Vedanta (Hinduism)

Katha Upanishad
Section 2 - verse 18


“The knowing self is never born; nor does he die at any time.
He sprang from nothing and nothing sprang from him. He is unborn, eternal,
abiding and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain”

Who is the knowing self this verse is talking about? Is it that part of our self that is made in the image of God? That indestructible element within us, without beginning or an end, which some call the soul. If we have a soul then what is a soul?

The dictonary defines the soul (noun) as:
1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.

2. the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.

The definition (1) points towards a principle, or an emotion or action that is a distinct entity, seperate from the body and survives it. Action and emotions come from the mind, if the mind (as part of the body) is destroyed will this soul then cease to exist? Definition (2) points towards a spiritual part subject to happiness or sorrow (emotions) post bodily death.


But the verse states that this knowing self is never born and never dies and we know that all actions, emotions and principles have a beginning and an end, so the definition as given for the soul does not pass this test! Further the verse states that this knowing self sprang from nothing and nothing sprang from him. Taking this into account he is someone who does not accumulate any kind of Karma (cause and effect) so he can see without seeing, listen without listening and speak without speaking i.e. his actions accumulate no karma but is all knowing ('knowing self').

Given the verse and corresponding definitions on soul, this 'Knowing Self' can only be one thing and that is :

"He is AWARENESS"

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May 6, 2008 at 9:41 PM  

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