Soul is a reality postulated from the universal experience of consciousness – the property of awareness attributed to all animate things.
As a general rule, consciousness is thought of in connection with the body – but the body cannot be it’s substance – it has already been shown that it is composed of the four Bhutas. Some thinkers maintain that when that these basic elements of nature combine and form a new thing – this new thing has special properties of its own – this may be true but does not apply to the body.
Think of it like this. Alcohol does not exist in the grain from which it is produced. But, once alcohol is produced intoxication is a property of every drop of alcohol as it is of the entire bottle. With the body this is not the case. Soul does not reside in all parts of the body (you can lose an arm but you won’t lose soul with it).
The body is a created thing and so must be made for a purpose of something other then itself (like an auto is made for the use of man, an automobile cannot drive itself). The mere existence of body, therefor implies the existence of something else – something to use it.
Soul is a permanent quality – without it memory would not be possible and neither could the feeling of self identity that we carry with us through life. From infancy to old age we pass through many physical (physiologists tell us that the cellular structure of the body is completely renewed every few years) and mental transitions yet we maintain a consistent sense of identity.
Consciousness inheres in Soul (Atman) as sound inheres in Ether (Akasa) – it is not essential to it – Soul can exist without the manifestation of consciousness. Consciousness only appears when Atman is in a special relationship with something.
Manas is derived from “man” – to thing, believe, imagine, suppose or conjecture. It translates as Mind and is used in a wide sense – it applied to all mental powers – intellect, understanding, perception, sense, conscience and will.
This reality is postulated from the fact that we observe occasions that the all-pervading Soul does not perceive an object, even though the sense (which are the souls instrument of perception) are in contact with it. This indicates that something else is in play – something is mediating between the soul and the senses. This is Mind.
The existence of mind is evident from the fact that we can perceive only one thing at a time. If indeed the Soul is all-pervading it should be able to receive impressions from all the sense at once.
Soul can only perceive objects by the means of some instrument of perception – such as the senses which reveal to it objects of the external world. What then accounts for perceptions of the internal world – ideas, thoughts and feelings? Mind is this instrument.
Forgetting and remembering are also experiences that are beyond Soul. An object that has left the field of senses and perception can pass in and out of the realm of consciousness. This is another quality and evidence of the existence of Mind.