Does the soul leave the body when you die? Where does it go?
This whole way of thinking – that something remains and something leaves – is fallacious. The gross body that we know is just a seed, the outer mask. There are also subtle bodies which continue to surround your soul even when it is leaving. These bodies are also part of you.
The body that is with me now is part of the universe, but because we conceive of our self as ours, it becomes a problem: where does my body end?
If you go into it deeply, you will see that the whole universe is part of you, part of your body. For example, if the sun were to cease this very moment, your body could not continue to exist. It could not exist if there were no oceans, it could not exist if there were no atmosphere. Your body is just a part, a constantly changing part of the universe. When the sun rises, something rises in you. When the sun sets, something sets in you. When there is a moon, you are different. When there is no moon, you are different. Your body is in a constant, dynamic relationship with the whole.
Wherever you are, whatever state you are in, you will still be in a body. If your body is taken by the universe then the universe will give you another body, unless you consciously become the whole universe. Then there is no need for a body, because the universe itself has no body.
Individuals are bound to have bodies. But where does your body end and where does it begin? It is a problem, a multidimensional problem. Your body could not exist if your father’s body had not been in existence. Your body is part of a long series, of an eternal series. Your body exists in the trees, in the sea, in everything. It is a small cosmos related to every part of the total.
Our language is very crude and limited, so when we say that the soul leaves the body, it gives a mistaken idea. The soul moves into the body of the universe, but the universe is constantly giving it another body. That body which you have left behind is still related to you, because the whole is related to you.
You are swimming in the sea. You have left part of the sea behind and gone ahead, but the part that has been left behind is still a part of the sea in which you are now swimming. The sea is one and you are swimming in it just like the fish which is born of the sea and will dissolve into the sea. A fish is nothing but the sea itself, frozen somewhere, which will soon dissolve back into the sea again.
Our concept of coming into life and going out of life is primitive. You cannot go anywhere beyond this universe. Wherever you go, the universe behaves like a body to you. Your body is not only your body: it is a big community of many souls; you are only one of them. Every cell of the body has a soul, and each body has seventy million living soul cells.
Your body is a crowd of many, many souls living in a big city, and you are only one soul living in it.
Each part of you is a soul in its own right. It can live and grow without you, it can love and reproduce without you; you are not needed. So when you have leave the body, the body is still a living thing. The central soul has gone, but there are multi-millions of cells still living in the body which can ultimately develop, like you have, into a human being.
So it is a complex thing. But one thing is certain: nothing is dead. We are part of the ocean of life; we are aliveness.
It seems inconceivable to us because we go on seeing the universe from a particular point of view. That point is the disturbance. If that point dissolves and there is no ego to look from, then you cannot say that when you die you have gone somewhere. You have been. You will continue to be. Even though everything dissolves, nothing really dissolves; nothing ends. But that is possible only when there is no ego to say, “This is me.”
We think that we are the center of the universe, just as mankind has always thought that the earth is the center of the universe. But even science has proven that this is not so. The fallacy that the sun goes around the earth is the same mental fallacy that we have about ourselves. It looks true even today, when we know it is not true. If we look, the sun seems to be circling the earth.
The same phenomenon happens deep down also. In religion also we are earthbound, ego-bound: everything seems to move around the ego. It is a fallacious idea; the reality is that you are going round the universe. You are part of it; you cannot be otherwise.
Whatever you think from an egocentric point of view will be wrong. For me, right and wrong have different connotations. For me, anything that has ego at the center is wrong and anything that has no ego at the center is right. And unless you become one with the universe, unless the ego dissolves, you cannot have the right vision.
From The Great Challenge, Chapter Ten
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