My Original Home
WITH GOD THE SUPREME
The realisation of the self as a soul, an eternal entity, naturally leads to the questions:
These are questions that deeply concern human beings, yet until now proof of life before birth or after death has been inconclusive.
The images conjuring up the "fires of hell" and a heavenly world beyond the clouds have figured greatly in the world's religions. Yet to the rationally-minded, the states of living forever tormented in sulphurous pits, or conversely lounging in perpetual bliss in a fairy-tale kingdom, seem far removed from the reality of the present.
Most accept that there is some order to the creation, but viewing our drama through spectacles of body-consciousness it is impossible to see it, as the soul is imprisoned by bodily needs and sensual desires. In body-consciousness the soul is unable to see anything objectively. Only when confronted by death does one instinctively consider "life after death". At funerals, everyone faces the new absence of a loved person, the departure of the personality and the impermanence of the body.
Everyone wishes that the departed one will go to "heaven" and not to "hell". We subconsciously know that we are souls. Birth, life and death are just stages in existence. In fact all natural processes can be found to have a beginning, a middle, an end and a new beginning to continue the cycle. The soul takes a bodily form, gives life to it and after a period of time, long or short, leaves it and takes another suited to the continuation of its role. As long as the soul is in the body, the body grows like a plant from baby to child, youth to maturity. It then begins to decay and finally becomes unserviceable. The moment the soul leaves the body, it becomes like a dead log. It immediately starts to decompose and eventually goes back "to dust".
Again the soul moves into a fetus. After some time it emerges as a newborn baby and immediately begins to show the tendencies and characteristics it had developed in its previous life. It is the same soul but in a new physical situation. Thus death is merely the means by which a complete change of circumstances and environment for the soul takes place. Time never kills the soul, but the body, being a part of nature or matter, obeys the law of decay that everything new becomes old and eventually ceases to hold its form. The molecular components of this body disintegrate only to re-integrate as another form some time later.
The process of birth-life-death-rebirth is also eternal. It has always been going on and will continue. The soul comes into the body, expresses a role and experiences the results of that for a certain time, then leaves it, and the process starts again. Similarly, souls come into this world, remain here as actors for a number of lifetimes and then return to the region from which they come, for rest. This process also starts again. The pattern is a cyclic one.
Why does the Soul search for Peace, Love and Happiness?
The search for true values is a constant preoccupation. In body-consciousness we mistakenly think that the physical world and physical relations can provide peace, love and happiness. However these are not the properties of matter, nor of the physical identity, but the true characteristics of the soul. This has to be realised.
Imagine a scene in which you are surrounded by all your favourite things; food, music, fragrance, scenery and companions. Just about to enjoy your meal, the telephone rings and you are told that a person close to you has just died. Instantly, that scene of "favourites" melts into an insipid and superficial experience. Something has happened that shakes the soul and it can no longer enjoy those things. At the same time it finds itself inadequate in the face of the bad news as understanding and power are missing. Life is full of experiences such as this and it becomes clear that physical things are not the sources of peace, love and happiness, but that understanding and inner strength are.
One of the basic facts of human psychology is that we do not seek or desire something that has not been experienced previously. For example, if one has never tasted a mango, there cannot be a burning desire to have a mango. This suggests that desires might be arising from previous life experiences. In fact, it is impossible for an human being to act or desire outside the field of his or her own experience. The search for peace, love and happiness is so fundamental to the humanspirit because these are the original and true qualities of the soul itself.
THIS WORLD AND THE REGIONS BEYOND
The Physical World
This world is a vast amphitheatre of action in which embodied souls play their respective and various parts. Planet Earth exists in an extremely tiny portion of the physical universe and is governed by well-defined physical, chemical and biological laws.
In India, the world which we inhabit is called "karma kshetra" (the field of action), because it is here that we sow the seeds of actions and reap their fruits. It is here that the soul takes on flesh and bones and expresses the role that it has latent within itself, causing variations in the material environment. The state of the material world at any given moment is a direct reflection of the state of consciousness of the human beings which inhabit it. If there is peace and harmony within the soul this is reflected in nature. If there is conflict and confusion, nature responds accordingly.
It is a world of three dimensions of space and one of time. Its principal characteristics are sound, movement, colour and form. On this immense stage of deserts, forests, mountains and seas, illuminated by the sun, moon and stars, the drama of existence is enacted. In the drama, the actor-souls are subject to dualities; from pleasure to pain, birth to death, purity to impurity, happiness to sorrow, new to old, positive to negative; the vast pageant of history crawls along as indefatigable time devours all. A point is finally reached when the process is renewed and all souls and the elements of matter themselves move back to their points of origin, only to start again.
The Regions Beyond
Beyond the limits of this vast expanse of the solar system and galaxies there are regions of non-material light. They are not reached by any physical means because it is simply not a question of light years or kilometers. They are regions which "transcend" the physical plane and therefore can only be experienced through divine vision, perceivable to the "third eye". Through deep meditation the soul can "travel" to these regions and experience the bliss of being free from the limits of anything earthly.
The Subtle Regions
These regions are like three subtle "layers" around the physical plane which are absolutely necessary for the roles of creation, its sustenance and the destruction of that which is old and impure. Thus they have an important part in world transformation (this part will be explained in Chapter 6 - The Human World Tree). Those who have the gift of divine trance are able to have a vision of these regions. Such souls see the scenes much in the manner as one experiences a dream, yet much more vividly. Since the bodies there are of light and not matter, there is movement but no sound. The scenes seen in trance are like silent movies in which communication is by gesture and thought.
The Soul World - The Home
Further beyond the subtle regions is another region. It is pervaded by golden-red, divine light, which is the sixth element called "brahm". It is the region from which all souls have descended onto this earth. The conscient entities, the souls, have neither bodies of matter nor bodies of light. There exists neither thought, word nor action; just complete stillness, silence and peace. Just as this world occupies a tiny part of this physical universe, so too the souls occupy just a tiny portion of this infinite golden-red light.
This is the highest region, the original home of souls and the Supreme Soul, God. This is the region which human beings, irrespective of culture or religion, have tried to reach in thoughts, prayers, etc.. It is called Heaven by Christians. Nirvana by Buddhists, Shantidham, Paramdham or Brahmand by Hindus. Before I came to this earth, I was there with all other souls, my brothers. The experience of complete and utter peace, purity and silence is there in my sweet home. There the soul is untainted by matter. Souls abide there as star-like points of light. They remain dormant, with their roles in the physical world merged or latent within them.
The souls stay in the soul world in well-defined groups. They descend onto this earth in a certain chronological order, according to the quality of sanskaras. At the apex of this configuration of souls is the Supreme Soul, whom the other souls call God, Allah, Jehovah, Shiva, etc. Beneath Him the souls are positioned numberwise according to their degree of similarity to God. Depending on the quality and the part the soul has to play, it emerges in the human world, taking the body of a developing baby in a mother's womb. It then continues through the cycle of birth and rebirth according to the role that it has. When the parts are over, souls again return to this world of light, peace, liberation and complete purity.
The deep rest the soul has had in the "home" has such an effect on it that even though it forgets the details about that world, there is always the impetus to search for that peace and silence when it becomes lost and confused in the world of matter. In that supreme region only, souls remain in their completely original, natural state, which can be experienced through Raja Yoga meditation.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE ORIGINAL NATURE OF THE SOUL?
I, the soul, am originally a star-like point of perfect peace and purity, twinkling in the golden-red expanse of the soul world. I am fully charged with spiritual energy which naturally manifests as love, joy, peace and purity when I first come into this physical world. Gradually by taking many births, I become attached to the senses and the various sense objects and I forget my original attributes. Then I become a slave to five basic negative forces; anger, greed, ego, lust and attachment. These forces have their roots in body-consciousness, or the illusion that existence is entirely physical. My ability to control matter is supplanted by matter controlling me. Any time I suffer disappointment, worry or anxiety, it is due to the effect of any one of these negative influences.
I forget the heights of spiritual attainment and the delights of super-sensuous joy thinking myself to be a body and I search for peace and happiness through the sense organs. I mistakenly pursue worldly pleasures in an effort to regain my former state. I forget my true identity, nature, home and my Supreme Father. I know that while controlled by these negative forces, I cannot come back to my normal state of peace, happiness and bliss. These vices are unwelcome intruders into my original texture of purity. They are not welcome in my internal "house." Until the vices have no control over the soul, I will never restore my original qualities of peace, bliss, love, purity and knowledge.
People afflicted by anger lose their temper and become excited at the slightest provocation. Yet, when the event is over they find "peace" in reverting to their normal temperament. The same applies to all the other vices which are at the root of all emotional disturbances, strains, tensions and imbalances.
If I contemplate on my original nature and do everything with the realisation "I am a soul, not a body," my original qualities reappear naturally. They are my basic attributes. It is worthless seeking them externally. It is like the musk deer running after the sweet smell of musk, unaware that it is coming from its own navel. Peace of mind is my property. It automatically flows from within me once I am soul-conscious.
I only have to let my original sanskaras become thoughts and keep them flowing. Whatever thoughts are in my mind, that is the state I experience. Soul-conscious thoughts bring peace of mind. Body-conscious thoughts disturb me. It is I who decide what state of mind to experience. I can either be the essence of peace, or in a turmoil. It is I, the soul who has the power of decision. The situation should not dictate to me. Soul-consciousness is the mind's food that strengthens the intellect and keeps me beyond the influence of negativity.
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