Shiva: You wanted to know about these two souls. Now let me explain this to you.
Shakti: Are you going to explain only about these two souls? I would like to know more about what happens to souls between two births and how they are born to specific persons?
Shiva: This is the most complex topic to understand. However, I will explain this to you. Even though you are totally in charge of all this, probably you have not heard from me about its intricacies. Before practicing anything, you should know what you are doing. Many men in the earth do not know about the mantras they are reciting. Whatever one does, he or she should know why it is done. Suppose someone is reciting mantra, he or she should know the meaning of the mantra.
Do you mind, if I discuss about mantra briefly, though you know everything about mantra. In fact, all mantras originate from you only.
Shakti: I would love to listen as always.
Shiva: What is mantra? Mantra is explained as (मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥) mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ || This means that a mantra is meant to protect the mind. Manana does not simply mean mind; it also means thinking, reflection, meditation, thought, intelligence and understanding; trāyate (trāyamāṇa) means protection; iti mantraḥ means this is mantra. Now let us try to understand this. Mantras should be understood, analyzed and should be meditated upon in the mind to protect the mind from stimulations of sensory organs. If this is practiced, mind becomes tranquil. Mantra is not meant to be recited by sitting in a place using a japa mālā. You have to meditate using the mantra. Over a period of time, mantra will get absorbed into your mind, which is seated an inch above ājñācakra. This is called absorption of mantra into your mind and the subtle vibrations of mantra not only purify your mind, but also your intellect, ego and consciousness. As you know mind, intellect, consciousness and ego are known as antaḥkaraṇa and is explained as an internal organ, the seat of thought and feeling; the mind and the thinking faculty; conscience and soul. Look at this antaḥkaraṇa and everything is related to internal faculties. One has to learn to work on antaḥkaraṇa with the mantra in order to derive complete benefits of the mantra. There is no use in counting the number of repetitions and instead one has to use the mantra to conquer the mind.
Shakti: What happens if a mantra is pronounced incorrectly due to ignorance?
Shiva: No question of improper pronunciation. Can anyone drive a vehicle improperly and if done so, he meets with an accident. Same is the case with the mantras also. As I said, every akṣara in a mantra works on subtle psychic chakras and energizes them. When all the chakras are perfectly energized and well balanced with other chakras, the mantra begins to fructify. Fructification does not mean that you appear before them. Fructification of mantra means his or her mantras started yielding results. Results will vary from person to person. It could give wealth, knowledge and umpteen numbers of things.
Shakti: You mean to say that repetition of mantras should not be counted.
Shiva: Yes. When someone counts, he fixes his attention on the beads. Mantra is to be repeated in the way I have said earlier. Based on this only, it is said mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ. Why mind needs to be protected. Only through human mind, they can realize you and you, in your take them to me for liberation. A properly purified, energized and initiated mantra should show first signs of fructification in about 15 days.
Are you aware that many are pronouncing Gāyatri mantra incorrectly?
Shakti: Yes, I am aware. The second om is often missed.
Shiva: There are two om-s in Gāyatri mantra. One is for three vyāhṛti-s and another is for the three pāda-s. Vyāhṛti-s are separate and the three pāda-s of the mantra are separate. Therefore, the correct way to pronounce Gāyatri mantra is this.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः॥ om bhūrbhuvaḥ svaḥ ||
ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं। om tatsaviturvareṇyaṁ |
भर्गो देवस्य धीमही। bhargo devasya dhīmahī |
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥ dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||
Shakti: You are supposed to explain how the souls are reborn.
Shiva: Now I will explain this to you. I am the soul in everyone. I am omnipresent. As individual souls, I am present in different planes of the cosmos. I am present in front of human beings, but they cannot see me. As an individual soul, I am always inert and I do not induce anyone to do any act. Since I am omnipresent, I am present everywhere. But I cannot manifest in a shape or form without you.
Shakti: Yes, I know that. You have explained about this earlier.
Shiva: I exit a body through brahmarandhra (an orifice at the top of the skull) and this point is known as athipati marma point (also known as varma point). As you know atipati (अतिपति) means, transcending everything or supreme. Both are apt interpretations. Transcending everything means transcending all types of bodies a man possesses. As an individual soul, I the am the cause of body and everything originates from me. But at the time of death, I have to transcend causal, subtle and gross bodies (shown in the image in red colour) and exit.
through this orifice exclusively meant for you and me. As I said earlier, you merge into Prakṛti, the Nature and I become a miniature of my infinity and this miniature is called individual soul and to me is attached karmic bag of the dead. Weight of this bag varies from person to person. If the weight of the karmic bag is more, I stay in the lower planes and if weight of the karmic bag is less, I move to higher planes.
Shakti: I have two quick questions. How do I become one with Prakṛti and what exactly you mean by ‘I move to higher planes’?
Shiva: As you know we become soul or puruṣa and prakṛti. When both of us remain as one, I am known as an individual soul and you are known as prakṛti. As Prakṛti you encompass both antaḥkaraṇa and bāhyakaraṇa (organs of perception and action). A miniscule of yours is prāṇa that makes me to exit a body. Once you are into the atmosphere your miniscule form merges into your infinite form of Prakṛti or Nature. What happens when a balloon is burst? The air inside the baloon merges into the atmospheric air. Similar is the case with us. If balloon can be called as the body, we are together known as air. The air contains both nitrogen and oxygen and they represent you and I. Look, how we always stay together. Hence both of us are omnipresent and one without the other cannot function. This is known as cosmic interdependency.
Shakti: Then, as a soul, where do you go?
Shiva: Where I go depends upon the weight of the karmic bag I carry. My journey depends upon the gravitational force. Since I am omnipresent, gravitational force does not affect me. I am the gravitational force itself. Only the karmic bag attached to my miniscule form is affected by gravitational force. Journey of the karmic bag is called journey of the soul, as the karmic bag alone cannot travel without my presence. It is important to remember that the karmic bag is neither a causal body nor a subtle body. For example, let us take the example of a mango tree. It grows from a seed and the quality of the tree depends upon the quality of the seed. What is this seed to the mango tree? Is it causal or subtle body? It is neither; it is the result of the tree’s existence. Like fruit being the result of tree’s existence, karma is the result of man’s existence. Therefore, karma is neither a gross or subtle or causal bodies. It is the fruit of one’s action.
Shakti: But the seed of the mango tree cannot become a tree on its own. Then how does a mango sapling grows?
Shiva: How can I, as a soul form a human body? I can’t and I need to interact with you. So is the case with the mango seed. This seed is to be sown in the soil. I am the seed and you are the soil. Now understand like this. I am the seed and I am the soul; you are prakṛti and you are the soil. Only when the seed is sown in the soil, the seed can sprout. Similarly, when both of us unite, I can manifest in a form.
Shkti: Yes, now I understand. You are yet to let me know how as an individual soul you travel to different planes:
Shiva: It depends upon the karmic bag. If the karmic bag is light I go towards higher planes. For example, the one with least weight in his or her karmic bag moves up beyond the gravitational force of planet earth and enters into gravitational force of other planets in the solar system. The highest point is sūryaloka, which is around the sun and presided over by the sun. This is often referred to as the heaven because it is not only full of light but also far away from the earth and forms the central point of solar system. As you know, the sun is a minuscule form of mine (Āditya Hṛdayam). The soul traverses sūryaloka in no time, irrespective of the distance, as my minuscule form known as the individual soul is the carrier of the karmic bag. Since these karmic bags cannot move without me, karmic bags are attached to me as tiny dots to facilitate their upward movements. As you know, nothing can move without me and so is the case with these karmic bags.
Shakti: Does every soul go to heaven?
Shiva: No, not every soul. Only few souls reach sūryaloka. In other words, those karmic bags that have only traces of karmic imprints reach sūryaloka and in their next birth they are liberated. But they stay in sūryaloka for a longer time. Sūryaloka is full of purity and light. There are no traces of any darkness or impurity here. But their stay in sūryaloka, do not in any way affect the remnants of the karmic imprints. Karmas have to be experienced and there is no other go.
Shakti: What about other souls?
Shiva: Other souls with karmic bags of lower weight move to lower planes, for example candraloka (the world of moon), which is closer to the earth. In between candraloka and the earth, there are other lokas and souls with heavy karmic bags go here and sojourn for some time.
Shakti: Then what is called hell?
Shiva: There is nothing called heaven and hell. They are different levels of cosmic planes.
Shakti: You have not told me about how you are reborn.
Shiva: Just relax for some time. This needs further elaboration.