After offering bowings to the five Supreme Souls (Parameṣthīs) with humility and getting himself volitionally undefiled, Prabhākara Bhatta requests Yogindradeva to learn about the element of pure soul.
“O Tord, infinite time has passed since I have been in this world. But I have not experienced any kinds of happiness here. On the other hand,
I have experienced a lot of sufferings. I request you Tord, please tell me how to alleviate these sufferings of the living beings infested with the penury of the four destinities.” On request from Prabhākara Bhatta, the saint-scholar Yogindradeva points out:
|(1) Extrovert soul (Bahirātmā)||(2) Introvert soul (Antarātmā)|
|(3) Supreme Soul (Paramātmā)|
The ignorant living being, absorbed in the modes (Paryāyas) of body etc. and associated with volitions of wrongness, binds many varieties of karmas leading him to wander in the weary world. He assumes the body as the soul.
Devoid of faith in the Supreme soul, he gets involved in twenty-five defects consisting of eight karmic filths (malas), eight prides, six nonabodes (Anāyatanas) and three idiocies.
This kind of living being enjoys the non-natural or defiled modes of existences like infernal and human etc. and gets away from the realisation of pure self. These causes lead him to wander in the five- fold world of substantivity, location, time, current birth and modes.
The introvert soul is defined as the right-faithed living being who is devoid of the above twenty five defects. The introvert soul understands that there is the same type of Supreme Soul residing in the body as resides in the abode of the salvated which is of the nature of pure knowledge.
The soul does not have colour, taste, smell and touch etc. as these are the properties of mattergy. The pure soul also does not have the defiled modes of attachment, aversion and ignorance etc. as these arise due to karmic effects. In fact, the introvert soul is pure, enlightened, unstained and passionless with respect to the pure standpoint.
The Supreme Soul is defined as that entity which is devoid of karmic filth, solitary, absolute knower, pure and eternal. The hving beings in whom the tetrad of infinity of knowledge, conation, bliss and potency has been manifested, are called the Supreme Souls.
The persons with the first three spiritual stages are called extrovert souls. The persons of fourth spiritual stage are called minimal introvert souls (Jaghanya Antarātmā).
The persons from fifth to eleventh spiritual stages are called medial introvert souls (Madhyama Antarātmā) depending on their degree of the stages.
The persons at the twelfth spiritual stage are called supreme introvert souls (Uttama Antarātmā). The hving beings at the thirteenth and fourteenth spiritual stages are called Supreme Souls.
The observances of the right-faithed person devoid of the above twenty five defects are known as ‘practices of righteousness’. They are also known as ‘Faith-based practices’. (Darṡanācāra). In contrast, the conduct or practices of those persons who have flawless conduct, is known as ‘practice of Restraint’.
The minimal introvert soul may become medial introvert soul by accepting and observing the vows as per his capacity. He accepts the vow of partial conduct. Later, the partially conducting votary accepts the sainthood for attaining the liberation.
He becomes the follower of differentiating Ratnatraya (Bheda-ratnatraya) and attachmental conduct (Sarāgacāritra). At this stage also, he is called medial introvert soul.
The same person exerts himself gradually to acquire nondifferentiating Ratnatraya (Abheda-ratnatraya) because the differentiating Ratnatraya is the ladder for the non-differentiating Ratnatraya. There can be no higher spiritual stages without the sixth-seventh stages in the form of differentiating Ratnatraya.