By Dr. Tan Kheng Khoo
I died a mineral and became a plant.
I died a plant and rose an animal.
I died an animal and I was man.
Why should I fear? When was I less than dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar with the blessed angels;
But even from angelhood I pass on.
All except God perishes.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become that which no mind ever conceived
O, let me not exist! for Non-existence proclaims
‘ To Him we shall return’
" Love Is Like the Sun" By Yogi Amrit Desai
Is there a God? Is there a soul? These are the questions being asked since time immemorial. Their existence depends entirely on our definition. For anybody who has not seen, smelt or tasted a durian fruit and starts to describe a custard apple as a durian, then the durian does not exist as he describes it. If religions that have never seen, smelt or felt God begin to describe God as a bearded old man sitting up in the sky watching everything we do, rewarding and punishing us, then these religions are off the mark entirely. When Buddha said that "God does not exist", he meant that God as defined by his peers did not exist. Now what is God? God is everything in the universe or universes: it is in the stones, vegetation, animals and every human being. It is in everything seen or unseen, felt or unfelt, heard or unheard. Nothing is outside of God. Everything visible or invisible is included. It is all One and not two. Everyone of us has a spark of God or divinity in us. That is why miracles have been and are being wrought by some. It is because they are not miracles, but the acts of God. God is actually in its pure and undifferentiated form an immense source of energy, and every human, animal, vegetation and mineral has a minute spark of this pure energy. This is also referred to by some as The Flame Of Life, the true Self, or the soul. As God is made up of a powerful mass of energy of love, bliss, consciousness and power, so is our soul. This spark of life (soul) is eternal: it never dies. There is no gender in God, but during the journeys of the soul, it can take on feminine, masculine or androgynous characteristics. Now when we pray or talk to God, he is not the one that answers. It is one of the sparks that is much nearer our physical realm. It is one of our guides or soul mates. God is also known as the Great Spirit, Godhead, or the Source. These are all synonyms. Therefore for puny humans like us, it is quite impossible to know what God is. Just look at the sky in a clear night and try to count the stars that are there and multiply that at least a million times and you will only arrive at the possibility of one universe. Now multiply that again by at least a trillion times. And then you may have an indication of the magnitude of what God is composed of. God is the sum total of all these Universes and more, and we name all these universes The Spiritual Universe. That means it is quite impossible for us to gauge or try to visualise what God is or its magnitude. Nobody has any idea. Not Buddha, nor Jesus nor Mohammed could guess it.
Although, intellectually we cannot comprehend what God is, we, on rare occasions, may feel his love. When do we feel this emotion? After a very good session of meditation. When we are in utter despair and about to give up everything. Or when we are alone on a mountain looking at a glorious scene or a magnificent sunset, when we are not beset with any worldly worries. The emotion chokes us in the throat. After a very tiring, long day, we fall into a very deep sleep, and we wake up to a world that seemed to have changed for the better: we know that we have been with God. Against great odds, by a miracle, we have been snatched from the jaws of death, we know for certainty that God was instrumental in this rescue, and a job is waiting for us. That means God is literally everything visible and invisible and is composed entirely of love and wisdom. Nothing is excluded. All is included in the One. There is no two, i.e. nothing is outside of God. That means you are God, and so am I!
The Journeys of the Soul.
All souls or consciousness start as sparks from the Source (God). At any one time numerous sparks or clumps of souls spurt out from the Source. Although some times we call this the Big Bang, it is really routine explosions to send off the morulas (clumps) of souls on their journeys. This is an ongoing process. These morulas are in multiples of two. They vary between two and thousands. They vary in their ages. The younger they are, the more souls are despatched together: these are the novices who are starting on their very first journey around the universes. The more experienced they are the smaller will be the clumps. The oldest and the wisest will appear as a unified ball, as the component souls have already fused together from their numerous round trips across the universes, and these old souls or fused clumps do not divide into individual small souls. These old clumps or souls are very rare: they are either one single total soul or are fused twosome or fused foursomes. They are wise and powerful but they also must go through the entire round of progression and differentiation like the novice one-celled soul, but they go through the rounds at a much quicker rate. . These rare sages are the true representatives of God. They are what the Hindus called Avatars. In any form of incarnation (mineral, animal or human) they are the leaders. They are also the founders of religions. But we are jumping the gun here: let us start from the beginning. At each Bang numerous soul groups break out from the Source, and each group is composed of kindred soul mates (morulas).
When the morulas of souls start to descend down to the etheric/physical, they spiral down the Great Pillars of Light, Consciousness of Immensity, Cosmic Consciousness, Celestial Plane and the Astral Planes to our physical plane. Spiralling down these planes into denser and denser atmosphere, in the first round down, they are in a dreamy state and the memories of this downward journey is very, very hazy indeed. In fact, it is like our visiting the astral world every night and not remembering a thing. These morulas migrate as groups of thousands or millions until they become minerals on the physical plane e.g. planet earth. Therefore in their first incarnation as minerals they remain as group souls. This grouping of souls will continue until they graduate from animals to humans.
At this point we must accept the principle of re-incarnation. Otherwise it is not worth while discussing the subject any further. The first incarnation on earth is that of mineral. Masses of the same group souls will incarnate into one type of mineral, say calcium. As in everything in the universe we must have both the positive and the negative together, like Ying and Yang, male and female etc. There will be benign minerals and noxious minerals. There is no good and bad or the saint and the devil in this world of duality. These opposites coexist for the total benefit of the universes. A lifetime as a mineral in the rocks may last for million of years. This is really not long as compared to our cosmic lives in the higher spiritual realms as mentioned above (e.g. Consciousness of Immensity and Celestial Planes), when we were pre-angels and angels. Going through these stages took aeons, and therefore remaining as rocks in a dreamy stage is of no hardship at all. The way to graduate from this mineral stage is by the disintegration of the planet. And from that stage onwards, we began to individualise. This is the time when twin souls are formed: it is the last two cells to break apart to formed individual cells. And in the future, when they ever meet again there will be a strong affinity between them. The greatest manifestation of this affinity will be in the human incarnations.
Here, although we individualise as algae, lichen and moss, we remain as group souls, and we are almost as static as the mineral. From here onwards, we reincarnate many times as different types of vegetation e.g. bushes of flowers, grass, trees, vegetables etc. At this point we have to tolerate being trodden upon by animals, pulled out and plucked by humans as food. The implication here is that in the vegetable kingdom for the first time we learn about death. The souls realise this possibility during this phase of development. They are prepared for it and are willing to go through it for the sake of gathering experience. Every cycle and every phase of differentiation and growth is to enrich us with experience. We are preparing ourselves towards the peak of our career as humans. It is at the human stage that we reincarnate many times in order to gather knowledge and wisdom to return back to the source.
Now after graduating from the vegetable world, we then jumped over to the animal stage, starting as bacteria and viruses. In normal human understanding, we are now "alive". These souls are small and tiny, and quite invisible to normal human eyes: we need microscopes to visualise these early creatures. From these microbes we develop into larger animalistic forms. We go through being insects, crustacean, vertebrates, invertebrates, gorillas, monkeys, whales, dolphins, etc. After innumerable incarnations in the animal kingdom, we would arrive as a mammal like a gorilla. And the next incarnation would be humans. As insects, birds, fish, and other mobile animals, we are still living in groups. If one in the group learns something, the knowledge is passed on to the rest of the group, even though there is no possibility of any form of communication. This is the benefit of being group souls. However if one out of a pack of wolves is adopted and domesticated by humans, then it is transformed into a dog. This dog then takes on the intelligence of the master. The dog can now read the mind and emotion of the master. It can be trained to perform all sorts of tricks. This applies to other types of animals as well e.g. bears, dolphins and monkeys. When one’s pet dies before the owner, the spirit of the pet, like a cat or dog, will wait in the astral for the master to cross over. Human spirits that are lovers of animals will look after these pets. Again the animal also realises that at any time it could be killed and be eaten by other animals or humans. There is no fear or foreboding until the last moments. Of course, the yelping and squealing is only a natural protest against death. However this does not mean we can be cruel in the process of killing: they must be slaughtered in the most humane fashion. It is the same with vegetation: the wanton destruction of luscious forests by fire also incurs lots of bad karma. The greatest hurdle now is this jump from the animal group souls to the individual soul of the human.
The Human Soul
We have now arrived at the individual soul of a human. In the past series of progression from mineral through vegetation to animal, the souls have been in groups. Now we have reached the final stage of self-awareness of the individual soul. There is no going back to be reincarnated into animal again. As we cannot retrogress from animal to vegetable, humans cannot be reincarnated back to animals. This is one of the Universal Laws. Now that we have this self-awareness, we begin to know that we know. Thence these questions will arise: (1) Where do we come from? (2) What are we doing here? (3) Where do we go from here? (4) Who am I? These are basic questions that any thinking man would ask. However, when we first incarnated as primitive man these are of course not the questions that we asked. We have to go through the cycles of rebirth from the physical barbarian through the emotional, anxiety-stricken individual to the intellectual, thinking man. We would have taken up to at least two million years to arrive at this intellectual stage. But not all of us are in the same stage of development. Most of us are still under the delusion that the more we acquire materially, the happier we will be! But, we would come to the conclusion that no amount of material objects can make us happy. Of course, not all of us develop equally. In the last few thousand years, Buddha, Jesus, Lao-tzu and Mohammed have all reached this conclusion that materialism is nothing but a burden, and they all had preached the same wisdom. But we are too deluded, and therefore we have to keep being reborn until we learn our lesson of being altruistic, selfless, and humble and without ill will. Then with wisdom we can safely service the entire universe or at least our planet. Purification, service and gathering of knowledge are the main pillars of spiritual growth. Once we have completed our sojourns on planet earth, we can then practice in the astral realm, and we do not have to return to earth again evermore. The journey back to the source will now begin in earnest.
Before we do that, let us digress a little. Although we have been practising as individual souls, we have been moving from the spirit realms to the physical earth in droves of soul mates, which were originally from the same morulas or groups of souls that started at the beginning from the Source or the Great Spirit. There is an exception to this, and it is the wise, old soul that did not breakdown into individual souls. It was a fused ball of wise old souls. These rare old sages when they are in vegetation, they are huge old solid trees (e.g. oak trees) When they are in the animal phase, they would be lions, elephants or whales. As humans, they would be rare sages (e.g. Lao-tzu) or avatars and appear only very occasionally to help out with mankind. The ordinary individual soul mates will move around in the same circles in every incarnation, and those that are not in incarnation at the same time will be in the astral acting as guardian angels to their soul mates in the flesh. At a much later time these soul mates will have to meet up again and join up together. This joining up could start on earth when twin souls meet. These were the remaining two souls that were the last to break up before they individualise on planet earth. They may or may not meet at each incarnation. If they do meet the tendency is to marry, and yet they may not, because they are looking for challenges in order to learn. If they do meet in their last incarnation, then they will probably be together. Please remember that there are other planets on which the souls can practise. If they move to another planet, all the soul mates will go together. The changing of planets is, however, very uncommon. When they are transforming from mineral to vegetation, they have to change planet because the former has to disintegrate. Rarely from vegetable to animal they may want to migrate to another plant.
Now let us concentrate on the housing of the human soul. The human soul is covered by a physical body, and at least four layers of subtle bodies which are not visible to the normal eyesight. They are the etheric, emotional, mental and spiritual auras concentrically. Auras are also present around the mineral, vegetable and the animal kingdoms. But in the human, they are most developed, and they vary from person to person, and they change continuously from one second to another. To the clairvoyant eyes, they interpenetrate the adjacent bodies, including the physical, and they look like mosaics of moving stream with different colours. The layers vary in thickness, and all the layers together extend up to our out stretched arms all around us. These are our armours of protection. They change in colours and intensity with the change of physical health, emotional moods and mental well being. When we die these housings will extricate themselves around the soul, and each layer will drop off one by one as we ascend the spiritual realms. Now where is the soul located in our physical body? As it is a divine spark of energy, which is part of God, it is not discernible even to the most powerful clairvoyant. According to Sri Ramana Maharshi it is just to the right of the bottom tip of the sternum in the chest. He reckons that it is the size of the last phalanx of the thumb. In Barbara Ann Brennan’s monograph the core of the soul is also in the chest, but it is to the left centre of the chest cavity.
Since time immemorial, millions of seekers have been looking for the soul, but they are unable to find it. One should not spend any effort looking for it. One should travel inwards in meditation disavowing the physical body, our emotions and intellect as self. These affirmations: " I am not my body. I am not my emotion. And my thoughts are not Me." are the best before and after any meditation practice. In fact, when a small boy or girl sees a dead body, it is easy for the child to realise that the body is not self. After meditating for some time, one could also experience first hand that our emotions and thoughts are not self. If they are you then you could easily ask them not to intrude, but try as you may the thoughts will still come in. If one is angry at the start of one’s meditation, and when calm descends on the meditator, the anger automatically disappears with no effort. Bliss will spontaneously occupy the mind, when thoughts start to vanish. In a deep stage of insight meditation, there are no thoughts, but there is silence and stillness and what is left is pure awareness. This is almost the equivalent of the soul or the true self. When it is completely quiet, silent and still with no residue of any thoughts then one truly has arrived at the soul. Of course, this is a very difficult feat. It can only be achieved when one does not try at all. It is a non-doing. The most important asset to have at this time is patience. You just have to wait and wait and wait. Once you have arrived at this stage you have come to self-realisation. When you have self-realised then you can look forward towards going home: there is no more earthly incarnation for you. You now have realised that you cannot die. You will live the rest of life utilising the physical, emotional and mental bodies as instruments for living, and that they are not you. You will now call upon your higher self any time to enhance your sojourn on earth. You are in the world, but not of the world.
The spark of energy (soul) in the chest cavity is only a fraction of your total soul. It is estimated that only ten percent is sent down (or encased in the body) for purification. in the ordinary person. Of course, if you are very developed and near "enlightenment", you can siphon down much more, and things like the Akashic records, telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition may be available to you. But it is not necessary so, as many enlightened saints are not interested in these psychic abilities, and they do not posses them. What about our tendencies, habits, and characteristics? And which of our subtle bodies or soul that our memories of past lives reside? How do we recognise our soul mates? These are all very interesting points that we should discuss.
Firstly, our Akashic records (records of everything we do, say and think) are recorded in the Akashic. These are kept in the causal realm and the facts are available only to our higher self. So with spiritual development, our higher self can tap into these records and make them available to us if required. The Akashic records date right up to our first incarnation as primitive man and may be even earlier e.g. animal life. Buddha, on the night that he was enlightened was able to remember every life of his since his first human incarnation. Since the first human incarnation, we develop habits, tendencies and characteristics (samskaras) and these are lodged mainly as emotional memories. That is why we assume these samskaras automatically as we grow up, without any prompting from our parents or peers. These are therefore kept in our astral emotional body. Facts and events are kept in the mental body. At birth, we must have total mineral amnesia, but some emotional memories do break out as we meet our soul mates in the course of our lives.. So when we meet some one in the street or at a party, we immediately like the person very much or we hate him straightaway. This is emotional and not intellectual memory, because we cannot remember the events and facts that cause us to like or hate the other person. Before we come down from the spiritual realm in order to be born we have to spiral down the mental and emotional (astral) realms before we touch down to earth. This is to re-acquaint our mental-emotional bodies what we are about to experience again with the new body-mind complex. It is also to remind us of what we have been through since our very first human incarnation: it is like a quick review of all our past lives, so that we know what to expect when we are born again. There must also be amnesia at birth. Otherwise it is impossible to carry on our present life with all the memories of our enemies and love ones gushing out every time we meet someone. Our total soul which includes the higher self is connected to every member of our soul group, be it sixteen or sixteen hundred thousand by an etheric thread. This etheric network holds the entire group together so that when one soul meets another in the group, there is an immediate attraction. Remember that the more advanced the group, the smaller is the number. This total soul group then is in turn connected to the other soul groups. It then becomes an interlacing network that connects every soul embracing all minerals, vegetables, animals and humans. Then this entire network further inter-connects the whole hierarchy right up to the Godhead (Great Spirit). That means all the universes and us, the tiny souls, are all part of God. Nothing is left out. There is only One and nothing is outside it.
Now after we have graduated from the human experience, we do not return as humans any more. We will now practice in the astral as spirits or angels up through to the mental and the spiritual realms slowly working ourselves up these rarer and faster vibrational ethereal realms. On the way up we start to join up with our twin soul; then we would look for another pair to make a foursome. This doubles up to eight, sixteen and thirty-two and so on until we reach our original number, with which we began at the Big Bang. This is the reverse process of that downward path towards earth, where we became group souls as mineral, vegetable, animals, and finally break up as individual souls at the human stage. Now after completing the human earth life we are going home towards the source with our cargo. What is the cargo? It is aeons of learning and experience culminating in love, compassion and selflessness. The love and selflessness is so great that we are happily sacrificing our individual self for the sake of the whole group. At the end of the day we arrive at the source to make the Godhead a better and a more evolved God! Is this possible? It is a definite and resounding YES! If we are part of God (all be it a very tiny fraction), when we improve God improves, when we evolve, God evolves. Let us not forget that it is not only one soul that returns to the source with its cargo of love, knowledge and experience. The returning groups of souls go into millions at a time, and this is an ongoing process. These cycles never end. After resting within the source, we would begin all over again the journey of coming down towards the physical once more. But this time the quest will be different. We, the souls will be different this time round: we are now older and wiser. Some of us may be leaders or subleaders. The cargo may also be different. Whatever it is, these cycles are never ending. There is no beginning, and there is no end. It is an interminable eternity.