Ancient Indian philosophy had always rooted for the interconnection and interdependence between the senses and the soul. Senses affect the soul. A person who lets his senses go their own ways and gratify themselves will find his soul being affected to that extent.
In the same way, a person who lets his soul guide his senses will have as much bliss in this material world as anyone can have.
The quote by Oscar Wilde, “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul,” has a deep profound meaning.
What are the Senses?
A sense is a physiological capacity of organisms that provides data for perception and the nervous system has a specific sensory system or organ, dedicated to each sense. Human beings have five senses; those of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
The primary purposes of the senses are to help us to avoid any danger, to find food for survival etc. The senses also help in the enjoyment of life.
The problems in life start arising when we become obsessed with the senses in deriving pleasures for ourselves, more than relying on their basic functions for which they were created. Catering to the pleasures of life which these senses provide, leads to the decadence of the soul.
What is a Soul?
The word soul, although used in day to day conversations, is actually a very complex and abstract term. It is often used in religious and spiritual studies. However, there is no actual coherent definition offered. It is basically the essence of human life and is separate from its physical existence. It is something which survives after death.
In the Hindu traditions, soul is something that cannot be created nor destroyed. It is invincible and immortal. The Bhagavad Gita offers some detailed insight into soul.
Suffice to say that it stands for the higher ideals and concepts that differentiate a human from animals or other living things. The human soul is the highest level of human existence.
The Sense and Soul Connection
It is widely believed that a soul which is pure, affects our senses. Soul motivates people to perform karma, or their righteous duties. Senses, if not reigned or controlled, can corrupt the soul. This is the reason, in Hindu religions there is much emphasis on conquering the senses.
Senses have pleasure-seeking tendencies. But if one can conquer one’s senses and is not driven by its pleasure, he can satisfy the soul. The soul is satisfied by righteous actions.
Thus, both sense and soul complement each other perfectly. This, in brief, brings out the essence of this profound quote by Oscar Wilde.