By Prabhakar V Begde
Mar 12, 2011
Mind, body and self. There are three aspects to an individual. His persona as people think he is, as he himself thinks he is, and what he actually is.
People judge you mostly by your outward manifestation in terms of your personality, attire, the way you carry yourself and your status in society. You judge yourself by what you think you are capable of doing, while others judge you by what you have already done. An individual's perception about himself is mostly coloured by the twin conditions of self- importance and ego, albeit in varying degrees. Very few are keen to find out the real Self hidden within to ascertain one's true identity. Knowledge of the Self is one of the most important fundamentals of philosophy.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states, "Whosoever departs from this world without having realized his own inner world, to him, life has been of no service. It remains unlived, like unrecited Vedas or any other undone deed.
"It seems to me ridiculous", said Socrates, "when I am not able to know myself, to investigate irrelevant things." Augustine puts across the importance of Self-realisation a bit differently in his `Confessions' to convey the same meaning, "Men travel to gaze upon mountain heights and the waves of the sea, broad-flowing rivers and the expanse of the ocean, and pass by themselves."
In Self- awareness there is immense joy. The Self is Chetana, supra- consciousness, the knowledge of pure existence. All the pain and misery is a result of not knowing the Self. The divine in us manifests itself only when we subject ourselves to certain disciplines. The divine operates in us, but it requires an effort to make it shine forth. The epistemological corollary is that man gets knowledge by looking inward, either at his own consciousness or at the revelations it receives from another superior consciousness.
What is the difference between man and animal? When we look at animals, with their perceptual and instinctive consciousness, we observe the inadequacy of the principle of life. As life outreaches matter, so does the mind outreach life. There are forms of life without consciousness but there can be no consciousness without life. The mind in an animal is of a rudimentary character. As humans, we have the play of intelligence. Intelligence frames concepts and ideals, plans means for realisation.
Conditioning of the mind is the most important theme of Indian philosophy and the first step towards Self-realisation.
The body is called Kshetra, the field, and within it dwells the owner of the body and the Supreme Lord, who knows both the body and the owner of the body. Perfect knowledge of the constitution of the body, construction of individual soul, and the constitution of the Super-soul is known as Jnana. To understand both the soul and the Super-soul as one, yet as being distinct, is knowledge. According to the Bhagavad Gita, one who studies the subject matter of the field of activity as well as the knower of the field can attain to knowledge.
The prayer of every heart is outlined in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad thus:
"Asato maa sadgamaya, / tamaso maa jyotirgamaya, / mrityorma amritamgamaya." -- "Lead me from the unreal to the real, /Lead me from darkness to the light, / Lead me from death to immortality."
Source: Times of India