THE SOUL AND THE BODYVedic Articles
Man giyo to jaavan de, dhid kar raakh sareer
Let the mind wander;
keep the body firmly under control.
People change with the passage of time. It applies as much to the mind as to the body. It is the soul that conveys to a man the feelings that he has done such and such a thing when he was five years old or fifty years old. The soul stays as it was whether we are five or fifty. It defies such changes. However, when you are surrounded by kin and friends and you play different roles, you may be struck with the notion that you are alone. You feel that all will abandon you in due course of time and you will truly be all alone in your journey henceforth.
Just as all things thrown up towards the sky come back to the ground, the fire ascends to its solar source. Similarly, the soul in its awakened state gravitates towards the Lord in an upward direction. This is so because the soul is a fragment of the Lord and the soul aspires to be one with Him. That is why the soul perceives that it is different from the body. Once freed from the mundane existence and once it has achieved all that was to be achieved, it engages itself in spiritual practice. Renunciation becomes its goal.
The state of being different from the body cannot be achieved easily. The body is perishable while the soul is immortal. In the previous life also, the soul was in this very form. The body was, of course, different. After this birth the body can change but the soul will remain as it is now. One has to practise for many years to attain this state. All efforts such as chanting sacred text, penance and ascetic practice aim at this goal. They inspire a person to look within despite external worldly life. The world that exists within us is vast and complex. No one can deny having experienced a glimpse of the world within us. We experience the state of the inner world off and on. It jolts us a bit. We may not concede it though. There are elaborate records of the experiences of the last moments of the people who are no longer with us. A sudden feeling of detachment that an individual experiences in the cremation ground also points to this fact. It also brings home the reality that we are alone.
That the body and the soul are two separate things can be realised by practice. The obvious advantage is that one will experience the bliss of emancipation even when one is in the physical world. One has to maintain a system of regular meditation and contemplation for a prescribed period. Not only should it be regular but it should be done at a fixed hour. The effort should be sincere with utmost dedication. All endeavours have got to be exhaustive. The supreme characteristic is the single-mindedness of the effort. Resolution should be strong. An example of the practice can be to address yourself by auto-suggestion like this:
“I (name yourself) am studying. I am seeing”. Carry it out while you are engaged in any activity. Gradually enhance the practice. When you mention that you are seeing you will feel that it is the soul that you are addressing and not the body. “It is my soul which I address and not my body”. Watch for the results after a while. If you have a finger ache, make yourself cognizant of the fact that you are watching yourself and the ache in your finger. The moment you do this, the pain will be alleviated. The full awareness and contemplation will connect the pain to the body only. It proves that you can comprehend the soul as a separate entity and still keep on functioning. This perception will carry you forward towards the supreme Lord. The practitioner attains a close link with the inner domain. One is related to the vast world of the Lord. You are alone and still a part of the cosmos inseparably. You are supposed to lead your life as per the system that obtains in this world. You cannot discard the system and claim total independence. One has to watch the body as well as the soul to realize the goal that you have set for yourself.