www.jainworld.com

THE EXPERIENCE OF
THE SOUL AND
INVESTIGATION
OF THE ELEMENTS

Edited by
Dr. H.C. Bharill

Lesson 5

The only remedy of getting correct replies to questions like, "What is happiness ?" and "Who am I ?" is the experience of the soul and the initial method of acquiring spiritual experience is the investigation of the elements. The spiritual experience, however, grows by eliminating its own initial stage of the investigation of the elements, for such investigation is associated with attachment or aversion, while the soul is a self-feeling element without these accompaniments. We cannot have the experience of the self with all attachments and aversions. The above facts have been explained in the essays, "What is happiness" ? and "Who am I" ? in the previous texts. The question in hand is what is the state of spiritual experience and what is investigation of the elements.

By introvert leanings towards the soul, to see it face to face and have the emotional oneness with it, is the spiritual experience. The real meeting of the soul is to cut off the operative consciousness from the non-self entities and to merge it with the eternal soul substance. It is all sentience, having been constructed by sentience itself, being attracted towards this attribute and being the producer of the modification of real element of consciousness itself. That spiritual experience is one indivisible state of the mind, though accepting the divisions of the knower, the known, and the knowing activity. The meaning. is that the knower is the soul, that which is known is also the soul, and the operation of the consciousness is also nothing but the soul.

This state of consciousness is also full of bliss, it is both full of consciousness and the supreme bliss. Consciousness and bliss are not different things. Consciousness and bliss are both extra-sensory. This state of extra-sensory consciousness and happiness is real religion. The centralisation of the complete power of existing consciousness on the non-sensory consciousness-cum-happiness is the state of religion. Therefore that permanent element having sentience and bliss is the object, the means and the adorable; the investigation of the elements engaged on the quest of soul regards the rest of the whole cosmos as non-object, unattemptable and unadorable.

This sentient experience of the soul is the only aim worth achieving. Without any association of the non-self elements, the soul is the producer of such a state and this manifestation of sentience is the only correct activity of the soul. The division of the doer, the deed, and the means are in words only; all the three are indivisible, being phases of consciousness only.

Religion starts with this spiritual experience and attains completion in its fullness. We cannot imagine any other state of religion. Spiritual experience is the religion of the soul. This is the only object of the spiritual aspirant. To achieve this is the chief purpose of the aspirant.

The knowledge of the fundamentals necessary for the achievement of the above object is called the purposefulness of the spirit and the investigation and attempt in connection with these are the search for the elements.

The fundamental questions of this activity are, "Who am I ?" (soul), "What is complete happiness ?" (Liberation). Attempts at achieving happiness means how the soul acquires such a state of sentient bliss or how the soul substance attains the completely liberated state of its being. One who follows this path to spiritual glory is always engaged in such deliberations.

He meditates that non-soul element quite different from the soul also exists in this cosmos. The soul forgetting itself harbours delusions, attachments and aversions. It is entangled in the operation of the merit and demerit bondages. So long as this soul does not realises itself and settles in itself, delusions, attachments and aversions will rise from time to time. To halt their growth one should centralise the available consciousness in the soul force. Detachment by discarding merits and demerits originates only with this centralisation. Thus, alone a time would come when all attachments and aversions will be totally eliminated and the soul will develop the supreme state of detachment. In other words it would become a completely sentinet blissful being.

The above process of thought and search is the investigation of the fundamentals. The process of soul experience is the process of investigation of the fundamentals. Various aspects of this investigation are not going to lead to soul experience, because there is no such aspect or attachment which can lead to some experience. We have to turn all our attention away from the world. The world here means body, karmic matter on are not going to lead to soul itself. The unnatural as well as the natural manifestations of the soul that rise in it from time to time can also not be the objects of the vision of the soul. Beyond all these is the eternal sentient permanent soul element which is the object of the present soul's pursuit upwards. Adherence to this permanent state leads to spiritual experience and that is called religion.

In other words the sentient element is above colour, attachments and divisions. Colour means non-self element as matter etc.; attachment stands for all the unnatural manifestiations rising in the soul and division means that between substance and its attributes as also the stages of the development of consciousness and other attributes. The sentient blissful element is above all these and that is the only prop for this pursuer. The true means to spiritual oneness is the complete dedication of the present state of consciousness.

The question is not how much sentient force you possess at present. The real question is if you can completely centralise it. For such experience of the soul, the consciousness of a healthy being is sufficient, but the most important condition is the complete dedication to the soul, without which such experience cannot be had. If we have arrived at the true decision about purposeful fundamentals, the largeness or smallness of about non-purposeful external consciousness does not matter at all. Adherence to the soul alone is very necessary.

However perverse this soul may become on account of its it does not leave its nature; but so long as own shortcomings, it does not leave its nature; but so long as this soul does not cut itself wholly from the non-self worldly elements and adheres to its permanent nature alone, real soul experience cannot be accomplished.

External paraphernalia is not at all needed for purposes of soul experience. Just as we have not to spend money for getting our own things, in the same manner outside mass of matter or possessions are not at all necessary for spiritual achievement, for the experience is to be had in the soul, by the soul and for the soul itself. Why should then we need any non-self entity ? The presence of the non-self in the spiritual experience is not conducive to it but a great obstruction.

In the period of such experience any thought of the non-self only destroys the equilibrium of our being. It is, therefore, definite that the pursuer, restless to obtain support from others, gets more restless. He can never achieve his object. Therefore, those who are engaged in the pursuit of self-realisation, should not feel restless for the cooperation of others.

What is the process of eliminating auspicious and inauspicious manifestations and what is the internal and external state of the pursuer, on the path of spiritual realisation without caring for any external prop ? These are big questions in themselves. Separate treatment of these is desirable.