The soul, in essence the reflection of Spirit, undergoes neither the pangs of birth nor the throes of death. Nor having once been projected from the womb of immortal Spirit will Prince Soul, on return to Spirit, lose its individuality; having entered the portals of nativity, its existence will never cease. In all its bodily births, the Spirit-soul never felt birth; it exists everlastingly, untouched by the Maya-magic fingers of change. It is ever the same—now, past, future—as it has always been; ageless, unchanged, since its immemorial beginnings. The deathless soul dwelling in the destructible body is ever constant through all cycles of bodily disintegrations; it does not taste death even when the body quaffs that fatal cup of hemlock.
The difference between soul and Spirit is this: The Spirit is ever existing, ever conscious, ever-new omnipresent Joy; the soul is the individualized reflection of ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Joy, confined within the body of each and every being.
Souls are the radiating rays of Spirit, individualized as formless, vibration less “atoms” and “tissues” of Spirit. Hence, they are coexistent with Spirit and of the same essence, as the sun and its rays are one. Though incarnate, the soul belongs to the numina region, which changes not. All material forms belong to the regions of phenomena; their very nature being alienated from Spirit, they change constantly. Phenomena arise from and are inseparably linked with numina; but the latter, being of Spirit, are immutable and transcendent. The outer surface of the soul’s consciousness that is cloaked with the instrumentalities of the ego, mind, and senses undergoes the permutations of Nature, but the soul’s essence remains inviolable. (…)
Numen, pl. numina, (an influence perceptible by mind but not by senses,) is a Latin term for a potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in Roman philosophical and religious thought.
Spirit is who and what you really are. Pure eternal Spirit is your real Self, your essential nature, and the higher most part of your being. Spirit is impersonal, formless, and not an individualized thing. There is not a different spirit for each person. Spirit is ONE and shines over all, just as the one sun shines over everybody on this earth. My spirit is the same as your spirit. In fact, there is no such thing as “my spirit” or “your spirit” because Spirit knows no separateness. It is what Hinduism calls the Atman, the Self, and it is literally one and the same in essence and identity as the Supreme Spirit, the Supreme Self.
Just as a multitude of sparks are sent forth from a blazing fire, so countless “sparks” of the one Supreme Spirit were sent forth into this manifested universe an immeasurably long time ago and will eventually return to the One. Each Divine Spark is one and the same in essence and identity as the Divine Fire but it has to evolve through the mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the animal kingdom until eventually – at the end of its journey through the animal kingdom – it gains and acquires for itself a SOUL.
The soul, unlike the spirit, is an individual thing. It is a permanent entity (after it has been unfolded out of the spirit) and is the self-conscious individuality or Ego, which incarnates and reincarnates in the human kingdom and beyond. It is the “I” of our being. It is the Consciousness Principle, the Mind Principle, in man. The soul is actually the same thing as the mind.
We should not make the mistake of thinking that the mind and the brain are the same thing because they are not. The brain is simply a physical organ and the mind is the individual soul, which thinks and expresses itself through, and with the aid of, that organ. We have a different brain in each lifetime because we have a different physical body each lifetime but the mind is the same each time. The mind/soul can never express itself in its fullness and entirety in one of its incarnations. It can only express itself partially and the extent to which it does so is determined by its Karma and level of evolution and development.
The soul reincarnates but the spirit does not. Souls are many but spirit is essentially ONE. No spiritual philosophy in history has ever claimed that it is the spirit, which reincarnates. Spirit never has any direct connection or contact with the physical form. One reason for this is that it is so subjective that it can have no direct or tangible relation with the objectivity of matter. The spirit is never within the human being but is always above him and “overshadowing” him, as his Real Self…as the ONE Self…as the Divine itself.
It is the task and mission of the soul to learn and realize that in its higher most being there is no individuality or separateness but just the ONE UNIVERSAL SELF, which we call Spirit or Atman. To re become this in consciousness, to consciously merge and permanently unite the soul with the Spirit, is to achieve and attain Yoga (Union) and this is the great goal of all. This has been the goal and achievement of all true mystics and esotericisms throughout the ages, both in the East as well as in the West, where this has sometimes been called the “mystical marriage.”
There is no excuse in this day and age for our confusing soul and spirit when the difference and distinction between the two has been so clearly and definitely explained and shown in the esoteric spiritual teachings of the world and more recently in the teachings of Theosophy, particularly the writings of H.P. Blavatsky. Once we cease to confound the two but comprehend more clearly the true nature of both, we can appreciate more deeply these beautiful and inspiring words from Sir Edwin Arnold’s poetic translation of the Bhagavad Gita, titled “The Song Celestial”…
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birth less and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!