Exploring the truth about body, mind and soul
Throughout human history philosophers have been searching for answers to life’s greatest questions. What is life? Where does life come from? What is the purpose of life? What happens to us after we die? Anyone who asks these kinds of questions becomes a philosopher and starts a spiritual quest towards self-realization. For a self-realization lot of philosopher and psyichologist start with studying of our body, mind and soul.
The purpose of body, mind and soul
In order to realize its true nature of sat-chit-ananda – eternal knowledge and bliss – the soul is always striving for its basic nourishment: love. Just as all living entities consist of and need water to exist, the essential nature and necessity of the soul is love, which it attains through service to others. In order to serve, the soul needs special tools. Namely a mind and a body to make the Supreme and other living entities happy.
Who are we – body, mind or soul?
Hindu philosophy says we are jiva atma, individual souls. Whose true nature is sat-chit-ananda eternally present, blissful and possessing perfect knowledge. Through God’s loving mercy, every soul is endowed with free will to choose where to go and what to do. This means we have chosen to live here in this material world. Having entered this world, in order to be active in this dimension, the soul needs assistance. Just as a scuba driver needs special equipment for being under water.
This assistance comes in the form of the mind. Constructs a physical body with eyes to see, ears to hear, a nose to smell. A tongue to taste, skin to feel and a heart to love and feel emotions. It is easy to understand that we are the eternal soul. We are using the mind and the sensual physical body to interact with material nature. We are definetelly not the mind and not the physical body, which are merely temporary physical manifestations.
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When you drive a car, you don’t think of yourself as the car. The car is just some mechanical equipment to get you from point A to point B. When the car can no longer operate safely, we stop using it and acquire another vehicle. The soul does the same thing. Whenever the body becomes useless and stops functioning, the soul departs and finds a new body to use. This is what we have all experienced since time immemorial: transmigration of the soul or reincarnation.
Benefits of being conscious about body, mind and soul
When we gain some knowledge about the body, we learn how to keep it healthy and fit. A vegetarian diet, meditation and yoga practice or physical activity are beneficial. A poor diet with excessive meat eating, substance abuse with alcohol or drugs, and lack of exercise or lethargy can destroy the body.
As we maintain a healthy body, we must also maintain a healthy mind. Besides helping us use language to express our feelings and intentions, our mind enables us to store memories of pleasurable or distressful experiences. A function of our mind which helps us make decisions in our everyday lives. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. It can lead us to make bad decisions, unpleasent to our soul. Or it can be used to make choices and bring happiness to our soul and to others. The mind needs daily maintenance like meditation or chanting of mantras. Otherwise the mind starts forming destructive habits that neglect the benefit of the soul.
Importance of knowing ourselves
The soul is always pure, eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. The false ego, characterized by selfish desires, pride, envy and temporary self-designations (man, woman, family relation, occupation, social status, nationality, etc.) all produced by the mind, covers our true self. Just as dust can hide the reflection of a mirror and objects appear differently. So the false ego hides the reflection of the soul and we lose a clear vision of our true nature. This is to say, our task is to purify the body and mind to develop soul conciousness. This will enable us to serve others as loving souls.
All in all, we realize our highest expression of love when we serve others. Just as a mother serves her children with love and they become very happy. For this reason, when we start serving others with love, we are also becoming happy. This activity makes everybody happy, including God.