the Atheistic one that pertains to soul as well. It believes in the independent development of man. Every person or being can develop to the fullest extent. By developing the feelings of detachment and getting free from passions like malice and attachment, one can attain salvation. Jain religion follows this tradition and is essentially scientific in spirit. This tradition, in short is known as the culture of the monks. This spiritual tradition comprises Buddhism and other religions as well. The Theistic Indian tradition is known as Brahmanic culture.

Both the traditions recognize God. The only difference is that in one of them God is regarded as omniscient and creator. According to Jain philosophy, God is omniscient and all-seeing. The object of Jain religion is that man should be detached and thus attain salvation.10

Introspection is important in the respect that by doing so, man rises above attachment. When one rises above the consciousness of matter, there remains neither joy nor sorrow nor attachment nor malice. There remains no liking and no disliking. Nothing remains. When none of these feelings are there, our life will be full of joy; there will be no problem. How pleasant it is when there is no one whom we consider our own and whom we consider to be an alien or a stranger, when there is no body and no senses that deviate man from his path. Then there will be nothing but knowledge, conation, joy, peace and an endless flow of energy. Liking and disliking are subservient to the will of man, not to the object. From an ideal point of view (niścaya dṛṣti), nothing is desirable or undesirable. Attachment and malice form the basis of desirability and undesirability. A man may dislike something but may come to like it at another time. It is very difficult to decide what is desirable and what is undesirable.11

Scholars have given different opinions regarding the form of soul. In the scripture 'Śatapath Brāhmaṇa', the word 'soul' has been used for the middle part of the body.12 In the scriptures 'Āraṇyaka', soul and vitality have been said to be inseparable.13 Soul has also been said to be comprising science and joy.14 It has been considered to be the most significant object. All the gross and subtle objects of the world are the different forms of the soul. It is the essence, gist of all the things existing in the world, nothing is dearer than it.15 Dr. Radhakrishanan says, "In Ṛgveda,16 it was said to be vitality or stream of life. In course of time it came to be known as soul and ego.17 In the scripture 'kathopaniṣad', it has been said that soul is neither born nor does it die. It is not born of anything. It is unborn, eternal and ancient. Body perishes, but soul does not. It is incorporeal, great and omnipresent. It cannot be attained by discussions or preaching or by studying the Vedas. It can be attained only by intellect, by having a deep understanding of it.18 That is body has been said to be a chariot and soul the charioteer, mind to be the rein and senses to be horses and the subject of senses to be the path. In Upaniṣad, soul has been said to be greater than senses and all the other things.19 At places, it has been said to be omniscient, omnipresent and almighty. Elsewhere it has been said that soul is neither mobile nor static, it is neither momentary nor subtle. It is free from all the conflicts.20 In 'Tattireopaniṣad', soul has been described as comprising of five koṣa - food, vitality, science and joy.21

Concept of the Element of the Soul in Indian Ideologies

Different views have been given in the different Indian ideologies regarding the soul element. Some of them are as follow:

  1. Śarīratmavāda (theory of body and soul):

    Believers of this theory say that a sword can be drawn out of its sheath and be shown as a separate object but soul cannot be drawn out of body and produced as a separate object. Oil can be drawn out of oil-seeds and butter can be drawn out of curd but soul cannot be drawn out of body. These thinkers are of the opinion that soul exists so long as body exists. It perishes when the body perishes.22 A sect of Cārvāka philosophy regards body to be the soul. this very view has been supported in the scripture 'Sūtrakṛtāṅga'23 in the form of the aphorism 'Tajjīvataccharīvāda' (so long as there is body, there is soul).

    The followers of this theory argue that there exist four great elements - earth, water, fire and air. On these elements being combined into the form of body, consciousness is aroused24 as intoxication is produced by the combination of 'mahuā' (an Indian tree bearing yellow flowers which are used for preparing liquor) and jaggery (guṅa).25 There is no existence of soul apart from body.

    Contradicting the illustration given by the followers of this theory, Bhatta Akalankadeva, the famous Jainācārya says that this illustration is not appropriate. There is intoxication in every drop of liquor but there is no consciousness in each of the substances. Hence to think that consciousness is aroused on the four elements being combined in the form of body is not correct.26
  2. Indriyātmavāda (theory of senses and soul):

    The believers of this theory are of the view that body is subservient to senses. We get the knowledge of objects only with the help of senses. We cannot have this knowledge in the absence of senses.27 This theory can be contradicted on the basis that consciousness is not destroyed even when the senses like eyes etc. are destroyed. Hence it is not proper to think consciousness to be the quality of senses.28
  3. Prāṇātmvāda (theory of vitality and soul):

    When the believers of this theory observed the spiritual activities of body, their attention was drawn towards vitality. Vitality remains in the form of respiration even when the activities of the senses is deferred for a time period. It (vitality) ceases to be only when death occurs. Hence, conclusion was drawn that vitality is of the greatest significance in life. So the believers of this theory have regarded vitality the cause of all the activities of life.29 Jain philosophy, does not believe vitality as soul because, according to it (Jain philosophy), there are two kinds of vitality - physical and psychical. The vitalities that have been regarded as soul in Cārvāka philosophy have been regarded as unconscious and materialistic. Soul possesses consciousness, hence to regard vitalities as soul is not proper. Contradicting this theory the philosophy of Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika believes that vitality is not soul as vitality is only a particular effort of soul. Vitality is based on soul and soul is the basis of vitality. Hence vitality is something different from soul.30
  4. Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika Philosophy:

    It is actually a philosophy believing in entity. In this philosophy, soul has been regarded as an independent entity, different from body etc.31 According to the followers of this philosophy, soul has been said to be non-sentinent by nature. It is different from the other inanimate matters in the respect that consciousness, that is not the nature of soul, and is an external trait, can originate in soul only.32 Thus soul has been regarded as the basis of consciousness or knowledge.33 Because of believing this principle, the followers of this theory call soul as 'having consciousness', not as 'conscious one'. They have regarded it as 'having no consciousness' or 'without consciousness' at the stage of liberation when there is not body.
  5. Sāṁkhya Philosophy:

    This philosophy is regarded as the most ancient one of all the Indian philosophies. In this philosophy, all the elements of the universe have been put into two groups - (i) Nature and (ii) soul. One, who is the cause of the vast universe, and one, who is the user, because of the absence of action, is the real soul.34 It is the conscious soul who is the presiding deity of the unconscious nature.35 The conscious element, that enjoys the various sweet sounds of nature and also the various forms (green, blue, red etc.), tastes and smells and that feels heat or cold, is the real soul.36 The inclination of an individual to attain liberation is the distinguishing feature of the element of soul, that is absolutely different from and independent of nature. This omniscience is the real form of soul, having the realization of which, it gets listless to attain it.37 Soul is, by nature, eternally liberated. Nature is in bonds. Soul is indifferent. Its indifference is because of its tendency of not doing. The cause of the tendency of doing is the intellect like fire and lumps of iron or water and sun, and the eclipse of soul.38
  6. Vedānta (monistic) philosophy:

    According to this philosophy, Brahma is the only truth and soul is nothing but a form of Brahma (brahma satyaṁ jagānmithyā jivo brahmeva nāparaḥ). There is not duality between soul and Brahma. Both are indifferent.

    This very sense has been conveyed in the expressions like 'ahaṁ brahmāsti',39 'tatvamāsi'40 and 'ayamātma brahma'.41 In the term 'tatvamāsi', 'tvama' (being) stands for Brahma i.e. Brahma and being are one and the same. There is no difference in them. Both are pure consciousness. 'Tvama', stands for a conscious being, having a little knowledge and 'tat' stands for omniscient consciousness. According to Śankarācārya, body is inflicted on by senses, mind, intelligence, ego and the various titles of the body. Being is the reflection of infinite consciousness on the mirror of ignorance.
  7. (vii) Mīmāṁsā-philosophy:

    According to the followers of this philosophy, soul is eternal, permanent. Infact it is the doer and user. It is all-pervasive, as it is present everywhere in the form of ego. It is knowledge incarnate and beyond time and space.42 It is the knower.43 It enters a new body, leaving the old one. Only one soul exists in one body. But because of the difference of experience, the soul living in one body is different from the soul living in another body. Souls, therefore, are many. By assuming souls to be numerous, the concept of the bonded and the liberated can be expatiated; otherwise, all the souls will be regarded as liberated.44
  8. Boddha Philosophy:

    According to this philosophy, change or transience is the only reality. That is why soul has been regarded as not only non-eternal but transient also and that is why the Boddha philosophy regarding soul is known as the theory of non-self. Gautama Buddha is silent about the soul as recognized in the Upaniṣads, Vedic philosophy and Jain philosophy. He always seems to be silent regarding the eternal form of soul.45 Boddha philosophy came to be known as alien theory or the theory of non-self as opposed to the theory of eternity of soul, in which no eternal soul was recognized apart from the momentary and transient sensations.46 This philosophy (Pali Tripitaka) does not recognize the material forms like senses, mind, science, sensualities, pain and thirst etc. as soul as Jain Philosophy also recognize. Boddha philosophy is different from Jain philosophy in the sense that it does not even think of soul apart from matter.47 Whereas according to Jain philosophy soul is an substance that has functional consciousness, origination, destruction and eternal. In the Hīyamāna branch of Boddha philosophy, Vasubandhu clearly says that apart from the five aggregates, there is no other substance like the soul.48

Kinds of Soul in Indian Philosophies

The greatest means of one's formation is - liberation. It is he name of one's experience of loneliness. 'I am alone; my soul is alone', I have come into this world alone and I have to go away from here alone. I have to bear my joys and sorrow alone. In fact I am all alone. All the objects that are there, are not really mine. Even the family is not mine. I find myself caught in a cobweb. I have no one to call my own. Liberation is to feel one's separation, detachment from matter.49 It is the feeling of detachment even amidst bonds, family and matter, the feeling of this ultimate truth. It is a state beyond bonds.

The Jainācāryas saw, felt and came to know soul; they found that it is not uniform. From the point of view of form, it is one, it has consciousness and yet is divided. It can be divided into three parts - extenal soul, internal soul and super soul.

    1. Bahirātmā (external Soul)

It is the soul that keeps on moving outside and that cannot get in. The reason of its being in this state is false view. So long as the view is false, the soul cannot get into itself.

  1. The first characteristic of external soul is to regard body and soul as one.
    A person having false view will think body to be soul and that soul is nothing different from body. Considering body to be soul is the first characteristic of external soul. A detailed account of it has been given in the scripture 'Sūtrakṛtāṅga'. There is yet another aspect of external soul and that is non-religion. According to this aspect, there is no soul. Many arguments have been given in the support of this view.
  2. Attachment to matter is the second characteristic of external soul.
    Attachment is born when body and soul are regarded as one. Person who hanker after money are decidedly external souls. Their view is false. They have not realized truth. They have not developed right thinking.
  3. Cruelty is the third characteristic of external soul.
    An external soul is extremely cruel. It has no faith in real soul. How will compassion arouse when there is no faith in the soul? Even today many creatures are killed cruelly. The reason behind it is man's being an external soul.
  4. The fourth characteristic of an external soul is its liking for bonds.
    One, who is an external soul will prefer bondage to freedom. When prisoners in France were set free from prison after many years, they did not like to live in the open and free atmosphere. They requested the authorities to put them into prison again. They had got attached to their prisons. They liked to live there. An external soul always likes bondage. He does not even think of liberation.
  5. (e) Mental unrest is yet another characteristic of an external soul.
    He is always disturbed and restless. We see that all the people in the world are afflicted with listlessness and problems. The root cause of all these troubles are the external souls. They will create problems wherever they are. Such problems cannot be solved so long as external souls are there.

External soul is the point where body and soul meet. They do not have their independent entities. A person of non-conventional view will think like this - 'sarva ātmapratiṣṭhatama' - all are established in their own souls. No one lies in any other one. There remains no distinction between the basis and the based where there is real truth. All get established in their own souls.

Soul is soul and body is body. There is no soul in body and no body in soul. Both body and soul have got their own entities. We have wrongly regarded them as one.

    2. Antarātmā (Internal Soul)

A person gets an internal soul when right faith comes into play. One who believes only in body is an external soul whereas one who introspects is an internal soul. Being converted into an internal soul from an external one means to be perceiving soul than perceiving body. This difference in the view point carries one to the internal world from the external one. His view point gets changed and is the chief component of change.

(i) The first characteristic of an internal soul is that it regards soul to be different from body. A new concept is formed when it gets clear that soul and body are different entities. The whole thinking, conduct and behaviour of man are changed. To regard body as soul is the main cause of all the troubles. The whole condition, thinking and behaviour change when one thinks soul to be different from body and one diverts his view from senses to one's inner self.

(ii) The second characteristic of an internal soul is decrease in attachment. As one begins to get an internal soul, a change in attachment begins to take place and detachment begin to rise. Bharat, the ruler of a vast empire, was an internal soul. He ruled over a vast kingdom, enjoyed all the pleasures and even then attained omniscience. This is the detached form of an internal soul. An internal soul gradually gets detached from everything, he is not longer avaricious of money. For him, money is only a means, not an end. An internal soul is not committed to matter.

(iii) Compassion is the third characteristic of an internal soul. Compassion is aroused when there is no attachment. An internal soul can never be cruel. Just look at shrimad Rajcandra. He once said, "Rajcandra can drink milk but not blood of someone. This is an example of compassion. The whole feeling is changed when one's compassion is aroused.

(iv) Mental peace is another characteristics of an internal soul. He is at ease with himself. He is never restless. All the conflicts will come to an end if one develops right view and right thinking. One who introspects and peeps into one's inner-self will never try to prevail on others and problems get solved when one's thinking is changed. All the doubts of the person who comes in contact with his inner self are removed. He learns to live in peace.

3. Paramātmā (Super soul)

Super soul is the ideal of religion. Super soul is one who is free from passions like attachment, jealousy and malice. The paradox of life is that people live a life of attachment yet they consider the detached one as their ideal. There is a reason behind it, if attachment comes to be regarded as an ideal, it will get so severe that man will not be able to live. Society goes on smoothly so long as the ideal of detachment is before it. If attachment becomes all pervasive, there will be chaos and disorder in society. To be a super soul means to be a detached one, to move from attachment to detachment. Soul and super soul are much far apart. Only one's thinking needs to be changed. Whole life is changed, when direction is changed, thinking is changed. One takes a step towards being a super soul when one takes to vows and detachment.

Problems grow acute and perversities take place when there is only attachment in society. It will assume dangerous proportions and get unruly if the light of detachment is not thrown on the darkness of attachment. Detachment in the face of attachment is very necessary and getting detached is to become super soul. There comes a moment in man's life when the light of the vision of super soul enlightens his life and he moves in the direction of being a super soul.50

Karma, the obstructive substance in the realization of self

Befooled by conduct-deluding karma, man gets attached to some one and develops the feelings of attachment, and aversion for others. These passions cause an influx of karmas into the soul and because of this influx of karmas, the cycle of birth and death goes on in the world. Man, deluded by perception deluding karma gets to falsehood, such a person earns a number of karmas goes on moving in the world. A bird is born from an egg and egg is produced by a bird. In the same way, lust is caused by delusion and delusion is caused by lust. Passions like attachment, and aversion are the seeds of karmas. Karma is caused by delusion and that is the main cause of life and death. Life and death have been said to be the greatest sorrow. One, who is not attached to any one and any thing, feels no sorrow. One, who has no lust, develops no feelings of attachment. One, who has no avarice, does not have any lust and one who has renounced everything, destroys attachment and delusion.51

We find in society that one who follows the path of religion does not have money and one who does not follow the path of religion has a lot of money. This does not imply the failure of religion. The fruit of religion is development and rise of soul. It is located in the soul. Religion gives rise to peace, intellect, balance and forbearance. All these virtues are the fruits, results of religion. Getting wealth is not the fruit of religion. Every living being has got infinite consciousness, unrestricted bliss and unsurpassable energy. This is the real form of every soul.

Joys and sorrows obtained from the system of society should not be attributed to religion and those obtained because of karmas should not be attributed to system. When the feelings are on the rise, the system does not remain proper and dependence is on the increase. The doer of joy and sorrow is soul and it is also the user. It is soul that causes joy and sorrow, and again it is soul that destroys them. This is the non-conventional view. Ignorance, conation-obscuring karmas and knowledge obscuring karmas do not distort soul. The root cause of all the evils is delusion.

The evil karmas are dissociated and auspicious karmas are accumulated of the person who is inclined towards good. That is why such a person is known as one doing good karmas. On the rise of auspicious karmas, a being gets body making, status deciding, feeling and life-determining karmas. Karmas are a bondage to soul, it does not matter whether they are auspicious or inauspicious. So long as there is bond of any kind, soul does not get its real form. One, who does not indulge in any activity, gets closed of accumulating karma. No reason of the bondage of new karmas remains left. One, who has no account of karmas previously done, neither takes birth nor dies. In the state of liberation, there is no mind, speech and body activities, no contemplation nor the least activity.

At this stage, soul is without karma. The detached one, all the karmas - knowledge-obscuring, conation obscuring delusions and obstructions are destroyed, gets absolutely gratified. Nothing remains for him to do. Being a pure soul, he sees - and knows - all the substances. The karmas of the one, who bears the pain caused by the rise of karmas, are greatly flushed off as to bear the pain of the body yields great fruit.

Pleasing subjects are the seeds of attachment whereas unpleasant subjects are the cause of malice. One who remains equanimous in both of them, who does not nurture the evil feelings of jealousy and malice etc. is known as the detached one. There are five subjects - touch, taste, smell, colour and sound, and there are as many senses that receive them - skin, tongue, nose, eyes and ears. The stimulator of all these five senses and the receiver of them all is mind.

The sound, the form, the smell, the taste and the feeling, coming in the sphere of these senses cannot be avoided but the attachment - direct or indirect - to them can be avoided. One, who is detached from these subjects, does not fall a prey to sorrow. Even living in the world, he does not indulge in worldly pleasure, as a lotus remains unaffected by the mud in which it grows. One, whose knowledge is covered by delusion and whose consciousness of self is distorted, falls an easy prey, again and again, in spite of being educated, to evil feelings like anger, vanity, greed, hatred and deceit.


  The object of introspection is to rise above the consciousness of matter and to proceed in the direction of infinity, and limitlessness, to get what we actually are. So long as we regard ourselves as bodies, problems stare at us in the face, but when we think deeply and introspect, we find there is not problem at all. The first step towards the process of the reconstruction of life is - the knowledge of self, to know and to understand oneself. What an irony that man, who has a great knowledge of the innumerable things of the world is quite ignorant of himself. He claims to know others but does not know himself. He does not know what lies in him. In the external world there are many things - joy and sorrow, good and bad, likeable and dislikeable, knowledge and capacity. All things are there. But are not all these things within us? The fact is that what we see in the external world, are all there within us. The internal world is not smaller than the external one. In the internal world there is joy and sorrow, peace and restlessness, strength and weakness. All the things are within us but we are quite ignorant of them. We feel that there is peace outside but we do not know it is there inside as well.52

The question arises - Why we should think of soul that is the subject neither of sense nor of mind. When we go to the depth of the matter and, in the process, leave body, senses and mind behind, we are filled with great delight and enter a world of bliss - the world of infinite joy, endless energy and great knowledge. In that world, there is no anger, no vanity, no deceit and no avarice. The experience that we gain of that world is beyond words and one goes through that rare experience becomes an experience (veda sangāna). On reaching that stage, the speech of the saints and the Tīrthankaras takes the term of scriptures like Upaniṣads and Āgamas. We may call it the sermon of the Gītā or the couplets of saint Kabīra, the bhajans of Tulasidāsa or the verses of Sūradāsa, the devotion of Mīra or the revolution of Vivekānanda, the rapture of Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahansa, the delight of the yogis or the destination of Mahāprajña. All get relaxation and perfect peace there.

Son long as a being is ignorant of his real form his psychical bondage goes on. This ignorance is a form of consciousness from this consciousness of the being emerges great energy and then he receives the variforms of physical karmas. He does good and bad deeds and as a result, effect/cause atoms enter the regions of soul and get bonded with them. In this way he is the doer of his karmas. It means that he is the doer of his joys and sorrows. The scripture 'Uttarādhyayana Sūtra says, "Soul itself is the river Vaitaraṇī and it is the Śāla tree. It is Kāmadhenu, the divine cow and it is the Nandana Vana, both of whom fulfill all the desires. It is the soul that produces or does not produce joy and sorrow.53 Soul is the doer of good and evil deeds. The karmas are bonded in accordance with the deeds it does and these are the karmas that give good and bad fruits. Soul is free to do good or evil deeds. That is why it has been said - both bondage and liberation lie in the hands of soul (bandhappamokho tujjha jjhattheva).

From practical point of view, worldly pleasures have their own importance. But from spiritual point of view songs are no better than mourning, plays are ironies, ornaments are burdens and sexual enjoyment is sorrow. A person is attached to the objects with the atoms of which have a likeness between them. There is no attraction if there is dissimilarity. This likeness and dissimilarity depend on time, space and conditions. A thing that is undesirable for a person at a certain period, in a certain space and certain condition, may get desirable under changed circumstances. This is practical point of view. From transcendental point of view, only soul is beautiful, good, dear and useful. All the rest are worth nothing, hence we come to the conclusion -  Philosophy is what the absolutism of soul is - darśana svātmniścitiḥ. Since the beginning of substance thinking in India, the soul has been a subject of research and it will remain so even in the time to come. Thinkers of every period have expressed their views regarding soul. Some philosophers do not accept the existence of soul but even they have not remained untouched and unaffected so far as soul is concerned. For the believers in the existence of soul, the knowledge of soul is the best and the ultimate one. Knowledge of self is the way to liberation. By self-realization, we have even greater realizations.



Bhagawatī 20.2, p. 809.


Uttarajjhayaṇāṇi 28.10.10-11.


Dasveāliyaṁ, 4.3.


Ibid, 4.3.


Thāṇaṁ, 2.


Bhagawatī, 7.8.


Ibid, 7.8.


Ātmā-kā-Darśana, ed. Ācārya Mahāprajña, Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun, 1st edn., April, 2005.


Praśamarati Prakaraṇa 52, part-I.


Ātmā kā Darśana, p. x to xii.


Praśamarati Prakaraṇa 52, part-II.


Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, 7.1.1.


Taittirīya Āraṇyaka, 9.1.


Ibid, 1.3-8.


Bhāratīya Darśana - Dr. Radhakrishanan, part-1, p. 32.


Ibid, p. 138.


Chāndogyapaniṣad, 8.7, 4.8, 11.2.


Kathopaniṣad, 3.2.3.


Mundakopaniṣad, 3.2.3.


Bhāratīya Darśana, Dr. N.K. Devraj, p. 75.


Taittirīyopaniṣad, 2.1.5.


Sūtrakŗtāṅga, 2.1.9, 2.1.10.


Ibid, 2.1.9.


Vṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad, 2.4.12.


Brahma Sūtra, Śaṅkara Bhāṣya, 3.3.53.


Tattvārthavārtika, 2.7.27, p. 117.


Cārvāka Darśana ki Śāstrīya Samīkṣā, Dr. Sampurnanand Pathak, Sūtra-5.36, p. 40..


Prameya Kamala Mārtanḍa, 1.7, p. 114, Nyāya Kumudacandra, part-1, p. 346.


Taitterīyopaniṣad, 2.2.3, Kauṣīntakī, 32.


Nyāya Kumudacandra, p. 176.


Praśasta Pāda Bhāṣyam, p. 49, 50.


Bhārtīya Darśana, Dr. Radhakrishnan, part-2, p. 148, 149.


  1. Tarka Bhāṣā, Keshav Mishra, p. 148.
  2. Tarka Saṁgraha, p. 12.


Sāṁkhya Sūtram, 1.66.


Ibid, 1.142.


Ibid, 1.105, 143.


  1. Sāṁkhya Kārikā, 15.
  2. Sāṁkhya Sūtram, 1.144.4.  


Sāṁkhya Sūtram, 1.163, 164.


Vṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad, 1.4.10.


Chandogyopaniṣad, 6.8.7.


Vṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad, 2.5.19.


Tantra Vārtika, Śāstra Dīpikā, Nirṇayasāgar edition, p. 123.


Śāstra Dīpikā, p. 123.


Ibid, p. 124, 125.


Majjhima Nikāya, Mūlapaṇṇasaka, 35.35-24.


Ibid, Uparipaṇṇāsaka, 2.2.1-6.


Kundakunda, Samaya Sāra, 39-55.


Abhidharma Koṣa, 3.18.


Tattvabodha, Ācārya Mahaprajña, part-2, Rajasthan Patrika, 1st Edition, November, 2007, p. 10.


Tattva Bodha, Ācārya Mahāprajña, p. 158-159.


Ātmā kā Darśana, Ācārya Mahāprajña, p. 97-98.


Tattva Bodha, Ācārya Mahāprajña, part-2, p. 4.


Uttarādhyayana, 20.36-37. 


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