By Visakha Devi Dasi What if the soul is the bodyís source of life and consciousness, as the sun is the universeís source of heat and light? What if life doesnít come from a perishable, chance combination of material elements? As a photojournalist exploring Mumbai, these musings coaxed me from blaring car horns and teeming streets to some curious transcendent possibility. The mythical, irrelevant idea of jivatma began delicately to undermine what had been for me a lifetime of hidden hopelessness: whatís the point of life, of peace, of accomplishment of anything if everything is a fleeting combination of elements? Why distinguish evil from honorable, orderliness from mess? And why work so hard? More than a consoling theory to save me from confusion and gloom, without my intending it, the plausibility of jivatma gradually changed my perception. Early one morning, before Mumbaiís bustle began, I watched a bullock cart lumber up to one of the cityís most popular sweet shops. Immediately, four robust men from the shop began unloading the cartís six twenty-gallon aluminum containers of fresh milk
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