The spiritual teachings of the Vedas say that every living entity is made up of a gross body, a subtle body (by which is meant mind, intelligence and an everyday sense of self/false ego) and the soul. Of these three, only the soul is permanent and is therefore the real self. The soul’s origin and ultimate destination is the spiritual world. The soul or real self is eternally blissful and wise.

The fundamental point a practitioner has to understand in order to progress spiritually is that they are not their body or mind and the material world is not their permanent home. As long as they have desires and attachments for things in the material world their actions (Karma) will result in them having to take another material body once the current one dies.

What type of body they get next is determined by their desires, actions (Karma) and what they were thinking of at the time of their death. If, however, they have developed such an attachment to God that their desires and actions reflect this and at the time of death they think of God, then they will permanently shed their gross and subtle body and return to the spiritual realm.

Developing surrender to God and hence detachment from the material is achieved through a number of practices including reading and hearing scripture, congregational chanting and deity worship, however, prayer and mantra meditation are the main processes. As one progresses, one starts to uncover the real nature of the soul and qualities such as forgiveness, tolerance, kindness, honesty, mercifulness and unconditional love manifest themselves.

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