Soul is the element of consciousness or the living force that resides in every living being!!
The Soul is an eternal element i.e. it was, it is and it will always be in existence.

But just like a person who is the son of his father, husband of his wife, and father of his son, is actually ‘one’ individual but undergoes ‘three’ phases that of a son, husband and father; similarly our Soul is one, that undergoes three phases during its journey in worldly life:

Phase 1: The state of ‘ignorance of the Self’.
Due to ignorance of the Self, one believes that, “I am the body and I am the doer.” These are the main wrong beliefs, which make him feel that ‘I think, I speak, I do, I suffer, I die’. This causes the creation of new karmas; the effect of which one has to suffer in his next lives.

It is a general rule that whenever there is any severe, unbearable pain that one has to go through, one becomes unconscious. Now,
•at the time of death, one has to go through very, very severe pain;
•moreover, while in the womb of mother too, one has to go through very severe pain;
•and even at the time of the birth, one goes through severe pain and trauma.

As a result, one loses his consciousness during this period between death and rebirth, and therefore the memory of the past life does not travel with the person. And this, in a way, is a bliss in disguise! Because if we were to remember the past life relations, it could miserably impact our present life, causing great disturbance to us and everyone around us too.

In this state of ignorance of Self, at the time of death, when the Soul leaves the body, due to such severe pain in the body, one’s total attention is absorbed in pain. And this creates very bad karmas.

But things are different when death happens in the presence of Gnani!!!
If during the time of death, Gnani, the Enlightened One, happens to be present there, the power of His blessings and the holy words He says, diverts the attention of the dying person from the pain in the body towards the consciousness of the Pure Soul. Receiving these blessings, peace prevails in him. When one dies in such peace, he progresses on the path of salvation; and in his next life, there is a strong possibility that he is able to get to Phase 2!

Phase 2: The state of ‘Self-Realization’!!
After going through infinite lives, one comes in touch with Gnani, the Enlightened One, who removes his ignorance, gives him the experiential knowledge of the Self and makes him realize that, really “I am a Pure Soul”; and everything is just happening in this world, based on the laws of Nature. When this happens, he attains the state of the ‘Self-realized’!

Thereafter, with the help of the teachings and blessings from Gnani, while suffering the effect of any karma, one begins to gain consciousness of the right reasons behind the suffering. Gaining this consciousness, one starts seeing the world as flawless; and consequently stops blaming people, situations or circumstances in his present or past lives, to be responsible for his sufferings!!

He realizes what were the causes (mistakes) made in his past lives, that has resulted in this effect (suffering) today; and he is also able to see how all circumstances came together to bring about this effect. The awakened Soul ensures that for each of the mistake, adequate pratikramans happen, so that the mistakes get washed off and he can progress on the path of liberation from all sufferings forever. Pratikraman means to acknowledge each mistake and do a hearty repentance for every fault along with a vow to never repeat any mistake.

After Self-Realization, at the time of death, one can remain separate from the body and the pain and suffering, and in the consciousness of the Soul that, “I am the immortal Pure Soul and it is this body that is dying.” This is called Samadhi death. Having attained such death, one becomes ready to attain salvation in one or two more lives.

Phase 3: The state of Absolute Soul!!!
Thereafter, following the words of Gnani, as one remains in more and more awareness of the Soul, he equanimously finishes all the karmas that were charged, while in ignorance of the Self. And when all ignorance, attachment, hatred totally finish, and it becomes possible to remain in the constant uninterrupted consciousness of the Soul, one attains the state of ‘Absolute Soul’ i.e. ultimate liberation of the Soul!!!

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Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.