Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 16 May 2023


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Is the jiiva, or individual soul, eternal?

[Devotees asked some questions during some recent Satsangas and Swami replied to them, which are given below.]

[Shri S.  Bhimashankaram (father of Phani) asked:- Since the cosmic energy is eternal and since the cosmic energy is the causal material of the individual soul (awareness), does it not mean that the jiiva or individual soul is eternal?]

Swami Replied:- We are talking about the individual soul only and not about the eternal soul, which is inert energy. Of course, inert energy was also created by the absolute reality (God) only and itself is only an absolute reality with respect to the matter (body) or with respect to the awareness (individual soul). Such reality of the inert energy is also relative reality only with reference to God or the ultimate absolute reality. We must remember that the original inert energy is eternal with respect to all of its modifications like matter and awareness only. This basic inert energy is called as soul or Ātman and its product is called as awareness or individual soul or jīva. If Jīva disappears and becomes Ātman, the whole story of Jīva is once for all finished. So, since Jīva is not eternal, we shall not mistake this Jīva for Ātman and think that Jīva is eternal. We are talking about the chain of gold (Jīva) only and not talking about the basic material of Jīva, which is gold. The Jīva only is suffering with these worldly bonds and not the basic inert energy, called Ātman. In the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, only Ātman is described and not Jīva. Ātman is qualitatively the same cosmic energy that is the material cause, maintainer and destroyer of the world. The only difference between the soul and cosmic energy is quantitative. Neglecting this quantitative difference, the soul is said to be the generator, maintainer and destroyer of the whole creation in the angle that cosmic energy is the material cause for the creation. The cosmic energy or Ātman is inert only and not non-inert awareness. Had it been aware, the cosmic energy would have almost become God. This is the basic weakness of scientists, who treat the cosmic energy as God. The whole philosophy is confined to Jīva only and not to Ātman.