What is the spiritual aspect of the self?

The spiritual aspect of the self is consciousness. In Sanskrit the individual self is called jiva-atma, as opposed to the Supreme self, which is called Paramatma. In the West the individual self is called the soul, and the Supreme self is called God

So conscious awareness is the spiritual aspect of all living entities. This particle of consciousness, or the spiritual soul, is present in all living entities, but it is only in the human life-form the soul can become aware of itself and God. In all other life-forms, the soul’s awareness is limited to its particular body.

So it’s only humans who can be spiritual. All living entities are spiritual, in the sense that life itself is a spiritual phenomenon, but only humans can become aware of it.

The present age of Kali is characterized by a lack of spiritual awareness in the general mass of people. Most people are on the animal level of consciousness, meaning, they are not aware of their own spiritual nature.

A person may be a highly educated PhD, but if a person is not aware of his spiritual self, if he is only aware of his body and its culture, he is basically a polished animal.

“Both animals and men share the activities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. But the special property of the humans is that they are able to engage in spiritual life. Therefore without spiritual life, humans are on the level of animals.” —Hitopadesa

All problems of the world, both individually and collective, can be remedied by understanding one’s spiritual self, and the self’s relation to the Supreme self - God.

Krishna says:

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another, as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another.

The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.

The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.

The endeavoring transcendentalists who are situated in self-realization can see all this clearly. But those whose minds are not developed and who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try.

The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of this whole world, comes from Me. And the splendor of the moon and the splendor of fire are also from Me.

I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.


I am the fire of digestion in the bodies of all living entities, and I join with the air of life, outgoing and incoming, to digest the four kinds of foodstuff.

I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.

There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world every living entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world every living entity is called infallible.

Besides these two, there is the greatest living personality, the Supreme Soul, the imperishable Lord Himself, who has entered the three worlds and is maintaining them.

Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and the infallible, and because I am the greatest, I am celebrated both in the world and in the Vedas as that Supreme Person.

Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is the knower of everything. He therefore engages himself in full devotional service to Me, O son of Bharata. —Bhagavad-gita 15.7-19

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