Is the soul the same thing as the Self? Yes and No. In higher levels of consciousness the answers to the questions are always in the form of “Yes and no… and why not, something else too”. This cannot be understood by a lower intellect that always wants “Yes” or “No” as an answer. When a person reaches a higher state of consciousness, he starts realizing Reality as “Yes and No” (and I would add “something else too”). What most of people think to be Reality is not Reality but a mental invention.
The Highest Reality
This is the Self and His Power. They do not change ever. They remain in their Essence such as They are. The Self and His Power are two only in the world of words, to describe them. Still, They are only one Reality. There is nothing beyond Them. Once you realize the Self, you do so through His Power. So, you realize both at the same time. When you realize Reality, your work is completely done. There is nothing else for you to do here. You are Free like the Self, like His Power, like Reality. While you do not reach that state of consciousness, that realization, you are in bondage, i.e. at the mercy of His Power in the form of ideas, concepts, external events, etc.
Generally, you advance to Self-realization gradually, but once you grab His Power like a kind a rope, and then pull and pull yourself towards Him, you finally realize Him. Once this happens, you are Free. Even if this occurs for one second, you are Free for one second. If you want to be absolutely Free, you have to first grab His Power with no fear. Now that you hold It firmly, you must pull and pull till the Self reveals His nature to you. Of course, you can do all that due to His Grace and only to His Grace, but it is you who must grab His Power as if It were a rope and pull. The mission is simple, but it takes years to attain a state where He allows you to grab His Power in that way. This is the only problem. In the meantime you perform spiritual practices. These practices serve two purposes: they give you merit and experience. You need both in order to realize the Self. If you do not have enough experience, your system won’t be ready for the high voltage of His Power; and if you do not have enough merit, He will not let you enter His Abode.
My explanation could make the Self look like a person. And yes, He is the Supreme Person. It is not my own invention. Even the scriptures call Him like that: the Supreme Person. But this Person is inconceivable, i.e. a lower intellect cannot understand Him in any way. To understand Him you need to manufacture a high quality intellect. Through this intellect you will finally realize the Self. This mission is not for timid people. If you are a spiritual aspirant in search of Him, you must strive to realize Him at all costs. There is no other Goal than that for you!
If something changes, it is not the Highest Reality. The world changes… so it is not the Highest Reality. It is just a residual manifestation of His Power but not the Highest Reality as It is essentially. I have already taught you this, but the method works by repetition. A spiritual aspirant is to be taught the same things over and over again until he discovers someday that the teacher has been saying the truth for so many years. This state of distraction is usual in a spiritual aspirant, hence the repetition of the teachings. And what is the world for you? Look around, look inside your mind, hear, smell, etc. All that is NOT the Highest Reality as It is essentially. It is just a mere residual manifestation of His Power. Therefore, when you watch TV and someone speaks about “Reality” as a series of events, things and so forth, you will know from this moment on that it’s just nonsense. While all those events, things, etc. are “real” because they have all emerged from the Highest Reality, they are NOT the Highest Reality as It essentially is.
The Self, through His inconceivable Power becomes limited and contracted out of His Free Will. When He becomes atomic, from a spiritual, not material, viewpoint, He is known as a “soul”. He appears as innumerable limited individuals or “atomic selves” despite being the only One. The limited individuals are the souls, which are atomic in size. And when a soul is provided with an inner psychic organ (intellect, ego and mind), it is known as “a full-fledged soul”. This concept varies across different philosophical systems of India but my description is enough for you for now.
These atomic selves or souls (the limited individuals) are always inherently the Self, but due to His contraction, they consider themselves as “someone else”. After that, with the arrival of intellect, ego and mind, the idea that there is really “someone else” becomes firm. All the rest (powers of perception and action along with the material world) comes from the ego and mind. The intellect remains here like a mirror reflecting the Light of the Self. Oh God, this is so difficult to explain in words because the world of words emerges “after” the soul is given intellect, ego and mind. Anyway, I am doing my best.
Are the full-fledged souls alive? Yes and No. When they manifest a physical body, they look alive. But when they abandon that physical body, in the intervening period, they are called “dead” till they produce another physical body. Anyway, they continue to exist forever, because as I have explained to you before, nonexistence simply never happens. Whether during the life or death of the physical body, souls exist eternally. Why? Because they are essentially the Self, i.e. Existence Itself! Life and death does not mean existence and nonexistence but only “existence with or without the physical body”. The presence or absence of the physical body does not affect the existence of the souls. Consequently, since what most people call “Reality” is really the material world, which is the most miserable portion of the universal manifestation carried out by His Power, you can see now how spiritual ignorance works. How to realize Him with so many people saying nonsense after nonsense on TV, on the Web, etc.? Anyway, even with all these obstacles in the middle, a person can realize Him in himself.
The condition of a limited being
A limited being is a “beggar”. When the Self attains this temporary but stupid state, He becomes a beggar. What does a limited individual beg for? He begs for love, happiness, money, life, understanding and so on. He is constantly begging for something. The limited individual is given a physical body which is doomed to die from its very birth. Anyway, he will beg for a little more life. He fears death, in all its forms. He is always in a state of fear and anxiety. His intellect can think of one or two things at the same time, maybe three in special cases, but no more in general. If the physical body was controlled by his intellect it would die immediately. Imagine this kind of intellect thinking now of the liver, next of the stomach… after a while, thinking of the kidneys. With such wretched performance, the body would never start to live!
Despite its absolutely hilarious performance as far as controlling the physical body, the lower intellect is even able to deny the existence of the Self. Meanwhile, this intellect does not notice that the body is controlled by an “Intelligence” that is able to think of millions of processes at the same time. Without the presence of His Power, this physical body would not ever exist! As a result, I can conclude that a lower intellect is not fit for realizing Him. It is just a universal laughingstock, and I am completely sure of it. Imagine a person saying “1 + 1 = 3” and then compare his performance with that of the most superb mathematician in the entire human history. This will give you an idea of how moronic a lower intellect is. Unfortunately, this kind of intellect proliferates in this world. It’s an absolute disgrace and I have no doubt about it.
But there is a point when a spiritual aspirant polishes his intellect to the extent that it is able to reflect the Light of the Self properly. At that moment, he is the proud possessor of a higher intellect. Through this intellect he will realize the Self and his mission will be finally accomplished. He polished his intellect through the study of the scriptures, through spiritual practices, etc. In the end, he is fit for Self-realization.
However, he has to abandon the fear of death during his final trances. He must feel that death is about to fall upon him at any moment, but he must abandon that fear in the process. He has to face death in a real way inside. “Mother death, you scare all people here with your mere presence, but I am not afraid of you at all. Kill my physical body if you wish, but I do not fear you at all anyway! This body composed of flesh and bones is not the Highest Reality and is always doomed to fall a victim to your striking. Why should I fear you then?” This is the way the spiritual aspirant prays while he abandons his fear of death. He has to defy mother death in that way till he gets rid of fear of her forever. You cannot be Free if you fear her. Have you noticed afraid you are of her with reference to yourself, other people, animals, etc.? As you fear her so, you are not Free. You must defy her inside or you will never vanquish that strong fear. This process occurs right before the state of Freedom, obviously.
And of course, I am speaking about a very advanced spiritual aspirant who will face death right inside himself to overcome his fear of her. Fear of death is one of the five afflictions. Death accompanies the physical body from the birth. She is constantly prowling around here but most people hardly notice her till she hits them all of a sudden. That very advanced spiritual aspirant prays that way during his trances, after grabbing His Power firmly. He can defy mother death only when he is in trance and full of His Power. How does the aspirant know that he is firmly holding His Power? Because he is experiencing pure Bliss. The essential nature of the Power of the Self is pure Bliss. Accordingly, when an aspirant experiences that Joy, he knows for sure he has grabbed His Power as if It were a rope. As he pulls and pulls, he faces death and prays as I taught you. And no, that spiritual aspirant will not defy death by jumping from a plane at 10,000 meters without a parachute! He is wise, not foolish. He is not either “depressed” or suicidal, etc. This is something the reader must understand thoroughly.
There are a lot of people defying death for a number of reasons, but a spiritual aspirant is doing so to reach Him. The entire process occurs inside and with mother death absolutely present. “Where is death?” the reader might wonder. In His Power. When a very advanced spiritual aspirant grabs His Power that way, he also grabs death in the process. This is why one may attain Freedom in two ways: with a living body or with a dead body. I mean, one may abandon his physical body after attaining Final Liberation or else he may retain it. This is decided by the inconceivable Self at the moment He shares His Freedom with you.
That is why I said to you that Self-realization (also known as Final Liberation) is not for timid people. If you want your Freedom, you must become quite a warrior sooner or later. If you intend to keep the state of limited individual (a universal laughingstock) and at the same time get His State, you are not thinking rightly. That is impossible. You have to overcome your greatest fear first (fear of death), because it is through this fear that mother ignorance binds her own children (the limited individuals). You must defy mother ignorance inside and definitely vanquish her before getting Final Liberation. This will take a long time in most cases.
In the next post I will speak about the law of Karma.