When someone asked the mystic about the nature of the soul, he pointed to the sole of his foot and asked, “you mean this sole?”    He scoffed at the concept of a “soul” because it implied a singularity of existence.   Instead, he prefers to talk about a spirit, which differs from the concept of a soul because it is more inclusive and can incorporate an almost infinite number of earthly existences.

Swami Kriyananda’s guru was Yogananda, and in Swami Kriyananda’s book,  A New Path, he talked about Yogananda’s discussions regarding the nature of the “True Self.”   Yogananda said that we have an internal presence that manifests itself in countless earthly lifetimes.   The True Self can be thought of as the “I am” or your personal point-of-view that lives on after death.   It maintains the continuity of existence from one lifetime to the next because it lives outside of space-time.  According to Yogananda, in some situations, the True Self may incarnate as multiple lives that exist on earth simultaneously.   From one lifetime to the next, the various existences can have entirely different personalities.  In fact, Yogananda talked about examining his incarnation as a guru before being born into it.  Despite the fact that he had a very advanced and thoughtful personality, he still saw flaws in his personality from his pre-birth perspective.  He described it as a “heavy coat” that he dreaded having to wear.

There are two opposing concepts one can discern from Yogananda’s discussions about the True Self.   One concept would be that our earthly personality does not survive death.   In discussions with the mystic about the survival of the personality, he described our individual personalities as smelly odors.   In addition,  Yogananda said that every […]