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Where Does the Soul Come from?
The Vedic scriptures explain that the soul is constitutionally a resident of an eternal realm, the spiritual world. It is explained in the Upanishads, nityo nityanam, cetanas cetananam, eko bahunam, yo vidadati kaman "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is one amongst many many souls who are all subordinate to Him." Every soul is endowed with a minute independence either to choose to love and serve God or to be independent of God and struggle for so-called illusory enjoyment in this material world. The souls in this world, that is, all of us, have chosen to be independent of God to enjoy separate from Him.
Suppose a child adamently demands his mother who is cooking in the kitchen, "Mom, you leave the kitchen; I will cook today." She may persuade the child to understand that he cannot deal with fire carefully and he will not be able to manage the kitchen himself. But if the child is adament, then the mother may purchase a Leo Toyset of baby kitchen items to play and may give it to her child to play. Now the boy may play with all the toys till noon doing so-called cooking with sand and water. Once it is noon and he becomes hungry, he will return to mother, "Mom, I am hungry." Mother may ask, "What about all the cooking that you did?" The child may laugh and say, "That was all a foolish game. Now I am really hungry. So you give me food."
In the same manner, the spirit souls in the spiritual world derive great joy in the love and service of the Lord as we see in the pastimes of Hanuman serving Lord Rama or the residents of Vrindavan serving Sri Krishna. But when the soul wants to leave the spiritual world and become an independent Lord and master, then Lord creates this material world to satisfy the whims of the foolish living entity. When the living entity is frustrated here, then he turns to Lord and becomes His devotee again. When he is completely purified of the wrong mentality, he can again ascend to the spiritual world, his original home to rejoin the eternal service to the Lord. Till the living being is purified of all his independent desires for enjoyment he has to wander in the cycle of birth and death taking on different types of bodies as per his desire and karma. We are constitutionally part-and-parcel servants of God and we can become happy only by serving Him. This can be likened to supplying food to the stomach. When the part serves the whole, the part also becomes nourished.
Panca tantra Story : 'When senses go on a strike'
Once all the senses of the body of a man came together for a meeting. There was a big quarrel about which part of the body is the most valuable. The eye said, "It is me who sees the food first. So I am the most important." The nose said, "0 foolish eye! Don't you realize that its me who smells the food even before you see it?" The teeth said, "What is the use of you people seeing and smelling. Without me doing the job of crushing, no food can go to the stomach." But the tongue said, "You may crush the food, but if the taste is bad, I will reject what is passed by you. So I am the most important." The hands said, "It seems all of you people have forgotten me. Am I not the one who picks up the food and puts it in the mouth?" The leg spoke lastly, "I carry the whole trunk of the body from place to place where food is kept. Without me all of you are useless." The arguments went on for a long time. At the end they all arrived at a consensus: "All of us are important. But there is one useless person who does not do any work; but we are all working so hard to please him - the stomach! Come let us all go on a strike. Why should we please this person by feeding him when he is just in one place sitting and enjoying?"
The stomach did not say anything. When they all went on strike and did not supply food to the stomach, gradually the legs became weak; it started trembling. The hand lost all power and potency to do any work. The eyes were reeling. They all came together for a meeting and decided, "If we don't serve the stomach, then we only suffer. It is better that we serve him and become nourished ourselves." When all the parts of the body co-operated in supplying food to stomach, then the whole body became nourished. In the above Panchatantra story, the stomach is compared to God; all the different senses are compared to the living entities, which are parts and parcels of God. Constitutionally we are servants of God and serving Him only can nourish us and keep us happy, but if we try to selfishly serve ourselves with money, resources and things of this world, we will only be led to frustration.
The central figure of creation and of enjoyment is the Supreme Lord, and the living entities are cooperators. By cooperation they enjoy. The relation is also like that of master and servant or like husband and wife. If the master is fully satisfied, then the servant is satisfied. When the husband goes to office, the wife stays at home to do the household chores. She keeps the house clean, washes his clothes, dries them and keeps them pressed, cooks for him, keeps the things in order etc. When the husband returns home, he feels very happy to see his wife's services and appreciates her. Who becomes happy? Both the husband and wife become happy. Similarly, when the soul renders service to God, he becomes happy also. This is the only way the soul can attain true happiness, not by trying to compete with God or act independent of God. In the above example, if wife ignores her services at home arguing with the husband, she only becomes frustrated.
Those who are willing to surrender to God by following the instructions of God mentioned in the revealed scriptures through a bonafide spiritual master coming in parampara, are called devotees and God personally takes charge of their protection and maintenance. And for the other living entities who want to try enjoying separate from God, Maya Devi -God's external energy - takes charge of punishing them for breaking the laws of God.
The situation is like what we see in the state: good citizens are taken care of by the government directly, while criminals are taken care of by the government through the prison department. In the prison house, the government takes care that the prisoners get sufficient food, clothing, shelter and that they get even hospital treatment if they become diseased. The government provides everything required by the prisoners - but under punishment. Similarly, in this material world, God has arranged for our care, but also for our punishment. If you commit this sin you get a slap. If you commit that sin then a kick. This is going on in the form of the threefold miseries - (i) those caused by our body & mind, (ii) those caused by other living entities and (iii) those caused by natural calamities.
The soul being part and parcel of God can be happy only when he is serving God with love and devotion and not otherwise. The living being who desires to enjoy independent of God will never get satisfaction exactly like a fish out of water can never be satisfied with any amount of comforts. Only when the fish is put back in its original position in the water will it become completely happy. Similarly, the spirit soul can be happy only in the spiritual world which is the original home of the living being. The material realm of activities can never satisfy the pure soul who is in search of eternal bliss. We are all like the lost son of a millionaire. Having lost touch with our eternal father, God, we are wandering in this material world exactly like a helpless beggar, unaware of our true glory. The Upanishads call the living beings as 'Children of Immortality', who are now shackled in this material body. We have to now revive our eternal relationship with our Supreme Father to become truly happy.