What is the soul, and what is its nature? Ask yourself: "Who am I?" Or ask others about it. Most people will answer: "I am an athlete. I am Russian. I am a father. I am a gourmet. I am cheerful. I am a philosopher, etc." People often identify themselves with the body, with their social roles or professions. But if you look at these answers more broadly, you will understand that all of them are about temporary things. Today I am an accountant, and after 5 years I can be a psychologist, today I live in Russia, and after 15 years I can get American citizenship, today I am a young girl, and after 30 years - a woman in years. Everything flows, everything changes - so Heraclitus wrote many centuries ago, referring to the material nature. Everything can change, even the name and gender. But, despite these external changes, there is something in me that remains unchanged - my inner essence, called the soul. Therefore, I do not have a profession, hair color or intelligence. I am the soul.
Body and soul
For knowledge of the soul turn to the Vedas. Vedic knowledge states that man is a soul different from the body. The material body was given to us temporarily for a certain period, so that the soul that comes to earth to learn a certain lesson could get its experience. The body is like a shell, cover. It is updated, grows or fades. Every moment there are changes in the body. The soul is immutable, eternal. Therefore, I do not have a soul, but I have a soul. I am not a body, I am a spiritual creature. When her earthly term ends, the soul can come back to earth in a different body, but it will still be me, just changing "clothes."
Soul in the Vedas is called jiva - "living thing". The soul is not only in humans, but also in plants, animals, even in single-celled creatures. The soul incarnates on earth in accordance with past pious or sinful activities in the material bodies of various kinds and forms. Reincarnation occurs - the transmigration of the soul. The soul, freed from the illusions of the material world, ceases to incarnate on earth and continues to live at higher levels.
The qualities of the soul
Srimad Bhagavatam lists basic qualities of the soul. it eternity - the soul is not born and does not die, inexhaustibility (the soul is not exhausted, it always has the energy of consciousness). A very important knowledge is that our soul is clean. When we identify ourselves with the body, we always feel that there is something impure in us, because the body is constantly undergoing processes of decomposition, dying, the body is sinful and is subject to the influence of passions. When we understand that the body is that which is different from us, then we realize how clean our soul is, freed from material filth.
Also the soul possesses uniqueness (every soul is unique) body knowledge, does not depend on it, penetrates into all parts of the body through consciousness. It gives life to the body (the physical body does not exist without a soul), it is not subject to change. Soul self-illuminated (radiant), and no need to make an effort to determine its presence, it is the cause of all causes. Being a particle and likeness of God, the living being possesses the qualities of the Supreme, therefore in the original state the soul is filled with bliss.
Higher soul assignment
"Bhagavad-gita" says that the inherent property of the soul and its highest purpose is service. In accordance with the object of service, the soul is called "conditioned" or "liberated." In the conditioned state, it serves matter. A person with a material consciousness enters into ignorance, forgetting about his spiritual nature, and falls under the influence of false ego and illusions. He thinks that happiness consists in enjoying material goods, and this gives rise to dependence on the world of things in him, his joy becomes conditioned, that is, arises under certain conditions. In the conditioned state, the soul is inactive, because changes in the environment occur without its participation. The soul develops and feeds only when it gets freedom. The activity of the soul in the liberated state is called bhakti, devotional service to God.
The illusions of the material world
A false ego is an erroneous identification of the soul with matter. It manifests itself in two aspects: "I am the body" and something belongs to me in this world - "This is my territory". When a living being comes into contact with material nature, it falls under its influence. This influence is described in the Vedas. three gunas (translated from Sanskrit "quality" or "rope"): virtues passion and ignorance. At different times, a living being is affected by various combinations of the modes of material nature, therefore sometimes we are happy, sometimes we experience overwhelming desires, and sometimes - laziness.
The guna of virtue is cleaner than the rest; it frees one from the effects of sins, gives happiness and knowledge. But when a person is in this guna, he, thanks to his knowledge, can feel his superiority over others, that is, is conditioned and attached to material nature. The guna of passion is characterized by a thirst for material enjoyment, honor in society, a desire to have a happy family and home. For this, a person works hard and becomes attached to the fruits of his labor. The mode of ignorance implies laziness, madness and sleep (more than 7 hours a day), under its influence a person is not able to realize things as they are and does not care about the eternal soul. In the material world there is not a single being free from the influence of the gunas. But one who has surrendered himself to God, in accordance with the Bhagavad-gita, can easily free himself from the captivity of the material world.
Man is a spiritual creature
The Vedas teach to live as an eternal soul, rejecting the false self-image as a physical body. Your body is beautiful, but there is a more important entity. Clean, radiant, light. A person deprived of spiritual knowledge condemns himself to suffering. True happiness brings awareness that I am a spiritual creature, free from attachments and conventions. So be free and happy! All the best to you!
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