The Hindu believes that he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce; him the fire cannot burn; him the water cannot melt; him the air cannot dry. The Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose center is located in the body, and that death means the change of this center from body to body.
Nor is the soul bound by the conditions of matter. In its very
essence it is free, unbounded, holy, pure and perfect. But somehow or
other it finds itself tied down to matter, and thinks of itself as
matter. Why should the free, perfect and pure being be thus under the
thralldom of matter is the next question. How can the perfect soul be
deluded into the belief that it is imperfect? . . . . The Hindu is
sincere. He does not want to take shelter under sophistry. He is brave
enough to face the question in a manly fashion; and his answer is, "I
do not know. I do not know how the perfect being, the soul, came to
think of itself as imperfect, as joined to and conditioned by matter."
human soul is eternal and immortal, perfect and infinite; and death
means only a change of center from one body to another. The present is
determined by our past actions, and the future by the present. The soul
will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and death
to death. But here is another question: is man a tiny boat in a
tempest, raised one moment on the foamy crest of a billow and dashed
down into a yawning chasm the next, rolling to and fro at the mercy of
good and bad actions-a powerless, helpless wreck in an ever-raging,
ever-rushing, uncompromising current of cause and effect; a little
moth placed under the wheel of causation, which rolls on crushing
everything in its way, and waits not for the widow's tears; or an
orphan's cry? The heart sinks at the idea, yet this is the law of
nature. "Is there no hope? Is there no escape?" was the cry that went up
from the bottom of the heart of despair.
It reached the throne of
mercy, the words of hope and consolation came down and inspired the
Vedic sage, and he stood up before the world and in trumpet voice
proclaimed the glad tidings:
"Hear, ye children of immortal bliss!
even ye that reside in higher spheres! I have found the Ancient One,
who is beyond all darkness, all delusion: knowing Him alone you shall
be saved from death over again."
Thus it is that the Vedas
proclaim not a dreadful combination of unforgiving laws, not an endless
prison of causes and effect, but that at the head of all these laws, in
and through every particle of matter and force, stands One,
command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death
stalks upon the earth."
The Vedas teach that the soul is divine,
only held in the bondage of matter; perfection will be reached when
this bond will burst, and the word they use for it therefore is
mukti (freedom), freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom from
death and misery. So the best proof a Hindu sage gives about the soul,
about God, is "I have seen the soul; I have seen God." And that is the
only condition of perfection. The Hindu religion does not consist in
struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in
realizing -- not in believing -- in being and becoming.
Thus the whole
object of their system is by constant struggle to become perfect, to
become divine, to reach God and see God, and this reaching God, seeing
God, becoming perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect,
constitutes the religion of the Hindus.