You know the size of your physical body, but do you know the size of your soul? Is it too big or too small?
Vedic scriptures like the Svetasvatara Upanisad, Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad and Chaitanya Charitamrita explains the size of the soul.
What the Vedic scriptures say about the size of the soul?
Svetasvatara Upanisad (5.9) says the following things about the size of the soul:
balagra – sata – bhagasya
satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah
sa canantyaya kalpate
“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.”
Chaitanya Charitamrita also says the same thing about the size of the soul.
jivaḥ sūkṣma-svarūpo ’yaṁ
saṅkhyātīto hi cit-kaṇaḥ
“ ‘If we divide the tip of a hair into a hundred parts and then take one of these parts and divide it again into a hundred parts, that very fine division is the size of but one of the numberless living entities. They are all cit-kaṇa, particles of spirit, not matter.’ Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 19.140
Let us see what Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad says about the size of the spirit soul.
eṣo ’ṇur ātmā cetasā veditavyo
yasmin prāṇaḥ pañcadhā saṁviveśa
prāṇaiś cittaṁ sarvam otaṁ prajānāṁ
yasmin viśuddhe vibhavaty eṣa ātmā
“The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, samāna and udāna), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.” Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.1.9)
So, all the above three scriptures say the same thing about the size of the soul.
As per these scriptures, the size of the soul is one ten – thousandth (1/10,000) part of the tip of your hair.
Size of the soul is same in all the living entity of this material world
Size of the soul is same in every living entity. Whether it is the ant’s body, or elephant’s body, or your body, or mine body the dimension of the soul, the spiritual spark, is the same.
It means that if you take the tip of your hair and cut it into ten – thousand parts then one of the extremely tiny parts is the actual size of the soul.
Where does the soul reside?
Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad explains that the soul which is atomic in size resides within the heart.
Bhagavad Gita says that soul is invisible and inconceivable
Although too small within the body, soul is extraordinarily powerful. Soul cannot be seen with material eyes nor through any material means.
In Bhagavad Gita 2.25, Krishna says that soul is invisible (avyaktaḥ) to our material eyes. You can stand in front of the mirror and can see your physical self but not your soul. A doctor can open your body and see many things inside it, but not your soul. A very powerful microscope which can see extremely small objects also cannot see the soul. Why?
Because soul is spiritual and not material. This is why Krishna describes the soul as inconceivable (acintyaḥ). Unless we become completely pure, we cannot see the soul.
But we can experience the presence of the soul in our body.
How to perceive the soul in your physical body?
You can perceive the soul in your body through consciousness. Soul is the source and cause of consciousness. The emotions which you and I experience and the pleasures and pains which we go through in our life is because of consciousness. If there is no consciousness in the body, it means the body is dead. Which in turn means that the soul has left the body.
The body lying on the deathbed may have everything – eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, leg, heart, lungs, kidneys, bones, flesh and so on. Physically the body is complete. But still, it is dead. Because the soul has left the body, so the body cannot function.
Soul is the active principle in our body. It gives energy to the body. Soul never dies. Soul can stay inside the body only for a limited period of time which is allotted to him by God. When the time ends, the soul has to leave the body. And then it has to look for another body in this material world.
Based on his karma it gets a new body and a new destination. If the karma is good soul gets higher birth, even goes to higher planets in this material universe. If the karma is bad, then soul has to suffer. Soul even gets an animal body which is full of misery if it has committed many sins.
Is the size of the soul always one ten – thousandth (1/10,000) part of the tip of the hair?
No. In this material world as long as the soul occupies a material body, its size is one ten – thousandth (1/10,000) part of the tip of the hair. But once the soul regains its original spiritual nature then it has its own spiritual form and size which is not one ten – thousandth (1/10,000) part of the tip of the hair.
Within the material body, the soul is present in seed (bija) form. But it is not that the soul is always extremely small. One should also not conclude that soul does not have any form or soul means some kind of light.
Soul is spiritual. It has spiritual attributes. It has its own spiritual identity and form(sarupa). But in this material world because of material coverings and contamination, the soul is not able to exhibit its spiritual attributes.
In this material world, to function, soul is given a material body and the soul resides within the physical body in a seed form. Soul gets a specific material body to reside based on its karma and desire. Till the time soul has material desires, it continues getting new physical bodies.
Soul regains its spiritual form once it becomes pure
But once the soul becomes free from all material desires, it does not need any physical body. It regains its original spiritual form.
For example, sage Narada is pure, is free from all material contaminations, so his body is spiritual and not material. He does not need any physical body to function. Similarly, the gopis and gopas of the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavan, are all pure and does not have material bodies. They have spiritual bodies.
So, if the soul becomes pure then like sage Narada or gopis or gopas, the soul will regain its spiritual form. Once the soul will have spiritual personality then it will start exhibiting spiritual qualities.
As a spiritual person, the soul will return back to the spiritual world. There as one of the associates of the Supreme Lord, the soul will reside along with other pure devotees of the Lord.
As a spiritual person, the size of the soul is as per the form(svarupa) in which it serves the Lord in the spiritual world.
- Size of the soul in the material body is one ten – thousandth (1/10,000) part of the tip of the hair. This is confirmed in Svetasvatara Upanisad, Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad and Chaitanya Charitamrita
- Soul resides in the heart of the body according to Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad.
- Soul is spiritual but the soul within the physical body has material coverings, so it is not able to exhibit spiritual qualities.
- Once the soul becomes pure it regains its spiritual form or spiritual personality.
- As a spiritual person the soul’s size is not one ten – thousandth (1/10,000) part of the tip of the hair. But its size is as per the form (svarupa) in which it serves the Lord in the spiritual world like Goloka Vrindavan.