Like does it lie in our apparent heart, not the physical heart, like the place were we feel emotions? I am not able to understand it.

They say soul never dies. It is inside us and self-realisation is important. Do we see the soul after self-realisation or during it?

They say a teacher will show you god inside you. I believe they are talking about soul like a teacher will show you something inside you. They say we (our pure self) are the god themselves. So please explain.

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    "They say..." who ? "Where does a soul lie in our body ?" Maybe there is no soul... – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Mar 7 at 14:37
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    @MauroALLEGRANZA Saints here say all that. somebody told me Vivekananda said after he shows god within you trust him blindly (he was talking about teacher) – AllahMaalik Mar 7 at 14:44
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    With Advaita Vedanta, I would not think of the soul as a thing or object to be found. This thing we may call soul is at one with Brahman. But I am no expert in this area. – Gordon Mar 7 at 20:13
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    This is a duplicate of Where does a Soul attach to the Body? on Hinduism SE. The answer is subtle. The literal translation of Upanishads says "in the heart", but this is often taken metaphorically and/or interpreted as the intellect. Given the role of Atman in the mature Indian philosophy, the question does not make sense. Atman (=Brahman) is not a spatiotemporal entity to be "located" anywhere. – Conifold Mar 8 at 0:55

Rather than thinking of the soul being in the body, it might be more useful as a habit of thought to think of the body, since it is dependent on the soul, as being in the soul with the soul being analogous to a living field giving the body life.

This is how Dominic O'Meara describes Plotinus' interpretation of why Plato "places the body of the world 'in' soul" in the Timaeus (36de) (page 26):

The most important, I think, is the interpretation [Plotinus] proposes of the word in', in so far as it concerns the relation between immaterial and material reality. In Greek 'in' can mean to be 'in' someone's or something's power, to be dependent on this power. In this sense immaterial being is 'in' nothing as not depending on any body for its existence. On the other hand body, as dependent on soul, can be said to be 'in' soul, just as material reality depends on or is 'in', immaterial being.

Based on a comment the OP is more interested in Vivekananda rather than Plotinus. However, I suspect this view from Plotinus of the soul's presence as an immaterial being may help at least make sense of what Vivekananda might be referring to. The "god inside you" may be the god you are inside.

O'Meara, D. J. (1995). Plotinus: an introduction to the Enneads. Oxford University Press on Demand.


Buddha set a good example on this topic, by beginning any discussion like this by asking exactly what is meant by soul. This is no small matter, not easily determined, and views tend to be influenced by not only religious traditions but many social and cultural factors eg. literature.

I like Aristotle's views On The Soul. He proposed a kind of 'multiple soul', based on his carefully derived definition, with something like: biological nature, supervened over by nervous system, supervened by conscious nature. He saw these souls as located in our whole bodies and conditioned by them, even though he thought the conscious nature could survive without the body.

What might survive the body is not an easy question for people that believe this. In the West afterlife ideas are generally shaped by revelation from holy people, although heaven and hell were not clearly articulated in scripture (the Myth of Er recounted by Plato is a counter-example, a near-death experience) . In India ideas about rebirth are generally shaped by holy people who claim direct knowledge and recall of past lives. This faces two main problems: what survives transmigration in someone with no memory of past lives, and given that memory is a key aspect of personality how much is someone the same peson as the person in a past life? It seems some level of abstraction is at work, the later self inheriting how use of the conscious mind had conditioned, rather than memories in nearly all cases.

In the Yogacara school of Mahayana Buddhism, they extend the wider Buddhist model of six consciousnesses associated with five senses and the mind, to a total of eight consciousnesses. In this view, mind is more 'fundamental' than matter, and the persistence of things to different senses is a mental, karmic, process. The most abstract eighth consciousness of people is what transmigrates and is reborn, because it exists in a layer of phenomenal organisation called'storehouse consciousness'. A way of interpreting that might be, that at the more abstract level we become increasingly like archetypes, representative personality types, who encounter and respond to similar events in similar ways, and will get caught by similar karmic traps, until countervailing patterns and templates and resolutions liberate them. Buddhism though consistently challenges the idea of any persistent essence, and instead pictures causally linked chains of phenomena, like lighting one candle from another.

Treating the soul as a litle homunculus sat inside us is a category error. I suggest we need to think of different layers of organisation and abstraction, to find anything that can meaningfully be called a soul.


We need to do some distinctions here. There is more then one way to understand the term soul. In some classical philosophies and some moderns like Descartes, the soul of a man is a complete substance, that do not depends of the body, this is called dualism, in a more modern term. The soul being a substance, could in principe be in "other places" or "other bodies". It is more like a ghost, in some naive sense, that maybe you could make a point in the position of the soul to respecto o the body.

In some different way, the tradicional thomist based on an aristotelian notion of a man (as any being, there is a hylemorphic nature, i.e., there is matter and form), the soul is defined as the form of a man, as in the catechism of the catholic church:

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

So, in this sense there is only one substance "the man", that have two aspects, matter and form, and the aspect of the form we call soul. For Thomas Aquinas, the soul is not material because the mind is immaterial, but the soul in linked to the body in some sense. Not the "whole" soul survives the death of the body, in this sense, just the mind. In this case, clearly you can't speak about the soul "being" in some place, because it is not a substance, it exists in the thing with the matter.

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