“What is a soul?”


Recently saw “Choice,” a wonderful new play by Winnie Holzman, which asks us to consider: What is a soul? (That the playwright has the most boring and least powerful character of the play pose this question—whereupon he/his question are immediately snickered at and then ignored—strikes me as a brilliant piece of writing!) So I have.

And as these things work sometimes, while searching for something else, stumbled across this ancient poem which attempts to answer that boring man’s poignant, probing, right-on question:

Song of the Soul, by Shankarachary

(788-820 CE, mystic saint of India)

I am neither ego nor reason,
I am neither mind nor thought,
I cannot be heard nor cast into words,
nor by smell nor sight ever caught:
In light and wind I am not found,
nor yet in earth and sky –
Consciousness and joy incarnate,
Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no name, I have no life, I breathe no vital air,
No elements have molded me, no bodily sheath is my lair:
I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution –
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss in dissolution.

I cast aside hatred and passion, I conquered delusion and greed;
No touch of pride caressed me, so envy never did breed:
Beyond all faiths, past reach of wealth, past freedom, past desire
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is my attire.

Virtue and vice, or pleasure and pain are not my heritage,
Nor sacred texts, nor offerings, nor prayer, nor pilgrimage:
I am neither food nor eating, nor yet the eater am I –
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no misgivings of death, no chasms of race divide me,
No parent ever called me child, no bond of birth ever tied me:
I am neither disciple nor master, I have no kin, no friend –
Consciousness and joy am I, and merging in Bliss is my end.

Neither knowable, knowledge, nor knower am I, formless is my form,
I dwell within the senses but they are not my home:
Ever serenely balanced, I am neither free nor bound –
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is where I am found.




Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hello, there, Patricia, my so,so very dearly special and so, so very dearly precious white sisterfriend Christian who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!! YOU are just ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, too, my so very dear friend and sister who you are For Always, Patricia!!!!!! I just a whole bunch so love and like this absolutely beautiful and blessedly inspiring blog post article of yours, sister!!!!!! I feel very uplifted in my very heart, and my very heart, soul, and spirit by you, sisterfriend, and also by your magnificent blog post article, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    I thank-you so for the great link which you have very graciously and generously provided, Patricia!!!!!! The lovely picture here and the great poem you contributed and featured just very perfectly complements this very fine and excellent, so very spiritual and Spirit-filled blog post article of yours, Patricia!!!!! I think of how I frame the word soul within my own mind, and my very heart, and very heart, soul, and spirit!!!!!! My very heartsblood and lifesblood just love and cherish our So Very Good, Loving, and Sweet God so and I want nothing more than to be pure in heart and just loving so our So Very Dearest and Darling God for God’s sake just to love-not for fear of punishment or what could happen to me in my afterlife-of course I love going to Heaven but to mainly love our Good God because God is Love and I want to love God back with all that I have within my human power and with all of my human being. Also, I want so and I yearn with all of my heartsblood and lifesblood to love all of our Good God Spirit’s children knowing that people are only doing their very best and loving our sisters and brothers as our Great Spirit’s children and being ever so patient and loving toward others as they make their way along their imperfect’s lives, journeys, and path! I so, so very much love and cherish you, Patricia, and all of our other Good God Spirit’s children. I think of my For Always love all of my life for white persons and reaching out to white persons, very, very especially you, Patricia, and other white women as the lesbian black woman who I am for you, sister, and other white women are my very, very heart so, so much!!!!!! I think of you, sisterfriend, my local white sisterfriends who I so, so very much love and cherish and who are my very heart, and all of you as white women who I so, so very much love and cherish and who are my very, very heart, and it is my very heartsblood, and lifesblood and an very integral part of my spirituality to love all of you with such deeply sincere and intense love and to reach out in the spirit of unity to all of you my so, so very dearest darlings!!!!!! I feel this so very deep, intense, and sincere love as a very basic part of my soul, my very heart, and my very heart, soul , and spirit, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! I know for certain For Always, that you, my so very dear friend, and other white women are doing your very best in this life, and that all people, too, are doing their best in this life for sure!!!!!

    When I think in terms of our afterlife for people, I do believe in Heaven but I don’t believe there is a hell at least not in the literal sense, sister. I think that our Good God is so, so very merciful, and that for people who are not going to Heaven that our So, So Very Merciful God just confronts them once they die and these people realize that they are not going to Heaven, and that God in God’s Great Mercy tells them why not, and that these people go to permanent sleep and lose their awareness so that they even though they are not in Heaven with no longer having an awareness they are just asleep and do not suffer. It is bad enough not being in Heaven for these people. Also, I don’t believe that a person has to be a Christian in order to be saved-there are very many, many paths to God and to spirituality, and I truly believe that all belief systems, or the lack thereof are just as equally valid. I like to think of all of this in this manner, sister-some people like to take certain roads to reach a particular destination while other people like to go a different route in order to reach the exact same destination, my so very dear sisterfriend Christian, Patricia!!!!!!

    Wow, sister, you have me feeling just so great, and greatly uplifted and inspired for sure, Patricia!!!!!!! You have such a blessed ministry and outreach for all of us as your very grateful and appreciate readers with your absolutely astounding with such inspirational brilliance blog post articles, and other remarkable writings!!!!!! I thank-you, thank-you, thank-you so for being the wondrously wonderful white woman who you are For Always, sister, and for your very sharp and keen writings!!!!!!

    Please have a totally terrific and a very thrilling Tuesday, a wondrously wonderful rest of your week and weekend, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!!! Thank-you so, so much for being your wonderful you and for your so very blessedly inspiring and uplifting writings!!!!!! I feel now so very rejuvenated in my very spirit, in my very heart, and my very heart, soul, and spirit, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so very dearly precious white sisterfriend Christian, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my so very dear friend, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.