Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Soul Searching

It is a part of our distinct romantic selves to go after things or acts which defy logic. Be it cheering for the weaker side in a competition or striving for improvement against all odds, we love it when rules of logic and science are defied. Life after death is such a topic which goes beyond the walls of science to a zone where only belief exists. And my inquisitive nature is now getting translated into an essay.

Someone once said that our bodies are just the clothes the soul wears. The flesh is not the self but just an exterior to the self. It is the carrier which inhabits the world. It carries the soul through its journey of life till death and then further the soul inhabits another flesh. This essay is based on this very premise.

Every living creature from insects and other smaller life forms to humans are made up of 2 basic ingredients. As mentioned above one of them is the flesh and the other is soul or the Jeeva. Most discussions end at the soul, as if it is a black box. Here let us open up the soul for further analysis.

The soul or the Jeeva is made up of 2 major parts. Firstly it comprises of the experiences from past lives. These are the impressions of the previous births that are carried on. These impressions include the virtues and viciousness of the acts done before the current birth and are referred to as Avidya.

Secondly, there are the mind and senses of the current birth. These are honed and improved as we grow up. From childhood to old age, everyday and every action have an impact on them. And in the next birth these append into the Avidya.

Sometimes we have premonitions or prior knowledge of events, although as a very hazy picture. This is because the Avidya is at work in the subconscious. The mind and senses of the present life reside in the conscious self while the Avidya resides as the subconscious. The Avidya keeps on showing contextual references to the events of life and advising the mind and senses.

When one is about to die, breathing becomes difficult. The body becomes weak. The Jeeva leaves the body and flows away. Point to be noted here is that the body or the carrier becomes weak. The Jeeva cannot ever be weakened as it does not have a shape.

Different religions have described various ways in which the Jeeva leaves the body. For example, as per Hindu mythology, if the person has done more good deeds in his life, then the Jeeva leaves the body through the eyes, with the least pain. Sometimes it leaves through the mouth when the body makes death sounds and tries to hold on to the Jeeva. There might be some unfinished tasks, but the body has become too weak for the Jeeva to complete them. Taking the unfinished business as a part of the Avidya, the Jeeva travels away.

The Jeeva does not have a shape or as it is mentioned in Hindi as Niraakaar. The deeds we do in our present life define the shape the Jeeva would take in the subsequent births. Thus the mind and senses of the present life form the Aakaar of the next birth.

This knowledge of knowing the movement of the Jeeva is beyond the realms of science. It falls in the zone of beliefs. There have been many attempts to understand and logically prove these beliefs but each is beset with doubts and questions of logic by the scientific community.

Sometimes there are certain fallacies or problems which cannot be corrected medically. The source of the problem is definitely not medical, for example extreme reactions to fire, sudden feeling of falling down etc. It is in these situations that sometimes doctors advise regressing the person’s mind to understand the real cause of the problem. The problem may or may not be of the current birth and lie in the domain of past life.

Those who have experienced past life through regression claim to have seen their present day acquaintances and people who have helped shape up their personalities in their previous births. Many might throw this claim out of the window, but some scriptures do mention that we are born in the circle of souls we have known for ages. But how does that explain seeing faces during regression when in your previous birth you could have been of the opposite sex.

I think what these people see is mannerisms and the way people carry themselves in the brief glimpses of their past lives. And the subconscious allows tie up these mannerisms to the people in our present lives. The fit to personalities is so clear that we feel as if we have seen the person in our previous lives. This act of regression to ascertain past lives should not be treated as a wild goose chase but as a medical necessity.

The idea of this essay is not to make it lengthy and bulky with a lot of jargon thrown into it. This essay is my attempt to claw down the walls or restrictions that logic and science have built in our lives. There is a belief and it is there because somewhere inside us lays the knowledge that it is correct. So those who tell you to listen to the voice from within might just be talking sense. Go on listen to your soul and you may find answers to your problems.