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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