1. Rebirth and the Soul
When we use the term "I" or "Me" we refer to it as a single, atomic entity. A combination of our body, our intellect, our emotions, our memories, etc.
But in spiritual terms, the meaning of "I" is different. Our single self is divided into different parts:
- The Body, and all the things which come with the body, namely our senses, our intellect, emotions, etc. This Body is the material component. It encompasses all the things which die when our body dies.
- The Soul (also called Jiva or Atma). This soul is the spiritual component. The part which does not die when we die.
The Body is like a house for the Soul. When we die, it is like our soul leaving the old house (old body) and entering into a new one (new body) when we are reborn.
The Soul is eternal. It never dies. It just changes houses.
The Body also houses another entity: Paramatma or God. There is a piece of God in each of us. In this capacity as Paramatma, He is like an observer. Or more like an accountant. Whenever we take any action (good/bad), our Soul (Atma) asks permission from God (Paramatma) and then proceeds to carry out that action. And He just notes down that action in our account/journal. This account of ours, where our deeds are noted down, is our Karma account.
This piece of God (Paramatma) is like our spiritual Siamese twin. He follows the Soul (Atma) everywhere. From birth to birth. From body to body.
Hence, in further discussions, we will merge Atma and Parmatma together and refer to them as the Soul or Jiva.
The following illustrations shows the process of death and rebirth, when a soul leaves the old body (which is dead) and enters a new body.