In Advaita tradition, the word "soul" is rightly used by some advaitins to refer to the mortal jiva or sookshma sharira that transmigrates to heaven, hell, various lokas or other physical bodies after the death of the physical sheath.

And these same advaitins rightly uses the word "SELF" to refer to the immortal pinch/drop of Brahman namely the Atman, which is infinite, omnipresent and immovable (non-transmigratory).

And I agree with the claims of these Advaitins, because Gita ch.2 v24 says, that it's uncleavable (meaning the infinite space known as Brahman CANNOT be cut into small parts that could be later put inside each physical bodies for post-death transmigratory purposes).

Gita ch.2 v24 also says that the eternal Atman/SELF/Drop (the animating factor) is actually -

omnipresent/all-pervasive (sarvagatah),

stable (sthaanuh),

immovable (achala).

Also Gita ch.13 - v16 ... (in some editions it's v17) says that, IT appears to be divided in each beings as separate sparks, and yet IT is actually undivided (implying that both the ocean Brahman and the drop Atman is all-pervasive, omnipresent, undivided and immovable that never transmigrates).

From what I've read so far, the only reason it "appears" to be divided as separate sparks is due to the sheaths or limiting adjuncts.

So then who does all the travelling if it's not Atman? As per my understanding it's the Jiva or sookshma sharira that does.

What are your thoughts on this? Only advaitins should answer please. Thank you.

1 Answer 1


It's the subtle body that does the travelling.

'Just as a man gives up old garments and puts on new ones, so the embodied self abandons decrepit bodies and assumes new ones.'

Gita 2.22

What happens immediately after death? The answer is given in Gita 15.8 which says,

When he gets a new body or abandons an old one, the Jiva, the lord of the body, moves, carrying them (the mind and the senses) with him, as the wind carries smells from their seats (in flowers and the like).

Gita 15.8

What this means is that the physical body dies but the mind and the senses (the subtle body) leave the physical body.Persons who have not attained moksha are part of the life-death-life.... cycle.

  • how can senses leave physical body? please tell me.
    – blue_ego
    Jun 1, 2023 at 14:04
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    Eye, ear, nose etc. are not the real senses. The actual senses are in the subtle body. For example it is not the eye that sees. Read hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/54769/who-is-god-of-sight/… for explanation. Jun 1, 2023 at 14:30
  • I mean i get it but it is a silly way to say it. why not just say mind leaves? even if the eye doesn't actually see it is still necessary to "see" external forms
    – blue_ego
    Jun 1, 2023 at 14:45
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    @blue_ego I completely agree with Mr.Pradip's answer. It is indeed the mind that transmigrates ... This mind/subtle body is like a container that not only stores the memories of our Earthly existence but it also has "10 subtle senses", which it carries to the next birth ... It is important for us Advaitins to mention all the parts of the mind including the 10 subtle senses which are part of it and therefore we often say that the mind along with its senses leaves. Jun 15, 2023 at 8:26
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    @PradipGangopadhyay Thank you again for your wonderful answer :) Jun 15, 2023 at 8:32

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