NATURE OF THE JIVA
"Isa supports all this together, the perishable and the imperishable, the developed and the undeveloped. The anisa, atma, is bound because he has to enjoy (the fruits of karma) but when he has known God he is freed from all Pasa (fetters). 'There are two one knowing (Isvara), the other not knowing (Jiva) both unborn, one strong, the other weak; there is she, the unborn, through whom each man receives the recompense of his works. And there is the Infinite Atma appearing under all forms but Himself inactive."
That which is perishable is the Pradhana; the immortal and imperishable is Hara. The one God (Eko Deva) rules the perishable and the atma. From meditating on Him, from joining Him, from becoming one with Him, there is further cessation of all illusion in the end." (Svetasvatara Up. I, 8 to 10.)
On the same tree, man (anisa) sits grieving immersed, bewildered by his own impotence but when he sees the other (anyata) Isa, contented and knows His glory, then his grief passes away." Mundaka Up. III. 1,2.
"There is a soul separate from the body; it is sat; it is united to a body and possessed of faults (the feeling of 'I' and 'mine'); it wills, thinks and acts; (Ichcha Jnana and Kriya); it becomes conscious after dreams; it undergoes the five avastas; and it rests in Turiyatitha." (Siddhiar III, 1).
Each one of these statements is made in answer to a different theory as regards the soul. It is said to be 'existent,' in answer to those who deny the reality of a soul-substance, as such a thing is implied in the very act of denial. The next statement is made in answer to those who would assert that the body itself is the soul, and that there is no soul other than the body. The fact is though the soul may be in conjunction and correlation with the body, yet it asserts its own independence when it calls, "my body,' 'my eye" &c. Another asserts that the five senses form the soul. To him the answer is made that the soul is possessed of more powers than those exercised by the Jnanendriyas. Another states that the Sukshma Sarira forms the soul. The answer is that after awaking, one becomes conscious of the experiences in sleep as separate, the one becoming so conscious must be different from the dream body. Prana is shown not to be the soul, as there is no consciousness in deep sleep, though Prana may be present. It is different again from God, as instead of its intelligence being self-luminous, it understands only in conjunction with the different states of the body. The combination of all the above powers of the body is shown not to be soul, in as much as it subsists even in the Turyatita condition when all the bodily functions cease.
This stanza is further important as it gives a clear and concise definition of the soul, a definition which we fail to get in any other systems. It is shown to be different from the body composed of maya and its products, Buddhi, senses, &c., and also different from God. It is not to be identified with any one or with all or any combination and permutation of the bodily functions; nor is it a combination of the body (maya) and andakaranas and God or any abhasa of these. But how is it found? It is always found in union with a body gross or subtle; and the mystery of this union is of more serious import than most other problems. It is possessed of certain powers, will, intellection, and power but distinguished from the Supreme Will and Power, in as much as this is faulty or imperfect and dependent. It is possessed of feeling and emotion, and suffers pain and pleasure as a result of its ignorance and union with the body; and this suffering is not illusory, which must distinguish it again from God, who is not tainted by any and who has neither likes nor dislikes,
'சஞ்சலமிலான்,' &c. The soul is also limited by its coats, and this limitation is not illusory either.
Even after saying all this, there is one characteristic definition of the soul, which is alone brought out in the Siddhanta and in no other school, and which serves to clear the whole path of psychology and metaphysics, of its greatest stumbling blocks. We mean its power "அது அது ஆதல்," 'சார்ந்ததன் வண்ணமாதல்,' யாதொன்று பற்றினதன இயல்பாய் நிற்றல்,' to become identical with the one it is attached to, and erasing thereby its own existence and individuality, the moment after its union with this other and its defect or inability to exist independent of either body or God as a foothold or rest (பற்றுக் கோடின்றி நிற்றலாகாமை). So that the closest physiological and biological experiment and analysis cannot discover the soul's existence in the body, landing, as such, a Buddha, 'and a Schopenhaur and a Tyndal in the direst despair and pessimism; and it is this same peculiarity which has foiled such an astute thinker as Sankara, in his search for a soul when in union with God. The materialist and idealist work from opposite extremes but they meet with the same difficulty, the difficulty of discovering a soul, other than matter or God. Hence it is that Buddha, and his modern day representatives the agnostics (it is remarkable how powerfully Buddha appeals today and is popular with these soulless sect) declare the search for a psyche (soul) to be vain, for there is no psyche, in fact. And the absurdities and contradictions of the Indian idealistic school flow freely from this one defect of not clearly differentiating between God and soul. This power or characteristic of the soul is brought out in the analogy of crystal or mirror, (see last note in my edition of "Light of Grace' or 'Tiruvarutpayan') and the defect of soul is brought manifest except when it is attached to a piece of firewood or wick. When once we understand this particular nature of the soul, how easy it is for one to explain and illustrate the "Tatvamasi" and other mantras, which are to be taught to the disciple for practicing soul elevation. Of all the mass of Western Theologians, it is only the late Professor Henry Drummond that has noticed this nature of man and has illustrated it by our analogy of crystal or mirror and deduced the principles on which man's salvation or sanctification is built upon. He bases his address called 'Changed Life' on the text of St. Paul.
"We, all, with unveiled face, reflecting as a mirror, the glory of the Lord are transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as from the Lord, the spirit."
The mirror in union with a colored picture becomes one with the picture and is lost to view. This is its bhanda condition. The mirror when exposed to the glorious Light of the sun is also lost in the light. This is its moksha condition. Man by associating himself more and more with bodily appetites and senses is degraded thereby, losing all sense of his own identity. But the soul after distinguishing itself from the dirt and getting freed of it brings itself more and more into line with the Effulgent Light of the Lord, then the same Light covers if fully and completely. The formula may be stated in the words "I see God, I reflect God, I become godlike, godly, I become God, I am God."
These two principles, the law of reflection and the law of assimilation or identity, in fact under lie our mantra and tantra our upasana or sadana, Yoga and Bavana, and our books instance the case of the snake charmer chanting the garuda mantra in illustration of these principles. Darwin has shown how this principle works out in Biology. Persons always associated with pigs get piggy faces, and with horses, horsey faces, a man and his wife as they progress through life in loving union get their features assimilated to each other. It has also been found that a child takes more often after its nurse than its mother. Hence it is by this power of becoming one with whatever it is united to (அது வது வாதல்) that man degrades himself to the very depths of the brute, and it is by this very power he can raise himself to the height of Godhood.
It is this principle also which explains the Mahavakya texts 'Tatvamasi' 'Ahambrahmasmi' &c. There are two things 'I' and God and it is postulated that 'I' become 'God'. But for this power of myself, of becoming one with whatever I am united to, I can never become one with God. Hence the necessity of the upasana of Sivoham or Soham.
The soul is not God, nor any abhasa or parinama of God, as it is not self-luminous, and as it gets corrupted; it is possessed of ichcha, jnana and kriya, but this must be energised by the Higher Will, Jnana and Kriya of God to become active, and are of a different order or plane; the soul is neither Rupi nor Ruparupi, nor Arupi, it is neither chit nor achit, but it is chit-achit or satasat; the Soul is neither anu nor Vibhu. It is Arupi and Vyapi but unlike that of matter or achit. Its vyapakam consists in becoming one with the thing it dwells in for the time being (body or God). Its eternal intelligence is concealed not by maya but by the Pasa, anava mala, and hence called Pasu.
It passes through the five avastas (Jagram &c.) and is clothed in the Pancha Koshas (annamaya to ananda maya) and are different from them.
There are three conditions of the soul called its kevala, sakala and suddha
avastas. The kevala condition is its original condition before evolution of any kind, when it cannot exercise its power of will, intelligence and power nor enjoy their fruits. In the sakala condition, it gets a body and becomes clothed with the various organs and senses and the desire to enjoy the object of the senses and reincarnates in different births.
In the suddha condition, he becomes balanced in good and evil (இருவினையொப்பு); the grace of the Lord descends on him, (சத்திரிபாதம்) and he gets his guru's blessing (சற்குருதரிசனம்). He attains to Jnana Yoga Samadhi and is freed from the three Mala. He ceases to be finite intelligence and being united to the Feet of the Lord becomes clothed with all the Divine attributes of omniscience &c.
J. M. N.