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The Soul and Its Five Bodies

One of the ways of understanding the soul is to understand what it is not. The faculties of memory, reason are limited therefore not the soul. Annamaya kosha allows the soul to function in the physical world. The three aspects of the subtle body allow us to function in the astral plane. The body of light and its essence, Parashakti and Parasiva, function in Siva's realm. Master Course, Lesson 26.

Unedited Transcript:

Today's lesson from the Master Course Trilogy is from Dancing with Siva, Sloka 26.

"What Is Our Individual Soul Nature?

"Our individual soul is the immortal and spiritual body of light that animates life and reincarnates again and again until all necessary karmas are created and resolved and its essential unity with God is fully realized."

Have any of you ever been asked: What is the soul? Very interesting question to try and answer. I remember once, I think it was an 8 year old with his father, he was only 8 years old. An 8 year old, with his father, eating with me in the Guru Peedam and the 8 year old asked: "What is the soul?"

So, I'm afraid I don't remember exactly what I answered at the time but what struck me was, you know: Who's asking the question? The soul. So, you know, that's the, and of the contradiction here. The soul wants to know what it is. I remember at the time I didn't use the example but I thought: Well it's like a dog asking what's a dog. I mean, the dog really knows what a dog is, right? Cause the dog is a dog. So, the soul is asking: What is the soul? And it really knows what it is but it just hasn't found a way to intellectually grasp it.

"Our soul is God's emanational creation, the source of all our higher functions, including knowledge, will and love. Our soul is neither male nor female. It is that which never dies, even when its four outer sheaths -- physical, pranic, instinctive and mental -- change form and perish as they naturally do."

One of the ways of understanding the soul is to understand what it isn't. And certain intellectual concepts can be helpful in approaching it in that way. For example, we have the concept of the chakras. We usually think of the 7 principal chakras. However, in the full gamut there are the 7 that are below that and the 7 very fine ones above that. Twenty-one all together. But we usually just think of the 7 principal ones and we go down one or two.

Having that concept allows us, for example, when we're recollecting something, we know we're using the faculty of memory. And we know that that has nothing to do with the soul because that's the first chakra. The muladhara chakra, obviously the faculty of memory is not a quality of the soul.

Likewise we go down one more and we get into fear. Become afraid, afraid of what's going to happen. Because we understand the chakras we know that's simply the fear chakra and nothing to do with the soul. Likewise even when we get up into reason, try and figure out philosophy, through approaching it in a rational way if you're analyzing it. We come to certain insights but we know they're limited cause it's only the reason chakra; it's not the soul.

Well likewise the concept of the sheaths, as Gurudeva states them here in English: physical, pranic, instinctive and mental -- sheaths meaning a covering. That the soul has these coverings over it helps us understand certain things not being the soul.

Gurudeva has a sutra on that. He says: (310) "My devotees study these three to discover the mysteries of being: the subtle bodies of man, (so that's what we're talking about, bodies of man) the aura, which is a rainbow of thought and feeling, and the twenty-one chakras, or centers of consciousness."

Why do we study them? To help understand better the mysteries of being or the nature of our soul.

So, in terms of the coverings, the physical body, annamaya kosha. It's a covering which allows us to function in the physical world. Without it we couldn't function in the physical world. We'd have to be in an inner world. So, it's a covering which allows the soul to experience the physical world. It allows it to experience other people in the physical world. It allows us to function in this plane. Take it away, we don't function in this plane. What is inside of it?

The pranic sheath of vitality, pranamaya kosha. Instinctive-intellectual sheath, manomaya kosha. And the mental, or cognitive sheath is the vijnanamaya kosha.

So those are three aspects of what we also call the subtle body. Cause they function together doing different aspects of what the subtle body needs to do. Prana is providing prana to the physical body; instinctive-intellectual. Manomaya handles our instinctive functions and our emotions. And then mental-cognitive, vijnanamaya, is our sub-superconscious or when our intuition starts to manifest. In all of those, functioning together, allow us to function in the astral plane. Of course, we do that every night but not very consciously cause we're still attached to the physical body.

But, after we drop off the physical body then we're fully conscious in the astral world. And how are we functioning there. Because we have these three sheaths covering us. Covering the soul. If we didn't have them then we couldn't function in that world. Was a covering which allows us to function.

And then we have: "The inmost soul body is the blissful, ever-giving-wisdom anandamaya kosha. Parashakti is the soul's superconscious mind--God Siva's mind. Parashiva is the soul's inmost core."

So, that's a very nice, so it's coming up here. Let me not jump ahead.

"We are not the physical body, mind or emotions. We are the immortal soul, atman. The sum of our true existence is anandamaya kosha and its essence, Parashakti and Parashiva."

So all of that is leading up to that. That's the definition of the soul. The soul is a body of light. The body of light can function in Siva's realm. Sivaloka, Karanaloka, can't function in the other realms as a body of light. It has to have coverings. And its essence, Parashakti or omnipresent consciousness and Parasiva or transcendence.

Therefore, utilizing this concept we can use the "not this, not that" approach and reject what surrounds the soul.

So we're sitting there in reflection and meditation and we say: Obviously, that's the physical body, getting into my emotions, my memory. Getting into analysis and reason. Reject that. Getting into some insights, reject that. And what's left? The soul.

So, we find it that way by discarding or not identifying with what surrounds it.

The Vedas state: "The soul is born and unfolds in a body, with dreams and desires and the food of life. And then it is reborn in new bodies, in accordance with its former works. The quality of the soul determines its future body; earthly or airy, heavy or light."

Aum Namasivaya

Have a great day.