TRANSMIGRATION OF SOUL

*’The Light of Truth’ or English Translation of Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s ‘Satyarth Prakash’ by Pt. Gangaprasad Upadyaya. Ed. 1946.

Q. Is there one birth (life) or many?

A. Many

Q. If there are many births then why does a man not remember his previous life and death?

A. The knowledge of the soul is limited. It is not the seer of three times (past, present and future). Therefore, it cannot recall the past experiences. Besides the mind with which a man thinks cannot hold more than one awareness at the same time. (There is only one thing present in the consciousness at one time), Let alone the experiences of the past life, why does a man not remember the events of this very life—his coming into the womb, the development of the body, his birth and myriads of events before age of five? After experiencing several events in the wakeful and dreaming states, when the soul enters sound sleep, why does it not recall the events of those past states? If you are asked what you were doing twelve years ago, in the fifth month of the thirteenth year, 9th day at 10o’clock, in what position and in what direction were your mouth, hands ears, eyes and body, and what ideas were there in your minds you will not be able to answer. When in this very body this oblivion takes place, then your objection on the ground of non-remembrance of the previous life is simply puerile. It is matter of consolation that a man does not remember his past life; otherwise the painful memory of past sorrows would have put an end to his life. If a man wants to know his past or future life he cannot because the knowledge and nature of the soul are finite. This thing is knowable to God and not to the soul.(IX. 49, p. 348)

Q. Are the same souls in human and animal bodies alike? Or do they belong to different species?

A. The souls are the same. But they are pure or impure according to their good or bad deeds.

Q. Does the soul of a man pass into the body of an animal and that of animal in the body of man? Similarly, does the soul of a female go into the body of a male and that of a male into the body of a female?

A. Yes, it does. When vices wax and virtues wane, then the soul of a man assumes a lowlier body or lower animals. When virtues predominate over vices, then the soul takes up a nobler body, i. e., of a learned man. When vice and virtue are equal, the soul is born as an ordinary man. Even in human lives, there are gradations high grade, intermediate grade and low grade, according to the nature of actions. When the punishment for excessive sins has been suffered in animal lives, the soul comes back to the life of an average man. When the soul leaves the body, it is death; when it again takes the body it is birth.(IX. 57, 58 p. 353)

Q. What is emancipation?

Emancipation mean ‘release’.

Q. Release from what?

A. That from which all souls wish to be released.

Q. From which do they wish to be released?

A. That which they need to be released from.

Q. What do they need to be released from?

A. From pain.

Q. After being released from pain, what do they get and where do they live?

A. They get happiness and live in God.

Q. What causes emancipation and what bondage?

A. Emancipation is the result of the following:-

(i) Obedience to the order of God.

(ii) Avoidance of vices, ignorance, bad company, ill associations, and evil habits.

(iii) Truth-fullness, benefaction, education, impartial justice, promotion of righteousness.

(iv) God’s worship (appreciation, prayer and realisation) according to the methods dealt with above, practice of yoga, study increase of knowledge by legitimate efforts.

(v) Utilization of the most excellent means.

(vi) Doing everything that delineated above and disobedience to God’s order contribute towards bondage.

Q. Does the merging of the soul take place in emancipation? Or does the soul remain distinctly existent?

A. It remains existent.

Q. Where does it dwell?

A. In God.

Where is God? Does the emancipated soul remain at one place or does it stroll about freely everywhere?

A. God is every-where in a perfect condition. The emancipated soul strolls freely in knowledge, happiness, and independence. There is nothing to thwart its movements.

Q. Does the emancipated soul possess corporeal body?

A. No.

Q. Then how does it enjoy pleasure and happiness?

A. It maintains in fact all its natural attributes and natural capabilities such as true conception etc. only corporeal associations cease.(IX, 13, 14, 15, 16 p. 332-33)

Q. After attaining salvation does the soul come again into the tribulation of birth and death? Or not? Salvation is that emancipation from which there is no coming-back into the world.

A. It is not correct. The Vedas contradict this view. Just as now there are bondaged and emancipated souls, so they always remain. There is no absolute annihilation of either bondage or of salvation. But bondage and emancipation are not everlasting.(IX 22, 23 p. 336, 337)

The beginninglessness of the souls is all right, but it is a mistake to hold that the finite and fallible souls become infinite and infallible in salvation. A finite and fallible being will always remain finite and shall always have limitations of knowledge. The Jains Tirthankaras are mistaken in holding that the world, the souls, the actions of the souls and bondage are beginningless. The causes and effects of this composed world cannot be beginningless nor particular effects can be cyclically beginningless, nor the actions of the soul, or its bondage. If you believe (the actions and bondage) to be beginningless, then why do you believe that there can be release from the actions and the bondage?

That which is beginningless can never terminate if you will hold that beginningless things can also come to a termination, then there will be a question as to why your all beginningless things should also not perish. You believein the eternality and beginninglessness of things, then the actions and the bondage both will be eternal. If you believe that salvation is the result of release from actions, then “release from actions” is the means of salvation. Now such a salvation is not permanent (because it is the result of something) and will not last forever.. (This is one flaw). The actor and the action are related inseparably. Then it is wrong to believe that there can be release inseparably. Then it is wrong to believe that there can be release from actions. Thus your theory that your salvation and the salvation of your Tirthankaras is permanent, cannot stand.

Q. Just as a husk less, or parched grain of rice cannot germinate, similarly the soul which has got its salvation does not again come to the world of births and deaths.

A. The relation of soul and action is not the same as that of the grain and the husk. The soul, its actions and its capacity to produce action are inseparably related from eternity. If you believe that the soul has no inherent capacity to act, then the soul will be inert like a block of capacity to act, then the soul will be inert like a block of stone and will not have the fitness of enjoying the happiness of salvation. If the soul can attain salvation by terminating the eternally inseparable bondage of action terminating the eternally inseparable bondage of action then your eternal salvation can also come to a break and be followed by bondage. Just as you believe that a soul can attain salvation by being released from the actions which are the means of salvation, similarly the soul can also get a release from the permanent salvation and fall into bondage again. That which is got by some means can never be eternal. But if you believe that salvation can be acquired without any means (actions), then bondage can be acquired without any actions. Just as the contact of dirt makes clothes dirty and dirt is removed by washing them in water, and another contact with dirt can again make the same clothes dirty, similarly the soul being subject to attachment and aversion, falsehood and other such evils entangle it into the fruit of actions; and true knowledge and thoughtful living make the soul pure.

If you admit that the soul’s impurity is due to its contact with dirt, then you cannot escape the conclusion that the wordly soul can secure emancipation and the emancipated soul can again come into the world (and become worldly). If some causes can remove dirt, other causes can contract it also. Therefore, accept the bondage and salvation of the souls cyclically eternal and not as having no beginning and no end. (XII-36, 37 p, 629-630).