by Jayaram V
There are several theories in Hinduism to explain this and no one knows for sure
which one is correct. Besides it is all very confusing, as confusing perhaps as the theory of relativity by Einstein. According to one approach the whole universe is one self same reality. There is no distinction or duality between God and the soul except in our perception. God and the soul are one and the same. There is nothing like a soul separating itself from God and then entering the body as a separate entity. The soul has never been separated from God and would never be. The same Supreme Self acts as individual souls without undergoing any change or
division. This is the Advaita or non dualistic school of philosophy.
According to another line of thinking in the same school, there is no actual division or separation between God and soul. But as God comes into contact with the earthly nature and enters the earthy forms, He starts reflecting some peculiarities or qualities, though in reality they are only illusory and there is no actual difference between the God in these forms (saguna) and the God without these forms (nirguna). This is called Vishishtadvaita or qualified non-dualism school of thought.
According to another school of thought known as the Dvaita philosophy,
founded by Sri Madhvacharya, there are two sets of reality: one the
Brahman and the other the independent souls and lifeless objects. The
souls are not created by God or Brahman but are distinct and different
from the beginning. Thus the reality is dual, consisting of the One and the Many. The individual souls are real physical entities similar to the One in every aspect except in space and time and some qualities. The soul undergoes several births and deaths till it attains liberation through its own efforts.
These are the major currents of
thought that are speculative in nature. Many Hindus do not even understand the subtle differences that exists among these various interpretations. And no one can tell us what is the ultimate nature of things. A subject like this cannot be clarified by any one. Every one has to realize it by himself through self realization.
Suggested Further Reading