Most people are not directly aware of their soul, although it is frequently talked about. There seems to be much confusion. Western scientists have tried to determine the existence of the soul like they would measure particular chemical elements within the body. They weigh the body immediately before and then immediately after the time of death, and try to determine if there is any difference in weight. This approach assumes that the soul has weight and mass that would be measurable by our external measuring capabilities. It does not recognise the subtle, unseen powers of existence unless they can be validated through some external technique.

This same approach can be applied, and disproven, when one tries to measure the existence of the mind (no weight difference before and after death) or the existence of the heart of emotion. The action of the emotions, the action of the mind are subtle actions that use the physical instruments to receive and express various energetic vibrational states, but do not add to the weight that we carry around as a physical organ or form. Similarly, we cannot see electricity, or gravity, or other cosmological forces, yet we can experience their effects. Einstein famously developed a formula to convert energy and matter into one another which indicated that mass could become pure energy moving at the speed of light without mass. One could extrapolate that there are states where a measuring tool subtle and sensitive enough could actually weigh the energetic packets, and who knows, maybe some day they will succeed in measuring the weight of the soul, for whatever that will be worth!

As the spiritual growth takes place, the individual becomes acutely aware of both the existence of and the action of the soul in the evolutionary development, including the transition from birth to death and rebirth that marks the soul’s developmental journey through time.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “It is necessary to understand clearly the difference between the evolving soul (psychic being) and the pure Atman, self or spirit. The pure self is unborn, does not pass through death or birth, is independent of birth or body, mind or life or this manifested Nature. It is not bound by these things, not limited, not affected, even though it assumes and supports them. The soul, on the contrary, is something that comes down into birth and passes through death — although it does not itself die, for it is immortal — from one state to another, from the earth plane to other planes and back again to the earth-existence. It goes on with this progression from life to life through an evolution which leads it up to the human state and evolves through it all a being of itself which we call the psychic being that supports the evolution and develops a physical, a vital, a mental human consciousness as its instruments of world-experience and of a disguised, imperfect, but growing self-expression. All this it does from behind a veil showing something of its divine self only in so far as the imperfection of the instrumental being will allow it. But a time comes when it is able to prepare to come out from behind the veil, to take command and turn all the instrumental nature towards a divine fulfilment. This is the beginning of the true spiritual life. The soul is able now to make itself ready for a higher evolution of manifested consciousness than the mental human — it can pass from the mental to the spiritual and through degrees of the spiritual to the supramental state. Till then there is no reason why it should cease from birth, it cannot in fact do so. If having reached the spiritual state, it wills to pass out of the terrestrial manifestation, it may indeed do so — but there is also possible a higher manifestation, in the Knowledge and not in the Ignorance.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter VIII The Psychic Being and Inner Growth, pp. 149-150

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.