How do we approach Self-realization if that means finding Essence which is always with us? There are some blockers in recognizing the most obvious, and few are around attachment to the world for pleasures and power, others are around confusion & myths regarding the process of realization also. If we trace the root problem and align our spiritual practices accordingly then tackling blocking issues becomes easier and solutions effective. In spite of so many sublime texts and lectures, there are some serious challenges on the clarity of blockers and what needs to fix. Without clarity of root issues and who needs to be free and from what, confusion and self-doubts linger in one’s life to a good extent.
There are many doctrines and belief systems which stress on purification of body, mind, and intellect or have perfect control of them. Some stress on listening, ten times of that contemplation and further 100 times of contemplation time should be spent in meditation and crystallization of truth conveyed in the core. For every stage dos and don’ts are defined, and after completing one level move to the next level of purification etc. etc. Many such spiritual practices may be true to some extent and benefitted many but need a lot of patience on seeker’s part and long waiting period. In modern times when people have degraded in patience and strength, he may lose interest in going through all these hardships and practices to achieve a long hanging fruit of Self-realization and may give up on the idea of self-realization well before starting.
Fortunately, by the grace of Bhagwat Gita and texts from few revolutionary saints, there have been some exclusive findings concluding to simple, easy and body-mind-intellect independent approaches to Self-realization. The current chapter is dedicated to details of how independent we are in realizing the Self and living a fulfilled life. It encourages using our discerning power rather than spending time in purifying mind-body or controlling it, and releasing unexamined assumptions instead of taking help of mind-body in spiritual practices because attachment to mind-body is key blocker which gets strengthened even during spiritual practices involving dependency of these instruments. How one can be free of something it considers as means of attaining freedom? It’s clearly difficult and so detachment is the way and not dependency on mind-body.
Generally, we believe that we need to do something to achieve something or reach somewhere, change current situation to better, or practice enough to achieve a better state of consciousness. All these are myths as what is the use of action, practice or skill if the Truth is already there where we are; already present in place we begin our journey from. We are not interested in God or Truth that is available somewhere but absent in other places. Something that is limited and confined to certain place what good it will do to us if found? We are interested in connecting to infinite, omnipresent, all-time-present, all-powerful and the one who belongs to All; one that is everywhere is here too, one that is at all times is now also, one that belongs to all is mine too. This is what real freedom means, isn’t it? Scriptures and Sages confide that our need for such a freedom is the greatest evidence of its Existence. One cannot feel the need if that thing doesn’t really exist.
So with this premise for Essence, it is clear that any practice or effort is not needed. Efforts could be useful for the world if we contribute, try to make it a better place and help others but its dependency on Self-realization is a myth. In fact, considering efforts necessary for Self-realization is blocker instead of help. And if we direct our efforts to the service of the world, then we gradually detach from actions and its fruits and this detachment helps and not the actions or any outcome of actions. Furthermore, if action is for this world and not for the inner journey, then the action-enabling instruments too are of no use for Self-realization. All these instruments are part and parcel of nature and help in myriad functions of nature but not to the Self in the attainment of real freedom.
So what is instrumental in realizing Essence?
Discerning power – the discrimination capabilities, which helps us know what is transient or permanent, what is wrong or right, what is just or cheating. It helps in knowing transient nature of the world, the falsity of worldly attractions, and uselessness in attachments to relations, and thus shifting our attention and importance back to the Self and recognizing it as it is. This discerning power is already bestowed upon all human beings.
If we all have prudence packaged in being then why we still suffer and not gain real freedom?
Because we don’t use it or rather use it just for bread and butter and keep ignoring out of momentum to seek temporary satisfaction in sense pleasures and accumulation of power and money for security, pleasures, and boosting our ego. We know that this body will die, nothing is permanent, many times the hollowness of worldly success is proved, still, we keep ignoring this wisdom and keep hankering for temporary and fleeting satisfaction – this is disrespect to wisdom – our own discerning power – the rarest gift given in this human form. All other life forms also have some sense but that is primarily for supporting life and only humans have been given some extra freedom to act, think and believe and this higher intelligence is purposely given to gain freedom from sufferings and birth-death cycles. But due to attachment to pleasures and accumulations, human beings have fallen below even animals and actually moving to hellish lives, intense sufferings and journey of further birth-death cycles in restrictive life-forms post-death. Attachments keep the wisdom in service of accumulating wealth, searching new ways of enjoyments, harming others if they block us in fulfillment of desires – all this makes humans worse than animals. Animals are governed by nature, living in natural restrictions but human beings are free and so have a responsibility to use their freedom rightly and evolve to awakened levels. Animals are settling their Karmas and evolving to next levels but human beings, if don’t respect their own wisdom, are creating a fresh Karmic overload to settle in future.
“Kamopbhog-Parma Etavaditi Nishchitah” (Gita 16 | 11)
Meaning – Lord Krishna describing nature of disoriented humans says that they just gather a lot of money and indulge in pleasures, and conclude foolishly that whatever life and beauty is there, it is in power, possessions, and pleasures only. Nothing exists beyond it.
Having human form is such a rare opportunity and so makes them accountable too, and so we must always value higher intelligence and never do something against our own wisdom.
All it means – we have to develop, use and awaken our discerning power. More we use it and become aware, false structures will drop giving way to fullness of life that expresses as service and love in outer world and peace and freedom for the Self.
The core mistake
Every human being has 2 elements – human form from Nature & Being or consciousness element from Essence. Lord Krishna in Gita has described Nature as the bundle of 8 elements; Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, Mind, Intellect, and Ego. Out of these 8, the ego becomes the source of problems when consciousness (self) is identified to it and believes ego its sole identity. This virtual fusion of consciousness with “I” element of Nature is the core mistake. Once we believe it as our core identity then defending, strengthening, securing and fulfilling its desires become our life-objective and root tendency. Same identification knot is highlighted by Saint Tulsidas in Ramayana
“Jad Chetanhi Granthi Pari Gai | Jadyapi Mrisha Chhootat Kathinai” || (Manas 7 | 117 | 2)
Meaning – This is such a surprising and complicated knot of consciousness and matter (“I” element of Nature), which is false and virtual, but hellish difficult to solve or dissolve.
Consciousness is unchangeable and nature is a constant flow of change, former is ever present while later is constantly winking in and out of existence. The play of consciousness and matter is also going smooth and happens conflict-freely. It means, all actions whether wrong or right, worthy or useless are supported by Existence only, as that is the base of everything. All desires of pleasures or Ego drives – all are supported by Existence only. But yes, curiosity to know or experience the Truth drives away all desires and ego-centric projects. From this angle curiosity of Existence is much more important than the Existence itself, as it triggers the clearing of unworthy elements.
Human beings have desires due to “Ego” element and have curiosity due to the presence of consciousness in them. If one lives under the influence of desires then he is never going to find fulfillment in life, even if he gets the most powerful position in this Universe. Reason is, nature is constantly changing and the identification is baseless, and so substance which is blissful, unchanging by its very nature, how can it be satisfied with something that is changing and having no real Existence. All it can do is keep hopping from one desire to next and remain in waiting-and-wanting state.
On the other hand, if one gets sincerely inquisitive for truth then curiosity awakens discerning power which helps in seeing the ego separately from consciousness, and this leads to the dissolution of ego and attachments leaving behind only pure consciousness. Once this realization dawns then life is complete – nothing further to be done. Until all attachments are removed away, one’s life is not complete, no matter how many books one may read or write, render influential lectures but will not have lasting peace.
So, what is the net gain in the realization of truth and key factors which matter?
What change happened as consciousness was already there with us ever? Yes, no additions but the realization of substance which is always and already present in us occurs when the detachment from ego and desires is attained. Experiential understanding, loss of desires and attachments which cause endless sufferings is the irreversible gain. And this was enabled by strong desire to know the truth, to find meaning, to see God or find HIS love. This means, intense curiosity strengthens and awakens discerning power for a purpose which enables detachment to the momentary world. Detachment leads to disinterest in the world and ego dissolution. Ego dissolution wanes possessiveness and controlling tendencies automatically i.e. “me” and “mine” factors get settled. Ego, when dissolved, leads to Self-realization. Thus, no instruments like mind-body-intellect are helpful in Self-realization, the only thing that we need is valuing wisdom, turning away from indulging tendencies, and awakening further the discerning power by a strong desire for the attainment of God or curiosity to know the Self.
Dissolution of Doer-ship and Enjoyer-ship
In ignorance, when consciousness attaches to matter (body-mind-intellect) as “me” and “mine” then it spawns many other serious issues, of which we remain affected all our life without knowing where the source of problems is. Those are:
- Egoism or Arrogance: We discussed in detail above as core error.
- Attachment to body-mind-intellect as “mine” – Possessiveness, ownership sense on things and controlling persons, demanding rights from others, worry about people in “mine” circle only. This short boundary of “mine” keeps feeding false little “me” and vice versa. Love and compassion are restricted to the boundary of “mine” and so strengthens worries, attachment for the inner circle, restricts life and flow.
- Doer-ship: Looking from one angle of truth there is no action happening in the Self nor it is ever needed for Self, and nor it does any actions. It is the base of all activities happening in Nature but is not the doer actually. Instruments that enable internal or external functions belong to Nature-bundle. This wrong assumption of doer-ship in the Self, strengthens ego and engages in endless activities for me and mine world, breeds compulsiveness in actions, and attachment to fruits of actions.
- Enjoyer-ship: When the Self assumes itself as doer then it claims for credit and fruits of actions too. Thus become the enjoyer and strengthens the attachment to pleasures, deepens the false impressions in the brain which further engage in a vicious loop of waiting, wanting, joys of fulfillment and sorrows of unfulfilled desires. This goes on and on until we wake-up by some grace or get fed up with these vicious loops and give up totally on greed for pleasures.
Thus apart from egoism & “mine-ness”, the other two major issues are doer-ship and enjoyer-ship which reinforces ego, possessiveness, bondage, Karma, desires, and sufferings.
How much we suffer from doer-ship ego can be figured out by the amount of interest we take in the credit of work done, and burden of work left to be done, or self-contractions we feel when complimented for work. All these issues are add-ons with the doers-ship package.
In all instruments which make action possible, the doer is the key one. Consciousness identifies with ego and then ego takes the role of doer temporarily during task-execution. Doer and enjoyer are only ego forms which ego-mixed consciousness takes. The birth of doer is actually the result of unexamined assumption and same is condemned at a number of places in Gita.
“Ahankaar Vimudhhatma Kartahamiti Manyte” (Gita 3 | 27)
Meaning – Self ridiculously assumes himself as doer under the influence of Egoism.
“Tatreivam Sati Kartaram Atmanam Kevalam Tu Yah |
Pashtya-Krit-Budhhi-Tvanna Sa Pashyati Durmatih || (Gita 18 | 16)
Background to this verse is that Lord Krishna tells about the five factors which enable the actions, whether worthy, useless or harmful. Those 5 action enablers are:
- Place where all actions take place – Body.
- The owner of an action – The doer – Consciousness in identified state.
- Instruments – external limbs, senses, mind, intellect and ego
- Varied tendencies of instruments
- Conditioning, bent or nature – the momentum of actions and stored impressions together can be referred as nature or conditioning.
After telling these 5 enablers of every Karma, Lord Krishna says – “if one sees the pure consciousness as the doer then his perception is not right because his intelligence is corrupted by virtual influences.” Looking at the five action-enablers, it is quite clear that conditioning, qualities, and identification are driving all actions and not the pure consciousness, so assuming oneself as the doer and whole sole owner of actions is a grave mistake. Self alone is not the doer it just assumes itself as doer under the influence of false-identification.
Gita even goes one step beyond in demystifying doer-ship illusion, which is all important for every seeker to know, contemplate and imbibe. That secret is:
“Shareerasthopi Kauntey Na Karoti Na Lipyate” (Gita 13 | 31)
Meaning – “Even while living in this body, this Self neither does anything nor is really attached to anything”.
So what is the final problem? If we are not the doer and nor the enjoyer, moreover, we attach to nothing while living in the body, then what we need to fix and how?
Problem is that we don’t become doer but wrongly assume to be the doer and then enjoyer. Further, even after wrong assumption nothing bad ever happens in self but false assumption operates in our behavior; actions, thoughts, and emotions. To fix this behavior, if we work on correcting and improving mind, intellect and its tendencies, and make it devoid of attachments, then it is not a direct attack on the problem but simply a peripheral work without treating the underlying causes. While using discrimination if we understand that the only mistake is this mistaken-assumption of knowing Self as doer, which was originally triggered by identifying with “I” element of Nature as real “me” then that’s real and permanent fix, and can be independently carried out solely by us only without need of fixing behavior on the primary. All side-effects will settle in due course of time if the root problem is sorted.
How do we release the false assumption?
Understanding alone is enough – that it is false. Assumption or belief is simply a thought and if we don’t consider it true anymore then it loses all life and dysfunctional power.
If we are not the doer then who is carrying all these drives and actions?
Nature is driving all actions primarily. Just like without electricity we cannot heat, cool, iron or wash clothes. But individual functions are due to the design of various devices having specific arrangements for converting electric power into varied outputs. Similarly, it is the nature, bent, design, qualities of mind-body, and past conditioning which drives all Karmas, so it will be appropriate to call those as a doer. Gita also refers this aspect in many ways:
“All actions are driven and performed by Nature”. (Gita 13 | 29)
All actions are driven by intrinsic qualities of Nature; these qualities are main driver or doer. (Gita 3 | 27, 28; 14 | 23).
Apart from these qualities of Nature, no one else is a doer. (Gita 14 | 19).
Senses are indulging in the subjects of sense, so these sense qualities are the doer. (Gita 5 | 9).
The conclusion is that doer-ship is really in nature and not in the Self. Wise ones, who are well established in the Truth, experience “I am not doing anything”.
Nanyam Gunebhay Kartaram Yada Drastanupashyati |
Gunebhaysch Param Vetti Madd-Bhavam Sau-Dhi-Gachhati || (Gita 14 | 19)
Meaning – Lord says that if one doesn’t see anyone as doer except nature’s qualities and considers himself detached and beyond these qualities then he attains to my Self.
There is one more point to note that Lord has referred nature qualities as doer but the consciousness as the main driver in enjoyments of fruits of actions. This simply means activities happen in virtual reality but consciousness gets attached to fruits of actions – joys and sorrows. In other words, favorable or adverse situations may come somehow in life but to be happy or unhappy, to attach or remain detached, to enjoy it or remain neutral is our free choice. If we misuse our choice and become attached to pleasures and pains then we create fresh impressions of likes and dislikes.
Karya-Karan-Kartatve Hetuh Prakritir-Uchhyate |
Purushah Sukh-Dukhanam Bhoktritve Hetur-Uchyate || (Gita 13 | 20)
Meaning – Actions, instruments, and doer-ship are primarily driven by Nature while fruits of actions (to be happy or miserable) happen in consciousness.
But, when we are identified with ego then only we become the doer and enjoyer, strengthen ego and increase the Karmic load. These are actually mistakes operating in confusion and not anywhere close to reality and surprisingly almost everyone takes it as so obvious thing to believe oneself as a doer and claims the credit of actions done, waits to enjoy the fruits of his actions, fights for rights and due credit, acknowledgments!!! In reality, doer-ship and enjoyer-ship never exist in consciousness and only based on the false identification. If these issues would have been part of us then they could never be removed, as we are unchangeable and permanent.
So, fundamentally we are ever free of doer-ship, enjoyer-ship, and neither attached to instruments of actions, conditioning etc. This conviction is to be made by us – once and for all – that “I am ever devoid of egoism, possessiveness or local boundary of “mine”, doer-ship, and enjoyer-ship”. Although this decision is reflected in intellect but “these issues are not in me” – this is experienced by the Self. This experience is independent of all dependencies on mind-body-intellect and Nature. Contemplation begins in mind, and then we decide, but the experience – “all instruments for action are not in me” – is solely the subjective experience of the Self. Hence, the real freedom from all issues can be attained freely – and this realization of freedom is not dependent on mind or body or any ability or purity/impurity of any instruments.
The conclusion from all above contemplation is that the Self, doesn’t have any egoism, action, action-enablers, and nor it has identification-spawned issues – doer-ship and enjoyer-ship. Moreover, the Self-realization or attainment of Godliness happens not by taking help of mind, body, intellect or ego but by detaching from these and recognizing the Self as separate and independent of transient reality.
This post is sourced from one of the books of Swami Ramsukhdas Ji, Sahaj Sadhna, Chapter name – Karan Nirpeksha Tattava, and some of the posts on the similar subject where dependency of mind, body, intellect or any elements of nature for the realization of Self or Consciousness is ruled out.
Hope you will read it patiently, contemplate and feel free to come back if you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) to dive deep into the subject. That will help us all in shredding off unnecessary conditions of purifications, and many needless parallel projects that we fire when it comes to the realization of self. Only true intent and pure desire to tune inward and return home is sufficient.