Author: Swami Nikhilananda
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788178235011
The doctrine of rebirth-its inescapable corollary-explains to the Hindus the inequality among men, shows them the way to future improvement of their lot, and assures them of their ultimate liberation from the pain and suffering of life. With the Hindus, immortality is not a dogma but a metaphysical truth based upon direct experience. It robs death of its paralyzing fear. It is immortality that gives permanence to the soul, a unique possession which, if lost, leaves nothing in the world worth preserving.
This book comprises five articles bearing on the immortality of the soul. The subtitle has been given with a purpose. The immortality of the soul, according to Hindu tradition, cannot be proved by the scientific method of reasoning. It is based upon scriptural evidence and also on the direct experience of enlightened souls. Physical sciences seek to explain the material universe through experimentation, observation and verification. Naturally, this method cannot apply to the soul, which is not a material object. It is the immutable spirit in man, quite different from body, sense-organs, and the mind.
The mind functions through such categories as time, space, and causation. It is finite and cannot comprehend the soul’s immortal and infinite nature. But the finite mind, attached to the body and the world, can be purified by the practice of spiritual disciplines. Then it acts as a mirror in which the real soul is reflected. The mystics have, through the practice of rigorous disciplines, actually experienced the soul’s complete separation from the changing physical complex. These mystics work, think and die under the spell of immortality.
The Vedas teach the immortality of the soul. But the scriptural evidence must be supported by reason and finally experienced in the depth of meditation. It is the experience which gives the final stamp. The scriptures record the experience of the enlightened seers who see truth directly, as fruit lying in the palm of one’s hand can be seen. This experience is not the monopoly of any particular seer, but the heritage of all, irrespective of time, place and creed.
Is Death the End?
Three States of the Soul
That Thou Art (Tattvamasi)
What Is Man?