We shall continue the Vedic lessons and touch upon the concept of Self and its relation with Ishwar. To understand Ishwar, please review first three articles of the series: Vedic Lessons.

Q: Who am I?

A: You are the soul or Atma or Jeeva. You are different from your mind and body. When body perishes, you do not perish because there is no entity in the universe that can destroy you.

Q: How do I know that I am different from body and mind? Am I not a chemical reaction?

A: Very simple! Your body and thoughts have changed since your birth, but you remain the same. Even on regular basis you find body and thoughts changing. Thus you are different from body and mind. The feeling of consciousness or ‘I’ is real you. This I is questioning right now and reading this article and knows that ‘I’ exists. This ‘I’ is the one who is currently keen to explore who this ‘I’ is. Even when you sleep without dreams, you wake up and say I had a good sleep. This ‘I’ enjoyed the peace of sleep as well. Read further and discover the ‘I’ further.

Some people say that consciousness is nothing but a chemical in brain and there is no soul. They say that all the emotions and feeling of pain and pleasure is simply chemical reaction. Nothing can be more foolish than this to claim as truth. Normally such views are held by people who have dumbed their intellect below a threshold by indulging in a variety of immoral activities. They are running away from their guilt feelings and ‘inner voice’ and hence indulge in such empty talks.

But just consider: when someone slaps you, reactions happen in body and neurons fire to give feeling of pain. But ‘who’ feels the pain? And when you are praised, agains neurons fire in a different manner and you feel happy. But again, ‘who’ felt happy? The very fact that something is felt implies someone is feeling. Obviously an electron, proton or neutron or a hydrogen atom or a water molecule or whatever cannot be ‘I’ that feels. This ‘I’ that feels and decides is the soul within our body – our true self. And since it is not a physical entity, it cannot be affected by physical things like fire, water etc. Thus it is indestructible. After all destruction means breakdown of various components. So how can something which has no further components be broken down. Also a gross thing cannot break a subtler thing like a sword cannot break an atom. Thus soul is indestructible as explained in almost all scriptures.

Further ask these childish ‘chemical intellectuals’ that if its all chemical reactions, then why they have a problem when we refute them? After even that is chemical reaction and so are they! Why they love, why they feel offended, why they take education and why they have urge to propagate their knowledge and counter ‘superstitions’? Also, why don’t they oppose laws against crime? Because if its all chemical reactions, why to punish a chemical reaction? Do you punish acid when someone throws that on someone’s face to damage it? Also if they are chemical reactions, why to take them seriously? All they speak or write or argue may just be a stupid random chemical reaction creating disturbance, like two acids mixing in chemical lab!

In summary, if its chemical reaction or non-eternal entity, the whole concept of law, order, love, emotions, education, character, crime, punishment, rewards, sports, entertainment, compassion etc become useless. Whole life becomes meaningless. So this theory is only for meaningless people with meaningless intellect who would not mind even being killed because even their life is meaningless and murder is also a chemical reaction!

Let us keep such meaningless arguments aside, and explore further the logical truth of we being ‘soul’ that is unborn and undying.

Q: Is Soul free to act or dependent on Ishwar?

A: It depends. When the universe is destroyed (Pralaya), soul (except souls that have reached salvation or Mukti or Moksha) remains unconscious without any free-will. During existence of universe, soul is imparted limited freedom to act when it is given a birth as per its deeds. However how much freedom the soul desires for itself is also based purely on the soul through its deeds.

For example, typically Indians decide to remain slaves of foreigners due to their celebrated slave-mentality. So they have limited freedom and face humiliations even in their own country. This limited freedom is not divinely provided but purely choice of our own society as a whole. Same happens at individual soul level.

In other words, depending upon the capability of the soul, Ishwar provides a domain of freedom to soul to act. And it keeps modifying this domain on an ongoing basis.

This is similar to the level of freedom we provide to our child. When its a baby, we restrict it to a small cot. As it starts walking on four legs, we ensure that we restrict its movement so that it does not fall down from a high bed. Gradually we provide him more and more freedom till he becomes a grown up man. If in the process, we find that it is cultivating bad habit of eating dirty things on floor, the mother finds some innovative way to prevent it from doing so. Its freedom is thus restricted. On contrary, if the child behaves like a good boy and obeys parents, does not do messy things, he obtains increased freedom quickly.

Ishwar, like our parents, keeps doing this on an ongoing basis like a continuous simulation of optimization algorithm. And he does so, like our parents, only for our own benefit.

In summary, soul is completely free in deciding how much freedom it wants for itself.

To state this in other words, …….
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82 COMMENTS

  1. Sanjeev Agniveer
    Westerners are studying Quantum Physics and are embracing Sanatan Dharma. Countless organisations which teach spiritual philosophies of Sanatan Dharma are flourishing in West particularly in USA Europe Canada. That day is not too far on which entire West will follow Sanatan Dharma.
    You can find hundreds of Western Hindus’ web sites on the internet. Prominent scientists, Physicists, Quantum Pysicists have already embraced Sanatan Dharma.

  2. Rahman ji

    I strongly suggest you stay away from from the online available translation of Vedas. If you are genuinely interested studying Vedas then buy them from http://www.agnikart.com . This the only one I trust. This will be your best investment in life.

    Coming back to you questions. Please be aware that Vedas do not spoon feed. Instead it trigger logical thinking and encourage us to use our brain to understand the concept in depth.

    We know that souls are more than one (Refer RV 10.36.9, RV 10.37.8, YV 19.46) ). We know that souls are eternal so they are neither created nor destroyed. So the logical conclusion is number of souls are fixed. If souls are infinite in number it would become impossible for God to manage them.

    RV 10-121-1
    Here in this mantra hiranyagarbha is one of the many names of God. Mantra does not say God was created. It says god was and is ever existed even before the creation and he is the sustainer of all forms of created being. He hold earth and sustain whole universe.

    Again Please stay away from online translation.

  3. Hi, your concepts puzzle me!!

    In one place you are saying like this-

    As per Vedas, soul is never created nor destroyed. Just as Ishwar is eternal, so is the soul. The root cause of material world – nature (Prakriti) is the third eternal entity. Ishwar creates neither the soul nor the Prakriti.

    Question – What is the authenticity for this? Are you able to see this? You are explaning as if you are above all these 3 realities (Iswara, Jeeva, Prakriti).. how to believe that this is true?

    In another place you are saying-

    “….But Ishwar has additional characteristics like creator of universe, manager of universe, destroyer of universe, infinite knowledge, infinite powers, infinite bliss etc as discussed in previous articles of the series”

    One place you say Ishwar doesnt create anything and contradicting it in another place. If prakriti and universe are different what is Prakriti then?

    Hope you answer my questions.

    A Truthseeker

    • Dear Rahman ji, Namaste!

      Let me try to clarify you.

      1) Jeevatma or soul. Souls are infinite and they exist eternally just like Parameshwar. Parameshwar doesn’t create souls. He only manages the souls through their karma.

      2)Prakriti also is eternal just like Souls and Parameshwar. Parameshwar with his energy created this creation using prakriti (say as raw material)

      So, all the three Prakriti, Jeevatma and Paramaatma are eternal.

      Hope this is clear. Dhanyawaad!

      • who told u souls are infinite ? infinite means it would never end …souls are constant in universe since they are neither created nor destroyed..

      • Ashish ji,

        Narayan ji said infinite souls., you are saying finite souls… This is why I am wondering why dont we back our claims with authentic hymns from veda so that this kind of confusion is not there?

        I have a big problem in understanding this souls and karma concept. I am trying to gather information on karma concept but everywhere I see variations. It will help me a lot if you can elaborate on this.

        No matter what explanation I read about karma and souls, I am getting a very basic doubts so I think I need your help to firm up on my basics of these concepts:

        1) Related to souls – Finite or infinite number of souls and ever existing souls – But then why the population of the world is increasing? From where and why the extra souls are coming into existence?

        2) It is my understanding that Soul and body are different. Body is again part of prakriti/universe. Soul is just taking a body.

        We now know scientifically (big bang theory) that both Time and Space were created and that they were not there before that bang. So how to understand karma concept in this aspect? Atma is getting body due to balance in karma and body is required to do karma., If there was a time where there was no body (before big bang) how karma came in to picture?

      • Rahman ji Namaste

        Please try to understand that numbers of soul are finite. However for us (humans) numbers of soul are infinite because we are not able to count them. But for God, numbers of soul are finite as God is omnipotent. And that’s why God is able to manage all the souls.

        Now why numbers of soul are finite?

        Because soul is eternal. That means soul is neither created nor destroyed. If something is neither created nor destroyed then its number remains constant. No addition no subtraction.
        If souls are finite then from where extra souls are coming? Why population increasing?

        There are two possible explanations. First, as per law of karma when any animal purge out his bad Sanskara, it gets opportunity to take birth in human body. This is managed by God. And we never know which human was animal in his past life. Second, in this universe there are many solar systems. And in each solar system has its own earth. So depending upon the karma God put souls from earth to earth to face the fruit of his deeds. That’s why we can see the population of certain spices are increasing or decreasing on this earth.

        When universe is being created from prakriti, all souls remains in unconscious form. And when universe is created souls are given body depending upon their karma in past creation. So law of karma is constantly working during creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe. This chain of law of karma is never broken..

      • Gyan Surya ji,

        Thanks for your explanation. The issue is everyone seem to have their own understanding in this regard. How can you substantiate what ever you have written – is it your understanding or are there hyms from veda to back these concepts? What is the authenticity of such an eloborate understanding? God should have communicated to us the knowledge (then we should have proof of it). I tried to read vedas online but all I see in them are hymns to please various Gods like Indra, agni, varuna. I understand its your claim that all these Gods are like different attributes of One god., Lets leave it aside as I dont want to change topic here. So can you please give references for the karma concept and for finite number of souls from Vedas?

      • Gyan Surya ji,

        “1. IN the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings.
        He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation?

        Riv Veda 10-121-1

        1. Can you please clarify then Who this Hirnyagarbha out of the three realities – Easwar,Prakriti,Jeeva

        2. Why its mentioned that he is born?

    • Just as pot is proof of potter and clay(both) in the same way universe..Neither without clay nor without potter,there can exist a pot…So neither without prakriti(like clay) nor without God(like potter) there can exist universe(like pot)….so 2things are proved……Now 3rd one soul exist because u and me are not God ..So soul also exist ……u just need to understand cause and effect theory properly…

      • Hi Ashiah,

        Regarding the soul, we don’t call it soul we call it Atman. Soul and Atman have two different meanings. We don’t even believe in a soul, we believe in Atman. And all living beings have Atman, but by the defintion of soul, only humans have it.

        Next, the Atman is always there. It doesn’t die or was created. It always is there. God just manages and helps guide the Atman so that Atman can, if it chooses to, reach Moksha.

      • Hello Krishnarao ji,

        What do you call that atma in english? do you mean spirit instead of soul? How many atmas are there? infinite, finite or 1 according to you?

      • Ashish ji,

        Good explanation. It rasied 2 new questions in my mind. Thanks for clarifying these-

        1) If Prakruti is un-created and always there like eswara – dont you think this compromises the power of easwara/God?. God should be the one who creates everything. If we are saying there is something other than God which God has not created then that implies that God is not Almighty. This also raises a question how this prakriti came in to existence?

        2) I think its a vedic concept that God is all pervading / he is there in every atom. So is he there only in this creation(universe) or in prakriti also? As per pot example, clay is becoming pot so can we imagine that prakriti itself is this universe now? If so if God is there in every atom of prakriti then how can we say God and prakriti are two different beings?

      • 1).If u say God created prakriti then from where ? So either prakriti would come from God or something else unborn would have to exist.If someone ask u what is cause of God then what will u tell ?…So Cause of an effect exist but cause of a cause dont exist and is unscientific hence no will ever get it…U have to well understand concept of cause and effect..God is God not because He can do unscientific things but He can create universe and not us..So God,soul and matter are scientific and 3 eternal entities..
        .
        .
        2)God is pervading everything and even atoms..So he is not in something special.he doesnt get affected by matter…There is no perfect example to explain omnipresence but still closer e.g is that u can imagine like a cloth in an ocean where water is God and cloth is soul or anything .Water exist everywhere in and out and u cant say that it exist in something special thing
        .
        Cause and effect theory(differnce and relation)
        1)Cause is always unborn and effect is always born..
        2)absence of cause proves absence of effect but absence of effect doesnt prove absence of cause because effect is temporary.
        3)Effect always should have a cause but cause of cause dont exist.If someone finds a cause of cause then it would be an effect only which is mistaken as a cause..

        In other words, true=cause,illusion or maya (which is so called in spiritual
        language)=effect and false=no existence

  4. why my comment was deleted answer me “”Very simple! Your body and thoughts have changed since your birth, but you remain the same.
    Even on regular basis you find body and thoughts changing. Thus you are different from body and mind. The feeling of
    consciousness or ‘I’ is real you.””lol No We change Because of the fact that neurones flared up and stored the information
    which is enacted again and again when situation demands,albeit with some modifications. Please do read up some basic bio
    chemistry before falling for these mind,body,I ,You trap. Look into the science portion of consciousness. oversimplified
    the personality/ consciousness by stating it to be a “chemical reaction” according to science. That is so not true. I mean we
    can right here sit and have a 2 hour lecture on the same from naik lol and he would be able to give some of the
    psychological, psycho-somatic background to us and your possessions can be controlled.
    “”But just consider: when someone slaps you, reactions happen in body and neurons fire to give feeling of pain.
    But ‘who’ feels the pain?””
    The brain does it is simple biochemical information processing nothing more just like when you type computer
    responds according to its programming similar to that brain is programmed to receive stimulus and responds accordingly
    there is no supernatural involved.You can create a new brain using stem cells and it will still respond the same way no soul
    no spiritual woo is involved.

    • can you make the computer “feel” happy? or “feel” sad ?, besides you are right there is no supernatural. its all natural its just that you cant comprehend it.

    • ———-“The brain does it is simple biochemical information processing nothing more just like when you type computer” —— what is the cause of brain doing it ?..The same brain is still the same composition even if u are dead ..Now if u say o2 supply is lost,then who was supplying o2 earlier to body..if its body,then how that body (dead) cant just inhale and supply o2 to brain….God and soul are most scientific entities because they are efficient and effective causes respectively..

  5. Agniveer ji… Aap ne jo kaha vo ‘dwet vedtant’ ke vedo ki interetation se kaha. Parantu Acharya Adi Shankaryacharya ke baad Dwet Vedtant ka siddhant buri tarha pit gya hai. Ye galat hai.

    Hum atma nahi hai- hum brahm hai. Hum hi brahm hai. Aur jab hum ye samajh le ki hum sharir, jeevatama ya aatma nahi hai tab hume moksha milta hai…
    “Aham brahamasmi”

    Aur apne kaha “You are the soul or Atma or Jeeva”. Ye teeno hi galat hai. Phali baat to hai ki soul ki defination Atma se puri tarah bhin hai. Aur aapne shayad galti se Jeevatma ko Jeeva likh diya. Soul farziwada hai. Soul stupid supernatural imagination hai. Ye isaiyo ki murkhta hai.
    Aur Atma aur Jeevatma ek nahi hai. Atma sabhi jeevo ke ek ‘single counciousness’ hai. Jeevatma ek prani ki independent ‘conciousness’ hai. Hum na to Jeev hai, na Jeevatma, na hi atma- ham braham hai.

    Swami Vivekanad ne kaha tha- pratyek jeev avykat brham hai. Kripiya aap apne article se ye trutiya hataen.

    Harshvardhan

  6. hi vajra, in this article i dont quite understand the explanaion given for this ‘I’.
    I mean to say that how do we understand that what ‘I’ am doing is the soul doing it? for example
    1. I am feeling hungry for some steak and chips or rice and beans.
    2. I am aroused.
    3. I am confused.
    Does the ‘I’ in these examples refer to the soul(who we really are)? And say for another example if right now i start jumping up and down then this is the soul doing it and not the body? so all in all is it correct that anything this body does (physical act or mental act) is because ‘I’ (the soul) am telling it to do so? thanks.

    • Hello dave

      —-how do we understand that what ‘I’ am doing is the soul doing it?—-

      OK. Suppose I am blind. Someone donates me eyes. When he died, his eyes could not see. But when Doctors fit those to my body, I start seeing!

      So we can conclude that eye does not see anything. It is simply a tool using which someone else sees. And what is that? That is Soul which is separate from body. Until soul was there in donor’s body, eyes were working. When soul went away, eyes couldn’t do anything. When eyes were given to another soul, i.e. me, they again started working! They are mere tool like goggles that can be used by many! And like eyes, whole body is a tool for Soul.

      So when we say
      1. I am feeling hungry
      2. I am aroused.
      3. I am confused.

      This is Soul that is hungry, aroused, and confused and it experiences/expresses these feelings using body.

      —–so all in all is it correct that anything this body does (physical act or mental act) is because ‘I’ (the soul) am telling it to do so?—–

      Absolutely. Body is connected to Soul in such a fashion that response time of body to Soul’s command is negligible and thus we start considering body and consciousness as same mistakenly! However by practicing Yam, Niyam and Yog, the distinction becomes clear.

      Thanks

  7. @Agniveer

    —You are different from your mind and body. —
    I have a question. Then who controls our acts? Where are thoughts reside, which turn into actions and decide the fate of soul?

      • Bro Shravak

        ——Then who controls our acts?——

        Soul controls. Mind and body are tools of soul to think and act.

        ——Where are thoughts reside, which turn into actions and decide the fate of soul?—–

        In mind.

        ——— feeling of I is feeling of conciousness?——–

        Actually consciousness is never felt rather it is something because of which every other thing is felt! See, we see through our eyes but can never see the eyes (dont tell me that you can use mirror 🙂 ) ! It is the same principle that works everywhere. Eye never sees itself, sun can never shine itself (but others), and soul can never feel consciousness (but every other thing using it).

        Feeling of I is the proof of existence of I, which is conscious!

      • Thanks Bro for the reply.

        But in the article it is said ‘The feeling of consciousness or ‘I’ is real you.’ Now Q is how can one feel the consciousness? Or i may have misunderstood the statement?

  8. Namaste Great-Souls ( Agniveer, Vajra, Arya, KalBhairav, Indian Agnostic etc )
    Can anyone throw some light on Prakruti too ? What’s its significance ? Can it be called the driving-force required to create, manage and destroy the universe by GOD ? But I’d seriously like to know more about it. Can Law-of-Karma be called a Law-of-Nature ? What are some other laws-of-Nature ? Aren’t the LGBT groups, the men or women who desire to convert to opposite gender, murderers ( including those who kill their daughter in mother’s womb), meat-eaters etc Nature’s law breaker ? If yes then how come some laws can be broken by these demons or asurs while some laws of nature like Law-of-Karma, Law-of-Gravitation are unbreakable ?
    Thanks in advance
    -Karna

    • Namaste Bro Karna

      ——-Can anyone throw some light on Prakruti too ?——-

      Prakriti is simply matter/energy, smallest unit of matter.

      ——- What’s its significance ?——-

      It is used to create universe in which souls act.

      ——-Can it be called the driving-force required to create, manage and destroy the universe by GOD ?——

      If I have made a pen out of plastic for my younger brother, then I would be God of this model, plastic would be Prakriti, pen would be universe, and my bro would be soul.

      ——- Can Law-of-Karma be called a Law-of-Nature ?——–

      Law of Karma ensures that souls get what they deserve and Laws of nature ensure tools for the fulfillment of former in physical world. For example if Osama Bin Laden deserved to get killed by bullet as per Law of Karma, it is Law of nature like conservation of momentum of bullet that will make sure that OBL is penetrated deep into his stomach!

      ——–What are some other laws-of-Nature ? Aren’t the LGBT groups, ….. meat-eaters etc Nature’s law breaker ?——

      Beauty of Law of Karma and Law of nature is that they can never be breached 🙂 Whatever examples you gave are either examples of some disease or abuse of freewill. If someone eats shit, he is not violating any physical law! This is simply something he should have not done because now Law of Karma will play its role! There is much more in the world that a soul can do. And such options of doing good/bad provide souls freewill that is essential to do Karma.

      • Brother Vajra
        I guess then people use the wrong terminologies & say for such incidence that “ye log prakruti ke niyamo ka ullanghan kar rahe hain”. Now I get it that Eternal-Law-of-Karma is not a Law-of-Nature. I also get confused when people say over some natural disaster like tsunami that “prakruti apne raudra-roop ko darsha rahi hain”. Does it mean that some of the souls contributed to the cause of the disaster and according to the Law-of-Karma they( The ones who are affected by that disaster ) get punished for that ? I guess your answer would be yes for this question (just guessing), but would love to learn from your upcoming-comment. 🙂
        -Karna

      • Bro Karna

        ——-Does it mean that some of the souls contributed to the cause of the disaster and according to the Law-of-Karma they( The ones who are affected by that disaster ) get punished for that ?——-

        What we call as disaster might not be same for many. For most of humans, it is obviously disaster. Although there would be some who would be living very painful life and thus such disasters act as liberator! Moreover, when we talk about souls, its not just souls in human form. There are trillions of souls that are affected by any natural process. Bacteria, ants, insects, animals, birds, worms, fish etc are also there. Now a Tsunami that is disaster for 1 million humans turns out to be liberator of billions of other souls in other life forms.

        So it all depends purely on a soul whether a process is a catastrophe or otherwise. Many patients in Coma would die silently and peacefully during Tsunamis who will now start afresh in next birth. To many such other souls, Tsunami becomes a celebration! But of course, a soul is wholly responsible for whatever happiness or sorrow obtained during any process.

  9. here i am stopping this discussion. thanks for ur replies. i had read ur comments on other articles also, u r doing a great job. and thanks to agniveer and team for defending and spreading the holy vedas. thank you.

  10. conciousness, would it be without the senses? a computer that beats a master in chess- is it superhuman , how it does thinks that we cannot?we imagine we are still masters of these coputers as we programmed them. but we ourselves are programmes.
    we are programme. depicted by local rules at a molecular and cellular level each protin foretold in the manuscript of DNA.

  11. consider the mind to be the brain itself [there is a small difference here which we can neglect for now]. i.e. me =mind =intellect=brain.
    reply to your example: imagine that there is a cloud of possibilities open in the brain at every moment (consisting of words, memories, ideas, and images I could choose from). When the light rays comes to it through eyes, one of these possibilities coalesces from the cloud and becomes a thought in the brain.

    • @arihantt:

      Well, now you are just using words and I am unclear what it is you want to say. Me = mind = intellect = ? What exact chemical reactions? Can you explain it in terms of brain/blood cells/neurons?

      As per Hinduism, mind is the state of an “internal organ” [we can think of this “internal organ” AS the mind…there is a small difference here which we can neglect for now.]. This “internal organ” is probably closely linked with the brain. Consciousness/soul is that entity which provides sentience to otherwise insentient entities/chemical reactions within our body. An object, say a tree, is see in the distance. Light rays fall on insentient eye. Eye transmits these signals to insentient brain. That much we know. Between this stage and figuring out that it is the tree that we are seeing is where we soul/consciousness comes into picture. The light from this soul/consciousness enables the “internal organ” to discriminate amongst the different sense inputs it receives in its. So, the mind plays a mediatory role between the brain and the soul. Without the soul/consiousness, there is no object at all because nothing will be perceived to exist. Who IS perceiving anyway? As regards the size of the soul, most schools posit its “monadic” size. That is, it is extremely subtle. It exists, because it is what makes us sentient.

      Sentience is NOT accepted as an emergent property of our brain in Hinduism.

  12. @Arihantt:

    Hang on a second buddy! YOU USED THE TERM ‘MIND’. I asked you to define it. Can you?

    Also, the soul/consciousness is different from mind, per Hinduism. But you obviously have a different understanding of mind and I am asking you to define it. Is that asking for too much?

  13. when a person is overdrunk the sphere of his conciousness diminishes [observable].this shows conciousness is a function of brain.
    there sem to have been three basic component of human mind:
    Reasoning,Desiring and emotive part.
    does soul have physical existance as per vedas?

  14. here ‘we’ means our mind. it is our mind which performs an analysis of the circumstances around us. then to protect ‘I’ [which is an illusion but persistant] it directs itself towards various possibilities of escaping or solving the problem.
    you said sentience is the proof of existance of soul. but as earlier said by me the sentiance can be altered through drugs. how this is possible? if soul exist it shold not be affected by chemicals.

    • Define “mind”. Drugs, etc. affect the brain and not the soul that provides it with luminosity/sentience. My point is that sentience is NOT an emergent property.

  15. sentiments are specifically feelings caused by changes in the physiological condition . when we percieve that we are in danger for example, this perception sets off a collection of bodily responses and our awareness of these responses is what constitute fear.
    also there are drugs that can alter our sentiments.

    • @arihantt:

      when we percieve that we are in danger for example, this perception sets off a collection of bodily responses and our awareness of these responses is what constitute fear.

      The Vedantin would answer back – who is this “we” you are referring to? What specific chemical reactions constitute this “we”? Can it be synthesized in the laboratory? The Vedantin would ALSO agree with your example. When you see a rope in the darkness as a snake, you are bound to be confused and afraid and separate the world into “me” vs “not-me”, etc. When Jnana dawns and the veil of darkness is lifted, the rope is revealed in all its manifestation. This perceived world [vyavaharika] is neither real nor unreal. One becomes a Jivanmukti when one knows the rope as the rope even in the darkness.

      (The Dvaitins will disagree with this but that is a different topic altogether.)

  16. the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion. Consciousness turns out to consist of a maelstrom of events distributed across the brain. These events compete for attention, and as one process outshouts the others, the brain rationalizes the outcome after the fact and concocts the impression that a single self was in charge all along.
    Take the famous cognitive-dissonance experiments. When an experimenter got people to endure electric shocks in a sham experiment on learning, those who were given a good rationale (“It will help scientists understand learning”) rated the shocks as more painful than the ones given a feeble rationale (“We’re curious.”) Presumably, it’s because the second group would have felt foolish to have suffered for no good reason. Yet when these people were asked why they agreed to be shocked, they offered bogus reasons of their own in all sincerity, like “I used to mess around with radios and got used to electric shocks.”
    It’s not only decisions in sketchy circumstances that get rationalized but also the texture of our immediate experience. We all feel we are conscious of a rich and detailed world in front of our eyes. Yet outside the dead center of our gaze, vision is amazingly coarse. Just try holding your hand a few inches from your line of sight and counting your fingers. And if someone removed and reinserted an object every time you blinked (which experimenters can simulate by flashing two pictures in rapid sequence), you would be hard pressed to notice the change. Ordinarily, our eyes flit from place to place, alighting on whichever object needs our attention on a need-to-know basis. This fools us into thinking that wall-to-wall detail was there all along–an example of how we overestimate the scope and power of our own consciousness.

    • @Arihantt:

      Interesting POV. Seems more naturalistic/Buddhist (?) in my view. Nonetheless, I doubt if the existence of a soul or consciousness can be empirically established. Adi Shankaracharya used to say likewise – he said that if soul/consciousness can be empirically established, the Charvakas and Buddhists would also admit to the existence of a soul. He tried to establish it as a logical necessity.

      Soul is that entity that provides the power of sentience to otherwise non-sentient brain/mind/nerves/neurons, etc. How do you define sentience and non-sentience? Whats the threshold that separates the two?

  17. What the multipicity of deities does indicate is Hinduism’s spiritual hospitality as evidenced by two characteristically Hindu doctrines: The Doctrine of Spiritual Competence (Adhikaara) and the Doctrine of The Chosen Deity (Ishhta Devata). The doctrine of spiritual competence requires that the spiritual practices prescribed to a person should correspond to his or her spiritual competence. The doctrine of the chosen deity gives a person the freedom to choose (or invent) a form of Brahman that satisfies his spiritual cravings and to make it the object of his worship. It is notable that both doctrines are consistent with Hinduism’s assertion that the unchanging reality is present in everything, even the transient.

  18. Hinduism never rejects or denies anything or anybody. It is a big ocean.It could be called Sindhuism .”Sindhu” in some of the Indian languages means “ocean.” It never says, “Only Ganga andGodavari may enter; Missouri and Mississippi must stay out.” No ,they all flow in. Even the city gutter water goes in. It’s as if the big ocean mamma says, “Come, my child, I know you went around and got dirty. Come in, and I will clean you up.” Even atheism is accepted. The Hindus know that the moment you say, “I don’’t believe in God,”you seem to accept a God. If there is not God, why do you want not to believe? You say, that there is a God, but you don’t believe in it. A true Hindu will have no problem in accepting all other faiths. He will never say,”Oh, I am only a Hindu. I am not a Catholic. I’’m not a Buddhist. I’’m not a Muslim.” They are all based on devotion, the Bhakti Yoga. The ocean never denies any water; it’s all embracing.

    All of our problems today are based on the attitude that, “My way, my approach is the right one. And if you don’’t follow this, you’ll be condemned.”There is no one way, because each mind is different. Each person conceives of God according to his capacity, taste and temperament.
    “You have your way. You have the freedom and the right to follow it; but your following “your way” should not cause problems to others. Just as you have your freedom, others must also have the freedom to find peace and joy,- in their own way.”

    • @Ananya

      Namaste Sister,

      Thanks for raising this question.

      If you are really interested in getting the answer to the above question and to many more, I would suggest you the following link

      http://www.vedmandir.com/

      Please, spend at least a month, I repeat at least a month and go through Q&A section, you will find answer to many of your question. If not then please raise the question to Swami Ram swaroopji, on the website itself.

      Please understand that, It may happen that you raise the same question answered by him to someone else, so please go through Q&A section thoroughly.

      Dhanyavad

      • @VikramAditya
        Thanks for providing the link.
        By the way I m REALLY interested in getting the answer!! In my view this can be the ONLY reason for asking a question!

  19. Agniveer Ji

    Thanks for such a great article. I would like to know what is the difference between Atma or Soul and Sukshma Sarir or subtle body? In west, soul=subtle body. In east, Atma or Soul is behind five sheaths and Atma=Brahman as infinite can not be divided. As per our philosophy, mind, intellect and ego or aham consist subtle body. Atma is much much subtler than these components.

  20. Good article.

    Now a days girls misusing dowry act and domestic violence act -iwdely known as 498a ,very much to harrass husband ,his old father & monther ,unmarried brother and sister and other relatives and destroy whole family peace.

    Detail can be found on the website of saveindian family.

    Pls do something to stop this misuse.

    • It is their turn now. We, male, tortured them for several years, burnt them, killed them in embryo. So, bear this. Each action has opposite & equal reaction.

      • @All
        Is it true? please explain:-
        गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः
        Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu
        Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
        Guru Saakshat Para Brahma
        Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha

      • Namaste Truth Seeker

        Such Shlokas were meant to enslave the gullible minds. No human can equate Eeshvar. So anyone claiming to be Guru and Eeshvar both is a fraud. The very first thing a True Guru will tell to his disciple is

        ‘Yaani asmaakam sucharitaani taani sevitavyaani no itarani’ [Upanishad]

        Meaning- Rishi or Guru’s first lesson to disciple is- ‘Follow only good in us, leave the rest’

        So when even Rishis of Upanishads teach us to introspect, question Guru’s views and to reject if found incorrect then who the hell today’s fake Gurus are to teach us they are God?

      • @Vajra Brother Namaste,
        Correct Brother, I was thinking the same. I doubted How Upanishads can write such Shaloka? But this does not belong to Upnishad but it belongs to Skand Puran, Where once again Shiva is narrating a story to Parvati. I do believe Purans stories are one of main causes falling of Aryas, made them weak & lead the Araya/s to the darkness. We need to reject such Shaloka without delaying.
        http://hi.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80_%E0%A4%97%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%81_%E0%A4%97%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BE

      • A pakhandi will say to you:
        I know everything.Your any relative does not know more than me. am the second son of the God.And I am the fnal.The one who obey’s me,all of his sins are dissolved into water.So you must obey me. I say to you to drink wine.And you should drink it.It is the ambrosia.If you will drink it then you will achieve mukti otheriwse not.Do not listen to any guru except me.Just drink it.

        aise guruo ke sharir me latein pade to acchha hai.

      • @Vinay Arya/Vajra
        Brother, you correct and I am going to discuss this Shaloka to Ramayan preachers who always start preaching with this Shaloka. I will not let thing pass easily.
        Suppose if I have to meet Vajra and you know his address. So, I come to you to inquire Vajra address. You guide me to his address. That does not mean I should stick to you and consider you Vajra. You have just guided me & I am grateful to you but my aim was not to reach you, it was Vajra.
        It is a roughly analogy in the same way Guru is our Guider & we should respect of him but he is not God himself. WE should not call him God.
        http://agniveer.com/2763/understanding-self-hinduism/#comment-53949

      • Brother Truth Seeker

        You said it. First they claim that they will guide you to God and in second step they say they themselves are God! What can be biggest fraud than this?

      • @Supriya

        Who is your Guru? How do you know he is not fake? Every follower of Guru in India believe his/her Guru is true & most enlightened soul. Then, how you come to the conclusion that your Guru is true. I asking just for curiosity not for hurting you..

        Ram Pal ji Maharaj followers also believe their Guru is true same as Asharam, Nityanand, followers.

      • @TruthSeeker
        I’d like to give my thoughts on it brother. You asked whether it is true or not. I’d say it is. I’m not talking about fake-Gurus(Pakhandis) but the real ones who deserve to be respected can be praised in such a manner. A real pupil is a bhakt(devotee) of his Guru. Although Guru should accept this shloka as an appreciation to him by his pupil but should never consider himself equivalent to him (The Almighty) & real Guru knows this. He never crosses his boundaries ( Maryada).

  21. VEDIC MANAGEMENT: PRINCIPLES ON VALUES AND DHARMIC WORLD ORDER AND PEACE

    INTEGRATES NEW AND OLD; INTEGRATES SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY ; INTEGRATES EXPERIENCEABLE & EXPERIMENTABLE KNOWLEDGE; TAKES GOOD FROM ALL SOURCES; MEANT FOR ALL , ALL OVER THE WORLD; BASED ON ICCHA +JNAANA+ KRIYAA SAKTI; INTEGRATES SELF, FAMILY & SOCIETY…

  22. amazing Agniveer ji,
    I feel like running after this article:)
    I mean running on the path of the vedas, u give all the positivity we require for the day.
    Seek for more and more of cleansing material so that even the last bit of doubt can be erased and can never deviate from the path of the vedas- the ultimate truth.
    keep jogging and jogging.
    Om

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