Some common and frequently asked questions:
Does Soul really exist? Do I have a soul?
What is the proof of its existence?
Can we see it?
It’s interesting that people in India never asked these questions before. Spiritual, religious or even most lay-men in India still do not raise these questions.
In my experience, it is only the people with western influence that have such questions about the soul.
I think it is because of the difference between both belief systems.
The western philosophies believe “We have a soul” which indirectly implies that I am the body and I have a soul; and that I can either give my soul to God or sell it to the devil. In other words, Soul is something like a possession that we own. (Many people, who follow western religions, believe that they will have a similar body in heaven (or hell) with same face and features and they will be able to recognize everyone there, whom they know on earth.)
Hence, the questions: “If we have a soul then where is it? Where does it reside in the body? Can we see it or feel it?”
Whereas Indian philosophies declare “I am a soul and I have a body”.
If someone asks “Do you have a soul?”
I would say “No. I do not ‘have’ a soul; rather, I am “Soul”.
According to Indian philosophies, asking “Does soul exists?” Is like asking “Do I exist”?
Asking for a proof of existence of the soul is like asking for a proof of our own existence.
Today when I look into a mirror, I do not see the same person that I used to see 40 or 50 years ago. It is totally a new image.
But the one, who is looking now and used to look in the mirror many years ago, is the same.
Body has changed but I, the ‘self’ or the seer is same.
According to the science of biology, every few years, almost every cell of the human body is replaced by the new ones.
But the ‘self’ within the body, whom we call ‘I’; which feels and experiences everything, does not change.
‘I’ am the subject which sees and feels every object of the outer or physical world. It is I or the self that feels and experiences every emotion.
This ‘I’ or the self is called ‘soul’.
‘I’ or the ‘Soul’ (Aham or Aatman in Sanskrit) is individual consciousness which is part of the Paramaatman the ‘Super- soul’ or universal Consciousness.
‘Chitta’ and ‘Man’ the sub-conscious and conscious mind with stored data and DNA from all the previous lives and generations, accompany the Soul or ‘I’.
Budhi; intellect is a tool thru which mind works.
When Man (mind), Budhi (intellect), Chitta and Aham are together, it is called ‘Jeeva’.
It may sound complicated.
We can make it as complicated as we want.
But in simple plain words:
I, minus body and mind, am a soul.
You, minus body and mind, are a soul.
Do we need a proof of our own existence?
In my personal experience, these two basic questions are usually answered quite differently in the East and West.
1. What or where is soul?
2. Where does God live?
In the west, most people reply:
1. I have a soul. and
2. God lives in heaven.
In India however, even a simple farmer or a lay-person’s reply would be:
1. I am soul.
2. God is everywhere and in everything.
“Kan Kan me Bhagvaan and Kan Kan hai Bhagvaan.”