Most, if not all of us, know that the body and the Soul are two different entities. We may have either heard about this from our parents in childhood, or later on, when we started taking our first steps on the path of spiritual growth and progress. However, very few know about the exact relationship between the body and the Soul. If the Soul is different from the body, why does it suffer when the body suffers? Why does the Soul have so much attachment to the body? Let us explore!
According to Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, the body and the Soul are, have always been, and will always remain different and separate. The Soul is one of the six eternal elements called shuddha chetan (pure Soul) while the body is made up entirely of matter, which is another of the six eternal elements, known as jada (inanimate matter). Now, as a rule, these elements can come in close proximity with each other, but never intermingle with them. In other words, they can exist as a mixture but not as a compound.
So then why does the Soul feel as if it has attachment to the body? The truth is, the Soul never feels attachment to the body or any other material circumstances. It is the ahankara (ego) which feels this attachment. Param Pujya Dadashri explains that when the pure Soul and matter come close to each other, an illusionary existence gets created which mistakenly identifies itself with the body (which is made up of matter.) This existence is what we call the ego, and it is this ego which assumes ownership of all relative identities.
What are the relative identities?
Relative identities are all those connections which the ego creates based on the body complex (mind, body, speech). If the body speaks, the ego feels, ‘I spoke’ and it assumes the identity of a speaker. If the body eats, the ego feels, ‘I ate’ and it assumes the role of eater, and so on. The truth is, however, that none of these identities are real. They are mere phases that arise and perish moment to moment, and thus are constantly changing. This means that all relative identities are both temporary and dynamic.
As long as the ego identifies with these relative identities, it is bound to feel attachment, pain, joy, etc. But since this is a mere wrong belief, this attachment creates new karmic bondages, which then give fruit that the ego must bear in the next life. When this happens, the ego, owing to its continued wrong beliefs, sows further new karmic seeds in response to these fruits and thus the cycle of birth and re-birth continues.
There is one and only one way out of this never-ending play of karmic charge and discharge, and that is Self-Realization i.e. the knowledge of really ‘who am I’?’.
As mentioned earlier, the ego is an entirely illusionary existence which gets created when matter and Soul come in close contact with each other. And it continues to expand its illusionary existence until one day, it happens to meet the Enlightened One. When the Enlightened One, with his divine spiritual powers, fractures this illusionary existence of the ego and graces us with Self-Realization, we realize that, “Oh! I am a Pure Soul. This body is only a temporary phenomenon that has come about due to wrong belief.”
Thereafter, with this right knowledge, all attachment towards the body begins to diminish away and gradually, the ego too melts away, such that only the pure Soul remains. This stage is called keval gnan (Absolute Knowledge, the intrinsic property of the Absolute Soul). Later, when all the old karmic fruits have been borne by the body, one will attain moksha (ultimate liberation)!