Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 30 Mar 2021


Is the soul unreal with respect to the real universe?

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on March 27, 2021, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

[Śrī Anil Antony asked: Pādanamaskāraṃ Swāmi! The Śūnya Vāda philosophy of Nāgārjuna states that everything is unreal. How can this philosophy be true when, even after the death of a soul, this universe continues to exist to other living souls? That one soul died, but the universe remained. This means that the soul is temporary and hence, unreal, whereas, the universe is permanent, and hence, real. So, even when the soul is alive, the soul should be unreal with respect to this universe.]

Swāmi replied: The unreal world is real for the unreal soul. Reality is real for another reality. Similarly, unreality is real for another unreality. Hence, for the soul the world is real because both the soul and world are unreal since soul is a part of the world. Temporary and permanent can’t be connected to unreality and reality in one angle, which is:- that a real quantity of water flowing in the stream is temporary before your eyes and this does not mean that the quantity of water that passed away is unreal. In another angle, temporary is unreal and permanent is real which is:- that the relationship between two roles during shooting of cinema is temporary and it is also unreal because it never existed before shooting, during shooting and after shooting. Both the above given cases are correct. Hence, you have to be very careful in speaking the words like reality versus unreality and permanent versus temporary. In the example given by you, the soul is never dead. The death is only for the body and not for the soul. Even the body disintegrates into fundamental elements and nothing disappeared. Only the unreal form of the body disappeared. The reality of the body in terms of its fundamental elements and the reality of the soul in terms of its fundamental strong thoughts is the fundamental reality of this world and this is real for the soul. The fundamental reality of this world becomes unreal for God whenever He wishes for it as in the context of doing a miracle.