Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh! Sangat Ji, I just spent the last little bit reading through one of Seeker3k Ji's old threads, the one about there being a soul in Sikhi. I have my own take on it, my own opinion that I formulated by the time I was done reading the thread. I didn't come up with it on my own, a lot of it was because of "AHA!" moments I had reading other people's posts, and after referring to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on a few things, I now have my own answer to that question, about what soul is in Sikhi. Here is the other thread: http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/hard-talk/37159-sikhism-there-soul-who-created-soul.html This will probably be a long post, just putting it out right now, I always intend to keep them short but it never works out lol. Okay so first of all, I want to point out post #32 in that thread, by Seeker3k Ji: "Soul is also called joyt. At the time of death joys will merge with the supper joyt. The joyt was with god was separated from god. Ever since then it is trying to get back to the source. But no one knows what source. Very interesting. The question is who separate that soul and why? Some claim that soul is like a drop of rain drop. It will travel from the top of the hills and through the rivers and will merge back in the sea. Will that end the cycle of the rebirth of the soul? The soul was there before it was pushed out. At that place soul do no karma. Then why the soul was was pushed out. And going back will guarantee that it will stay there." And this, I feel, is the underlying problem when trying to determine what "soul" is in Sikhi. "Merge" back with Waheguru? Since when have we ever been detached from Waheguru? Often times in that thread I had to stop myself and double check if I was actually on a forum about Sikhi. The way a lot of people were talking about soul, it sounded like I was browsing a Christian or Muslim forum. The talk about soul was like something I might have heard in the past at Masjid, so I knew right away that something was wrong. In Sikhi, your soul is not going to ever "merge" back with Waheguru. Your soul was never "pushed" out. The jyot was never "separated from God". Waheguru is omnipresent, and will forever be a part of us. The problem is when people try to personalize the soul, to claim it as their own. In Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl, Second House, Guru Ji says "Why do you say, "Mine, mine?" Look to God, who has given it to you." That's why I don't think that Sikhs should be saying "my soul", it was never yours to begin with. The irony is that Sikhs know not to get attached to their body, their wealth, their material objects, but forget that the same rule applies to the soul. So that's the first thing, no more "mine mine mine!", none of it belongs to us. Furthermore, enough with the "merging back with Waheguru", you can't merge back with something that you were never separated from to begin with. Secondly, post #14 by Harry Haller Ji: "I can only conclude that a baby is born, it has a soul, made up of the DNA of its parents, a small moral compass, and access to say 1/3 of its brain, of its true potential, I think it was seeker3k that asked if a man who was deaf and dumb and blind could be a good sikh, I think he could , I think if you meditate on that moral compass which I would call Guru (not sure which one prakashji, however I would be delighted for you to tell me, and, no, I am not joking, I think there is something in the Gur Guru Guroo post, although Ambersariaji growling is always a sure fire way of sorting the wheat from the chaff), then I think you will find Bani and ultimately Gurubani, lets be honest, we did not need Guru to tell us most of things that we embrace, truth , honesty, bravery, all these things and more are all stored away in our heads, just waiting to be accessed, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a written living embodiment of that information. Isaac Newton noted gravity, he did not discover it, it already existed before he noted it, so, I think Guru's knowledge exists in our head already, we just need to keep an eye out for dropping apples." The bold part is what really stuck out to me, and it was lurking in the back of my head when I read post #49 (also by Harry Ji): "If we were to theorize that the body is constantly demanding sensory pleasure, and the inner soul, the Guru inside you, is already in consonance, could it be that it is the body that becomes in consonance with creation, rather than the soul. I have always felt that it is my body that is Manmukh, and my soul is already Gurmukh, and that is the battle, between body and soul." And that's when I got excited! I have noticed the same thing myself, that there is always a part of me that, even in the heat of the argument, when I am screaming at the top of my lungs, knows what I am doing is wrong. There's always that one voice that tells me to walk away, that two wrongs don't make a right, that arguing like children won't solve anything. Of course, the voice telling me to rip the other person apart is usually much stronger and louder, so it is the one that I tend to listen to in situations like that, but the point stands that there is a part of us that is able to objectively distinguish between right and wrong, even if it contradicts our actions. Harry Ji is right in that there isn't much in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that we don't already intuitively know. To be truthful, honest, brave, stand up for what you believe in, that information is already stored in us on some basic level. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is all of that information in physical form in front of you. It is undiluted by personal desires, it is pure, it speaks the truth, there is only one "truth". So then I got on the SriGranth website and started browsing a bit. The first thing I found that really hit me was in Siree Raag, First Mehl: "The empty body is dreadful, when the soul goes out from within." The body is 'dreadful" when the soul leaves it, but Guru Ji doesn't say that it is dead when the soul leaves. What could that mean? Well, I was doing a bit of reading on 1984 a few days ago, and one of the quotes from Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was "I don't fear for a physical death, but when my conscience dies, that is a real death". I think this is in line with Sikhi teachings. I think most people here would agree that "reincarnation" in Sikhi is not the same as in Hinduism. In Sikhi, it is more of a metaphor. The cycle of births and deaths plays out in this life, "reincarnation" can happen in this life. You can be one person today and be another one tomorrow, depending on which of the 5 evils is the most strong on that particular day. I have noticed that most of the shaloks (I think that's the right word) that allude to reincarnation in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji usually end in something like this (paraphrasing): "Remember the Naam, the name of the Lord, to end the cycle of births and deaths." I think what Guru Ji is trying to say here is that remembering the Lord, the 5 evils will be eliminated. If they are gone, you will no longer fluctuate between different personalities, you will no longer be a greedy snake one day and a lustful elephant the next, you will have effectively broken the cycle, no more reincarnations for you, and as a result, be living a Gurmukh lifestyle. Going back to what Harry Ji said, "I have always felt that it is my body that is Manmukh, and my soul is already Gurmukh, and that is the battle, between body and soul." All of us already have Gurmukh inside of us. Gurmukh (soul) and manmukh (body) are at constant war, and I think what the Gurus wanted to do was give us tools to control the body, thus allowing "soul" to take over and for us to let that inner Gurmukh out. With that being said, I'm going to take a bit of a leap here, perhaps this is pseudo-science, but I think that "soul" is the same thing as consciousness. Now, in the medical field, we're always taught that consciousness is controlled by the nervous system, and that it is experienced through the use of the five senses. But I do not feel that this explanation is suffice. Dreams are a form of consciousness, but they are experienced without the use of any of the five sense organs. Animals like dogs and cats are thought to have a "sixth" sense, whereby they are able to sense danger long before it emerges out in the open. One of my professors has even brought up the subject of trees growing back broken branches and the cells in your body functioning out of their own accord to suggest that at the very least, the current definition of consciousness needs revising. I know that this discussion could open up a can of worms on its own, and I don't intend to go too much deeper into it, but based on my own experiences and research I have done, I (personally) feel that modern science is not even close to defining what real consciousness truly is. Here's a nice short article that kind of explains what I'm getting at for anyone who is interested: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/magazine/18wwln-lede-t.html?_r=0 Now, from here: http://www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/articles-and-news/the-mind-vs-brain-debate-what-is-consciousness/ "The mind vs. brain debate has been going on since before Aristotle. He and Plato argued that the soul housed intelligence or wisdom and that it could not be placed within the physical body. In a well-described version of dualism, Descartes identifies mind with the consciousness and self-awareness of itself, with an ability to distinguish itself from the brain, but still called the brain the seat of intelligence." The mind vs brain debate goes back to the soul vs body battle from before. The theory that consciousness survives the physical death of the body is not limited to religion. It has been worked over for thousands of years now, some of the greatest philosophers of all time, including the Dalai Lama, have tackled it and tried to come up with a hypothesis. Back to the Sikhi now. So if consciousness is soul, what does this mean? Well, in Raag Dhanaasree, First Mehl, Guru Ji says "Amongst all is the Light-You are that Light, By this Illumination, that Light is radiant within all, Through the Guru's Teachings, the Light shines forth." AHA! And there it is, staring at us in the face I cannot remember who said it, and in which thread, but I remember reading someone having said "there is only true path of living, all others are false". The teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, we already know them, we have those values instilled in us from day 1. All that information we carry is staring at us in the face through Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The writing in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is what our soul tells us every single day. How to live, how to treat other people, what to focus on, what to disregard, it's all soul vs body. Your soul will be telling you the objective truth, it doesn't matter how mad you are how hurt, there will always be a part of you that knows the difference between right and wrong. Your body, or more specifically your brain, is maya, it will be acting in the interests of worldly gains and pleasures. This "light" is jyot. Jyot is soul. Jyot is present in everything, the same way consciousness (in one way or another) is present in all beings. All of us have the same light inside of us. And it makes sense. "Ek Onkar" (One God/Truth), omnipresent, inside everything and everyone. I agree with post #7 in that thread, by Ishna Ji, more specifically this part "It's the morsel of jyot which is infused in everything. It is not unique to your personality, when YOU die, YOU die, your molecules are re-circulated into creation and your jyot is re-circulated." People attempt to personalize the soul in Sikhi. They make it sound like it carries your personality, your quirks, your interests, likes, dislikes etc... Like it is a ghost version of you that will continue on after your death, because it is comforting to believe that. But comforting doesn't always equal true. The same light is in all. There is only one light. Likewise, we all have the same "soul". There is only one true way of living, there is only One Truth, Ek Onkar. There is nothing unique about mine or your jyots, in fact, they aren't even "mine" or "yours", they are a part of the larger Ocean, the "Universal Consciousness", Waheguru. Guru Ji talks about this human life being special for a reason. Because although consciousness exists in all beings at some level, sentient or otherwise, only as humans are we able to go beyond the maya, the worldly desires, only as humans are we able to defeat the body and become one with our soul, the objective truth. "Connecting with Waheguru" means to follow the teachings of the Guru and allow that light, jyot, soul, to shine through. "Merging with Waheguru", when it appears in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is really talking about overcoming the 5 evils, defeating the maya and getting in touch with your soul, because that soul is already a part of Waheguru. Yes, I know that the quote by Bhindranwale above talks about "conscience, not "conscious", and they have different definitions, but I feel like "conscience" is a part of the greater "conscious". My argument was that jyot=soul=consciousness. In a large part of my post, I was talking about your soul being able to distinguish between right and wrong, knowing the objective truth etc... That's why I think that conscience has a part to play in it as well. Is it really a coincidence that acts such as rape and murder are almost universally condemned? That caring for others is considered a good thing? I don't think so. But only as humans are we able to get past the maya and 5 evils to connect with it. In this respect, the idea that the jyot (light) of Waheguru is within all, is the same everywhere, we have the same "souls", are all a part of the Universal Consciousness, and our conscience is a part of it, makes sense (to me). One of the quotes from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from above was "The empty body is dreadful, when the soul goes out from within", so soul=consciousness, and "conscience" falls under the umbrella of "conscious", without the soul, without the "conscience", people truly are dreadful indeed. So just to finish, here's another quote by Seeker3k Ji: "Most tell me that God create soul. Then it must be God who control the soul. God chose the life for us. Some one said here that we don’t have personal soul. When one die he just die that’s all. If that is the case then why we need to study the holy books and do the naam simran? If good soul and bad soul end up in same place then don’t need to waste time doing naam simran. Bani tell us to do the naam simran.???" Well, my reply to that would be that you don't HAVE to do anything! Everyone is free to live their life the way they want to, Sikhi isn't about forcing your beliefs onto anyone else, it is about respecting individual freedoms and choices. Seeker3k Ji, if you think that Naam Simran is a waste of time, then don't do it. If you think that studying holy books is a waste of time, you are free to do something else. Every being is promised two things: a birth, and a death. Life is an ocean. All of us are going to cross it. How you get to the other side is up to you. You may go through the trouble of swimming across if you have exceptionally bad luck. You may get a canoe and try to paddle your way across on your own, although there is no guarantee that it will be a smooth journey. Line 2, Page 20 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji says "O Nanak, the Boat of Truth will ferry you across; contemplate the Guru." This option requires you to give yourself to the Guru, get on the Gurus boat, sit back and relax. The Gurus boat has a headlight, it has a radar and a map. Come with your head in your hands. Going down the path of the Guru means that you connect with your soul/consciousness, and listen to your conscience. There is only One Truth, you must live this Truth everyday, and that is much easier said than done. The consciousness is perfect, the body is not. It is a constant battle, but the Guru, through Gurbani, gives you the shield, armor and sword you need to win the war. Whether you ever use those tools is completely up to you. Everything is from my limited knowledge on Gurbani, apologies if I said anything contrary to Sikhi, I don't claim any of this to be true, it is really just my own personal opinion. Sat Sri Akal.