[Advaita-l] Re: Exit of soul (Badisa)

Shyam Venkataraman shyam.venkataraman at gmail.com
Tue Aug 30 11:49:00 CDT 2005

Sri Ramesh Badisa,
 Please refer to my answers to your queries *(in bold)
> "*Shyam: same as above, from the viewpoint of original consciousness, we 
> are all pervasive as of now. "But from the standpoint of reflected 
> consciousness, we are very limited (compared to Iswara), due to the inferior 
> medium (the body)*" 
> Badisa: Please quote references from Upanishads, or Brahmasutra or 
> Bhagawad Gita in this regard. For the same entity, you cannot say that it is 
> all pervasive on one side and finite on the other side at the same time. If 
> it is all pervasive from the view point of original consciousness, then it 
> should be so at all the times. But, there are many references in Upanishads, 
> Gita tec scriptures, which prove finiteness of soul before salvation. I 
> would like to give you one for instance. The soul that follows the path of 
> Gita 8/24 is said to attain salvation in later stages. This soul is said to 
> be finite, based on the fact that amanav purush comes to it from Brahma Lok 
> (BL) in order to guide it to BL(Ch. Up. 4.15.5 & Ch. Up. 5.10.2 & Br. Up. 
> 6.2.15). If you think that the soul is all pervasive, then in that case, 
> how the amnav purush could come to the soul? How can he guide the soul to BL 
> if the soul is all pervasive? Therefore, the conclusion is that the soul 
> before salvation is finite, 
> and it will be infinite at salvation. Unlike you, I am not saying that the 
> soul is both finite and infinite at the same time. My understanding is based 
> on sruti support.

  *Shyam: You have to be extremely careful when interpreting the meaning of 
the word soul. So When BS, BG or the Upanishads say that the soul is guided 
by amanuv purusha, they actually are referring to the sukshma sariram only. 
So my understanding based on listening to lectures by Swami Dayananda 
Saraswathi and Swami Paramarthananda Saraswati ( who are known authorities 
on vedanta ) that the sukshma sarira alone travels after death is correct. 
To prove this let me quote this verse from Vivekachudamani:*
*idam sarvam srnu suksmasamjnitam*
*lingam tvapancikrtabhutasambhavam*
*savasanam karmaphalanubhavakam*
*svajnanato nadirupadhiratmanah*
*svapno bhavatyasya vibhaktyavastha*
*svamatrasesena vibhati yatra*
*Now, I'm quoting Swami Dayananda Saraswathi directly from his book on 
"Vivekachudamani--Talks on 108 selected verses": Quote: "The subtle body or 
sukshma sarira described in this verse is called as linga sarira. The atma 
or Brahman is understood only by the subtle body; therefore it is called 
linga. There is another reason why it is called linga sarira. If it is 
present, a person is alive and if it is not there, the person is dead. 
Therefore it becomes a linga, an indication, to know whether the jiva is 
present or not in the physical body. The subtle body becomes the upadhi 
(medium) of atma. An upadhi is that which throws its attributes upon another 
thing which is in proximity. The atma in association with the subtle body 
gains the status of jiva, doer,enjoyer,seer,knower,and so on. Therefore the 
subtle body is called the upadhi of atma. The subtle body is anadi, 
beginningless. It remains in an unmanifest form at the time of 
dissolution(pralayam) and comes to manifest at the time of creation 
(shristi). Again in deep sleep or sushupti state, it becomes unmanifest. The 
jivatma (reflected consciousness, ) identified with the sukshma-sarira 
leaves the physical body in death and assumes a new body. This jiva 
(reflected consciousness + sukshma sarira) alone becomes ihaloka-paraloka 
gami, a traveller." Unquote. *
 *So from this, it is very clear that the soul refers to the sukshma sarira 
and the reflected consciousness only. The sukshma sarira is finite, whereas 
the original consciousness is infinite. So this proves what I said earlier. 
When a jivanmukta dies, he attains videha mukti. What videha mukti means is 
that he merges into the all pervading Brahman (like pot space merging into 
total space). So the jivanmukta's subtle body does not travel after death, 
it dissolves into the subtle pancha bhutani. Only in the case of an ajnani, 
the subtle body travels. In the case of an ajnani who has devoted his entire 
lifetime to upasana, the ajnani's subtle body travels to Brahma Loka where 
the ajnani attains krama mukti. So krama mukti means that the ajnani gets 
self knowledge in brahma loka and then the ajnani's subtle body is dissovled 
there and he becomes free there.* 

*Shyam: Your understanding is incorrect here. When a person dies, the soul 
> doesn't exit. Only the sukshma sarira(the subtle body) and the reflected 
> consciousness exit the physical body or gross body. In the gross body, 
> original consciousness is still there, since it is all pervasive. But the 
> reflected consciousness which is reflected in the mind also exits, since the 
> mind is located in the subtle body.* 
> Badisa: You need to support your argument in light of some references from 
> Upanishads, or Brahmasutra or Gita. Sri Shankara bhasyam for Brahmasutra 
> (BS) 4.2.18 says that the soul of a knower of the Brahman after death 
> follows the rays of the sun. Thereafter, the soul moves from one place to 
> another before being guided to Brahma Lok by amanav purush. All these 
> clearly and conclusively prove that the soul is finite and that it is not 
> all pervasive at that point of time. You are saying that soul does not exit 
> upon the death of the body. It means that you are saying exactly opposite to 
> what BS and thus supported sruti texts say in this regard. Since your 
> understanding is contradicting with sruti texts and BS, your understanding 
> is wrong. Also check sri Shankar bhasyam for Gita 15/8 sloka. Sri Shankara 
> says, "When the jiva (soul) is to leave the body, then, he draws round 
> himself the senses and the manas. When he (soul) leaves a former body and 
> enters another, he does so….." It means that 
> at the time of death, the soul, along with senses and manas, leaves the 
> body and enters into another. You are saying that soul does not exit upon 
> the death of the body. If the soul does not exit, then why Lord Krishna in 
> this Gita sloka would say the exit of soul at the time of death? Why sri 
> Shankara would also confirm the exit of soul from the body at death? In view 
> of this reference, it is clear that you are expressing opinion which is 
> quite opposite to what this Gita sloka is saying. Since your understanding 
> is contradicting with this Gita sloka, your belief that soul does not exit 
> at the time of death is wrong. These references are quite enough to refute 
> your understanding on this topic. There are so many such references found in 
> various sruti texts. I request you to look BS 4th chapter in this regard. 
> Also please see Gita 9/21 for movement of soul from one place to another. I 
> request you to go through them thoroughly and judge honestly for yourself, 
> whose understanding is 
> incorrect in this regard.

 *Shyam: my explanation is same as for the first one. If you still think my 
understanding is wrong, I would recommend that you can take up this topic 
directly with Swami Dayananda Saraswathi. I'm sure he will vindicate me. If 
you happen to live in the US, please let me know, we can talk over this 
topic on the phone. Thanks *
*Shyam Venkataraman.*

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