Friday, 26 February 2016

Do you believe there is a Soul? (And not, Is there a Soul?)

What is the truth? Everybody finds and makes their own truth, I truly believe. There can never be an objective truth. But. But I don't want to believe what I believe, but do want to know the truth- the universal truth- of whether we have a soul that survives death. The soul that lives after our bodies have been burnt/buried. I want to know what actually is.
But is it really?

Even for God, it is a belief more than reality. But soul? That's what I do want to know. I do want to know what actually is. Why am I even keeping it in the same category as a belief?

There is, or is not, an island deep down called Atlantic. There is, or is not, a state called Rajasthan in India. And there is, or is not, an immaterial thing like the Soul, or not.

It's about the mechanical existence of an immaterial thing. When someone whom you have lived with in the same house for over 22 years passes away, your all recent beliefs about "this is what is. No after life; no previous life" notion takes a toll. It may indeed be a grand illusion, as someone said rightly, but it is a comforting one.



And that is why- I intuitionally considered it in the category of a belief. My belief in its existence will not only comfort me, it will determine how I look at life, and how I operate.

My idea of what are morals determine how I judge or not judge other people. My idea of whether there's a soul will determine how I look and grieve when someone passes away. And that is why it is to be kept in the category of a belief.

Not without reason did a Sister in Sophia called on the students to have an "unwavering faith in God". Unwavering faith. Faith. Because faith will ensure His presence.

But is the presence of God imply a presence of Soul? There could be a God, and we could still be living just one life- with us and everything about us dead after we are dead.*

In our family, like any other middle class family in India with two generations before us, there is an ubiquitous presence of God and Soul. Papa talks about following the rituals after her death, while assuming she is still around, seeing us.

I doubted all things supernatural, and was super proud in my little head to be a rational, disowing what adults in our family blindly believe in.

But with Ma (Grandmother) breathing last, I didn't feel that the body lying on the floor was her. I had this feeling that she is around that body in the room somewhere- but that body didn't seem anything more than a mass.

And that is why it is a belief. And that is why it is intuition that will determine if there is a Soul, or not. If I felt the presence of God a few times, when I considered myself an athiest, and otherwise- it is an intuition that made me feel it.

If everything be broken down to science and proof; and proof be meaning only physical proof- with no instinctual or spiritual proof- maybe we are just too adamant to not believe. We are deciding to not believe. To not see. To not see the proof besides science.

We believe what we want to believe.  If there is a Soul, then it also means we are all on our individual journeys, taking on different families in different births. That doesn't really sound too personal when we say someone in our family left us, when they are gonna live more lives, and lived earlier, with different families. If there is a Soul, then we just happen to be parents, children, relatives, acquaintances to other souls.

If I believe there is a Soul, it's less grievesome than otherwise. Because, it means this was just a small phase of a long journey, and that they aren't really dead. Never are.

Believing in something like a Soul is also easy. Where did the idea of Soul originate from? Who were the first people to form a word like that, with meaning like it is?

The moment when the troubled breathing did not continue, and the head tilted to the left a little, and the air passed through the mouth for the last time, I instinctively assumed the soul to come out of the body with the last breath. It's easy because I have heard it all my life- every prayer, every festival, every conversation in the household, every lyrics of every bhajan reinstates the presence of God, of past lives, and of Soul- how could I not feel what I felt?

Why do skeptics deserve the respect that they do? They refuse to believe in something that everyone does, without experiencing it first hand. They refuse to follow the herd blindly. Blind faith is not a thing to be proud of. Not even in God.

Even if there is a God, He and His existence needs to be continuously questioned, argued and debated. Like any other philosophy, skeptics are the ones that would keep it alive, if it really has any substance.

But would it? Any argument with a believer goes like this, "And what if there is no God?"
"This is your vanity that believes you are powerful enough to exist on your own. For any of this to exist on its own."

If all questions on spirituality are answered in its own language, with a pre-assumption of the existence of super-natural beings and immaterial things, how will a dialogue between a believer and a non-believer exist? It does not. Both polars stay in their own quarters.

If God does exist, why does it need my unwavering faith- someone ask the Sister from Sophia. If the sky is blue, why do I need to believe it is blue- it will be blue nonetheless, and it will rain if that's what it does. It will protect me from Ozone layer if that's what's it there for. Why the imphasis on belief and faith in its existence?

Soul. Lots of books and counter books and criticism on its existence has been written. If ever there were one that could have been the last word for the skeptics, we wouldn't be debating it now.

I don't want to believe because something is comforting, because something is easy, and because it is what I have grown up listening. I want to know the truth- and I am skeptic. I want to be skeptic. Not because it's cool, not because it's rational, not because its modern, but because I want to not believe a lie told through generations.

Is believing a lie (that there is a Soul) and not believing a truth (that there is a Soul), equally destructive? No. I could spend coming time trying to unravel the truth, but once a lie has been taken as truth, everything else will be seen through a misplaced prism of belief.

But how will one unravel the truth? Believing in instinctual and supernatural proof is the only way. If I really was a skeptic, I would have left off this topic al ready. Because I want to unravel the truth- means I am not that much of a skeptic as I would like to call myself; because I believe there is a truth out there to be unraveled. I want to believe there is a Soul, for all the reasons I stated. I want to believe. I want it to be TRUE. I want it to exist, for me to believe that it exists. I want to KNOW.

The problem with instinctual or spiritual proof? Only the existence be proven, not the absence. I'll believe a Soul does not exist till I feel/find proof otherwise; i.e there is always an open possibility of being proven wrong. One cannot prove it does not exist- people have tried- and the books have been criticised or the research is not substansive. It could only be proven that it does- those researches have also been rebuffed by scientists.


At a personal level, I could believe there's no Soul till proven wrong- and not the otherway round. People around me who believe in a Soul, have already believed in something without a proof. They could not be proven wrong, because they don't believe in proofs. And that's the problem with blind, unwavering faith in anything- you have already dispelled any possibility of being questioned, refusing to see anybody else's truth, or the Truth, in general.

*If there is a soul, then there definitely is reincarnation.

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