|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - H
Unit - H01
Lesson H0106: Inquiry on SELF and EGO
By Raja Subramaniyan
SELF has the inherent power of illusion which creates the universe just as we create a dream world without any effort. SELF together with this power of illusion is called God. God creates this universe consisting of inert objects. SELF enters the creation and appears as EGO in some group of inert objects.
Example: Both a clay pot and a glass pot are made from the same set of raw materials. While the clay pot does not have the ability to reflect the sun light, the glass pot has this ability.
Similarly, among all the inert objects created by God, some are refined enough to reflect the SELF completely. These are called human beings. These human beings create the eternal cycle of suffering due to ignorance. They assume that the reflection is the original and play the role of doer and enjoyer. As a result they suffer.
Example: Cloud is created in space. Clouds cause rain. Presence of rain water is a blessing to the living beings on the earth and they suffer if there is no rain. However, space remains unaffected whether it rains or not.
Similarly, SELF remains unaffected with respect to the events that happen in the universe because it is unattached. Mental or physical association with the objects of the creation is the starting point of suffering. EGO is assuming the role of doer and enjoyer and develops attachment to the creation leading to suffering. Only when a human being realizes that he is the SELF, which is ever detached, liberation is attained.
Every action will bring appropriate results. The doer of the action is bound to enjoy the results of the action. A human being is born in this world to enjoy the results of the past birth. He will live and continue to do action until death. He will be born again for exhausting the accumulated results of his past action. This cycle will continue forever until he gains knowledge that he is not the EGO and his real nature is SELF. When this happens, he will live joyfully until death and he will not be born again.
God creates this world for providing appropriate experiences to the living beings in line with their past actions. He sustains the creation until it is time for dissolution. Thus the cycle of creation, sustenance and dissolution continues forever.
SELF remains unaffected either by the action of the individual living beings or by the action of God.
Realizing that our real nature is SELF is the only purpose of inquiry. We should not carry on the inquiry beyond this point. It will not serve any purpose to continue our inquiry. SELF is not the enjoyer since it is not connected to any events that happen in the creation. EGO is an illusion therefore it is not the enjoyer. Therefore, many will be tempted to continue the inquiry to find out the real enjoyer. This is a futile exercise. After realizing that the appearance of the snake is an illusion and the only object that exists is the rope, it is irrelevant to discuss the nature of the snake or whether it is poisonous.
There is nothing other than SELF.
If this is the truth why does the Holy Scriptures talk about God, Living beings and the world?
In order to explain the unknown, the Holy Scriptures talk about things that are known and then describe them as non-existing. It is like finding an unknown value, in a math problem, using an imaginary variable called x.
Holy Scriptures is for all the human beings. If it had revealed the absolute truth in one sentence saying that SELF alone is real and rest are all false, most people will not understand the message. Therefore, for catering to people with varying degree of intelligence, Holy Scriptures describes the reality in different ways.
There are many steps in the spiritual ladder leading to enlightenment. The final step is to know SELF alone is the reality. For those who are not yet qualified to learn the final step, it is necessary to provide multiple rungs below the final step. Therefore, it is necessary for the Holy Scriptures to have a lengthy description leading to the final truth.
Example: A doctor after knowing the seriousness of the illness lies to the patient to boost his hopes. If the doctor reveals the truth that the patient may not survive more than few days, the patient will die of heart attack immediately. Instead, if the doctor lies to him that there is nothing serious, he may respond to the treatment and recover completely.
Similarly, most human beings are not in a position to grasp the ultimate knowledge that the universe is an illusion. Therefore, it is necessary for the Holy Scriptures to describe the same truth differently in a way that will help the human beings to get librated from the artificial bondage.
Thus, we need to stop our inquiry after realizing our true nature and not question the methodology followed in the Holy Scriptures. It is similar to questioning the doctor on how he could tell a lie.