Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD
7th October 2009
The word soul has many synonyms in every rudimentary or sophisticated language known to man. The meaning is synonymous with an almighty creator, who is believed to have created the world, man and mind.
The soul, it is believed, has many desirable attributes to possess which man would give or do anything. He strives for these attributes of the soul at some point in his life, usually when he is weary of life and its treatment of him.
The popular belief of the soul is its blissful quality. Man, sophisticated as he may appear to be, is nevertheless restless in his daily life. He is restless deep within, though he may appear to be at ease with his daily life, more so socially.
However, man longs to attain the soul. This venture can only mean that he has concluded that, as he is, he has not attained the soul. The lure of the soul and the Bliss it grants attracts man as moths to light.
There are many spiritual techniques which, when practised, promise to grant the soul. These entice man into believing that to attain the soul spiritual techniques are a must. He believes mundane techniques, including daily work, do not deliver the soul.
Man is not short of practice in accomplishing mundane or daily work for he does it routinely, and that too for years until he cannot do it or retires from doing it. If at all chronic practice does deliver the soul, it should be the mundane work which man does, sometimes until death.
Paradoxically, both mundane and spiritual techniques do not deliver the soul until death. Man merely believes that spiritual techniques deliver the soul, but he has not verified if they have done so to any man.
To be involved in spiritual techniques and to be seen doing them is more a social face-lift to the ego than anything else. The ego feels good that it is engaged in attaining the unattainable. Man needs to understand that unattainable means that it cannot be attained.
To try to attain the unattainable is like requesting the black raven to change its colour to white, or the leopard to change its spots. This is plainly impossible and so is the effort to attain the soul. It is unattainable and will always remain so eternally.
The soul is unattainable for it is already attained and has never either been lost or gone missing. The ego is false and can attain only the false, either totally or in parts. The soul, however, is real and so cannot be attained either in part or totally by the ego.
The soul is present in every moment and the moment exists because of the soul. Man does not make the moment in which everything is alive; neither does the soul make the moment.
The soul need not make or create the moment, because the soul is the moment.
The daily life of man is inundated with logical arguments, logical criticism and logical demands, be it in the house or the workplace. It appears that man is good at it and obviously he will be for, in every generation, he does the same, only in a more sophisticated way than before.
Man has good and bad times too. Times are never constantly either good or bad. He routinely alternates between tears and cheers, so to speak. Despite having relentlessly practised these two, neither of them it appears has yielded bliss.
Man, therefore, believes that spiritual practices would and could yield bliss if practised. He should remember that when spiritual techniques are practised, either in solitude or collectively, arguments, criticism and demands are absent. Even though they are absent, bliss is never forthcoming as a permanent feature.
If bliss were delivered, then there would be no need to practise any more, but that has never happened. Practice always results in a desire to practise more and nothing else until the individual is not around to practise any more. This is the tale of man on a quest to attain the unattainable.
There is another story to the soul. The soul, it is believed, has to be laid to rest after death. Words implying ‘may his soul rest in peace’, or to that effect, are recited in every religion known to man.
This suggests that during the soul’s tenure on earth it was restless within its habitat, which is man. What could this mean? It could mean that the soul is restless because of what man does, speaks or thinks.
This could be determined if the soul says so or answers in the affirmative to man’s query. The soul, however, never says so and man cannot ask the soul either for he has never met the soul.
Two questions need to be clarified. The first is: who is it that listens? Does man listen to his soul or does the soul listen to what man has to say? The soul is believed to represent God or is God Himself. So the question who listens is easily answered.
It is unthinkable that God has to listen to man, but man’s prayers suggest just this. His prayers are indicative that God needs to listen to man as to how life should be managed. The instructions come in the form of prayer, which appears to be a request, but is nevertheless a directive to God from man.
It shows a lack of trust in God or life more than anything else.
The second question is: how many occupants live in the habitat, the body of man? If both the soul and man were present, the census-register would read two occupants. A further question would be: who is the breadwinner within the habitat? Is it the soul or man?
The way man lives his life suggests that he is the breadwinner and looks upon the other occupant for favours when he needs one. He is, however, not grateful when favours are granted. He takes them for granted, for he believes that the soul owes him one or many favours, convinced that he deserves them.
Maybe man knows that he has troubled and ignored the soul during his life-time, and that is why he prays ‘may the soul rest in peace’. This prayer is found in every religion that is known.
Strangely, such overtures to the soul are not needed when objects, vegetation and animals die. Does it mean the soul is not everywhere? It certainly does, and this contradicts man’s belief that the soul is everywhere.
Beliefs are, therefore, just beliefs and not the truth. Beliefs contradict each other and it is this contradiction that leaves man restless. If the soul represents bliss, there is no need to pray that it rests in peace. The soul is always in bliss and does not need such prayers.
If the soul dies, the moment will die too and the world will contract. The world expands and does not contract and this is the view of science and the religious clan. Therefore, it is not possible that the soul can leave the body after it dies.
The soul needs to be present in the dead too to keep it dead. Death is a form of living that man has not understood, but needs to. Man needs to understand that life is eternal and so is the soul. This understanding is enlightenment.
© Copyright 2009 V. S. Shankar