Answer: You have brought the idea of soul; let us not bring that idea immediately.
Soul can be later on discussed but the argument is that this change process of the body cannot occur unless there is behind it a stable substance. There is a stable substance, which is the base of change. That base must remain as it is, without a permanent there cannot be a change. This to our mind seems a contradiction but you think the other way round which I am telling you. If this is not so then what happens is that there is a one thing which occurs now that goes away, another thing comes but in which case, each one of them as long as it remains is permanent − is stable. Each one of them as long as it remains it is permanent, it is devoid of change.
Let us take the example of speech. Speech is nothing but succession of words. If there is no succession of words, if there is no punctuation between words, there is no speech; it can be sound at the most, but not speech. Even what you call sound, if you examine properly, actually you will find that there is punctuation, what is the punctuation between sound and sound, between word and word, if not silence. Silence is the base on which you can have succession of sounds, succession of words. You have not seen silence that is true; it’s only a rational faculty which is trying to understand how the words can make a string without a stable base. If there is no stable base, you cannot have the string of words at all. The speech will be impossible if there is no silence in between the two words.
Let us take some other larger examples. All change may be regarded as an effect. All change means an event which occurs after something else, even if you don’t use the word effect. Every event of change is that which takes place after something else. There is an antecedent and a consequent. You may call consequent, an effect and you may call antecedent a cause. In this whole universe you find that there is a constant succession, one after the other. It’s a very special characteristic of the world, which you call time. Time is nothing but something in which things happens one after the other. If it is a relationship of cause and effect in which effect comes after the cause then you may say that effect exists therefore, the cause must exist. If cause did not exist the effect could not have existed. The effect could not exist without the cause. That cause again is an effect of another cause. That cause again is an effect of another cause which must exist, this can go on, if it goes on and on, which never ends, which had never begun then this effect could have never existed. If it had never begun then this effect which I am seeing could have never existed. It must have begun somewhere, if it begins somewhere that thing itself must have not have been the effect. If it was the effect, again it would have started with some other cause. Therefore, that from which the whole cycle has started must be of such a nature that although it was the cause of all this but was itself not caused by anything. This must be, otherwise I can never explain this effect. Therefore, there must be something but not only anaadi, anaadi of a peculiar nature, anaadi of a stability character.
Anaadi can be beginning less also but not in that sense. It is such a beginning less that it is purely stable. It doesn’t need to go forward behind it to find itself. This you see by reason, effect exists therefore cause must exist. Therefore, there must be a cause, which itself is not caused by anything else. That which is not caused by anything else and yet which is the cause of all this is what reason perceives, must be. There is no now, here there is a necessity. It’s not that it may be, it may not be, it must be because this effect exists. Since effect exists there must be a cause and that cause ultimately must be of such a nature that it must itself not be an effect.
So, there must be a stability which is not caused therefore, it’s not a change of anything. If it was itself an effect it would have change. If it is not caused, it must be something which is not of the nature of an effect, therefore it is not of the nature of change. Therefore, by reasoning you come to the conclusion, you are not seeing that stability anywhere, but by reasoning, − this is what is called the perception of reason.
Question: In the Gita when it refers to the pearls being strung on a thread.
Answer: That thread is the stability, it is called the uncaused cause, a cause which is itself not caused by anything. In Latin it is called sue generis; sue means self, generis means produced, produced by itself that cause of which it is itself the cause. It does not need to go outside itself for its cause. Such a thing must exist, must be, because this effect is existing, which is very important argument. Effect is here, unless there is such a thing as this, effect couldn’t have been before me. This is called the rational perception of stability. This is what the reason tells us that there must be a stability and whereas with regard to all that is moving, you cannot definitely say it is, with regard to that you can always say it is − always present, always permanent; so the nature of existence is permanence.
Comment: In other words they also say that everything is changeable but change.
But there is another way that is not the same thing. It is simply a description of change. It’s only the word change. The word does not change while describing changes, but that is not the same thing as this. The permanent of which you are speaking is stable in its very character, in its very being. It’s not only the word that we are using. It is not the permanence of the word. This is permanence of what we call the substance. Even the other sentence which I have spoken last time “nasato vidhyate bhavo na bhavo vidhyate satah” that which exists, exists, it’s not as if it has now come and gone. That exists is that which exists and yet it is such an existent, which is capable of this whole movement because we arrive at this conclusion only from movement. If movement did not exist our whole conclusion would be finished. Movement exists in some way even temporarily; it is there and on account of that we are now led to conclude that there must be a stable that which does not move at all that which does not move yet moves and this is the paradox. But your reason is obliged to say this, you can’t help it. This is what is called the incorrigibility of the perception of reason.