WHAT IS THE SOUL
Soul is a word that has been very misunderstood, or perhaps the term has been used in many different contexts. When you say soul, you can mean the individual soul, according to the Sanskrit word, Jivatman, and when you say soul, you can also mean the universal soul that resides in a person.
If you use the word soul as an individual soul, then the individual soul is the carrier of your whole existence from times past. From the very first moment that you became individualised, from the very first moment the spark left the fire, from that moment up to now, the sum totality of what you are is carried and conveyed by the individual soul. It is you, so it is your character and your personality. The character and personality of the individual soul are modelled and shaped by our thoughts, words and deeds, not only of this life but of many existences in the past. So, the individual soul contains all that you are now at this very moment.
That is the individual soul, but when you talk of the universal soul, that universal soul is the divine force, the divine power that is untouched, untouched by your soul, by your personality. Yet the individual soul draws its strength and sustenance from the universal soul all the time. The individual soul cannot exist without power; it depends on the universal soul. The individual soul is like a light that requires electricity, but the universal soul is the electricity itself. It is independent, not dependent on anything else; it is self-luminous.
The purpose of this division is because the universal soul, in some way, must express itself. The universal soul is of such intangible nature and can only be appreciated by tangibility, and its means of expressing itself would be through the individual soul.
YOU ARE THE SOUL
You are the individual soul; you can never possess a soul because it becomes apart from you and the individual soul is the full expression of yourself when you have a soul. There are sub-divisions of the individual soul from the grosser level to the finest level of the soul. There is no difference between mind and soul, it is all part and parcel of each other, one composite whole, but we use these terms, mind, soul, heart. A person’s heart is the core of his personality: the core, the deeper level, the deeper strata of the individual soul, the heart. The soul is you; it is the total of yourself, and that is the individual soul that would further progress, becomes non-existent, and is annihilated.
THE UNIVERSAL SOUL IS ETERNAL
In all systems of philosophy, you will find that there is a progression; if philosophy is not a progressive philosophy, then it becomes a dead philosophy. So, when you talk of the individual soul and the universal soul, naturally, you accept the concept of duality. But as we progress slowly and gradually, we will find duality ceasing and oneness becomes.
The universal soul is eternal. That is a premise that has to be accepted. What happens to the individual soul, then? Does it annihilate itself? And if it does annihilate itself, what are the processes of annihilation? The process of annihilation of the individual soul is the refinement of personality and character, which are the basic constituents of the individual soul. There, too, we come back to the same principle, refined personality by our practices.
IT IS A CLEANING PROCESS
It becomes so refined that it merges away into the universal soul, where duality ceases and oneness comes about. To refine a person’s personality, you must remember that the personality of the person is the total of his being—the total of all his experiences through ages past. In the process, that personality, firstly so pure as the spark, might have gained a lot of dirt around it. It is a cleaning process, and as the individual soul becomes cleaner, the nearer it gets to the Universal Soul.
In the cleaning process, how do we clean? If we want to sweep this floor, we have to use a broom, and our broom in the cleaning process are our meditations and our conscious effort in the waking state of life whereby we consciously try to be better and better. Meditation helps so much to the betterness.
The gross personality of man can be equated with a block of ice. This block of ice with the fire and the heat within one desires to progress, and all desires have fire always; they are hot, they burn. With that heat, the ice melts and becomes water.
Some refinement is taking place. The heat makes the water become vapour, and as you would know, the vapour merges away in the air. Then it is like the air in the balloon; if you prick the balloon, the air merges away in the outside air. In the beginning, we thought dualistically that the air in the balloon, the individual soul is apart from the Universal Soul. We felt that in the beginning because of the relative and the absolute aspects of life. But when the air merges away from the balloon into the air outside, we come to realise that the division, the duality we saw, was really non-existent. It was really non-existent, and the annihilation of the personality can only realise this. That balloon that keeps the individual soul as an entity ceases; the balloon has to be pricked.
THE PURPOSE IS THE EXPRESSION OF THE UNIVERSAL SOUL
The balloon is the ego; the ego is the rubber substance that keeps in that air. With the refinement of personality, we find the rubber; the ego becomes thinner and thinner and thinner. The rubber becomes thinner, and it bursts, disintegrates, and the air in the balloon becomes the air outside. The individual soul ceases and becomes the universal soul, which is the aim and goal of all here. That is the aim and goal of all to merge away in that beautiful Divinity and then still being embodied. Still, having the traces of ego perhaps, still having those traces, we can still experience the bliss and the joy of Divinity because now we know. We have felt the balloon’s air being merged in the universal air, and that is how your love grows. That is the process of the growth or unfoldment of love.
Unfoldment of the Spirit is expressed in the unfoldment of love. An intangible quality that you cannot measure away but experience. We start loving. Firstly, through an individual, it expands through the one individual with one pointedness until we embrace the whole Universe in our arms. Then the Universe becomes love, and love becomes the Universe, and there you are. That is Unity Consciousness.
BY REFINING OURSELVES, WE ENJOY THE PLAY
The purpose is the expression of the Universal Soul. The purpose is the play of the Universal Soul. In reality, it is a purposeless purpose. If the Universal Soul does not express itself, then it becomes static. It becomes dead; it becomes non-existent. In reality, we are mixed up in a play, a divine play. Therefore, all religions say that we come and to there again we proceed. That is the play, the indefinable play, and when the mind wants to understand this play, it becomes incapable; it is beyond the mind’s comprehension to understand it. The only way to know it is by realisation.
Theology will tell you, “Who knows the will of God?” and this is what is meant by that. It is a play, but we will enjoy the play if we refine ourselves. That is what we want. We enjoy the play. By refining ourselves, we enjoy the play. Many people live, not enjoying the play because they make no effort to refine themselves. That is the difference.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang SA 1976 – 06