[Advaita-l] Soul

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Oct 31 07:55:28 CST 2003

On Tue, 28 Oct 2003, Anand Arul wrote:

> My questions are briefly below:
> 1. What is the need for a subtle entity called "soul"
> to feel conscious? What is the strongest proof given
> by our vedas to substantiate the soul? Advaita talks
> of a single soul pervading the Universe. However, I
> think it accepts an individual jeeva in the
> stranglehold of maya within each body's experience
> field. I am asking about this individual jeeva that I
> think I am.

First it should be noted that the word atma means self. "soul" has all
kinds of philosophical connotations that may or may not apply.

> 2. It is usually said that jeeva inside each body
> (tree, animal, bird or human) is the pOshaka one who
> nurtures and causes growth. However, we see this being
> not the case in many instances. If we pluck a
> half-ripen fruit from a tree and keep it outside it
> becomes fully ripe even when not attached to the tree.

For that matter a human baby becomes "ripe" even after leaving the mothers
nourishing womb.  What does that prove?  The fruit is designed for
survival away from its' parent. Would you see the same result if you
detached a leaf?

> Nowadays we hear about scientists growing organs in laboratory using
> stem cells. Since all this is just a sequence of chemical reactions and
> cell multiplications, why can't life itself be a complex chemical
> process?

The hallmark of the atma is chitta or consciousness.  How the
consciousness came about doesn't matter.  Let us say one day artificial
intelligence becomes developed enough that we can create a self-aware
robot.  (Currently a dubious proposition) if it has consciousness it has
an atma.  And if it can study and comprehend Vedanta than it too can get

For that matter rocks and trees and insects are also atmas. (The Gujarati
word for insect, jIvaDu means "little jiva") The difference is they do not
have the capacity for viveka so they will never understand their true

> Again, what is the need for something subtle in it?

Science also defines love as a series of hormonal changes in the brain but
if you sent someone a Valentines card saying "I feel intense chemical
reactions toward you", how far would you get? :)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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