Am I the body, mind or something more? These are the age old questions that every philosopher throughout the ages has tried to grasp and understand. After all, how will you know what to do in life if you do not even know who or what you are? However, the ancient Vedic literature of India has provided the clearest answers that have been found anywhere to answer these questions.

Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.2.22) explains that the spirit soul has no death and is eternal and inexhaustible. He is completely different from the material body, but because of being misled by misuse of his slight independence, he is obliged to accept subtle and gross bodies created by the material energy and thus be subjected to so-called material happiness and distress.

The eternal nature of the self is explained in Bhagavad-gita by Lord Sri Krishna where He specifically says that there was never a time when He did not exist, nor any of the living beings, including you. Nor shall any of us cease to be in the future. The embodied soul continually passes from boyhood to youth to old age in this body. Similarly the soul enters another body at the time of death. But for one who is self-realized, there is no bewilderment through such a change.

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, undying and eternal. He is not slain when the body dies or is killed. As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

Spiritually, we do not die; yet, the body is used until it is no longer fit to continue. At that time, it may appear that we die, but that is not the case. The soul continues on its journey to another body according to its destiny.

Soul is a particle of consciousness and bliss in its purified state of being. It is not material in any way. It is what departs from the body at the time of death and, in the subtle body, carries its mental impressions, desires and tendencies, along with the karmic results of its activities from one body to another. To understand and perceive this self, which is our genuine spiritual identity, is the real goal of life. Such a realization relieves one of further material existence. As it is explained, those who have purified their consciousness, becoming absorbed in spiritual knowledge and absolving any impurities in the mind, are liberated from karma that frees them from any future births. They are free from any more births in the material world and are delivered to the spiritual atmosphere. How to do this is the ultimate accomplishment of human existence.