Narach Philosophy

THE SOUL AND FREEDOM


We cannot deny the existence of the soul or its difference from the body; but it is only when there is a complete cessation of sorrow that a person can be said to be happy. The soul is really without any attachment or Gunas; and it is only want of discrimination that brings about its bondage. But it can become free; and he who is liberated is not bound again; and it can do so by means of discrimination.

Prakrti is the original cause of all things, all except the soul; and there is a multiplicity of souls, because we see that all creatures are different from one another. At the same time we cannot deny that the world is real, and that the actor is ahankara and not the soul. But it is the soul that understands, and is the principle of life within us.

Thus we conclude that the efficient cause of action is Prakrti, and it is closely associated with the soul. But whatever the cause of this association, the chief object of a man's life is to put an end to it all, for it is the cause of our pain.

The soul and the body: We cannot deny the existence of the soul or its difference from the body. The very idea of possession implies the existence of a possessor; and the latter can only be a living creature with a soul, and not a thing made of stone.

Pleasure and pain: It is only when there is a complete cessation of sorrow that a person can be said to be happy. Pain arises from sorrow; but pleasure does not satisfy our desires; for we know that there is no one who is happy in this world. Sorrow is of many forms; and even pleasure may be said to be a kind of sorrow. But the absence of joy does not mean that action is not performed for the sake of the soul.

The soul and the gunas: If the soul can be without attachment, it means that it cannot have any Gunas or the attributes of Nature, which do not belong to the soul, and are ascribed to it through want of discrimination.

Lack of discrimination: This absence of discrimination is without a beginning; but it is not eternal like the soul, and can be destroyed by means of knowledge, as darkness is by light. But it is the cause of the soul's bondage, which cannot be explained otherwise.

The meaning of freedom: He who is liberated cannot be bound again, for otherwise there would be no difference between freedom and bondage. Liberation is the same thing as the removal of obstacles; and it is only the best who can be free.

Meditation: Meditation is more important than a particular posture of the body, for it alone can make for the suppression of the evil influences of our actions. Indeed, if there is want of discrimination, there can be a wrong course of action even if a person is without attachment; for discrimination alone can destroy attachment as well as confusion of thought.

Prakrti and the soul: If we agree that Prakrti is the original cause, it can only be the cause of all, things other than the soul. When we examine and analyze objects up to the atom, we find that there is action similar to that of Prakrti in every case; and so we conclude that it is Prakrti that is supreme. But even when objects are combined with one another, we find that there is no destruction of any part, not even of an atom. But this does not mean that we should regard Prakrti as superior to everything; for we see that all its actions are meant for the sake of the soul; and when the latter is liberated, there is no need for any of its things, not even experience.

Multiplicity of souls and dualism: There is a multiplicity of souls, because we see that they are all different from one another; and we have to admit a state of dualism, Prakrti and the souls, But this can lead to a conflict, for we cannot say which of the two comes first and which last. In any case we cannot regard the Universal Spirit, who is pure thought, as the creator of inanimate things; for were it possible, there would be no meaning in withdrawal from the objects of life.

Reality of the world: We cannot deny that the world is a real one; that the actor is ahankara and not the soul; and that experience abides in thought, which partakes of its actions. The moon and other heavenly bodies revolve because the cause of their creation is real, and their knowledge arises as an inference of an effect from a cause. The reality of the world is proved by means of an uninterrupted series of events; and that is the very basis of the idea of release from the bondage of life.

The soul: There is an entity within us which understands the course of actions, and pervades everything; but, as it acts as a substitute for something else, it has knowledge of experience, place, and time. When it is not present, the body decays; and we cannot say that it is some unknown power, for we can easily know it. That is the soul; but, as it is without any Gunas, it cannot act; and so we conclude that all actions are performed by ahankara, and have nothing to do with God.

Conclusion: The efficient cause of action is Prakrti, and its relation to the soul is like that of possession and possessor. There are some who say that the soul comes to be associated with Prakrti through want of discrimination, while others believe that it is so because of the "subtle body" which accompanies it throughout its series of births. But whatever the cause, the chief object of a man's life is to put an end to it.