“Who am I?” Are we the body or the soul?

Have you thought that who are you and what is your true identity? Interesting question. Isn’t it?

In front of your parents, you are their dear children, in front of professors, you are simply beggars, in front of your friends, you are just stupids and good for nothing crap, and in front of your spouse, you are just a rat (on a lighter note). 

So basically, who are you?

We play multiple roles. Isn’t it?

People are identified by name, profession, address, religion, state and so many different identities.

Harry Manson, a professor of Anatomy at University of Illinois did extensive proportion wise and weight wise study of the components of body. He went to a chemical shop and bought that much ounces of chemicals.

You know, how much he found the worth of body with the chemical equivalents? 

It was 2 dollars!! A damn 2 dollars!!

Are we worth just 2 dollars?

Can a bag of chemicals have emotions?

The main value is emotion in this human body. We are not simply a bag of chemicals. Our parents, children or spouse are not worth just 2 dollars. Frankly, there can be no price for our very life itself.

Then the question is who are we? Here are few points that prove our true identity (This section is the foundation of “Who am I" and it will sprout from bud to complete flower form by end of Volume IV of this book).

1. Logic

Bhagavad Gita says that we are not this body but the eternal soul. Frankly, the Bhagavad Gita starts and ends at Chapter 2 in inner terms but Arjuna puts forward many questions to Krishna for the welfare of society. It’s discussed in further part of this book. Even though it all might sound philosophy to new beginners in the spiritual path, but yet, let us dig a bit to attempt to get to the true meaning of all this.

At a funeral, people cry that they are ruined as their husband, parents or relatives have died. Now when you ask them, “What are you talking? He is here itself. Can’t you see?” They will reply that “No, he has died.”

When you tell that “No, no. The body is right here. Can’t you see? He is here itself.” The other person will say, “No. Can’t you see? His soul has left away.” Aaahh! Now here it comes - soul! 

However atheistic one may be, they will say that there is soul when they see the dead body of their closed ones! Other times, they might appear strong and claim to have all knowledge of the universe but in such helpless situations, they will accept the existence of soul.

So, we are souls. One can’t deny this at all.

2. Near Death Experiences

When the EEG & ECG graph goes flat or straight, the person is declared dead. It means that they are unable to breathe. Most of us are aware about it as we have seen a lot about it in movies.

But there have been few cases that after the ECG goes flat, then also the person has again comes back to life!

Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon and professor at many medical schools including Harvard, was in coma for 7 days. He claimed to have seen himself from outside his body in the coma state. He wrote a book titled "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife” after the incidence. On Oprah Winfrey Show, he was asked, “Do you believe in god?” He said, “Yes, after those days. Yes.”

NDE or Near Death Experience is a very common thing that is whole-heartedly accepted in scientific community, though most of general people are unaware about it.

3. Past Life Memories

There are so many births that have taken place. Reincarnation is a proven principle in the scientific community and in the intellectual circles (not talking about pseudo-intellectuals). 

Ian Stevenson, one of the top physiatrist's globally and professor at the University of Virginia has studied more than 3000 cases of reincarnation and proven it scientifically about the transmigration of the soul from one body to other.

Mr William Barnes had a past life visual of wreckage of a ship and wrote the book Thomas Andrew's Voyage into History. To the surprise of readers who might not believe in reincarnation, Mr. Thomas Andrews was the principal designer of Titanic and was reborn as William Barnes. In this book, he has written many aspects of Titanic which were not known to the public and were very confidential. All was verified later. 

Similarly, there are thousands of cases of people who remember their past lives. It's nothing new as such. Though for the majority of the seekers, they don't have an idea of it due to the poor education system where Bhagavad Gita, the life's manual is not taught from an early age. 

Acceptance of the fact that we are spirit souls is very basic. If you read Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 is all about this! It is really beautiful and many new seekers just fall in love with Bhagavad Gita just in a few days of reading it.

Interestingly, in today’s world, reincarnation is a subject which everybody believes expect for the new-age young India owing to the Macaulay education system (as discussed in earlier part of this chapter itself).

4. Vedic Scriptures

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 talks about the complete intricate details of the soul. Rasika Acharyas say that Bhagavad Gita actually begins and ends at second chapter itself but Arjuna started asking further questions to Krishna for the benefit of future civilisation, and hence the rest 16 chapters are just answers to those questions.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, Text 13 says, “Exactly how soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes to new body at the time of death.” 

Note the word soul here.

The foundation of spirituality is that we are spirit souls. The soul is Satchidananda (eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss). It can't be created, destroyed or burnt. Its size is 1 / ten thousand times the tip of a human hair! That's not what I am telling but it is directly mentioned in the Vedic Scriptures (precisely in Chaitanya Charitamrita - Madhya 19.140–41).

Now the question is how to see the soul.

In wood, fire is there if one ignites it.

Similarly, from seed, oil can be extracted.

From milk, cheese can be obtained.

One has to heat the milk get curd, and from the curd, one get’s makkhan and when makkhan is heated, one gets cheese. There is a process.

So there has to be some process to see soul. Isn’t it?

You can’t see micro-organism like Hydra without microscope. There is process. Similarly to see the soul, there has to be a spiritual process. Yes, the soul can be studied in Vedic Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita. 

If somebody says, show me Hydra. Then our response would be, “Come to laboratory. I will show it to you under the microscope.” If they say, “No. No. Show me Hydra with naked eyes,” then that is nothing but stupidity and illiteracy of that person. 

Now when somebody asks, “Show me soul.” Then our response would be, “Let’s open the Bhagavad Gita and approach the process.”

The Bhagavad Gita (2.17) says that soul can’t be destroyed, created, burnt, pierced and it is neither male or female. Everybody has an individual soul.

The soul resides in the heart of living beings. The heart pumps blood to all parts of body and this blood carries consciousness of the soul to all parts of body. 

Soul is satcidananda i.e. eternal (sat), full of knowledge (cit) and full of bliss (ananda).

It also says that we are of same quality as Supersoul Sri Krishna. He is massive, unlimited and we are a limited drop of potency of Supersoul Sri Krishna. Our true identity as soul is being related to the Supersoul.

In Bhagavad Gita (2.13), it is clearly stated that soul never changes, it’s only the body that changes and that’s what you call reincarnation.

Okay now you will ask, “Fine, agreed that soul exists and I am a spirit soul. So how does it make a difference to me? In spite of this, I am struggling. Why does bad things happen to me?" Let us talk about it in the next section.

*This article is a part of the book Demystifying the Mystical Vrindavan (Volume I - Introduction to soul's eternal position).

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