Hinduism: Whether inanimate things like rock, pot etc have athma (soul) in them ?

Substantiate your answer.


Thanks to govind ji for a great answer particularly citing the ‘Ahaligai vrithantham’ to elucidate the existence of soul in a rock from Ramayanam.

Thanks to Sri Vidya ji for answering with many quotes and putting to rest this perennial doubt hovering in many peoples minds.

Kulasekhara alwars famous Tirumala pathikam (Ooneru ….)is a classic and many of our friends might already be aware of those pasurams (Sediyaya valvinaigal …)

“Not only that Paramatma is also there. 'Vishnu' means ever pervading in each and everything.” -----This statement brings out the concept of Vishnu’s sarva vyapithvam ie. residing as antharyami in every athma. Hence all jada vasthu (non living things) are also bound to have a athma in them and in turn paramathma in every athma.

Tatva threyam explanation is apt in this juncture to reiterate the point. I request all our friends to read and reread his answer. A great lesson in a simple and authoritative way.

3 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    Rock, Pot have souls. Not only that Paramatma is also there. 'Vishnu' means ever pervading in each and everything.

    1) Nalayira Divya Prabandham (நாலாயிர திவ்ய பிரபந்தம், Tamil Veda), Perumal Tirumozhi, Fourth Decade:

    (i) Rock has soul, Verse 685:

    'செடியாய வல்வினைகள் தீர்க்கும் திருமாலே

    நெடியானே வேங்கடவா நின்கோயி லின்வாசல்

    அடியாரும் வானவரு மரம்பையரும் கிடந்தியங்கும்

    படியாய்க் கிடந்துன் பவளவாய் காண்பேனே' (2) 4.9

    'padiyai kidandu un pavala vai kanbene'

    Sri Kulasekhara Azhwar seeks to be born in this world again. It is not only that this Azhwar craves mundane births, but the things as which he wishes to be born are also extremely trivial-a tree, a fish, a bird in earlier verses.

    He would similarly prefer the janma of a STEP right opposite God's sanctorum, so that the holy feet of all the devotees leave their imprints on him. He would deem it a huge favour if he were permitted a birth as the pathway across the seven hills, sanctified by the stepping of millions of devotees.

    (ii) Honey has soul, Verse 686:

    'உம்ப ருலகாண் டொருகுடைக்கீழ் உருப்பசிதன்

    அம்பொற் கலையல்குல் பெற்றாலு மாதரியேன்

    செம்பவள வாயான் திருவேங் கடமென்னும்

    எம்பெருமான் பொன்மலைமே லேதேனு மாவேனே' 4.10

    Sri Kulasekhara Azhwar seeks to be born as honey in this world again at the seven hills.

    2) Dadhipanda Moksham (From Vishnupuranam ?):

    Krishna ducked into a house belonging to a potter called Dadhipandan. He sneaked into Dadhipandyan's workshop, chose the biggest pot there and climbed into it and hid himself there.

    Yasodha came to search Krishna later. Dadhipandyan an casually strolled over to the pot where Krishna was hiding and promptly sat on it to completely seal off Krishna from any danger of discovery.

    After Yasoda left Lord Krishna requested Dadhipandan to release Him. Dadhipandan wanted Lord Krishna to make a promise me to grant Dadhipandan "moksha" the salvation.

    Lord Krishna gave a promise that He can give moksha to Him and also to the ugly claypot (ghantam) where he was inside then.

    And thus ended the story in the Bhagavatham where a potter and his pot too, a piece of mere "jada", managed to extract the promise of 'moksha' from the God Almighty.

    This episode is poignant. It gives ordinary souls like us some hope that God will definitely shower on us his compassion even if we, as human claypots ("manushya-ghatam"), are unworthy of "moksha".

    3) Tatva Trayam:

    Chit (Chetana Vastu) - The sentient soul - The Jeevaatman.

    Achit (Achetana Vastu) - The insentient material - The non-living things.

    Iswara - Para Brahman - The God Shreeman Narayanan.

    The Achit is otherwise called "Achetana Vastu". It is real. It changes with time. It is insentient and thus has no knowledge and knows nothing and it exists for the Jeevaatman. It is the insentient material - the non-living thing. It is also called "prakruti - pradhanam". It is generally the combination of the three gunas - Satva, Rajas and Tamas in various proportions.

    The chit is the "chetana vastu". It is sentient soul - the jeevaatman. Our body is achit. Inside it (in the heart) is located the jeevaatman. It is "igyaana maya" - knowledge self and also has knowledge as its guna - attribute/charecteristic. This is called as its Dharma Bhota Ignyaanam. Chit has "svyam prakaasatvam" ie., it knows itself as "I" "Myself". It knows other things by using its "dharma bhota ignyaanam". It is finite - "Anu" (finite) Swaroopa. It has "aananda" (bliss) and "aananda maya". Like this countless souls are present in the universe. The igyaana of each soul varies from that of another because of the individual karma load it has from time immemorial. The soul is immortal and cannot be killed or burnt or soaked or treated by any materialistic manner. Its identity is - The Jeevaatman is the Sesha (Owned) & Daasa (Servant) of Shreeman Naaraayana. Shreeman Naaraayana is its only Seshie (Owner) & Prabhu (Lord). As per this real identity of itself, It has to do eternal service to Shreeman Naaraayanan alone.

    4) Pillar not only has a soul but also becomes Grand Mother to Brahma:

    "Dasavatara Stotram of Swami Vedanta Maha Desikacharya:

    Slokam 5 is on Narasimha Avatara:


    Yad pradur bhuvana davanthya jatarayadruchikkath vedasam,

    Ya kachith sahasa maha sura grahsdhoonapithamayabotth"


    Incarnation made one pillar of the home of the big Asura,

    Became the paternal grandma to Brahma and other devas.'

    Sri Swami Vedanta Desika says that the pillar in the Asura's palace had the luck which other pillars elsewhere in the world did not enjoy because it was from there Bhagavan emerged thus ending her sterility.

    Brahma is known to be "Pithaamaha" Grand-father. Vishnu is his father. By giving birth to Vishnu, the pillar had become Brahma's grandmother. He calls this Avatar "Yadrucha Hare" meaning that the Lord appeared instantly and no preparations were made by him for his incarnation.

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  • govind
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Self (not christian soul) in Vedic Terms, means IDENTITY.

    All sentient beings have a self. Even all material things that exist, with a name and/or form can have a 'Self' or Identity.

    Non-Substances (attributes) - Elements, Non-energy, Energy, Life and Sentience (qualities, senses,consciousness) reveal the Self, yet are different from 'Self'.

    Substances are divided into two.

    JADAM -Material Substance/in-sentient-non-selfaware, objects of knowledge

    Immovable - non-energy, E.g. Rock still cannot move, but can be identified by others.

    Matter - With Energy- E.g: cosmos, the solar plasma, radioactive,

    are movable/active and even useful, and identifiable.

    Plants - Life - non-sentient - doesn't feel anything, but still can grow, is identifiable

    -- These substances 'existing alone' may have a Jiva. We have an example of 'AHALIGAI' become a stone and relieved of a curse by Rama. The snake that bit pariksheeth was in a lemon. Sun, navagrahas are considered devatas with God as their Self . Some may be out there merely by God's will, like some of these material substances (food, elements ) become our body to perform our actions as in-sentient matter.


    Sentient Beings/non-material/self-aware/bhaddhAs(bonded):

    Animals/Humans - Life +Sentience - feels, has survival skills, is aware of 'Self' so

    saves itself for the reasons that are safe/healthy/useful for them.

    Just by the law of nature (karma in Vedic terms), their Self-ves are supressed without or with varying levels of consciousness/self-awareness. Such Self-Ignorance/Karma is the cause for the Various Names and Forms of nature.

    Pardon my errors, if any. I would suggest the foll. reference for correctness and completeness:

    Tattva Mukta KalApam

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  • 9 years ago

    I had a pet rock once, but it started peeing on the carpet so I drowned it

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