Episode # 156 – Significance of the “Aathman” or “Soul” – An important explanation!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed a very important point that is emphasized by Vidura and also by all of the scriptures of our “Sanaathana Dharma”. We discussed yesterday as to why should we focus on our “Aathman” more than that of our physical body. We witnessed that there are innumerable differences in terms of our physical body and that we can never eradicate those differences that occur between us. Each human being would be different in some way or the other! However, if one thing that would be able to unite all of us in the world together, it can only be the “Aathman” or the “Soul”, which is all-pervasive. Once we realize this uniting factor within all of us, all fights with respect to whatever differences we see externally would start reducing and ultimately we would be able to witness peace and love blossoming all around us!

Now is it the end of all? We would again ask the next question – Why should we treat everybody as equal? Why can’t we live with all the differences that we have in each of us? Let the differences be what they are, and what is the problem with that? The answer might outwardly be “yes”! We can still live with the differences that we see amongst each other. But the person who is asking such a question should answer a follow-up question – “Why are these kind of differences appearing in this world?” For instance, I might be 6 feet tall whereas my friend would just be 5 feet tall. My friend can understand a subject by just reading the text book once, whereas I’m unable to understand that same subject even after reading the same text book ten times! Why is this happening? If those people who insist that they would believe only what they see in front of them and wouldn’t believe what they do not see, should answer this above question as to why are these differences happening in front of their eyes, isn’t it? If these differences occur with our knowledge, then we should be able to control and minimize the differences. For instance, if there is a difference in height between myself and another person, I should be able to adjust both of our heights and bring it to the same level! But can we do this? We can’t! So this clearly shows that we are not responsible for the differences that occur between us. But still there are differences! But how do they occur if we’re not responsible for it? Shouldn’t it be an “invisible hand” that is responsible for all these differences to happen? Isn’t it because of that invisible hand that I’m what I am, and you are what you are? As we discussed yesterday, every human being is different in his/her own way in terms of many many things – Gender, intelligence, background, race, nationality, religion, etc. If we go one step further, the life spans of different human beings are different. Some may live for 70 years, some for 45 years and some for 90+ years. If we see innumerable differences like these, why is it like this? At the same time, if all these things keep changing, is there anything that doesn’t change? As mentioned yesterday that there is definitely an invisible hand in whatever we do in this world and this invisible hand is nothing but the “Aathman” or the “Soul”.

Extending this point further, if we’ve to answer one of the common questions that we have in our mind many a times – “What is the purpose for our birth as a human being in this world?” We would immediately say that something that has happened before this birth was responsible for this birth of mine! Now it is evident that we go to a state called “before” our human birth. This is a tricky point to understand and hence I request all our readers to focus with full attention. For instance, let us consider a car. If there is a car that is running on the road, there should be some company that has conceptualised and manufactured this car, isn’t it? The car cannot be on the road just like that! Similarly, if I’m there in this world as a full-fledged human being, there should be a reason why I’m living in this world and there should be someone who has created or manufactured me, isn’t it? Who manufactured me? If we assume that my parents had manufactured me, every parent would always want an ideal child to be born to them – A child with absolute fairness, handsome appearance, beauty, supreme intelligence, no defects in my body, etc. However, are all of us born with all of these above-mentioned characteristics? Only very few people in this world are blessed to be born this way, isn’t it? Thus from this example we can understand that we are born in this world, not in the way that our parents desired us to be born! If our characteristics during birth is not in the control of our parents, it implies that there is something else that decides how should we be born in this world! Else what would happen? If given an option to any parent, they would only choose a right kind of a child to be born to them, isn’t it? Why should any parent choose a defective baby to be born to them? This never happens in this world.

Now let us look at this point in a different perspective as well – If we still assume that our parents are responsible for the way I’m born, it means that our parents have the power and authority to decide how should I be born in this world, isn’t it? If that is the case, any human being’s fate can be decided by any other human being, isn’t it? This would create lot of confusion in the world if this happens to be true! How? For instance, if I have a cold or fever, my friend can take tablets and I should get cured of it! Similarly, if he falls sick with any disease and he might get cured if I take a medication for it! Similarly, if I feel hungry, someone else can consume food and my hunger would be satisfied! Is it happening this way in the world? The answer is “no”! If I fall sick, I’ve to take medication to get myself cured! If I’m feeling hungry, I’ve to eat something to satisfy my hunger! Similarly, if something happens to me, there can never be another person who can be responsible for it. Thus on the whole, if I were born in a particular fashion and amidst a particular way, it would be only me who is responsible for it. Also, my parents too do not seem to be responsible for the way in which I’m born! So who else can be responsible? The reason could only be that, in my previous birth I had performed some sorts of actions that had determined the way in which I was born in this birth of mine. It is only these actions of my last birth that determines what I am today! However I do not know what are those actions and whether they were good or bad! Of course it would be nice if I could know those details and this would have given me an opportunity to correct my course of actions atleast in this birth!

Also this physical body that we possess today cannot function without “something” that runs inside. It was born because that “something” has taken life into the body. Similarly when we pass away, that “something” has gone out of our body. Hence, it is that “something” that keeps us going when we are alive. It is this same “something” that would have been born during my previous birth also. This is the same “something” that is going to take a re-birth after this present birth as well. Now what is this “something”? This “something” should be none other than the “Aathman” or the “Soul”! This is why we say that the “Aathman” is all pervasive and it recurs for every birth that we take! This “Aathman” can never be destroyed, but our physical body gets destroyed at the end of every birth. It is only because of the actions that this “Aathman” has performed when it was in our previous body in our previous birth, that this same “Aathman” has taken a re-birth with this physical body.

Now all the questions that we had asked before would seem to be answered perfectly! Thus we understand that we are the sole responsibility for which we are born in this world – It is only our actions that decide our birth and experiences that we face in this life time with this physical body. It is only because of our actions that we are born with all these innumerable differences that exist today! If this physical body gets destroyed birth after birth, there should be one permanent thing that should take rebirths again and again and this permanent thing is nothing but the “Aathman” or the “Soul”!

Hence for today, let us realize this important concept of the “Aathman” and let us try and give more focus and importance to our “Aathman” than the physical body! We shall wait till the next episode to explore more of Vidura’s advice! Stay tuned! 🙂


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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