So, it is said that human body is just a cover/dress which everyone leaves at death to continue their journey according to their Karma. But the human body has an identity, name, religion, community it was born into etc. Does soul retain these after death ? How does a soul get's identity in that middle phase between a death and re-incarnation. As per hindu rituals sraddha/pinda pradhan were done to the name /identity of that departed person how does that work when the soul doesn't have that identity anymore.
The following Summary is from Rśi Vaśiṣṭha Ramayanam and the letters of Sri Ramana Maharshi:
Jīva (also pronounced as jeeva), is the innate or primordial force that inherits this body. It tethers both the physical body (Sthula:Śarīra) and the subtle body (Sukshma:Śarīra), and wears it like a cloth. It is not bound by kālá/kālám (time), meaning it doesn’t age, nor grow weak. This Jīva makes one recognize one’s own existence in a given time but is not aware of its true self or its true source. It can be interpreted as a soul but is really nothing but agitation or vibration of Brahmān. This agitation within Brahmān is to create a temporary state of “absence-of-consciousness-of-Brahmān”, meaning Brahmān (the infinite awareness), with its infinite possibilities, thinks/creates a momentary agitation to temporarily mask the notion of the supreme consciousness. This temporary absence-of-consciousness-of-Brahmān is called the Jīva. Hence, Jīva is attributed to śakti (agitation) and not to Consciousness, whereas Ātman is attributed to Consciousness. This Jīva is unaware of itself and the supreme consciousness, so thinking and imagination manifest in its Antahkarana (psychological framework), and consequently the mind manifests as a psychological process.
A sloka from Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 of Sankhya Yoga, Sloka 13, in which Gitacharya (Sri Krishna) says:
देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा। तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति।।
Meaning, this innate Jīva that dwells within a physical body witnesses childhood, youth, old age, and death, but also takes up a new host body and continues the same cycle again. Hence, for this Jīva, there is no death and the wise who realize this have nothing to grieve.
Maharśi Vaśiṣṭha explains the passage of Jīva to Sri Rama in his Yoga as:
“when there is a cessation of the flow of the life-breath (prāṇa), the consciousness of the individual becomes utterly passive. When the life-breath ceases, the body is said to be ‘dead’ or ‘inert’. The life-breath returns to its source – air – and consciousness, freed from memory and tendencies, remains as the self. That atomic ethereal particle that is possessed of these memories and tendencies is known as the jiva: and it remains there itself in the space where the dead body is. That jiva now abandons its ideas and what it had been seeing till then and perceives other things as dreaming or day-dreaming. After a momentary lapse of consciousness, the jiva begins to fancy that it sees another body, another world, and another life span.” ~(Swami Venkatesananda. 1993)
Hence, the physical identity and the personal identity (Ahamkara) dissolve with the physical body, however the information is carried on and is never lost. This is how Buddha after certain state of Samadhi was able to invoke the memory of all his last lives. The attributes carried as information by the Jiva is called Samskaras and Vasanas.
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