Chapter 4: This Is a Time of Crisis
For example, a man is blind. One may feel that perhaps he is only able to see darkness. This is illusion. Even to see darkness, eyes are necessary. Without eyes, it is not possible even to see darkness. You may close your eyes and think that because you are seeing darkness it is possible, but you are making a mistake. While you close your eyes, your eyes do not cease to be there; you do not become blind. If you become blind after once having had eyes, then you will know what darkness is. But for the one who is blind since birth it is not possible to know what darkness is, because darkness is also an experience of eyes. You experience darkness with the same medium used to experience light. One who is blind since birth cannot know what darkness is.
You hear through your ears. In language, we may say that one who has no ears is not hearing. But that state of not hearing is also not known to those who are deaf. Ears are necessary even to know that you did not hear. It is just like eyes being necessary to know what darkness is. Non-movement is possible only through that sense in which there is movement. If there is no sense, there is no experience of non-movement. In the bodiless state, the soul can neither speak nor remain silent. There is no instrument for speaking or for remaining silent. All experiences are dependent on the instrument - on the body, on the senses.
But this does not mean that such a bodiless soul has reached liberation. The descriptions of a soul in liberation and one that is in the interval between life and rebirth may appear similar. What then is the difference between the liberated soul and the one that is in this interval? The difference is of potentiality, of seed existence.
During the bodiless existence, the interval between two bodies, the experiences and impressions of all previous births remain with the soul in seed form. As soon as the soul acquires a body, they will become active. For example, if we cut the feet of a person, his experiences of running will not disappear. Without feet he can neither run nor stop, because if he cannot run how can he stop? But if he acquires feet, all of his experiences and impressions will become active again and he will be able to run if he wants to.
It is like taking away a car from a person who has always been driving. Now he cannot drive a car or press an accelerator - because he has no car. Neither can he apply brakes to slow down. But his experiences of car driving remain with him. He is out of the car, but his experiences of driving remain with him in seed form. If he acquires a car after some years, he will be able to drive it as soon as he puts his foot on the accelerator.
The liberated soul becomes free of these impressions, whereas in the interval between two bodies the soul only becomes free of the senses, the instruments. In liberation, all experiences, impressions and desires are destroyed. In both conditions of the soul, there is one similarity - that there is no body. But there is one dissimilarity. In liberation there is neither body nor the chain of bodily experiences. In the interval between births, though there is no body, there is a great chain of body-related experiences existing in seed form which can become active at any time upon acquisition of a body.