Vedantic Wednesday: The Sun and The Soul

In a satsang last week –  a question was asked. And as the question came from the realm of the world – it seemed very 800px-The_sun1practical, till the time the speaker gave the answer. The question was: ‘You say our Soul enlivens the body. Without Soul body cannot act. So all the acts of the body should be logically attributed to the soul. So soul should be responsible for the acts of the body – and in that manner get impacted. But you say at all times our Atman/Soul/SELF is complete and unblemished’

Not only was the person asking the question clear on his doubts, the way his doubts was phrased made us all start our own branches of questioning on these lines. Many of us felt we had the speaker foxed with a tough question.  Some had a small smile as they were mulling at the possible discomfort this question has created for the expert. And as always the master was also smiling. The answer that was given is what I am sharing below:

‘The body is made of inert elements. By itself our body is like any other mineral or matter. The closeness to the Atman is what enables the body to acquire sentiency and dynamism. However we cannot hold Atman responsible for the activities of the body. Also, though it is said that the Atman bestows consciousness and life, it cannot be treated as an activity of the Self.

This can be understood by a simple analogy.  By the virtue of being close to the sun, earth receives warmth.  The warmth and light trigger a lot of action on earth.  Sun bestows life on earth by its presence.  But can we say this is Sun’s duty? Can we hold the Sun for subsequent actions that happen on earth? Similarly the Atman enlivens the inert conditionings by its very presence. But it is external to all that happens in, of and through the body’

This conversation gave me some points to think around understanding better the difference and distinction between the transient body and timeless soul.

However it also taught me a far more valuable lesson – one that I am sure will help me in my further studies. As logical sceptics, we may have many queries. Our ego could lead us to believe that the query itself is an intellectual first of its kind. But let us not forget that sceptics and intellectuals have been around since the birth of Vedas. The deep wisdom born out of clear understanding was able to answer them then – answers us now and are sure to continue answering any questions that we pose in the future. While asking questions is key to learning – it gets completed only if we are willing to listen and contemplate on the answers. This is true for any study that we undertake – be it on science or be it Vedanta!

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4 thoughts on “Vedantic Wednesday: The Sun and The Soul

  1. Raj, This is the exact question what the King Rahuganan of Sindhu Sauvira region asked Jata Bharathar in Bhagavata Puranam. I’ll see if I can find the dialog online (if not, I’ll post what I remember) – Needless to say, Jata Bharathar, the King of Philosophers’ answer was awesome.

  2. Such an eye-opener. i am completely taken by the analogy with the sun and earth. Oftentimes we ask a question just to satisfy our intellectual-ego more than anything else. You have truly pointed out that questions serve no purpose if you are not ready to listen to the answer. Thanks for sharing this.Very thought provoking

    1. Thanks Anita. Great to hear from you! The credit for the analogy belongs to the master who cleared the doubt and many others before him. I merely shared what I heard.
      As I pursue the study of vedic texts, I bump into many such WOW explanations. And one of the reasons they give for sticking to analogies from our daily life is the belief that knowledge moves only from the known to the unknown. This I have found to be an excellent tip to follow in my teaching engagements.Taking the students from what they know to and using it to make them understand what they do not know.

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