The text below presents Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.10.8-9. The entire Bhāgavatam is full of such profoundly deep knowledge and realization. Please devote your heart and mind to study of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.
Parīkṣit: Then the soul is not the ultimate refuge, the Supreme Soul is?
Śuka: The soul is the refuge of three treasures, but is not its own refuge.
Parīkṣit: Please explain! What are the three treasures the soul possesses?
Śuka: Individuality, divinity, and substance are the three treasures sheltered in the sanctuary of the soul.
Parīkṣit: How are they related?
Śuka: Where there is individuality there is a person, and a person certainly is also divine, but it is the person’s substance which stands between the two.
Parīkṣit: To understand this, it might help if I knew the tangible nature of three qualities.
Śuka: Individuality is tangible as consciousness – the awareness of things from a point of view.
Śuka: Divinity is tangible as the power of perception – the superior position of observer rather than the observed.
Parīkṣit: And substance?
Śuka: Substance is tangible as the senses which constitute a physical body.
Parīkṣit: In what sense does the body (substance) “stand between” consciousness (individuality) and perception (divinity)?
Śuka: In one sense as a conduit or interface: The bodily senses allow the consciousness to exercise its perception. In another sense as a divider, a blockage: Investing your individuality into an unreal substance cuts you off from your full divine nature.
Parīkṣit: Now I understand that the soul is the refuge of three treasures. Please explain why the soul is not its own refuge, and what the soul’s refuge is.
Śuka: These three qualities of the soul are relative to one another. The existence of one depends on the existence of the other. If one is absent, the others cannot manifest.
Parīkṣit: I understand. Conscious perception cannot manifest without sense organs, but sense organs are useless without consciousness and the divine power of perception.
Śuka: A fourth entity possesses and utilizes these three, she is the “soul” – the true self. That true self is a treasure in turn possessed by the supreme self. So, three treasures are sheltered in the soul, and the soul is an entity sheltered by a being who is his own shelter. Thus the ultimate refuge of everything is the Supreme Soul.