The Subtlety of the Soul
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The Subtlety of the Soul

In the earlier blog, namely “The Soul: the intellectual and the Actioner ” we discussed why Adi Shankaracharya has subtly suggested that the soul is greater than intelligence. This blog intends to discuss another reason that he subtly suggests for the same. At the beginning of his elaboration of the verse, Adi Shankaracharya says something to the effect that one should progress from what is gross to what is subtler, from what is less pratyagamatmakam, related with the soul, to what is more pratyagamatmakam. The verse wants us to progress from the intelligence to the soul, which means that the soul is subtler than the intelligence- that is actually the case.

One may argue against this by saying that if the intelligence can not be seen and the soul can be seen, how can the soul be subtler than the intelligence? The argument may be countered by saying that even if the soul can be seen, it can not be seen by all and sundry- it can be seen only by the chosen few, who are truly devoted to it. As a verse from the Kathopanishada that we have already done tells us, the soul vivrunute discloses itself to those who vrunate, accepts it as their own. Of course, this does not mean that the soul reveals all the ways it functions in the body, it just reveals its spiritual form only. While commenting on the verse, Adi Shankaracharya points out that the soul reveals its paramarthik rupam, spiritual form only. So the soul can not be seen in its entirety by anybody, it reveals only a single aspect of it- that too only before the chosen few.

Besides, even if the intelligence can not be seen, it can be easily experienced. The intelligence of a student, for example, can be easily experienced through the right or wrong answers that he gives. No one can thus easily experience the soul- experiencing the soul is the business of ‘ the chosen few, not that of ordinary people like us. Similarly, intelligence can be measured through intelligence quotient tests but no one can thus measure the soul. Intelligence can be categorized as ‘good intelligence’ or ‘bad intelligence’ but no one can thus categorize the soul- the soul is just the soul, there is nothing like the good soul or the bad one. So Adi Shankaracharya is perfectly right when he suggests that the soul is subtler than the intelligence.

One more point may be added to the suggestion- the soul is subtler than the intelligence but can see the world at a deeper, subtler level than the same. It is more knowledgeable and perceptive than the intelligence-even of the sukshma buddhi of an eminent saint. This explains why some predictions made by even eminent saints may prove wrong with time.

The book ‘In Search of Secret India‘ by Mr.Paul Burton tells us that some predictions made by Meher Baba proved wrong. We can not dismiss Meher Baba as a fake sadhu on this score- he was a highly venerated saint, even regarded as ‘avatar, a divine incarnation, by some. Then how can one account for the wrong predictions he made? The only plausible explanation of it can be that however subtle the intelligence may get and however close it may get to the soul, it can not be as knowledgeable and perceptive as the soul just as however close one may get to the sun,  one can not be as effulgent as the sun. The soul always knows and understands better than intelligence. So the soul is-and will always remain- greater than the intelligence.

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