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Submitted To:
Maam Iram

Submitted By:
Zeerak Khan

Process of Soul
awakening in the
light of
1. Religion

2. Science
3. Psychology

Process of Soul awakening

We, human beings, of past, present and future, are in absolute
need of Divine grace and the opportunity to earn His pleasure.
Our human power no matter how great cant give us
immortality and eternal bliss. With or without our consent, we
are heading to the clutches of death. But as we all know, death
is not the end. Death is simply the start of a journey from this
world to the Divine presence. To God is our ultimate return
and on the Great Day of Final Judgment, we will be asked
about, and held accountable for, our thoughts, intentions,
feelings, motives, and actions. Not one human soul can escape
this reality, no matter how much he denied during his lifetime
this meeting with the Lord, the Almighty God.

Yet how many of us lead our lives with full consciousness of

this reality? Why cant we keep this awareness as we ought to
do? Why do many of us fail to elevate ourselves? God
Almighty, our creator who knows all of our affairshidden or
manifest tells us in the Quran: Verily, he truly prospers
who purifies himself and glorifies the name of the GuardianLord, and (lifts his heart) in prayer. But you prefer the life of
this world, whereas the life hereafter is better and ever-

lasting. This indeed is what is taught in the former

scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses. (87:15-20)
These verses of the Quran are very revealing and eye-opening,
and therefore require further elaboration so that we might
deeply contemplate and comprehend their meaning.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), said, If someone wants to
know what position he enjoys in the eyes of God, he has only to look at what
place he gives to God [in his heart and life].

Perfecting our relationships

The first and foremost point is the emphasis on purification
cleansing ourselves from all manner of defilement. We are
created in a very complex fashion and our minds, hearts, and
physical bodies are in constant fluctuation and vulnerable to
imbalance. Likewise, our faith increases and decreases, and so
our manners in dealing with other people can be of greater or
lesser quality. Therefore, its a matter of ongoing struggle, to
engage in the process of contemplation and self-examination,
continually striving to perfect our manners in our relationship
with ourselves, with others, and above all, in our relationship
with our Lord. This battle of our inner forces, of the heart and
the ego, is the scene for the testing period here on earth.
As God the Almighty states in the Quran, it is He who created death and life
in order to test which of you is best in deed. (67:2)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also reminded us: Be heedful!

There is a piece of flesh in your bodies that when it is
well, the rest of you is well, and when it is sick, the
rest of you is sick. Know that it is the heart. Veritably,
a heart is healthy when it is cleansed of wrongful concerns and

heedless impulses, those being put right by the practice of

good morals and genuine surrender to God.
Every soul is created in a pure form, but as we live and engage
in human society, our personalities are shaped by multiple
influences. Some are positive and some are negative.
Therefore, we have to consciously strive to discern what
elevates us and what debases us, and use our God-given
faculties to cultivate the best elements within ourselves and
eliminate the rest. Only a sound heart will find entry into

Constant remembrance of God

The second point we can glean from the above verse is that the
constant remembrance of God is the key to spiritual elevation
and success. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: If someone
wants to know what position he enjoys in the eyes of God, he
has only to look at what place he gives to God [in his heart and
life]. Indeed, a God-oriented life for man starts by his
remembering God and following His commandments in every
sphere of his life. The remembrance of God should never be
absent from our hearts and minds no matter where we are and
whoever or whatever we are dealing with. Indeed, successful
will be the ones who earn Gods grace on the Day of
Judgment, whose balance of good deeds will be weightier than
that of their bad deeds; and that only proceeds from a
cultivated habit of remembering God and what He has

The third point is that the attitude and approach toward this worldly life must
be proper. We should not sacrifice the hereafter which is permanent and real,
for this worldly life which is transitory and illusionary. As Hasan Al-Basri so
rightly and eloquently stated, What is this world but a dream that a sleeper
seeshe delights in it for a few moments, and then wakes up to face reality.

The reality he refers to is accountability in the Hereafter.

Along these same lines, the Prophet (pbuh) advised us that we
should have an indifference towards the abode of delusions.
Indeed, disconnecting ones heart from the life of this world,
as Imam Ghazali has pointed out, is not fully achieved unless
one also possesses a balanced character and a sound and
upright heart. Another prophetic tradition reminds us, Good
character and morals transform errors as water melts ice,
while bad character alters good deeds as vinegar cuts honey.
Therefore, when we err, we shouldnt lose sight of the fact that
every mistake is an opportunity and a signal that it is time to
grow in our relationship with God. And as we turn to Him
walking, He turns to us rushing. May God help us experience
this spiritual awakening and enable us to beautify our hearts
and lives with His Divine Light. Amen.

Process of Soul awakening

in Buddhism
Spirituality means different things to different individuals. For many,
spirituality is one way to cope with that which is difficult to bear. As an
important dimension of life, spirituality may be relevant for the
psychologist, both as a personal practice and a framework for the
therapeutic encounter.
Buddhism is often considered a spiritual practice. The principles and
practices of Buddhism, such as mindfulness, are becoming popular
with many psychologists. Coming from a framework of Buddhism,
Bhikkhu Bodhi defines mindfulness as "to remember to pay attention
to what is occurring in one's immediate experience with care and
discernment" (according to Sharpiro, 2009, p.556). There is, however,
no consensus about the definition of mindfulness in contemporary
psychology. In addition, mindfulness is often utilised in a way that is
divorced from a coherent framework. As contemporary psychology
becomes interested in Buddhist practices such as mindfulness, it is
important that a framework of these practices is clarified.

The Buddhist framework

Using the framework for case conceptualisation

Reflections on the path


The Buddhist framework

The word Buddha' comes from the root budh', which means to wake,
to know'. The Buddha as an awakened psychologist taught ways to
wake up to ourselves and our condition. The four noble truths express
the fundamentals of the Buddha's teaching. These truths describe a
pair of cause-effect relationships: suffering and its causes; and
freedom from suffering and its causes. Though they are usually

referred to as noble truths, they can also be called the ennobling

truths, in that they can be applied to the basic patterns evident with all
psychological disorders and provide a way out of these disorders.

First truth
The term dukkha (Pali) is used in reference to the first truth of
suffering. Dukkha has been described by Thanisarro (1996) as that
which is difficult to bear. Dukkha includes all the varied forms of
mental/emotional distress found in psychological disorders.

Second truth
According to Buddhism, the root causes (the second truth) of dukkha
are contextually dependent on mental, emotional and behavioural
tendencies that incline towards:

Greed - addiction to pleasant feelings, or craving and clinging

Ignorance - not knowing, misapprehension and misperception

Hatred - rejection, avoidance, struggle with unpleasant feelings,

or aversion.

According to Buddhism, dukkha arises and continues because of an

interdependent cyclic relationship between environmental conditions
and tendencies based on the root causes. Depending on one condition
the next condition on the cycle will arise.

Third truth
Nirvana (a Sanskrit term) is used in reference to the third truth.
According to one translation, the word literally means Un (nir) +
binding (vana) (Thanissaro, 1996). Thus, freedom is defined not in
terms of what it is, but in terms of what it is not. Here, freedom means
that one is unbound by patterns and habits that lead to dukkha.
Nirvana is the result of exiting unhelpful interdependent cycles.

Fourth truth
The eightfold path is the fourth truth and it represents the path of
freedom. The eight factors on this path are divided into three basic
categories, which have an interdependent relationship.

Traditionally each factor of the path begins with the term right', which
could also, in the therapeutic context, be understood as complete,
authentic, and skilful. The eight factors of the path are not linear, but
together make up an interdependent system, "comparable to the
intertwining strands of a single cable that requires the contributions of
all the strands for maximum strength" (Bodhi, 2000a, p.13).
Right view is the understanding that actions have consequences, and
that unhelpful, unwise actions lead to anguish. Right view leads to the
motivation to make skilful decisions - decisions to let go of destructive
patterns. This represents right view and right intention, the wisdom
component of the path. Thus motivated, one acts in ways that are
consistent with one's best intentions and understanding. This
represents right speech, action and livelihood, the ethical component
of the path. An ethical life results in the development of mental
composure and stability, aided by remembering to bring attention to
our experience. This represents right energy, mindfulness and
concentration, the meditation component of the path. Composure and
attention stimulates wisdom, which stimulates the continuation of the

Wisdom has been described by Thanissaro (2006) in the following way.

"The Buddha had a simple test for measuring wisdom. You're wise, he
said, to the extent that you can get yourself to do things you don't like
doing but know will result in happiness, and to refrain from things you
like doing but know will result in pain and harm." This passage
emphasises the importance of action directed towards wellbeing and
away from harm. This ethical direction characterises the entire path.

Dependent co-arising
Dependent co-arising is the fundamental principle through which the
Buddha understood the nature of things. The four truths provide a
particular instance of this general principle. While dependent co-arising
is complex and difficult to understand, it is explained succinctly
throughout the discourses as follows:
When this exists, that comes to be:
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this does not exist that does not come to be,
With the cessation of this, that ceases.
Bodhi, 2000b (p. 552)
In other words, in the absence of a cause, anguish does not arise.
Using the framework for case conceptualisation

The four noble truths of the Buddha's teaching could be described from
a CBT perspective as follows.
1. There are presenting problems or disorders.
2. There are causative factors for the arising of these problems, and
for their maintenance.
3. It is possible to be free from these problems, or at least reduce
the severity of their symptoms.
4. There are treatments, using cognitive, behavioural and affective
strategies, that address the causative and maintaining factors.

Clinically, the four truths and dependent co-arising together provide a

framework for case conceptualisation. For example, catastrophising is
a maintenance process for the panic cycle (Wells, 1990). If, however,
catastrophising thoughts are not believed - if this particular cause is
absent - then the severity of panic may reduce, or the cycle is short
circuited and panic disappears entirely.
The same principles can be applied to depression. For example,
mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT; Segal, Williams &
Teasdale, 2002) demonstrates that mindfulness helps to prevent the
relapse of depression. Segal et al. (2002) have found that when
ruminative thoughts are not taken as facts to be believed - when that
maintenance factor is absent - then there is less likelihood of relapse.
Though mindfulness is often used as a technique independent from a
framework, the developers of MBCT warn about using it disconnected
from a context (Teasdale, Segal & Williams, 2003). From a Buddhist
perspective, the context for the therapeutic use of mindfulness is the
eightfold path.
Back to top
Reflections on the path

It says in the discourses that the teachings of the Buddha are wellexplained, directly visible, timeless, verifiable, and to be personally
experienced by the wise. In my opinion, the path is beneficial for the
psychologist and the client.
I often provide the quote about the Buddha's test for measuring
wisdom to people I see, both individually and in groups, in mental
health services. It is especially appreciated by those suffering with
bipolar disorder. Wisdom helps them to refrain from being entangled in
destructive patterns and to cultivate the helpful. Wisdom enables them
to choose to surf destructive manic urges, and at the other end of the
spectrum, to choose to break entrenched cycles of depression.
I was first introduced to the Buddhist psychology of awakening about
34 years ago. Over the past 20 years it has been interesting to witness
the growing interest in aspects of the path, such as mindfulness, in the
field of clinical psychology. Many Buddhist psychologists, such as

myself, have experienced a mix of jubilation and reservation about the

use of mindfulness practices in the clinical setting. The jubilation
comes from the accessibility of this powerfully therapeutic tool to the
wider community, where it has helped a wide range of individuals
suffering with psychological disorders. The reservations about the use
of mindfulness in clinical settings come from the observation that its
practice is often separated from a context of wisdom and ethics.
From a Buddhist perspective, mindfulness is only one component on
the path, and to separate and isolate parts of any therapeutic
approach reduces the adaptability, flexibility, and power of these
approaches. Just like pulling the strands out of cable will make it weak
and prone to snapping under stress, separating mindfulness from its
strengthening framework could make it ineffective, or, in some cases,
simply dangerous.
In summary, as a spiritual practice the eightfold path is a path of
awakening. When we wake up, we still experience the effects of
change, yet the suffering often associated with change is either
reduced or completely released. At a clinical level, the four noble
truths and dependent co-arising can become a framework to
understand how the various factors on the path work therapeutically.
Thus, the Buddha's psychology of awakening can be a path of
psychological freedom for both the therapist and the client.

Process of Soul awakening

in Christianity
Awakening to Longing. This is the universal feeling people have
that theres got to be more to life. We all feel the longing for love,
purpose, and meaning. And it is the quest to satisfy these basic
longings that sends us on a journey. The common experience:
initially we may not understand that God gave us these longings, so
we try to satisfy those longings by running away from God rather
than toward him.

Awakening to Regret. We tend to pursue those primitive longings

without God. When we do we find ourselves alone, directionless,
and confused. Eventually we will say, I wish I could start over.
Many people get stuck repeating the first two awakenings over and
over again. We call repeating the first two steps the sorry cycle
pursuing God-given longings outside of a relationship with God,
which leads to decisions and actions that just cause more regret.

Many people get stuck in the sorry cycle for years and still others
never escape it.
Awakening to Help. After repeating the sorry cycle of trying to
fulfill these longings without God, and ending up with regret over
and over again, we finally acknowledge something has to change.
We come to the end of ourselves and say, I cant do this on my
own. We hit bottom. We come to our senses. We realize we need
Awakening to Love. In this stage, we come to the realization that
Jesus is the one who leads us back to God. As we come back to God,
we are ambushed by grace. We discover God, loves me deeply after
all! However, often there is a shadow of shame and guilt that
follows us home and we struggle to believe we are loved and
accepted just as we are.
Awakening to Life. This is where we discover that through
following Jesus we have life and have it to the full. The New
Testament uses two words for life:bios and zoe. Bios refers to
chronological life: days, months, and years. Butzoe carries a deeper
meaning. It refers to life as it was truly meant to be lived. Zoe is
eternal life. When Jesus says he came so we would have life and

have it to the full he uses the word zoe. As we experience this final
awakening we realize, Now, this is living!

Process of Soul awakening

in Science
What Triggers the Awakening Process?
For many people, a specific event, video, book or movie led to
their awakening process. In many cases, the awakening process
began with truth seeking.
Initially as a truth seeker, you may feel upset with how those in
power are seemingly working against the best interests of
humanity all in the name of greed, power, control and money. You
have a strong desire for justice and fairness for everyone, yet you
may have an inner desire to see harm come to those who have
inflicted injury and death upon others.

For example, while many people know and accept who the real
terrorists are that caused 9/11, they should all be held
accountable but not killed, even though they are responsible for
the deaths of thousands of people along with loss of civil liberties
for hundreds of millions of people. There is NEVER a good
reason to kill anyone and that includes mass murderers, rapists
and child abusers. Ultimately, the lesson to be learned is
compassion and love for everyone. This doesnt mean that those
who are guilty of crimes against humanity should be let free.
They could be used as labor in the rehabilitation of Mother Earth
in helping to restore the things that they have deliberately tried to
destroy. While the extermination of these people may seem
gratifying to some, the act of killing someone would make us no
better than them. How would be evolving spiritually if this were the
In time, you are still truth seeking but you are also starting to
understand how tyranny and oppression are leading to a greater
awakening of people. You still may feel irritated by those in power
who continue to work against the best interests of humanity but
you are starting to gain a greater feeling of an overall awakening
of society.
As we move deeper into the awakening process, we gain a
compassion for all lives, as shown with the example of those who
are guilty of crimes against humanity. At this point in our spiritual

journeys, we are able to read virtually any news headline and are
able to see the greater good in how anything negative will lead to
the exposing of those who are guilty of crimes against humanity.
Please keep in mind that we are entering the Age of Aquarius,
where those who are negative will inevitably be exposed for their
crimes. We are also in a astrological period where Pluto is in
Capricorn until 2023. The last time this astrological event
occurred was during the 1776 American Revolution. Pluto always
brings about change and the change will be for the greater good!
This will also involve the exposing of those who are corrupt,
including politicians, world leaders, banksters, government
agencies and religion. When this occurs (and its already
occurring), please remember to be compassionate. We are
currently in the midst of a peaceful global revolution and not one
bullet needs to be fired.
Some People Are Born Awakened
Some people innately know why they are here and what their
purpose is. Others were born awakened but needed to follow a
specific path until the veil was completely lifted, which may have
been many years down the road. For these people, introspect
can provide this assurance.
For example, I innately knew there was something not right
about religion when I was attending Sunday school. This isnt a

knock against anyone who is religious, but for my own spiritual

path, I was being led to a greater truth. Many religious zealots
arent ready for this truth and I respect that, but this was my initial
awakening event, even though I had no clue as to why I felt this
way at such a young age.
Around the age of 11, I ordered a book on black magic because I
was interested in astral projection. While I was still doing all of
the pre-teen stuff boys do such as skateboarding, baseball,
football, etc, my higher self was already communicating with me
and I was listening. While I never learned how to astral project
with that particular book, it opened my eyes to a metaphysical
world that is much greater than what we can perceive with our 5
senses. As an artist and musician, I was already using my right
hemisphere of the brain which helped to reinforce this new

Process of Soul awakening

in Psychology
The following are key understandings to liberate us from
limitation, and open ourselves to the magical world of possibility
that can begin with a feeling, a thought, an intention opening
up a doorway into the creative forces of the universe.
1. Acceptance of personal tragedy is liberating.
Suffering should be expected as a part of life experience. This is
when we learn the most.
The circumstances we see as difficult, are often most painful due
to non-acceptance and resistance. Once we can accept and
integrate the experiences, the energy is thus allowed to circulate
freely in our bodies from the Solar Plexus Chakra, to the heart and
the head, and then pain can dissipate.
The most suffering is caused not by the events themselves, but our
feelings around what happened and our non-acceptance of the
events as they unfolded.

Acceptance invites healing.

Non-acceptance and suppression creates suffering. It is allowance
that invites transmutation via the feminine principle of surrender.
Surrendering is the ultimate freedom, instigating a process of an
internal alchemy where real change within is possible.
2. From a soul level, we choose our experiences and
thus, create our own reality.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, at some level of our soul,
we have chosen everything.
Therefore, it is not accurate or helpful to see oneself as a victim of
anyone or anything. Technically, this is never the complete or
accurate picture of what unfolded. It is viewing ourselves as
victims, that perpetuates this karma.
3. Free will is our power to choose how we respond.
Whatever happens to us follows the choices we make.
It is incumbent upon us then, to respond to these experiences
with mindfulness. This is our free will. All experiences contain a
kernel of wisdom and learning within them, and that is to say,

that they could all be positively interpreted as a learning

4. Forgiveness liberates us from suffering.
Holding grudges and negative feelings towards others merely
imprisons us. We become victims of our own suffering, not
victims of the person who supposedly harmed us in some way.
We do most harm to ourselves not by what somebody did to us,
but by our reactivity to the situation. Forgiveness release others
from our internal experience, which we can use as a catalyst to
live a life of freedom.
Forgiveness liberates us from being held hostage by blame, shame
and guilt.
Forgiveness opens up the gateway to release negativity, and
replaces these qualities in our reality with positive feelings of love,
peace and spaciousness.
5. We are all an aspect of God consciousness.

We are all aspects of God and our consciousness is a part of God

consciousness. As a manifestation of God, we are literally Divine
Each person comes with a unique essence, a unique view of the
world, a unique "truth" that adds to the whole.
The knowledge of one person is based on their unique beliefs,
experiences and education. How we behave impacts other people
and our environment, on energetic, cosmic and physical levels.
Reality works in layers of consciousness, created by our thoughts.
Nothing can come to be until it is first conceived as a thought.
6. Our greatest power is in the now.

We are constantly evolving as we continue to expand our

knowledge. We were born to evolve in our awareness it's in our
Past and future are constantly shifting amidst our present
awareness. Thus, shifting how we discern the past, changes it;
shifting how we interpret the present, changes the future.

Our greatest power is in the moment of choice the present

7. Joy is the soul's gift.
Pure unbounded spirit pure energies of the highest realm are
not just found in books or critical study. These very
essences joy, unconditional love, acceptance, kindness and
compassion are among us. These are the qualities of our soul.

The joy of the heart and soul is a quality of purity that brings
forth the highest vibration of spirit. It is joy that invites miracles
into our lives.

How a Productive
connection can be made
with the soul
Soul Connection is founded on the importance of being connected to
oneself, to others who share the vision of our connection to each other, and
to all of life. Total well being requires a willingness to take an active role in
the creation of health. Connection to body, mind, heart, and soul are
essential in living a full and productive life.

Soul Connection is dedicated to assisting those who find themselves

feeling like something is missing in their lives. In our busy, beta state we
often get disconnected. We become human doings instead of human
beings. The pressures of life build up and we begin to feel disconnected
and separate. Separate from our joy, from Spirit, from ourselves and the
rest of the world. Eventually dis-ease and illness set in.

This feeling of disconnection/separation, however, is an illusion. What we

really need is to take the time to slow down and listen - Listen to our bodies

and the messages they are sending us - Listen to our high wise self and
learn to discern the way it speaks to us. We need to take time to restore
and balance our energy system and honour ourselves as energetic/spiritual
The soul and the personality (ego) are not separate. The soul expresses
itself through the personality and the creative animated physical body.
We gain connection to our soul through meditation, spiritual practice and

Soul Connection offers a pathway to return to balance and fully experience

who you really are, what your purpose is and how to manage your energy.

Connection with Soul in

the light of ISLAM
Faith and Soul Connection in Islam:
Islam, religion of peace advises Muslims and all the faith bearers to
lay trust on Allah and feed their soul and heart with the sheer
remembrance of Him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that:

O You who turns hearts, make my heart firm upon Your

religion. [Al Tirmidhi]
Quran learning and teaching on the other hand asks Muslims to
seek Allah for guidance to revert hearts towards religion Islam as in it
lies the contentment for soul and hearts. Quran attests to it as:

[Who say], Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have
guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the
Bestower. [Quran 3:8]
Starving Ego to Nourish Good:
Ego is the main obstacle in acquiring good in our lives because it
forces us to be selfish and allow us to think for ourselves merely. Islam
teaches to be kind to all and sacrifice ones ego in order to remain
humble as with gross ego, one cannot achieve what Allah and Quran
has commanded. Fasting is the best practice to starve ego as Allah
says in Quran:

Fasting is enjoined on you, as it was enjoined on those before you,

that you may perhaps become God-conscious. [Quran 2:183]

Feeding Soul:
As a sick person needs antidotes, likewise soul requires medicine to
stay positive, free of intoxication and to remain positive. The entire
teachings of Quran and Hadith refer to few things, which are essential
for feeding souls, which every Muslim should adopt to keep their soul


Buddhism teaches that all things are in a constant state of flux: all is
changing, and no permanent state exists by itself.This applies to
human beings as much as to anything else in the cosmos. Thus, a
human being has no permanent self. According to this doctrine
of anatta (Pli; Sanskrit: antman) "no-self" or "no soul" the words
"I" or "me" do not refer to any fixed thing. They are simply convenient
terms that allow us to refer to an ever-changing entity.
The anatta doctrine is not a kind of materialism. Buddhism does not
deny the existence of "immaterial" entities, and it (at least traditionally)
distinguishes bodily states from mental states.Thus, the conventional
translation of anatta as "no-soul" can be confusing. If the word "soul"
simply refers to an incorporeal component in living things that can
continue after death, then Buddhism does not deny the existence of
the soul. Instead, Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent
entity that remains constant behind the changing corporeal and
incorporeal components of a living being. Just as the body changes
from moment to moment, so thoughts come and go. And there is no
permanent state underlying the mind that experiences these thoughts,
as in Cartesianism. Conscious mental states simply arise and perish
with no "thinker" behind them. When the body dies, Buddhists believe
the incorporeal mental processes continue and are reborn in a new
body. Because the mental processes are constantly changing, the
being that is reborn is neither entirely different from, nor exactly the
same as, the being that died. However, the new being

is continuous with the being that died in the same way that the "you"
of this moment is continuous with the "you" of a moment before,
despite the fact that you are constantly changing.
Buddhist teaching holds that a notion of a permanent, abiding self is a
delusion that is one of the causes of human conflict on the emotional,
social, and political levels. They add that an understanding
of anatta provides an accurate description of the human condition, and
that this understanding allows us to pacify our mundane desires.
Various schools of Buddhism have differing ideas about what
continues after death. The Yogacara school in MahayanaBuddhism
said there are Store consciousness which continue to exist after
death. In some schools, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, the view is that
there are three minds: very subtle mind, which does not disintegrate in
death; subtle mind, which disintegrates in death and which is
"dreaming mind" or "unconscious mind"; and gross mind, which does
not exist when one is sleeping. Therefore, gross mind less permanent
than subtle mind, which does not exist in death. Very subtle mind,
however, does continue, and when it "catches on", or coincides with
phenomena, again, a new subtle mind emerges, with its own
personality/assumptions/habits, and that entity experiences karma in
the current continuum.
Plants were said to be non-sentient (), but Buddhist monks are
required to not cut or burn trees, because some sentient beings rely
on them Some Mahayana monks said non-sentient beings such as
plants and stones have buddha-nature.

Certain modern Buddhists, particularly in Western countries, reject

or at least take an agnostic stance toward the concept of rebirth or
reincarnation, which they view as incompatible with the concept
of anatta. Stephen Batchelor discusses this issue in his
book Buddhism Without Beliefs. Others point to research that has
been conducted at the University of Virginiaas proof that some people
are reborn.[42]


Islam teaches that the soul is immortal and eternal, and that what a
person does is recorded and will be judged at the final court of God.
They will either go to heaven or hell, depending on whether or not they
did well in the test that was given to them by Allah.
The Qur'an mentions the soul:
And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul (Rh). Say,
"The soul (Rh) is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not
been given of knowledge except a little." - Qur'an 17:85
It is Allah that takes the souls at death: and those that die not
(He takes their souls) during their sleep: then those on whom He
has passed the Decree of death He keeps back (their souls from
returning to their bodies); but the rest He sends (their souls back
to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for
those who contemplate. - Qur'an 39:42

Most Christians understand the soul as an ontological reality distinct
from, yet integrally connected with, the body. Its characteristics are
described in moral, spiritual, and philosophical terms. Richard
Swinburne, a Christian philosopher of religion at Oxford University,
wrote that "it is a frequent criticism of substance dualism
that dualists cannot say what souls are. Souls are immaterial subjects
of mental properties. They have sensations and thoughts, desires and
beliefs, and perform intentional actions. Souls are essential parts of
human beings". According to a common Christian eschatology, when
people die, their souls will be judged by God and determined to go
to Heaven or to Hell. Though all branches of Christianity
Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental
Orthodox,Evangelical and mainline Protestants teach that Jesus
Christ plays a decisive role in the Christian salvation process, the
specifics of that role and the part played by individual persons
or ecclesiastical rituals and relationships, is a matter of wide diversity
in official church teaching, theological speculation and popular
practice. Some Christians believe that if one has not repented of one's
sins and has not trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he/she
will go to Hell and suffer eternal damnation or eternal separation from
God. Some hold a belief that babies (including the unborn) and those
with cognitive or mental impairments who have died will be received
into Heaven on the basis of God's grace through the sacrifice of

Other Christians understand the soul as the life, and believe that the
dead are sleeping (Christian conditionalism). This belief is traditionally
accompanied by the belief that the unrighteous soul will cease to exist
instead of suffering eternally (annihilationism). Believers will
inherit eternal life either in Heaven, or in a Kingdom of God on earth,
and enjoy eternal fellowship with God.
There are also beliefs in universal salvation.

Trichotomy of the soul[edit]

Augustine, one of western Christianity's most influential early Christian
thinkers, described the soul as "a special substance, endowed with
reason, adapted to rule the body". Some Christians espouse
a trichotomic view of humans, which characterizes humans as
consisting of a body (soma), soul (psyche), and spirit
(pneuma). However, the majority of modern Bible scholars point out
how spirit and soul are used interchangeably in many biblical
passages, and so hold to dichotomy: the view that each of us is body
and soul. Paul said that the "body wars against" the soul, "For the
word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged
sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit" (Heb 4:12
NASB),and that "I buffet my body", to keep it under control.
Trichotomy was changed to dichotomy as tenet of Christian faith at the
Council of Constantinople in 869 regarded as the 8th Ecumenical
Council by Roman Catholics.

In Hinduism, the Sanskrit words most closely corresponding to soul
are jiva, tmanand "purusha", meaning the individual self. The term
"soul" is misleading as it implies an object possessed, whereas self
signifies the subject which perceives all objects. This self is held to be
distinct from the various mental faculties such as desires, thinking,
understanding, reasoning and self-image (ego), all of which are
considered to be part of prakriti (nature).
The three major schools of Hindu philosophy agree that
the atman (individual self) is related to Brahman or the Paramatman,
the Absolute Atman or Supreme Self, but they differ in the nature of
this relationship. In Advaita Vedanta the individual self and the
Supreme Self are one and the same. Dvaita rejects this concept of
identity, instead identifying the self as a separate but similar part of
Supreme Self (God), that never loses its individual
identity. Visishtadvaita takes a middle path and accepts theatman as a
"mode" (prakara) or attribute of the Brahman. For an alternative
atheistic and dualistic view of the atman in ancient Hindu philosophy,
see Samkhya.
The atman becomes involved in the process of becoming
and transmigrating through cycles of birth and death because of
ignorance of its own true nature. The spiritual path consists of selfrealization a process in which one acquires the knowledge of the
self (brahma-janam) and through this knowledge applied through

meditation and realization one then returns to the Source which is

The qualities which are common to both Brahman and atmam are
being (sat), consciousness (chit), and bliss/love (ananda). Liberation
or moksha is liberation from all limiting adjuncts (upadhis) and the
unification with Brahman.
The Mandukya Upanishad verse 7 describes the atman in the
following way:
"Not inwardly cognitive, not outwardly cognitive, not both-wise
cognitive, not a cognition-mass, not cognitive, not non-cognitive,
unseen, with which there can be no dealing, ungraspable, having no
distinctive mark, non-thinkable, that cannot be designated, the
essence of the assurance of which is the state of being one with the
Self, the cessation of development, tranquil, benign, without a second
(a-dvaita)[such] they think is the fourth. That is the Self. That should
be discerned."
In Bhagavad Gita 2.20 Lord Krishna describes the atman in the
following way:
na jayate mriyate va kadacin 'nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
'ajo nityah sasvato yam purano 'na hanyate hanyamane sarire
"For the atman there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not
come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into
being. He is unborn, eternal, ever existing and primeval. He is not

slain when the body is slain". [Translation by A. C. Bhaktivedanta

Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada)]
Srila Prabhupada, a great Vaishnava saint of the modern time further
explains: "The atman does not take birth there, and the atman does
not die... And because the atman has no birth, he therefore has no
past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing and primeval that
is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being."
Since the quality of Atma is primarily consciousness, all sentient and
insentient beings are pervaded by Atma, including plants, animals,
humans and gods. The difference between them is the contracted or
expanded state of that consciousness. For example, animals and
humans share in common the desire to live, fear of death, desire to
procreate and to protect their families and territory and the need for
sleep, but animals' consciousness is more contracted and has less
possibility to expand than does human consciousness.
When the Atma becomes embodied it is called birth, when the Aatma
leaves a body it is called death. The Aatma transmigrates from one
body to another body based on karmic [performed deeds] reactions.
In Hinduism, the Sanskrit word most closely corresponding to soul is
Atma, which can mean soul or even God. It is seen as the portion of
Brahman within us. Hinduism contains many variant beliefs on the
origin, purpose, and fate of the atma. For example, advaita or nondualistic conception of the aatma accords it union with Brahman, the
absolute uncreated (roughly, the Godhead), in eventuality or in pre-

existing fact. Dvaita or dualistic concepts reject this, instead identifying

the atma as a different and incompatible substance.
There are 25 coverings wrapped on our Atma (Reference Taken
from Vaikunta Varnane written by Sanyasi Vadiraja Swami) 1. Iccha
avarka, 2. Linga deha, 3. Avyakta Sharira, 4. Avidya Avarna, 5. Karma
avarna, 6. Kama avarna, 7. Jeevacchadaka, 8. Paramacchadaka, 9.
Narayana rupa avarna, 10. Vasudeva rupa Avarna, 11. Sankarshana
rupa avarna, 12. Pradhyumna Avarka, 13. Anniruddha avarka, 14.
Anniruddha Sharira, 15. Vasudeva Kavaca, 16. Narayana Kavaca, 17.
Anandamayakosha, 18. Vignanamaya kosha, 19. Manomaya kosha,
20. Vangmaya kosha, 21. Shrotrumaya kosha, 22. Chakshurmaya
kosha, 23. Pranamaya kosha, 24. Annamaya kosha, 25. Gross Body.


How soul is a
source of
The Importance of Self-Knowledge
When discussing a topic such as this, it is perhaps best to begin with
its definition and an assessment of its importance. Let us then begin
by defining some terms. In Arabic self-knowledge is called Marifatul-

Nafs. What is Marifatul-Nafs or self-knowledge? It is knowledge about

us, but what kind of knowledge?
It is not the kind that has to do with knowing one's name, or father's
name, or the place and date of one's birth. Self-knowledge deals with
another aspect of our being. It is not related to our physical senses,
rather it deals with the spiritual dimension of our lives.
When we speak of the different dimensions of the spirit, and of our
being, we should not forget that the human being is fundamentally
different from other beings. Although we are anchored to the animal
world in many ways, here we wish to focus on that which separates us
from animals and is not found in them.
To understand better why this topic is of such importance, perhaps it
helps to quote a few verses of the Glorious Qur'an and Hadiths on the
subject. There are many verses in the Glorious Qur'an which
elaborate. One of these verses is found in Surah al-Hashr, where the
Almighty Allah says:

And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget
their own souls; these it is that are the transgressors. (59:19)
Here the Lord is saying that forgetting Him causes us to forget
ourselves in turn, and ultimately leads us to transgression. There is a
tradition that makes a similar point to that of this verse, but looks at
the matter from another angle. This tradition is a very famous one, and

it is difficult to find a book on ethics, which has not quoted it: He who
truly knows himself has known his Lord
This tradition implies that self-knowledge implies knowledge about the
Lord as well. Awareness of oneself leads to awareness of the Lord.
And likewise, one who is oblivious of the Lord is oblivious of him. If
one is determined to learn about one's Lord, then the best way to
accomplish the task is to learn about oneself
Another verse dealing with the topic is found in Surah al Ma'idah,
where Allah says:

O you who believe! Take care of yourselves; he who errs cannot
hurt you when you are on the right path. (5:105)
In this verse Allah is telling us to take care of ourselves, to pay
attention to ourselves, that we must be careful about the well-being of
our spirits, that we must be aware of the diseases of our souls, and
how to cure them. He also tells us that we should pay attention to our
duties, made obligatory on us as Muslims.
Then He tells us that if we understand the way, that if we are faithful
and committed believers, those who are misled will not harm us. From
this we understand that our first duty is to take care of ourselves

Sometimes a question may arise here about the relationship between

the believer and society. Does the above verse mean that we should
focus on ourselves and not pay any attention to the society at large?
To answer this question let us see what Allamah Tabataba'i says on
this topic in his landmark work, Al-Mizan.
This great interpreter and scholar of the Glorious Qur'an explains that
what is meant here is that we should take care of ourselves, and be
familiar with our social and private duties, so that we can also be
socially responsible. For instance, in Islam we are commanded to
advise people to do good and forbid them from evil deeds. One who
does not perform this duty is not considered a devout Muslim, the
reason being that he is not helping the society to better itself.
So, in Islam taking care of oneself spiritually is closely interwoven with
being concerned with the welfare of the society as well. Conversely, it
is important to remember that the society can greatly influence a
person, weakening or strengthening one's faith.
Another question that may come up is Are we responsible for guiding
non-Muslims as well? The answer is an unequivocal yes, although
the most important thing before doing that is to conduct oneself in
such a pious, righteous manner that others are able to see the
immense practical benefits of being a faithful Muslim.
In inviting non-Muslims to Islam, we are continuing the job entrusted to
the noble Prophet (S) in his lifetime. It is also a duty demanded by our
love for our fellow human beings. If we have found the way and the

light, we should invite others to immerse themselves in the light and its
blessings as well.
After performing our personal and social duties, those who are still
disbelieving and those who still insist on erring, will not be harmful to
us. Perhaps they will bother you, and at most they may kill you, but
they will not be able to take your faith away from you. On the contrary,
these pressures strengthen your faith.
Returning to our main theme, the third verse on the importance of selfknowledge is found in:
We will soon show them our signs in the universe and in their
own souls, until it becomes quite clear to them that ft is the
Truth. (41:53)
Allah says that very soon we will show them our signs, but what are
these signs and where will they be found? Allah tells us that these
signs are found in two places: meaning in the external world and in
their own souls. This ayah tells us that by considering these signs
which are within our own selves and which are in the universe, it will
become completely clear that Allah truly exists. According to some
interpretations this fact will not only be true, but will be the truth itself.
It is important to understand the distinction between these two
expressions; it is the same when we say that Imam Ali (a.s.) is not
only just but that he is just meaning that justice was embodied in
Imam Ali (a.s.).

Let us continue exploring the reasons the topic is so vital to our

conduct in life. Once again we shall rely on the Glorious Qur'an for
guidance. In everyday life when we purchase a new appliance or a
gadget, we immediately turn to its manual for guidance in correctly
operating it, believing that its manufacturer is the best source of
guidance. So it seems quite logical for a Muslim to turn to the Glorious
Qur'an for instructions on correct conduct in life, convinced that the
Maker and Creator of human beings is also the best source of
guidance in learning about the immensely complex nature of human
Another verse pertaining to our topic is found in surah al-Dhariyat:

And there are signs on the earth for those who are certain. And
in your own souls (too); wi11 you not then see?(51: 20, 21)
We learned that Allah has two kinds of signs, the ones in the external,
physical world, and those within ourselves. Verse 20 deals with those
signs that have to do with the physical realm. In it the Almighty God
tells us that there are signs on the earth for those who believe.
Immediately a question arises: why should those who already believe
need the reassurances of such signs, and why should those who are
not believers in God remain oblivious of them, yet more in need of

The answer given by great scholars of Islam is that those who do not
believe in a creator as the Lord and Sovereign of the universe, also
tend not to look or pay attention to that which is before them remaining
for the most part oblivious of signs which are readily discernible to
In the following verse, 21 of Surah al-Dhariyat, the Lord says:

And in your own souls (too); will you not then see?(51:21)
This verse calls to our attention to the need to look for these signs
within ourselves. We are clearly and unambiguously told that there are
signs in the external world as well, and these are sources of guidance
for us.
From these verses it becomes clear to us that Muslims are urged not
to focus on their souls to the exclusion of the physical, material world;
and conversely, not to think that material affairs are all that matter.
In India for instance, there are people who try to strengthen the power
of their souls in order to enable themselves to perform certain deeds
not ordinarily possible. But in so doing, they loose touch with the
everyday life of the planet. That is not what faithful Muslims are
commanded to do. Muslims are told the two go hand in hand and are
complimentary to each other.
When a scientist is working on a project in the laboratory, or a person
is performing the most menial of tasks to earn an honourable living, he

or she is carrying out one of God's commandments. It is again, one of

the most distinct characteristics of Islam that two worlds are never
In today's world, in Western societies in particular, we see countless
examples of people who are totally alienated from themselves,
seeking all in the material life.
In more extreme cases, the alienation from the self has progressed to
such a degree that being alone becomes painful and undesirable.
Because when such a person is alone, in a way he has lost contact
with the eternal world, which is all he has. So being alone with his soul
and spirit, he has to face a world which has no meaning to him, and
matters not to him. In trying to escape the inevitable loneliness, many
resort to mind-altering drugs, such as alcohol and narcotics.
A person with a healthy spirit can be alone yet not lonely. One who
has forsaken a part of himself, his spirit, his consciousness, when
alone, seeks to destroy it, rather than facing that which is
excruciatingly painful; thus resorting to drugs becomes an easy
escape route.
This is one reason why some societies use solitary confinement as a
method of punishment for hardened criminals who already are serving
life sentences and have nothing to lose by further acts of violence.

But when a faithful Muslim is alone by himself, he is not lonely. As a

matter of fact being alone is prized by faithful Muslims. There is a
Hadith from Imam Sajjad (a.s.) in which the Imam is quoted as saying:
If all between the East and West were to die, I would not feel lonely
as long as the Qur'an was with me.
Once again we shall turn to the Hadiths to further explore this topic.
This invaluable heritage has been left to us by the scholars who
instinctively knew the eternal value of observing the speech and
deeds of the Noble Prophet and Imams, and recording for posterity
this living example of the perfect Muslim and human being.
Earlier we discussed a famous Tradition, which has reached us in two
similar versions: There is however, no difference in meaning:
However knows himself (his soul or spirit) knows [or has known] his
Lord (1)
Imam Ali (a.s.) is also quoted on the subject, stressing the importance
of knowledge: Knowledge of oneself (self- knowledge) is the most
beneficial knowledge of all (2)
This again tells us that knowing oneself leads to knowing one's Lord
and all that it entails. The second Hadith on the topic from Ali (a.s.)
reads: I wonder at the person who urgently searches for that which
he has lost, but he has lost his soul and is not searching for it
The third Hadith from Imam Ali (a.s.) on Self-knowledge is: 'I wonder
how a person who ignores himself can know his Lord. '

The fourth Hadith from Imam Ali (a.s.) is: Whenever the knowledge
of a man increases, his attention to his soul also increases and he
tries his best to train, and purify' it
Here is yet another Tradition on the subject from Imam Ali (a.s.): The
ultimate knowledge of a man is to know himself