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The Origin Of The Soul


Question

Why do some devotees think it is not important to know about the origin of the soul? And can we truly relate and be compassionate to all souls if we don’t know about where do they come from?

Answer

H.D. Goswami Profile Picture

Regarding the soul’s origin, and the importance of discussing it, I will share my thoughts.

  1. Prabhupada said both that it is an important topic and that we will understand when we return to Krishna, so we should not worry about it. My conclusion: for those interested in philosophy, it is important. For those not interested, they can simply serve Krishna and find out later.
  2. I find several theories of the soul’s origin to be unacceptable. For example:

a. The soul came from the Tata-stha-shakti. The problem here is that the Tata-stha Shakti is not a place, it is a kind of energy. We come from a place, not a category of energy.

b. The soul came from Maha-vishnu. This theory confuses two events. Between creation cycles, we rest in the body of Maha-vishnu, and then out to participate in a new universe. This explains periodic origins, but not our ultimate origin.

c. Either of these theories creates more philosophical problems than it resolves, name the difficult problem of theodicy, or the “problem of evil.” I will explain.

1) Souls suffer in this world, under the supervision of God.
2) This can be morally justified only if we cause our own suffering by choosing wrong activities.
3) We are responsible for our choices only if we know all the possible choices and thus knowingly choose, rather than being forced to choose in ignorance.
4) We can truly know all the choices only if we know that Krishna/Vishnu is an option. But this is a true option only if we really understand Krishna/Vishnu.
Conclusion: for our suffering to be morally justified, we must have known Krishna.

  1. In the only Bhagavatam verses that mention our origin, in 4.28.53-55, Krishna twice says that we rejected Him and came to this world, that it was our choice.

So, I accept the Bhagavatam version.