What Is Soul And What Are Its Functions?
How does one know that, “My left leg is aching and right one is not”?
One may argue that it is the nerve or that it is a function performed by the brain or the mind to know that this leg is aching and this is not.
But who reads the brain?
Brain is only an organ and it exists in a dead body too; but a dead body is not able to know anything.
It means there is something else due to which we know and understand things;
which when present in the body, a person is said to be living; and when it leaves the body, the same body is called a dead body;
which when present in the body, a person is able to know and understand things, and when it leaves the body, the same person is not able to know or understand anything, in spite of the brain and mind being present inside the body.
What is that thing?
That’s the Soul!
Brain or mind performs its functions as mere organs of the body. Once death happens, their function ends and the body is discarded. It’s due to the Soul that one knows what all is happening in the brain, in the mind, in every part of the body.
The Soul is an eternal element made up of knowledge and bliss
The Soul is eternal; and its function is to see and know everything in this Universe, the result of which is eternal bliss!
Let’s understand the function of Soul in some more detail from a brief conversation of Param Pujya Dadashri with one of the spiritual seekers…
Dadashri: If at night, someone gives you shrikhand (a sweet yoghurt pudding) in the dark, where would you put the shrikhand? Will it get into your eyes or will it go only into your mouth? Even if you were given shrikhand in pitch darkness, you would put it only in your mouth, isn’t it? And if someone asks you what you ate, what will you tell him?
Dadashri: And if one asks you what is in the shrikhand, what will you tell him?
Questioner: Yogurt and sugar.
Dadashri: Yes, and if the yogurt was slightly off, would you be able to tell?
Dadashri: And you would know even if it is good?
Dadashri: Would you know if there was less sugar in it?
Dadashri: Would you also know if there was too much sugar?
Dadashri: How can you know all this in pitch darkness? And would you know if there were raisins and nuts in it? If there was a small cardamom in it, would you know?
Dadashri: So one that knows all of this is the Soul.
Questioner: People say that it is because of the sensory nerves that we perceive, and if there were not any sensory nerves, then we would not perceive.
Dadashri: Yes, if you did not have sensory nerves, you would not perceive things. But the Soul is the one that knows.
The Soul is the real Self. You may say, “I am John (please insert your own name in lieu of John)” But John is the name of the body. Should you not know ‘who am I’ in this body? It is that Self which you need to recognize…
Soul means Atma; Atma means Self.
Not knowing really ‘who am I’, out of ignorance, one wrongly believes, ‘I am the body. The brain and mind are mine. I am the doer.’ Due to these wrong beliefs, there is death and rebirth, life after life, since countless lifetimes.
In every life, we’ve been given ignorance only. From childhood, people give us worldly knowledge that “You are John (you may insert your own name here), you are son of so , so you are Doctor, etc.” And we begin to believe, “I am John, I am son, I am Doctor.” This wrong belief is called ignorance! But when Gnani, the Enlightened One, gives us the real knowledge of ‘who am I’, our wrong belief of “I am John” gets fractured.
We are really a Pure Soul only. Therefore we realize, “Oh! I am a Pure Soul.” All ignorance goes away then, and we experience Self-Realization!
Eg. A young son of the king gets lost. Not knowing who he is, he believes what people around tell him, “I am so and so, so and so.” Then, after five years, he happens to meet the King. When King makes him realize who he really is, he immediately understands, “Oh! I am the son of King”, because he was really a son of King; since he had got lost, he didn’t know ‘who am I’, and therefore believed whatever people told him.
Thus, it’s very important that we really know ‘who am I’. Let’s very earnestly pray to God, “May I happen to meet Gnani, the Enlightened One, very soon in my life, so that I too can attain Self-Realization at an early date and fulfil my real purpose (goal) of life.”
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