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credit : Elena Duvernay

credit : Elena Duvernay

In the last post we saw that the subtle body incurs the effects of action under the law of Karma but the soul, though dwelling within it ( Indweller – Sanskrit: Antaryami ) does not. Through all the actions generated by the ego – personality-body, the soul remains untouched, pure, eternal and uncontaminated by these actions of the ‘shell’ or ‘shroud’, standing aside as it were, observing but not participating. We must remember that it is indeed a part of the Universal Essence, the Supersoul. It is after all, God in miniature within your body even if that body or personality is immersed in sinful activity. Just as God is not responsible for your good or bad deeds neither is the soul. The Gita explains that the soul incurs no sins committed by the body it inhabits and forever remains untainted. Why so is the obvious question. The answer lies in several verses/cantos of the scripture:

” he truly sees who knows that all actions are done by Prakriti (nature or the acting body’s inherent characteristics and impulsions ) alone and the Atma (soul) does not act”

and again

”….he who in imperfect understanding looks upon the Self (soul ) as the agent (of action) – he does not see at all.”

and again

Having mentally renounced all actions, the self disciplined indweller (soul ) rests in the city of nine gates ( the body and the senses), neither acting nor causing action.”

The ‘agent’ often spoken of in the Gita is the ego-body complex. It is free to act the way it wishes. This is not a deterministic puppet show with human puppets on a string controlled by an inexorable fate or divine command. The human entity, the body-ego-personality, is free as was Hitler to commit the gravest atrocities based on free will while of course, accumulating negative Karmic effects with dire consequences in this and future incarnations. On the physical plane there is total freedom and free untampered will to act for good or ill. Thus the Gita explains:

”The Lord (God) does not create agency or actions for the world. He does not create fruitful consequences for actions. Nature ( the ego- personality complex as doer and the Law of Karma meting out consequences) does all this.”

The law of Karma (like the law of gravity) is the inexorable natural law at play on the earthly plane and like any body of law strictly applies measured consequences for actions committed. The soul merely councels prudence but does not dictate – it is the voice of your conscience which you are free to ignore.



We learnt that it is the Ego and not the soul that dictates to the physical self what it needs to do to survive in the world of senses. The actions that the physical self performs to satisfy the ego’s demands produce Karmic effects. Here the law of Karma comes into play. The nature of actions, good, bad or indifferent create Karmic results and effects which inexorably get registered as marks, scars, or odours ( called Sanskars in Sanskrit) left by previous and present actions, inclinations, desires and acquired potential. Where are these marks registered? This brings us to the nature of the physical self as understood by Indian philosophical traditions.

These traditions hold that the physical ‘body’ is not merely what appears to the eye. What is visible is merely the gross body. but enveloping it are other layers of physicality, even though not visible to the naked eye of an ordinary person. That is what in the West has been termed as Auric phenomenon.Subtle body These are pulsating fields of energy   falling within the defination of the physical, which hover around the gross body and are an integral part of that body. We  need not here go into details but briefly these sheaths are those of the vital force ( Prana- the harmonized bodily functions that allow the body to function in good health ), the mind and the understanding. Even though the other sheaths are not clearly manifest and tangible, like the gross body is, they are essentially a physical category as opposed to the spiritual one and are known in India and elsewhere in mystical circles as the subtle body.

It is in this subtle body that the ‘History’ of every act and its effects are registered indelibly (much like in present day Personal Computers) and which sets in motion the dynamics of the Law of Karmic effects – ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’. While the subtle body is marked by all the traces and effects and ‘odours’, its ‘Indweller’, the soul is not.

English: Illustrative image showing the Soul B...


Most of my life I have been intrigued by the concept of the Soul. Every faith speaks of it,many scholars have written about it, both in the past and in what is called New Age literature. In common parlance too we refer to Soul so often. Yet it is the most ambiguous of concepts to truely comprehend. My curiosity led me to research what the different scriptures say about it – all refer to it. Later I sought to understand its metaphysical significance and reality and even experience its presence mystically through meditation, poetry, music and literature. This blog entiteled SEARCH FOR SOUL therefore tries or hopes to try and share whatever I have gleaned from diverse sources on the subject and to invite feed back which could help to enlighten me further on the subject.


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