05 Oct We Are Eternal
I am the Soul – You are the Soul – We Are Eternal
After 30 years I was going to meet my friends. The slight apprehension
that laced the excitement I felt was instantaneously banished as they
received me at the airport with joyous boisterousness. We went
to one of their homes, where their families had gathered. As we
reminisced it became apparent that not much had changed, they
were still the wonderful, easygoing boys I had known in my youth.
What had changed were their priorities that were now
about family and work; and their physical appearance involving
weight and greying hair. I noticed friend’s son strongly
resembled him. With a beaming smile my friend remarked,
“Doesn’t he look like me? I see myself in him!” This sensational
attachment is common among all parents, but the fact remains the
father is not the son; the mother is not the daughter. Parents only
provide the body.
Our bodies are made of five elements. From the yields of the
earth, it is nourished; its shape is the derivative of the 70% water
content; fire maintains the optimal functioning temperature;
the breath of life is air; and it occupies space in this world. What
integrates the elements of earth, water, fire, air and space and allows
them to function smoothly as one unit is an engine we refer to as
With the body gone, where does the soul go? The soul is
indestructible, it does not die but simply moves on; it is an inveterate
traveler, striving to reach its destination, its final home. For this
several millennia long journey, the soul takes several births. Free
from the laws of change and destructibility that govern matter, it
births itself in body after body. Just like taking connecting flights
to get to a far-off destination, the soul disembarks out of one body
and embarks on its onward journey, in another. Just as we remain
the same passenger when we board our flight in Los Angeles, making
connecting stops in Newark and London before landing in Mumbai,
the soul remains the same in its travels.
What is a soul’s final destination? Who decides its course?
These are eternal questions. The soul’s endpoint is oneness with
all souls. Its path is governed by karma, the result of all conscious
actions performed by it in its various births. End of karma and its
final discovery of oneness with all, is a simultaneous phenomenon.
This can happen only when the soul, deliberately undertakes the
spiritual practice of letting go its individuality, the ego. By constant
practice, the soul needs to assert its permanent, eternal nature
and not succumb to the demands of the ego, the persecuting
When we realize that we are eternal, indestructible, it also
comes to us that we are not who we think we are. Neither are we
what others think of us. The eternal soul is who I am, you are,
each of us is. Shifting our identity from the changing body to the
indestructible soul begets us stability and strength.
We pick a flower and place it in water to make sure it
looks alive; the moment it shrivels we toss it out. We
spend hours in front of the mirror grooming ourselves;
once breath stops, there is no use for the body. Even
dead animal skin has its uses in the fashion industry
but not human skin! We love our body and the flower
because it has life. Indirectly, we are in love with
life. The soul expresses itself through matter as life.
Life is Eternal.
– from Darkness To Light authored by Swami Ishwarananda