|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - G
Unit - G01
Lesson G0102: Meaning of the words 'a person'
By Raja Subramaniyan
The meaning of the words 'a person' in the key statement 'If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?' can be understood in two different perspectives. In generic terms, it means the 'Human Being' and in specific terms it means, YOU the student.
The perceived self (EGO) is different from the real self.
The real self is the ONE, which is the only reality.
Both the perceived self (at the individual level) and God (gross total of all the perceived selves) are illusions created by the power of ONE. This illusion projects the only reality as multiple living beings.
Living Beings and God have created this universe jointly.
God created the universe according to the specification provided by the living beings.
Human beings have created the eternal cycle of life with pairs of opposites like prosperity and poverty, love and hate, fame etc based on the past actions. His role starts by giving name and attribute to the God's created world and ends in creation of miseries in the world.
Example: God has created a woman
Human being has created mother, sister, wife etc.
Human being also created lovable / wicked woman.
(The detailed explanation on this can be found in Module D)
A person appears to be changing all the time, but in reality, he is changeless.
This changelessness is the result of being non-related. The true person is not related to anything in the universe. He neither depends on the world nor is he attached to anything. In fact the entire universe depends on him for existence.
The true person is the consciousness. However, it appears to be mixed up with the body/mind complex, which is of inert in nature. The mind of a person cannot comprehend nor can have any relationship with the consciousness. However, to most people the word 'person' means a mixture of this conscious principle and the body/mind complex.
Our body/ mind complex belongs to a lower order of reality, which is resting on our real nature. We are deluded to ignore the reality and assume that we are the body/mind complex.
Due to Delusion, we have assumed our true self is caught in the misery of the world oscillating between the pairs of opposites. However, in reality our true self is very free. Only our mind is swayed by the events/ persons/ objects of the universe. Without knowing this fact we assume that we are suffering.
Similarly, we assume that our body/mind complex is supporting the life. The truth is our consciousness is the basis on which the universe (including our body/mind complex) is sustained.
The mind can have no relationship with the consciousness. It just reflects the consciousness.
Example: If we look at our face in the mirror, we see the reflection. Although the mirror shows our face, it does not have any relationship with our face.
Similarly, mind appears to be sentient since it reflects consciousness. Nevertheless, it is an inert object just like a mirror.
The sufferings in the world belong to the mind and do not affect the consciousness in anyway. However, due to Delusion we think that we are the mind and try hard to remove the misery. The only solution is to understand that the mind cannot have any relationship with the consciousness since it is an inert object.
Example: If there is dirt on the face, which is revealed by a mirror, we need to take some physical action for removing the dirt. However, if dirt is on the mirror, which appears to be on our face, we do not have to do any action to remove the 'dirt' from our face. We just need to understand that there is no dirt on our face.
Similarly, the pairs of opposites of the world do not have any effect on our real self. They affect only our body/mind complex. It is not possible to make our body/mind complex immune from the environment. However, if we do not identify ourselves with the body/mind complex, we can lead a joyful living. When this happens, our mind also will learn not to get afflicted by the environment.
If we are to remove the affliction on the body/mind complex we need to engage in action. However, if we are to remove the imaginary affliction on our true self, no action is required. All we need to do is to understand that the word 'person' means ONE and not the body/mind complex.
Statement 2: Thus, 'a person' means the real self, which is the basis on which the our body/mind complex rests.
In other words, we should first remove the misconception that we are the body/mind complex. If we do so we will realize that, the observer of the body/mind complex is the real self.
If we assume that the body/mind complex is the true self, joyful living is impossible. This is so because the body will age and die for sure. On the other hand, if we go by the scriptures, we see that the body/mind complex is an illusion supported by the ONE, joyful living is possible.
We know that we exist. Moreover, it is claimed (by the scriptures) that our body/mind complex is an illusion. We cannot tell a lie, without a corresponding truth. If our body/mind complex is not the truth, then what is the truth?
Example: In order to see a snake by mistake there has to be a basis, a rope or crack on the earth or a shadow. It is not possible to see a non-existent snake without something that exists.
Similarly, if our body/mind complex is an illusion, there has to be a reality that supports this illusion.
Although the movie character talks, moves and behaves like a real person, we are aware of the difference. We are more real than a movie character since we have a consciousness. We are more real than the body/mind complex because we are the consciousness and we have a body/mind complex.
In order to understand the true nature of 'a person', we need to analyze the person as we perceive him together with the real person. One cannot exist without another.
Example: In order to analyze the snake, we cannot bring the snake alone to the lab. The rope will invariably accompany the snake!
Similarly, when we attempt to analyze the false the truth will accompany it.
Therefore, we start with our perceived notion of self as body/mind complex and see that they are ever changing. The one who could observe such changes has to be changeless. If the observer is also changing then it is not possible to observe that the body/mind complex is changing.
Since we know that the observer has not changed at all, while our body/mind complex is continuously undergoing change, we can conclude that the observer is the true self.
Observer (our real self) is the observed (our body/mind complex) since we have created this illusion from our inherent power called AEM (Refer Module A for more details).