Recently Yuram wrote an article describing the soul according to the Vedas. We had a nice discussion afterwards at work & I said I’ll pen down my opinion later.
His quote from the Vedas was as follows:
एषोऽणुरात्मा चेतसा वेदितव्यो
यस्मिन् प्राणः पञ्चधा संविवेश ।
प्राणैश्चित्तं सर्वमोतं प्रजानां
यस्मिन् विशुद्धे विभवत्येष आत्मा ॥ ९ ॥
esho ‘nur ātmā cetasā veditavyo
yasmin prānah pañcadhā samviveśa
prānaiś cittam sarvam otam prajānām
yasmin viśuddhe vibhavaty esha ātmā
The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prāna, apāna, vyāna, samāna and udāna), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.
Once I read a book called Marne ke baad ki duniya (मरने के बाद की दुनिया), meaning The world (life) after death. The book starts by making us comfortable of death rather than being scared. It explains that just as when we know we’re to travel to a new place we’re usually excited, research about the new place, make preparations etc … we should be excited the same way when death nears. Death isn’t a painful experience. What make things painful in the last moment are actually residue of own karma. The actions that we entertain define our birth, life, death & the after-life.
Karma (action) is performed by our physical body. However, our physical body cannot function by itself. It is instead driven by a set of forces. These forces are defined in 3 sets as follows :
Corresponding to motor functions of the body: Tongue (Speech), Hands, Feet, Genital, Anus, known as the five Karma-Indriyas.
Mind: Which includes the five organs of knowledge (Jnana-Indriyas) – Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch and Smell.
The five aspects of respiration (life-breath), namely Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana.
These three together make up the subtle body which we call Sukshma Sharira. As the subtle body drives the physical one to perform actions, continuous reaction is recorded onto itself (subtle body).
When a person is in the final moments, the mentioned forces are frozen one by one. First the Karma-Indriyas freeze off & the person stops talking and moving. At this point the other forces are still active & person can still see & hear. When the Jnana-Indriyas freeze, the person no more sees & hears. The mind is shut down and therefore does not record anything happening around the body. At last the accumulated Karmas take up certain shapes and get frozen into those shapes. These shapes are called Vrittis. Finally the Jiva Atma or Individual Soul which resides in the Vrittis covers up the remaining heat from the body & leaves through any of the nine openings or gates as they may also be called (these are: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, one genital, and one anus). At this point the body becomes cold.
Since the Soul carries the Vrittis, if the person has performed some special action (good or bad) during his lifetime he will spend some time in heaven or hell and then proceed back to Earth. Otherwise he comes straight to Earth without passing through the gates of Heaven or Hell.
That explains why some people are born with diseases and some healthy, why some encounter a lot of troubles in their life and some lead a peaceful one. It’s just as the famous quote says, “What goes around, comes around!”.