Does a stone have a soul?

Forums Sāńkhya Philosophy Does a stone have a soul?


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    Hi Ashish! Hope you’re doing well.

    In chapter 3 of Sankhya and Science, you write

    The difference between a human and a stone is not that one has a mind and consciousness and the other doesn’t. The difference is that the mind and senses in the stone are not developed to the point of demonstrating the abilities of consciousness.

    Does it mean that a stone also has a soul?

    Also, a related question. As a human being, I have a soul but I am also composed of many living cells which can often be separated from me and have the ability to live in that way (at least in artifical environments). Does it mean that they also have souls?


    Ahilya was cursed by Gautama to become a stone, after she had sexual intercourse with Indra. Later, Lord Ramachandra freed her of that body by touching His feet to that stone. So, yes, stones can also have a soul. Whether all stones have soul, I don’t know. Certainly, mountains like Kailasha and Himayala, rivers like Ganga and Yamuna, and oceans are personalities. Earth is also a person. In the same way, cells can have a soul. I don’t know definitively whether each cell is a separate soul, or a collection of cells, but whatever is there in the universe is controlled by some soul.

    As a human being, I have a soul but I am also composed of many living cells 

    You have used some interesting language — “I have a soul” and “I am composed of living cells”. This means you think you are the body composed of living cells, and that body “has” a soul. It’s the other way around. You are a soul, and you have a body. These things become clear only when we practice spiritual life, not philosophy alone.


    Thank you for responding Ashish. I realized that it was wrong to say, “I have a soul” but it was the only way that I could succintly put it due to my lack of understanding.

    I can notice some changes in my thinking though where things are starting to make sense and the feeling of why things have to be this way.

    Regarding practising spiritual life, there is an amazing series of question and answers in Concieving the inconcievable, one of which culminates in the aphorism kampanāt. Is that what you mean?


    Yes, we have to chant the names of God, to purify ourselves of false ideas, bad habits, and wrong actions. As I explained in the answer to the last question, God’s name is a sound representation of the whole reality. In that sound representation, the whole truth is present in an unmanifest form. As we chant, initially all the dirt is washed away, which is called cheto darpan marjanam, or cleansing the mirror of the chitta.

    In Yoga philosophy, this chitta is the root from which everything springs. This chitta contains the history of all the ideas you have acquired in the past, and it is like the goggles through which you see the world. Once the goggles are clean, then you can see clearly. This is the only prescribed process for this age; all others such as philosophy etc., are not recommended because people have no brain. Instead of the brain, the head is filled with dung. But as we chant, the same head is filled with knowledge. So we can get perfection if we follow the process.

    Sri Chaitanya, therefore, says: vidya vadhu jivanam, or chanting is the life of the knowledge-bride. We teach this knowledge to show that there is a perfection of knowledge as well. Otherwise, people will just say: “I don’t believe in anything”. But the fact is that even if we present perfect knowledge, nobody is able to understand anything, and that is because their chitta is unclean. Their head is filled with all kinds of ideas acquire over thousands of lifetimes, and it is impossible to understand.

    Sri Chaitanya has prescribed the chanting of: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare.

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