What is a soul and how can we know its purpose?
Understanding the nature of the soul is a primary task for those on the spiritual path. Once we have a better understanding of our soul and create a strong relationship with it, we experience a more loving, peaceful and profound life.
In this video, Jagadguru Her Holiness Sai Maa explains the eternality of a soul.
Table of Contents
- What is the nature of the soul?
- What is the difference between soul and body?
- What is the difference between soul, ego and personality?
- Why does the soul incarnate?
- How does the soul reincarnate?
- What does karma have to do with the soul?
- How do we embody our soul?
- How do we cultivate a connection with our soul?
- What are the benefits of having a relationship with our soul?
- How does Sai Maa’s teachings help us connect with our soul?
The soul is never touched; it is immutable, all-pervading, calm, unshakable; its existence is eternal.
~ Bhagavad Gita
(An ancient sacred Indian text)
What is the nature of the soul?
The soul is a ray of perfect, divine energy that has incarnated in a body. Our soul is the core of our being, our true essence. This soul essence is unaffected by the ups and downs of daily life as it is in a perpetual state of love and unity. However, most are unaware of this divine essence within them and therefore do not experience the soul’s energy and presence in their life.
What is the difference between the soul and the body?
Put simply, the soul is eternal and the body is ephemeral (short-lived).
As the sacred scriptures, such as the Bhagavad Gita, tell us, the soul is never born and never dies. It is the immortal aspect of our being that exists before and after every incarnation.
The body is a temporary house for the soul during a lifetime. It is the vehicle through which the soul experiences this dimension of life.
Sai Maa teaches that one of the ways that we limit ourselves and keep ourselves trapped in suffering is by identifying with our body. Given that much of our life is centered around feeding, cleaning, exercising, resting and dressing the body, many mistakenly believe this is who they are.
It is often said that the body is the temple of the soul. With a subtle yet profound shift in perception, we can move from experiencing ourselves as a body to experiencing ourselves as a soul living in a body.
What is the difference between soul, ego and personality?
The soul exists in a state of unity consciousness, in oneness with all that is. As the eternal within us, the soul is aware of all the experiences and lessons it has gained lifetime after lifetime.
As H.H. Sai Maa says, “Eternity with all its qualities is inside of you, and the moment you start experiencing these qualities inside of you, you experience them outside of you also.” In other words, when we are in alignment with our soul, we are able to experience its divine qualities in our external world.
The ego is the aspect of us that arises from the belief that we are separate. Perceiving itself as an individual and therefore separate from everything, the ego seeks to protect and defend itself. Fear and all of the energies that arise from it–such as judgment, doubt and greed–are expressions of the ego. When we give our power to the beliefs of the ego, we feel separate and get caught in attachments that lead to arrogance or resistance. All of this makes it difficult for us to be aware of and experience the soul.
The personality is composed of the beliefs, patterns and energies that we have taken on throughout our life, primarily in our early childhood. This personality is created in response to our environment, including our parents, family, teachers, society, etc. We learn to identify ourselves as this personality with its learned patterns and characteristics. Many of these beliefs and patterns limit our experience of true joy and deep connection with others. For example, we may have beliefs such as, “I am not good enough” or “There is something wrong with me,” that sabotage relationships, careers and self-confidence.
There is nothing wrong with the personality per se. It is an essential structure that allows us to interact with the world. It defines the decisions and actions we take that allow us to move through life. The important teaching to remember is that the personality can be transformed to express the expansive, love-based qualities of the soul, instead of the contracting, fear-based energies of the ego.
Being on a spiritual path allows us to work with the personality to move beyond living from past programming. Through conscious awareness and transformational practices, we can all take steps to align our personality more and more with our divine essence as soul.
~H.H. Sai Maa
Why does the soul incarnate?
Sai Maa teaches that the soul incarnates for the sake of experience, as a soul can experience itself in a body on earth in a way that is unique in the universe. Imagine if we didn’t have a body, we wouldn’t be able to experience what chocolate tastes like, or enjoy the awe of a blossoming flower, or feel the anguish of a broken heart. All of these are unique experiences that are only possible when embodied on this earth plane.
The soul is eternal and may take birth again and again. Sai Maa teaches that when we leave the body, in what is referred to as death, we, as a soul, review our life experiences. What most stands out is the pain we have caused others. Because our souls are pure love, seeing this causes us to feel regret and say, “I didn’t mean to hurt them. I have to go back to let them know they are loved.” In this moment, the soul wishes to incarnate again to have the opportunity to act in alignment with its essence as love and unity.
This opportunity to incarnate again and again is what allows the soul to evolve. It is a conscious choice made by every soul before each incarnation, and never a punishment as some may feel. However, while the soul chooses to incarnate to have the opportunity to act in alignment with its divine essence, this purpose is forgotten once incarnated. The soul’s journey is to remember and awaken to its purpose, while embodied on this earth plane.
How does the soul reincarnate?
After leaving the body and before reincarnating, the soul will rest. Just as when we get a good night’s rest and we wake in the morning refreshed, ready, and eager to go into the day, a soul will rest so that it is refreshed, ready, and eager to incarnate again.
Once we have sufficiently rested, our spiritual guides will remind us of our desire to reincarnate and prepare us for this next phase of our journey.
As a soul, we have to find two other souls willing to be our mother and father so that we can incarnate again. We ask soul after soul to offer us this service, letting each know the circumstances we need so that we can learn, transmute our karma, and evolve in this next lifetime. We may have to ask thousands of souls before two souls agree to play the role of our mother and father under these circumstances.
In the process of taking birth, of incarnation, we as a soul agree to forget all of this preparation. The journey of life becomes one where the opportunities are created for us to transform our behaviors and become more loving and compassionate. It is a journey of moving from ignorance to awareness, in other words – enlightenment.
Once we reach enlightenment, our soul may choose to reincarnate in order to serve other souls in their spiritual path or it may move on to other experiences, in other dimensions of existence.
~H.H. Sai Maa
What does karma have to do with the soul?
The word karma means action and is rooted in the understanding that we are always acting. It may be a physical action that we take or the subtle action of our thoughts, feelings or words. Every one of these actions is an energy that we put out into the world around us, which is also energy.
The law of karma is the law of cause and effect. It is the wisdom that everything we put out will come back to us. The energetic impact that we create through our actions, will be brought back into our lives and determine our experiences.
This is a foundational teaching in many religious and spiritual philosophies originating in ancient India. It teaches us that how we act has great significance as it ultimately creates what we experience in life. Everyone of us, without exception, is experiencing today the energetic result of what we have put out in this lifetime and others.
Throughout its lifetimes, the soul accumulates karma. Some of them are heavy karmas, weighing down or blocking the soul’s journey of evolution. Other karmas are supportive to the soul’s awakening. Actions that express the love, service, compassion and joy that is the soul create karma that supports the soul to awaken.
A key reason for the soul to reincarnate is to have the opportunity to balance its karmic debt during its embodiment. This propels the soul forward on its journey to live this human experience in full awareness of its divine essence, to live in an enlightened state while embodied.
How do we embody our soul?
In this three-minute video, Sai Maa teacher, Dayanand Das Maharaj, describes how the soul has a difficult time expressing through our bodies because we live such busy, stressful lives. To fully embody the soul requires taking time for quiet and stillness. When we do, the results are profound.
How do we cultivate a connection with our soul?
Our soul eagerly waits for us to recognize and welcome it. All we need to do is take a little dedicated time like a walk in nature or sit quietly in a place where there are no distractions. Then move inward and just start speaking to our soul like it’s our best friend. Dayanand Das explains how to do this in the following 2-minute video.
Growing the relationship with our soul transforms our daily life. We become more peaceful, loving and confident that we belong to something far greater. To strengthen this relationship, it is helpful to develop a daily meditation practice to connect with your soul. This is a time for us to draw our attention away from all that goes on around us and spend time listening to our inner voice and soul. Dayanand Das explains more.
What are the benefits of cultivating a relationship with our soul?
When we have a relationship with our soul, we experience unity in this world. One of the primary roots of suffering in this world is our ego trapping us in a feeling of separation. Our ego wants us to believe we are separate from other human beings, from the earth and from the divine. This is what is referred to as the maya or the illusion. When we begin to embody our soul, fear dissolves and the heart expands. In this space, it is possible to live in love with ourselves, with life and with all that is, as it is.
How do Sai Maa’s teachings help cultivate our soul connection?
As the soul is an aspect of us, we can never be disconnected from it. However, we can feel disconnected when we do not live in the awareness of this divine essence that is always within us.
Sai Maa’s teachings and grace give us the direct experience of our soul and educate us on how we can live our daily lives as embodied souls. They provide a practical path that guides us to realign with our soul and bring its qualities into our relationships, careers, health and entire being. The wide variety of programs, events and online courses that Sai Maa has created offers us the opportunity to prioritize our conscious connection with our soul and advance on our journey of awakening.
The best place to experience your soul is in your heart. In this first lesson, you will be guided into your heart to discover yourself as a soul.
In this lesson, you are offered three different ways to move from your head to your heart in order to deepen the connection with your soul.
Your soul has been with you from the very beginning, and in this profound lesson, you discover the fullness of its journey.
Using your imagination is a way to return to the heart and soul in every moment of your life. In this meditation, you deepen the precious relationship with your soul.
Register above for the free mini-course to experience the joy of connecting with your soul. We will email you the lessons, one at a time. To get the most out of them, we recommend you set aside time to listen to the videos and fully participate. You’ll be glad you did!