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यदि देहं पृथक् कृत्य चिति विश्राम्य तिष्ठसि।
अधुनैव सुखी शान्तो बन्धमुक्तो भविष्यसि॥
– अष्टावक्र गीता (१.४)
Translation: If you detach yourself from the body and rest in consciousness, you will become content, peaceful and free from bondage immediately.
Question: How to detach oneself from the body?
Speaker: We remember the body all the time, we remember so many other things all the time, thoughts of the world occupy the mind all the time, memory is active all the time, and all these need to be remembered because something important has been forgotten.
The sense of self needs identification. The sense of self needs to find out what it is, who it is. After all, you do exist. Right? You do exist. If you do exist, you ought to be somebody, something or some entity, and if you forget who you are then you need to hold on to something else, you require to constantly clutch something else, latch on to something else, because you cannot be identity-less, that is impossible.
To be identity-less means to say, ‘I don’t exist.’ If you do exist, you must be something. Right? Who are you? Who am I? Who are you? Because you do not remember That, because you do not identify with That, so you need to identify with miscellaneous things, you need to identify with the world, you need to identify with the senses, with the material and with the body.
Body-identification in itself is not a problem, it is just a symptom. Don’t focus too much on this. Don’t say that how not to be body identified, this is especially for women. These questions in themselves are not very meaningful. Why are you asking that how not to be body identified? Why? Are you sure that you’re not only the body? See, if I am saying that please tell me the right way, then first of all I must be sure that I am moving on the wrong way. Are you sure you are moving on the wrong way? When you are not sure that you are moving on the wrong way, why do you ask these questions?
First of all there must be at least a hint that ‘my’ way is not the right way. First of all there must be at least a glimpse of that- I am not what I think myself to be, that I identify so closely with the body yet there is something wrong somewhere, that probably I am not only the body. Do you have that glimpse? If you have that, only then this question becomes meaningful, otherwise it does not stand anywhere.
‘The Real’ must call only then the unreal will show up as unreal. Is ‘the real’ calling? Can you hear him calling? Is your real identity beckoning you? Only when your real identity calls you, then you earn the right to ask that why am I body identified. Is something real really descending upon you? And if it is not descending, then you need to satisfy yourself with this and that, then you need to remain engaged and identified with all kinds of small, petty matters.
I am repeating, the question is not why am I so involved with the small, with the ephemeral? What else can you do? That is your compulsion. After all you need an identity, after all the mind needs to be somewhere, and if it is not at the centre, then the poor thing will inevitably be at the periphery. So why are you asking why am I at the periphery? The periphery is the centre for you, that is why you are at the periphery. The one who is really at the periphery, does he ever say that this is the periphery? For him the periphery is the centre. The one who is deeply body-identified, does he say that the body is a mere illusion? For him the body is the ultimate truth.
When the Truth really shines only then there is the urge to go beyond the little, into the vast, and then the body-identification drops by itself, then you would not even talk about the body, then you would not ask that why am I body identified, because then the body becomes irrelevant. It is then not even a question worth-raising.
You raise a question only when something is occurring to you. Right? Even to ask a question, the question must first be present in the mind. When something becomes irrelevant, then it is not even present in the mind. Only when the body is important to you, you ask that why am I body identified, and why is the body more important. It is because something else that must be very important is not important to you, you are ignoring that. ‘Sir why am I ignoring that which is really important?’, that is the real question. You know when the throne is kept vacant then all kinds of loafers, drunkards and undeserving people try their luck. The king is missing, so anything can just go, fit itself there and claim its right to the throne. That is the question you must ask, ‘Why have I distanced myself from the king?’ When the king will come back to reclaim his throne, then all these shady creatures will vanish. The very radiance of the king will make them disappear. They will be gone. Where? Who remembers them?
When it is raining, and raining hard, then who wants to remember this little cup of water? It’s pouring, it’s pouring, it’s always pouring. Why are you sitting in the shade? When you are sitting in the shade, then you need that little cup of water, then you need to be identified with it. And you are constantly asking, ‘Sir, why do I need to cling to this little bowl?’ You are clinging to that little bowl because you are protecting yourself in the shade. Go out in the open. The heavens have opened their gates for you, its raining. And then you will not even ask the question about that little cup. Then you will not even ask, ‘Why am I body identified?’ That question will disappear, it will become irrelevant. ‘Where is the body? I don’t remember the body. Where is the body?’ The body exists as long as it is important for you, otherwise it loses its relevance, there is no relevance. Are you getting it?
The central thing is- why have you protected yourself? And its the same thing that I say through different metaphors. Last week I said, ‘The sun is out, why are you hiding in a cave?’ Today I am saying, ‘Its pouring, why have you protected yourself in some shelter?’ And there you are, having that little cup. ‘Oh! This is the kind of water I have’. Obviously sitting in the shelter you need to protect your cup, because you have distanced yourself from the rain. The rain is there, but what to do with your shelter? Your great cleverness! All your teaching, upbringing and conditioning have taught you that the world is a bad place, that the rains are dangerous. ‘Who knows that it may be an acid rain. So son, please hide in some shelter.’ The clever woman is the one who builds a nest for herself. So you have built some nest and you are hiding there. Now how will you experience the rain?
All our littleness arises from our distance from the Immense. The more you are distant from that immense, the more petty you will be. Whenever you meet a petty mind, a mind that is occupied with all the little trivial matters, know one thing for sure- this man is totally devoid of spirituality. This is a Godless man.
Only a Godless man will be petty, and all petty men are essentially Godless. Because vastness comes only with the Vast. Vastness comes only in proximity with the Vast.
Become identified with the Total and your identification with the partial shall stop. You need some identity, give yourself the most complete identity possible. That is the reason why we say, ‘I am Brahm’, that is the most complete identity that can be given to you. Now after saying, ‘I alone am’, there is no point saying, ‘I am the body.’ When I am the total, what is the point in saying that I am the partial?
It is not that I am not the partial, remember this. ‘I am Brahm’ does not mean that I am no more the body. It means that I am much more than the body. It is not a question of saying that I am no more the body, it’s a question of saying that I am much more than the body. For that there needs to be an immensity, there needs to be a movement away from your littleness, away from your confinement, away from your pettiness, from your boundaries and from all the divisions that the thought creates in the mind. So as the expanse of your mind increases, you will find that you are becoming less and less body- identified.
It can only happen indirectly, you cannot directly attack your body-identification. You must rather work on the mind, the mind and its tendency to avoid the Immense, the mind and its tendency to seek protection and security. The more you move into your insecurity, the more you will find that your association with the body is diminishing. The more you challenge your fears, the more you will find that your association with the body is reducing. And that will require faith, without faith you cannot face your fears.
The body will remain, its importance will change. The relative importance that you give to it, that will change. Today it is your priority number one. When you will know what really is number one, then the body will no more remain your priority number one. Move into That. Ignore the body, forget the body, move into That, and then you will no longer need to ask this question. As we said, ‘It will become irrelevant.’
Listener 1: Sir, how to face the fears?
Speaker: Every fear rests on assumptions, every fear is a complete image, a complete imagined sequence in time. This will happen, then this will happen and then this will happen, it’s like a movie. If I do this, then this will happen, then this will happen. That is what fear is. Right? A complete sequence spread out in space and time. Right? Test it a little. Test whether your assumptions are valid at all.
Listener 1: Sir is it a kind of a surety?
Speaker: Yes, it is a surety. Your fears arise from your own assumptions, from who you are, because it’s you who have created that sequence. It’s you who have created this mental sequence. Test it, and if the assumption proves misplaced then that has a bearing on your entire sense of who you are, because your assumption comes from who you are. If the assumption is wrong, it proves that your being is wrong. So test your fears. You will find that your assumptions are wrong.
Ultimately, you know what is wrong with each of your stories? You have all these stories in your head. Right? Every fear is a story. Do you know what is common in each of these stories? What is common in each of these stories? That I will lose something. That is the end of each of these stories. Right? If the fear is a story then that story consists of events. This event, this event and this event. This will happen, then this will happen and then this will happen. What is the final scene of each of these? That I am losing something. That’s where you are wrong. That’s where each of these stories is a false story.
Each of your stories is a false story. Each of your fears is a false fear, test it. You are never losing anything. That’s why I said that your fears arise from the sense of who you are, because you do not know who you are, because your assumptions regarding yourself are wrong, that is why each of these stories is wrong. In the end you will always find that even if a few of the scenes of your story might sometimes turn to be factual and might actually seem to happen sometimes, but the last scene is always wrong. Even if everything happens as per my intuition, the last scene is wrong. Last scene says, ‘I have lost something.’ I have never lost anything. Never lost anything.
I am not saying that the events which you are suspecting will happen, will not happen. I am not saying that what you are fearing will happen, will not happen. What I am saying is that even if what you are fearing happens, actually happens, yet it will not diminish you.
Your fear is not that something bad will happen, your fear is that you will stand diminished. Your fear is that you will lose something. That is your real fear. Right? A thousand things happen, and if they do not impact you, you will not be afraid. Correct? You’re not afraid that something bad will happen to somebody else, you’re afraid of the impact it will have upon you. Am I right? If you know very well that come what may, let the world collapse, it will have no impact upon me, will you still be afraid for the world? Is it the world that terrifies you, or is it your own vulnerability?
Listeners (everyone): Our own vulnerability.
Speaker: Your own vulnerability. But once you discover that you are not vulnerable at all, that you do not stand to lose anything, then what is point in fearing? That’s why I am saying, ‘Test your fears.’ See that even if the world collapses around you, you will still be alright.
Listener 2: Sir, you just said that the last scene won’t be true even when every other scene is. But as my ego is attached to something and that makes me fear more, I am not able to reach the last stage, because somewhere I hold on to something. Then how will I come to know that the last scene won’t be true?
Speaker: You will require some faith for that. You will require, if not faith, then at least deep trust, you will require that. And it’s a progressive thing. Once you see that I did not lose much this time, then you are prompted to dive again, like we do while diving in the river.
Once you see that it is alright to take a small dive and you find that you did not lose anything, that yes the sequence went exactly as it was in your head, yes you dived, yes you went in, yes you felt bad for those two-three seconds, yes everything went blank for a while, but you surfaced again and you didn’t really lose anything, that is when you are tempted to dive the next time.
You are now bolder to take a deeper dive and a deeper dive. But the first dive requires that you know that there is somebody around who says, ‘Fine! Go in, go in, go in, nothing will happen.’ So some trust is needed. You need somebody whom you can trust. Someone who says, ‘Fine even if something happens, I am close by.’ Even if that person actually knows nothing and does nothing. His only qualification is that he inspires trust in you. Even that is sufficient you know, because nobody is anyway ever going to sink. So trust is enough.
When I was learning to ride a bicycle, there was this fellow who would help me. He would be sitting and running behind me saying, ‘I am holding you, keep moving the paddles.’ It was after long that I discovered that after setting me to go, he would simply disappear, he would coolly rest under a tree. And I would be thinking that he is sitting behind. So its enough. The fellow might not know how to ride a bicycle himself, but that’s irrelevant. You had a trust deficit, he filled it up. Enough. But test it. Let the worst that you imagine, happen to you. (Sarcastically) Oh! That’s too much to ask for.
Let little bit of the bad happen and see whether it is actually that kind of a catastrophe that you imagined it to be. It’s not, it’s not. You are greatly ignorant of your own strength. There is one thing that we are so oblivious of, that how strong we are. You have it in you to face all these things. But in imagination all the fears appear magnified. ‘What will happen if I lose this?’ Nothing will happen. And in spite of all your efforts, when you actually lose, what happens? Does anything happen?
Speaker: But when you keep imagining it, it is like the end of the world. If it has to happen, let it happen, face it. If it happens, face it. Why keep shivering and shuddering? You’re stronger than you know yourself to be, stronger than that. How can your strength get awakened when your very assumption is that you are weak? Answer this.
So you will have to challenge that assumption, in order to know how strong you are. But if you keep providing nutrition to that assumption then, ‘Shelters are nutrition to weakness.’
More shelters you give to yourself, the more you will be identified with your weakness.
-Excerpts from Clarity Session held at Advait Office. Edited for clarity.
View the session at: Only a godless mind will be petty
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