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Questioner: During the time of Mahabharat, there were thousands of people in the armies. Today, human population has multiplied and there are seven billion people on the planet. Could you explore the phenomenon of old and new souls, and where these new beings are coming from?


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Sadhguru: Where do all the new souls come from? You need to understand, as your body is a physical thing, your mind is also a physical thing. Because your body and mind are physical things and your experience is limited to physical things, you always think in terms of when it began and when it will end. All physical things inevitably have a beginning and an end. But when you say the word “soul,” which is so loosely used today, we are not talking about a physical thing. I never use this word, but let us say we use the word “soul” to describe the non-physical dimension of who you are. That which is non-physical does not have a beginning and an end. That which is non-physical means that which does not exist, because your idea of existence is purely physical. That which is not physical, you call it empty space.  

When you say the word “soul,” which is so loosely used today, we are not talking about a physical thing.

That which does not exist or that which is not cannot have a beginning. If it does not have a beginning, it cannot be old or new. Such things do not apply. It is like, let’s say you have a weighing machine. You stood on it and you saw your perfect weight, as prescribed in the fitness books. Then you wanted to check how Mother Earth is doing, so you turned the weighing scale upside down. Technically, the planet was sitting on the weighing scale. You know why they do shirshasana (headstand)  – because they want to feel like they are carrying the planet on their head. If you take a picture of someone in shirshasana from a certain distance and turn it around, you will have a man carrying a planet on his head. So, if you turn the weighing scale around and look at the weight, you will get the weight of the weighing scale, but you will not get the weight of the planet.

Right now, it is like that: through your mind, you are trying to understand that which is not physical. It is like trying to measure the weight of the planet with your weighing scale. If you stand on it, it shows you perfect weight, but if you make Mother Earth sit on it, it does not work, because that is not how it works. So, once you utter the word “soul,” do not talk about quantity. Quantity and non-physical nature cannot go together. Quantities are about the physical. How old, how many, how big, how small – all these things are concerned with the physicality of existence, not with the non-physical. So anyway, if someone asks you such a question, do not be bowled over. Just ask them, “Do you know the insect population has gone down?” That is Sahadeva’s wisdom.

To be continued..

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Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, September 2019. To subscribe online, click here. The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.