Daily Archives: August 8, 2007

Soul – A brief study

Click here to read in Gujarati
Some of my Readers, having gone through my previous blog ,
Inspired Knowledge’ contacted me by various means and requested that I may write some more Articles like that of appealing to spirituality or philosophy. Prof. Vinayak Raval, a friend of mine, was once of the same opinion after his review of this particular story. ‘Inspired Knowledge’ is written in a typical style as the debate of some philosophical issues; but, today, I am going to represent my study about ‘soul’ in the form of an essay in brief; rather it is like to fill an ocean into a very small earthen pot.

The supreme aim of human life is to know the God. Rabindranath Tagore has quoted, “The ultimate end of man is to find the One (God) which is in him, which is his truth, which is his soul, the key with which he opens the gate of the spiritual life, the heavenly kingdom.” Ali Ibn Abu Talib (AS) also said, “Whoever knew his soul, knew his Lord.” The man has acquired knowledge in various sciences, but the profound philosophy of truth regarding God, soul, universe, life, death etc. has not yet ended with any concrete conclusions unanimously. Out of various topics mentioned here, the knowing of God is rather difficult due to the certain limitations of the human mind. Somebody has said, “In knowing Thee, O Wonder of the Cosmos, the mind is weakened all the while; Whenever my reason comes a span closer to Thee, it surely flees a mile.” A Gujarati poet has also said, “Man has overcome steam and electricity; but he could not overcome his mind. He reached the planets, but could not reach his inner soul.” Khalil Gibran’s quotation in this regard is also significant: “Say not, ‘I have found the truth’; but rather, ‘I have found a truth’.”

My preamble is over here and, now, I start to step further into my subject of soul, today. The very first basic belief about soul, in view of many scholars and also religions, is that it is a creation. Creation is always dependent of the Creator. Here, I put an example thought out myself to go further into the subject. The example is of a wooden chair, a creation; and the carpenter, its creator – better to say ‘maker’ of the chair. The chair came into existence (formation) with the workmanship of the carpenter. He designed it and gave the shape or mode of the chair using wood. This is simply an example and, by no way, the carpenter can take the place of the Creator and also the chair of the soul. All the four are quite different with their respective pairs.

Let us go further some deep into the illustration. The chair is dependent of the carpenter. It came into existence from the wood and the work of the carpenter. The Creator is eternally in existence and the rest other than Him came into existence from non-existence as His work. Thus, the Almighty God is on one part and all the rest visible or invisible in the universe are on the other part on our thinking platform. They are known as the Creator and the creations respectively. Soul is also the part and parcel of His creations. Everything including soul is from Him. The carpenter made the chair from the matter (wood); but soul is created by the Creator without any matter (object).

Further, we divide our hypothesis into two possibilities how the God has created soul. (1) Soul might have been created by his order, commandment or authority. Here it is not to be meant as any utterance of any words as we do, but His will is sufficient for anything He wishes to do. (2) Creation of soul would have been His work or task. Here also any workmanship or labor is not to be understood, but simply to say that soul is His work, a created thing and not at all self-existent.

Here, I would like to clarify that the opinions regarding the subject in discussion may vary wildly according to some religions and philosophies and also extremely contradictory.  Some consider the soul as immaterial, while others consider the soul possibly having a material component. Dr. MacDougall has scientifically tried to establish that the soul has the weight of some ¾ of an ounce or 21.3 grams through his experiments on dying persons. The theory of the soul having material form and also weight has been discarded not only by religions bent people but also the scientists. Whatever the difference of opinion may be in this regard, but it is interesting that human has been trying to know the mystery of these philosophical issues for the numerous centuries or perhaps millenniums.

Now, we come to our track of the subject. Previously in my preface of ‘Inspired Knowledge’ I had put an equation to explain existence of Human with combination of body and soul. Here below, we will try to know about the functions of both body and soul specifically.

Let us take first body in debate. The properties (characteristics) of the body are mainly growth and decay. Body requires food and it is kept securely in stomach. Its next functions are digestion and removal of the waste through urine, stool, perspiration and air etc.. Food turns into blood which circulates in the body through veins. Thus the body exists living until death comes. Body is the house of the soul and when it falls down, the soul leaves it at once. Somebody has said in a poetic style, “Soul made intention of leaving. I said, ‘Do not leave’. It said, ‘What can I do? The house is falling apart’.” Now, where the soul goes is not our subject here and if God wishes we may perhaps discuss it separately later on.

Our discussion about body still continues. We tried to understand in general the internal system of body with functions of internal organs. Now, we shall see in brief the function of one more internal organ which is called brain in Anatomy. In terminology of spirituality it is called mind. Our brain (mind) is the assistant of our soul and the master of the body. This assistant may play a roll of either an angel (friend) or a devil (enemy) of our soul. Further to clarify, it can be said that the brain has five employees under it that can be named as eyes, ears, nose, tongue and finger tips. These are the media of sensations respectively; sight, hearing, smelling, taste and touch. When the brain experiences all these sensations, it can be said that the brain is in a state of animation or living; otherwise it is called as dead brain. Thus, the properties of the functions of brain are love and hate. My intelligent Readers can understand how our feelings of love and hatred lead us towards good or evil deeds.

Thinking, memory and knowledge are the vital functions of the brain. Immediately after these abilities of the brain, the two functions of soul start; and they are forbearance and dignity. These two positive virtues of soul work as the initial driving force to still superior advancement of spirituality which may be known as Divinity of the soul. It is named also the Tranquil soul and it is the highest stage of its perfection. This perfection can be acquired with good deeds. King Solomon has said, “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, and it is destroyed when you are cruel.” Saint Tulsidas has also said in a verse,’ “Kindness is the root of Dharma (Religion).”

Let us go further. The soul of Divinity is now capable to have powers such as (1) To be immortal in morality (2) To get bliss in adversity (3) To find honor in disgrace (4) To be poor in riches; and (5) To have patience in woes. With these virtues, the soul achieves the most valuable state of faith as to accept the will of God and submit to His commands. This Tranquil soul conquers not only its worldly desires but also the desire of the paradise too. It becomes apart from temptation of Heaven and fear of Hell. In view of this Tranquil soul, the Heaven and Hell are also creations and its supreme goal is the Creator – to get His nearness and to have His mercy.

The theories invented by human minds regarding soul are many. Religions are many, but they all are unanimous in differentiating good deeds and evil deeds. The fundamental principles of all religions are the same. These common principles may make a new school of thought and behavior. This ideology may be named as ‘Humanity’. The motto of this ‘Humanity’ may be laid out as ‘Live and let live.’ The true followers of any religion are of the opinion of ‘self reform’. After the self reformation of own, they propagate for good and forbid to evil. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has said in a tradition, “To overcome evil with good is good; to resist evil by evil is evil.” The uplifting of soul depends on uplifting of the character. We are now approaching a global economy, a global culture. Now let us globalize this mission of ‘Humanity’ to establish Universal Peace. Souls of individuals make the soul of a nation; and souls of the nations make the soul of the universe. To make the universe glorious, the individuals will have to promote their souls towards advancement and perfection.

Summing up, this Article is the collective work of my own ideas, a little bit my inspired knowledge, memory of my reading in past in the subject and also the support of recently referred book ‘Journey to the unseen world’.

May God unite all humans in their various complexions, nationalities, races and lineages.

-Valibhai Musa
3rd August, 2007

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Posted by on August 8, 2007 in લેખ, Humanity, MB


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Click here to read in Gujarati
Chanakya has quoted, “A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.” My Readers will be surprised to read this quotation, in the beginning of my essay, somewhat contradictory to the title. But, we have to mark the word ‘too’ and it will be clear that Chanakya has not denied the virtue of honesty completely; but, in a profound sense, the honest people have been  counseled and warned to be prepared with the adverse outcomes after showing excessive honesty. Honesty cannot be measured in length, weight or volume. In other words, it cannot be defined under term of any counting and therefore the question does not arise that the honesty should be in this proportion or that proportion. Thus, the word ‘too’ becomes null and void here and honesty remains in the same position as the very important factor of man’s character building.

There are many duals opposite to each other in human life that cannot live together.  In early times, it was said, “Laxmi (goddess of wealth) and Sarswati (goddess of education) cannot live together”. Same way, ‘greed’ and ‘honesty’ are opposites of each other. A greedy man cannot observe the virtue of honesty and an honest man is always far away from greed.  I would quote Mahatma Gandhi here in reference to the word ‘greed’ only as his quotation is not wholly appropriate here. The quotation is – “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” Honest people are always full of satisfaction with what they have and that is why they never come in temptation of any gain for which they have no any lawful right.

William Shakespeare’s dialogue in a play is like this, “Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.” These are the literary quotes and they can be understood in reference to the character’s situation. But, naturally honest people  show their honesty always,  not occasionally. Here below, I would like to mention an honest man. His honesty cannot be valued in money because the amount was in Indian old coins of 2 Annas (presently 12 paise) i.e. INR 0.12. Now, go further to the real story of the Late Nurakaka, the native of Kanodar, a very simple old man of 70, wearing Dhoti (Under waist garment), full sleeved shirt and headdress (turban) made of Handloom Cloth. The year of the episode was 1952 or 1953.

On that particular day, a friend of mine was to travel in the same train from Palanpur to Umardeshi (A flag Rly. Station, 1.75 mile far from Kanodar). Nurakaka asked my friend to buy two tickets for him on his behalf. My friend did so. When the train started, my friend asked him for the other person for whom the ticket was purchased. Nurakaka smiled and said that both the tickets were for him. He explained that while traveling from Umardeshi to Palanpur in the morning, he was late to buy the ticket as the train had already arrived. By reciting the name of Allah, he had traveled without ticket. He further said that it was the grace of the Almighty Allah that he was not caught by the Ticket Checker. He simply said, “Why should we be dishonest to the Raaj (Government)? After all the Railway is ours and it is for us.” What a noble thinking!

My Readers can be witness of the self inspired discipline and honesty of Nurakaka here. Moreover, Nurakaka’s honesty was natural otherwise he would have ignored such a negligible thing and that also when he had successfully completed his journey without ticket. Such are the occasions happening in our routine life also, but  we don’t give any serious thoughts over them.

One more illustration of my own experience is here. I had been to a Bank to encash a bearer cheque valued INR 800 lying idle in my firm’s A/c. The cashier took a bundle of hundred rupee notes. He counted a score and handed me over 80 notes of INR 100. I was watching through the window that he was mistaking. I picked those 80 notes in my hand, counted 8 and I placed the rest 72 notes on his table slightly. This happened like lightening. The poor fellow stood up from his chair and he was so much astonished that he could not speak anything, but his face was telling me too much which I heard lately from him on phone when I returned to my office. In a crying voice, he thanked me and told that the sum of INR 7200 was a great thing for him. In those days co-operative bank employees were paid very little. He further said that his family would have to pass three months like in a starving state or he would have to borrow money on interest.

Above illustrations are related to money matters, but the honesty has some ethical values also. An essayist in Gujarati gives an example of a shoe-maker. While assorting some waste pieces of leather, he picks up one to make the shoes of a child. But, at the very next moment, he throws it away and picks up the soft one. This interchange of the pieces of leather is the result of his honest thinking that he is going to make the shoes of a child; not any particular child, but a human child. He instantly listens to the voice of his inner soul that the shoes to be made from the hard leather are surely to irritate the child’s feet. Here, we can find a simple but very practical and ethical form of honesty. Such people are noble and perhaps the God delays to destruct the earth with some disasters as said in some religions in honor of such people.  Somebody has rightly said that an honest man is the noblest work of God.

Summing up, I cannot restrict myself in quoting Chanakya once again. He said, “God is not in idols. Your feelings are your God and the soul is your temple.” The words ‘Honesty’ and ‘Truth’ are synonymous according to some Philosophers; but, in view of many others, ‘Honesty’ is the practical stage of ‘Truth’. They argue that ‘Truth’ is first established and then stored in mind, but the honesty is the expression of ‘Truth’ resulting in action. In brief, it can be said that ‘Truth’ is the theory and ‘Honesty’ is the practical. Brigham Young says the same thing in these words, “Honest hearts produce honest actions.” The honest person is praised everywhere. He gets honor in the world. The honest man thinks honestly, speaks honestly and works honestly. Some dishonest people wear the face of honesty just to cheat others, but they do not know that they are cheating themselves. They do not hold any honor in the eyes of the people and God also. Socrates has quoted, “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”

That’s all, my friends. See you again,

With best regards,

– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. 7th August, 2007

Note:- My Gujarati Readers may read Gujarati version of this Article on Vijaybhai Shah’s Blog.


Posted by on August 8, 2007 in લેખ, Character, MB


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