Does the soul exist?
There is a school of thought that believes in the ‘Here and now’, ‘What we sow is what we reap’, they believe. ‘The concept of soul or karma is not a tangible one and nobody has been able to authenticate it yet, so how do I believe in it’, said one of my friends. Promptly, in support of my argument, I gave her an example – human eyes are sensitive to visible light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet and all of the shades in between. However, visible light accounts for only a small portion of the total light in the universe. Radio waves, X-rays, microwaves and ultraviolet rays are just a few of the rays that exist around us, but the human eye cannot detect them. So is the case with sound – sounds such as ultrasound and infra-sound cannot be picked by the human ear, but they exist all around us. These sounds or lights were not even known to exist. Technology made it possible to prove the existence of things that the human senses could not feel. It is a probability theory, but a very plausible one that there are things that surround us which we still haven’t been able to validate, but hopefully, one day we will also have evidence of the existence of the soul. I am enumerating below the reasons, as to why I say that ‘it is a probability theory and a very plausible one’:
- One of the reasons is already mentioned above, that probably there are things around us, which we haven’t been able to substantiate yet, maybe because technology today is incapable of detecting it. But someday just as we discovered the ultrasounds or infrared rays, we will be able to discover the prevalence of mysterious forces teeming all around us, including the soul.
- The question that compels one to believe that a greater force/energy is controlling this universe is – ‘why is there such a wide disparity in the lives of human beings’. While one baby is born in an affluent background, the other is thrown away for it to rot and die. While some people get tortured in terrorist camps, the others sit and enjoy in the comfort of their homes. While one person struggles for few morsels of food, the other has a nine-course meal to savour, every day. If it were a world based purely on scientific logic, then everything would be even and dispassionate.
- A vast populace in the world has gone through something called the Near-Death Experiences or NDE that is described as an out-of-body experience impending death. In fact, most times patients have been declared clinically dead before they have been revived again only to narrate their experiences. Most people elucidate their experience as going through a tunnel and exit into this serene light with feelings of levitation, warmth, and security. Dr Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon himself, has had an NDE and described the soul as being a separate entity from the physical body and has written about it in his book Proof of Heaven.
NDE’s play a vital role in corroborating my probability theory because people – from many cultures and backgrounds and of all ages, from infants (describing their NDEs once they could talk) to elderly people – have had NDEs, and they have all been similar in nature.
- Reincarnation or rebirth is a reality, and it has been documented by various psychiatrists and scientists; one of the most significant studies being that of Dr Ian Stevenson. Dr Stevenson, a psychiatrist at the Virginia School of Medicine, has travelled and studied reincarnation of over 3,000 people for 40 years and has put forth conclusive evidence of the reality of reincarnation which he has published in a condensed version of his book for the general public entitled, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Many people, including sceptics and scholars, agree that the cases presented by Dr Stevenson offer the best evidence yet for reincarnation.
Reincarnation in my interpretation is a birth of a soul that has carried with it, memories from the previous birth. It is not the rebirth of the same person; it is just a pained soul carrying emotional scars that it was unable to wash away during gestation. Or maybe this is a deliberate attempt by the universal masters to gently push us into believing in the existence of the soul.
- We often hear people say things such as ‘I don’t know how, but it just happened’, ‘Just when I was about to give up, some force pulled me out of there’, ‘There was no way out, and just then I sailed through’. Thousands of people around the world have experienced this unexplained, sudden recovery from impossible situations time and again which otherwise may have seemed irrecoverable. What could these be -random coincidences or more deliberate interventions?
Example: In the orphanage where I used to do voluntary work; whenever we were about to run out of formula milk, and there seemed to be no way out, the universe, somehow would just make it happen. There have been times when the dawn of the next day would see empty bottles staring in our faces, but by some tryst of fate we would suddenly receive enough formula milk or donation to sustain a few more days, and I’d find myself saying, ‘There has to be someone looking over us’.
Example: A friend who runs a factory had been going through agonising first few years. He was extremely hardworking, meticulous, and principled – every quality that a businessman should have. To set up a factory and run the business successfully takes a number of laborious years; these years of his sweat and labour had him, on several occasions want to hang his boots and just give up, but no sooner he would decide to quit, than some miraculous happening would bail him out of the crisis. These occasions were nothing short of supernatural arbitrations for his problems that made him stay and eventually make a roaring success out of his business.
Example: A woman had bought a dress material and gave it for stitching, to the same boutique she bought it from. Three to four months went by and she never bothered to go and get the stitched piece back. Over an argument about whether it was paid for or not, their relationship soured, because none of them exactly remembered. The lady won the argument and came back without paying the boutique lady. She wore the dress the very next day and after having worn it for almost the whole day she decided that it needed a wash. It got hand washed, but the colour ran out and the dress for all practical purposes was ruined. The first thought that crossed her mind was that she let herself violate her righteousness, her conscience was prodding her at the time of the argument that probably she had not paid for the dress material, but she did not listen to that voice. This was a penalty for her indiscretion, she concluded. She realised that every action of hers is being monitored in some classroom somewhere, and she will have to double up her efforts to compensate for the failed test immediately or sometime later.
Excerpted with permission from Here and Beyond: Eternal Happiness through Self Evolution, Rashmi Joshi, Bloomsbury 2018