Any Hinduism philosophy talks about or contemplation discussions on Why an Immortal soul requires a Mortal body? References appreciated.

  • Some of your doubts may be cleared by the answer given here hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/2442/11875
    – Just_Do_It
    Sep 1, 2020 at 19:21
  • Basically soul/Purusha is static immortal witness while body/Prakriti is dynamic time-based existence based on summation of old Karmas, gist of Geeta.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/13 Geeta 13.22 Know that prakṛiti (material nature) and puruṣh (the individual souls) are both beginningless. Also know that all transformations of the body and the three modes of nature are produced by material energy. When the puruṣh (individual soul) seated in prakṛiti (material energy) desires to enjoy the three guṇas,attachment to them becomes the cause of its birth in superior and inferior wombs.
    – user21800
    Sep 12, 2020 at 18:23
  • Geeta 13.25 Within the body also resides the Supreme Lord. He is said to be the Witness, the Permitter, the Supporter, Transcendental Enjoyer, the ultimate Controller, and the Paramātmā (Supreme Soul).' Basically above verses are explanation of third mahavakya 'Ayam Aatma Brahman'.
    – user21800
    Sep 12, 2020 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


The essence of the question is why did Brahman get involved in the universe by getting into bodies and physical things.

The standard theory in the Upanishads is that Brahman was “bored”. Brahman became the multiplicity of the universe because of desire to play multiple roles and be many individuals interacting with each other, instead of a single, boring existence.

See, of course, this theory is meant for our satisfaction regarding the ideal, not that this is the literal truth. That’s because the reason for the origin of the universe is a mystery. Why is there a universe? Because Brahman is ideal and perfect and self-fulfilled in every way, and has no lack of anything, no needs to be fulfilled. So the only conclusion we can draw is that Brahman was bored and wanted to play.

This above idea is also summarized in Brahmasutra 2.1.33:

लोकवत्तु लीलाकैवल्यम्

The creation of the universe is merely a sport for Brahman, just as seen in the world.

Examples from Upanishads:

Taittiriya Upanishad 2.6:

बहु स्यां प्रजायेयेति

May I become many, and have offspring

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.3:

स वै नैव रेमे तस्मादेकाकी न रमते स द्वितीयमैच्छत्

He (being alone) did not enjoy (i.e. he was bored). This is why a lonely person does not enjoy. He desired a second (individual separate from himself)

Again, the above description is not literal truth but an allegory, a symbol, a metaphor to explain a mystery that does not have an ultimate answer.

This is how the Brahman becomes many individuals. However when the individualized Brahman becomes attached to the individuality, that is the state of ignorance or avidyā. Here again, the question of why ignorance covered the individual does not have an ultimate answer. Avidyā is an observation in individuals, and ultimate Brahman-ness of individuals is also an observation. And the ultimate non-duality of Brahman is both logically and experientially proved. That is the important point. The ‘why’ question is not answerable.

But because the individual is also Brahman-substance, it has the potential to realize its Brahman-ness and thus release itself from the individual confines of a body. This is like when an earthen pot breaks, and the air inside the pot and the air outside become continuous. The only change is the removal of the boundary of the pot. The air inside did not change in order to become the air outside. This is from the “individual” perspective.

Brahman by itself is everything, so there is no sense of confinement for Brahman. This is play or entertainment. This is from the “universal” perspective.

So in other words, if the individual realizes its Brahman-ness, then it doesn’t matter if there is a body. Being Brahman, even the bodily existence is detachedly enjoyed as a play. But the trouble comes when the individual gets attached to the body itself, and so it experiences ups and downs originating in the ups and downs of the body, and get continually sucked into the roller-coaster of the body, thus forgetting its Brahman-ness.

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    अस्थास्यदेकरूपेण वपुषा चेन्महेश्वर: || महेश्वरत्वं संवित्वम तदत्यक्षद् घटादिवत् || "If the Highest Reality did not manifest in infinite variety, but reminded cooped up within its solid, singleness, it would neither be the Highest Power nor Consciousness, but something like a jar"
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Sep 2, 2020 at 3:51
  • Wow, always wondered why?
    – Adiyarkku
    Sep 2, 2020 at 6:32
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    @TheLittleNaruto Nice! The shloka reflects exactly what I've written many times about the contrast between Brahman concept and the Abrahamic "God" idea. See for example: qr.ae/pN2o1e
    – RamAbloh
    Sep 2, 2020 at 18:38
  • Good answer. The sports part I think is also expanded to include new games when the bodies mature in intelligence is also my thinking. The decisions To keep old games and make way for new ones and their respective simulations, I think, should also be upto the actors and sportsmen in the games themselves don’t you think? Who dare say nay? Ay? Sep 2, 2020 at 21:16
  • Some follow up: 1) What could be a real challenge for Brahman in such games? 2) What needs to be retained across games? Sep 2, 2020 at 21:21

Vivekanand provides a concise reason for why a soul needs a body : to express itself. If soul wants to express its divinity, it should take form of a body "The Hindu religion - complete works"

But why should the soul take to itself a body? For the same reason that I take a looking-glass — to see myself. Thus, in the body, the soul is reflected. The soul is God, and every human being has a perfect divinity within himself, and each one must show his divinity sooner or later. If I am in a dark room, no amount of protestation will make it any brighter — I must light a match. Just so, no amount of grumbling and wailing will make our imperfect body more perfect. But the Vedanta teaches — call forth your soul, show your divinity


I'd like to expand it further. Soul or Aatman is only satvik form of an existence. Karma is not possible with just satvik form. Rajas and Tamas are also important. That's why, we see every entity in Hinduism (Gods, demi gods, rishis etc) in some form of body, and they are always engaged in some karma. Tamas represents the body, while rajas represents the motion. Satva controls both the form of body and its motion and commits karma in the process. Satva tattva is higher in human body form than other forms of life, that's why human body is considered good for attaining moksha or clean up your karma.

But it's not only about life forms. Sun, moon, Ganga, Himalayas all have attained a body to provide divinity to this world and universe. Without the body, their divinity is not reachable to earthen beings. (Personally I believe they are just different form of souls with body or different living beings, but I guess modern science will disagree with this view).

As you can see, body is an essential component of universal law of karma and mere Aatman or soul is not sufficient. Body is a reflection of its soul and therefore its the soul which controls the body not vice versa. Therefore, soul always trumps body in existence.

  • Thanks. Can you clarify this? Since the room is dark and I have to light a match to see who I’m then doesn’t it imply that the dark is actually God and even fire is not, then why worship Sun and not the dark space? Where is a temple for just space ? Sep 28, 2020 at 3:16
  • I think Vivekanand used it only as a metaphor to explain body is not that useful without soul.
    – sbharti
    Sep 28, 2020 at 3:33
  • To ans your question in general, God is pervasive and there is no place or a thing which is not his manifestation. So in truest sense, there is no dark place, as dim or bright but light is everywhere. Of course, choice of worship always lies with worshipper as to what appeals him or her. You worship Kali for certain benefits, Shiva for others or Sun for something else, or even plain Akash as after all this universe is manifestation of God and so you are worshiping him after all.
    – sbharti
    Sep 28, 2020 at 3:41
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    Good. Thanks. Nasadaya Sukta mentions that and that is close to reality, I think. Darkness covered darkness and the spinning darkness produced heat and Light the realization to them as to what God actually is...Brahman the abstract principle in the form of light. What then could be Parabrahman, I wonder 😀 Sep 28, 2020 at 4:49

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