Anthropological evidence shows
that the notion of soul and spirit was first formed by primitive man as an
explanation of certain features of his experience like dream and sleep.
For him soul is an ethereal image of the body. It is ethereal, tenuous or
filmy; ad it possesses the power of flashing quickly from one place to
another. Yet it was not conceived as purely immaterial. In Plato we find
the emphatic primacy of the psyche or soul I the dialogues from the
Apology onwards to the Lows.
In the Homeric thought psyche appears as a
shadowy double of the body. But Socrates and plato recognised the soul as
man�s real self. Socrates said that we should aim at the perfection of our
souls. Plato shows that of all the things that man has, next to the gods,
his soul is the most diva and most truly his own. Body in fact is the
shadow of the soul. Jowett says that Plato was concerned with emphasiing
the priority of soul to the body, towards the end of his ife, as he gave
importance to the idea of good in the Repulic and of beauty in the
symposium. Plato said that the soul is immortal because its very
idea ad essence is the self-moved and self-moving, that which is the
fountain and the beginning of motion to all that moves besodes.
Plato reversed the primitive
conception of the soul as a shadowy double of the body and identified the
true as the soul, but he pressers and accentuates the origin animistic
dualism. Approaching the question with the scientific spirit, Aristotle
started with the living organism and defined the psyche as the principle
of life. He distinguished the different levels of psychical functions,
from the vegetative to the ration. The soul is the actualitstion of the
potentiality of life, and therefore defined as the �entelechy�, as the
fulfillment of the body�. The idea of the soul is intrinsically
independent of the body implies the conception of its substantiality.
Conceiving the soul as a simple and indestructible substance its
immortaitlty. So did plato emphasize the simple ad unitary nature of the
In modern psychology, the idea of the soul
is no longer important. In its place has come notion self or �the centers
of interest�. The word soul is ambiguous. Sometimes it stands for MD,
sometimes for self and sometimes for both. The English world points to an
entity as the cause or vehicle of physical or psychical activities of the
individual person. The soul is a spiritual substance. In Indian though the
word atman has undergone various changes. It is little used in the
vedas. It primarily meant breath. In the Upaisads another word,
praa, is used for breath, ad atma stands for the innermost part of ma
man was atmmavat. For the Upanisadic seers, the soul was a
propositio for a experiences. Indian philosophies, with the exception of
Mayavada of samkara and Ksanikavada of Buddihists, fundamentally agree
about the nature of the soul as a permanent, eternal and imperishable
substance. But the primitive Aryans believed that the essence of ma is
continued after death in a shadowy existence in some subtle bodily form.
This is not the soul of the later philosophers. Jacobi cas it psyche.
This is the development of the primitive notion of life agter death
lingering in some form. It is found eve today in the practice of
sraddha. The psyche is frequently spoken of as purusa of the
size of the thumb ( agustha-matra). At the time of death it departs
from the body. In the oldest Upanisads the psyche is described as
costituted by the praas, psycho-phyciscal factors. Still, these
factors were not regarded as principles of personality.
II. The idea of the soul has occupied
an important position in Jaina philosophy. Jainism aims at the liberation
of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. The saving of the soul is
the Christia ideal. In the Apology, plato makes socrates say that
his mission was to get men to care for their souls and to make them as
good as they can be.
Jainism is dualistic. There is a
dichotomous decision of categories. All things are divided into living and
non-living, souls and non-souls. In the first verse of the
Dracyasamgraha, we read,� the ancient amonf: the great Jainas have
described the dracyas as jiva and ajiva Jiva is a category,
and jiva personalised becomes atman. Jainism believes in the
plurality of souls. Souls are substances distinct from matter. Souls
influence one another. But they are quite distance from one another and
not connected in any higher unity. They may be called spiritual monads.
Jainism emphasizes the diversity of souls. Amongst the Muslim theologians,
Nazam and his Scholl maintained that the soul is a spiritual substance.
Janism considers the soul from two
points of view: the noumental (niscaya naya) and the phenomenal (vyavahar)
Dravyanuyougatarkana of Bhoja describes the distinction as motioned in
the viseasvasyakabhasya by saying that the niscaya narrated the
real things and the vyavahara narrates things in a populate way. In
the samayasara, kaundakundacaraya points out that the practical standpoint
I essential for the exposition of the inner reality of thigs, as a non-
Arya is never capable of understanding without the non-Arya tongue.6