Vedānta series 21

The Self is beyond everything that has been discussed so far. They induce a person to identify with the body and not with the Soul within. Primarily, one’s ego makes a person to discover himself with everything else except the Self. It is therefore, essential for those who follow the path of spirituality, not only to acquire knowledge, but also to practice through meditation, a process that enables the mind to make itself disassociated from the senses. It is only the senses that carry the images of the materialistic world to the mind. It is the māyā that makes the ego to work in coordination with the three guṇa-s (sattva, rajas and tamas). Ego is not our enemy, but the very cause of our existence. Ego cannot be totally eliminated but can be transcended. As a matter of fact, none of the features of māyā can be eliminated as long as a man exists. However, they can be transcended with the will of mind to realize the Ultimate Reality. Mind is the beginning and the end of spirituality. The mind should be so trained that it should not identify the unreal as the Real. The illusionary effect of the māyā is unreal. When the Self within is the cause for our activities, how can one say “I have done this; this is mine; etc.”. This is a typical example of ego, where the mind falsely identifies the body as the doer and enjoyer. A bulb cannot say that it is the cause for the light. Bulb is only an appliance that coverts the electric energy into light energy. Without the electricity, how can the light function? The thought of the bulb is ego and the reality is the electricity. In the same way, thought of man falsely identifying himself with the three types of bodies, five types of sheaths, etc. is ego, whereas in reality Brahman is the true cause.

Tattvabodha now begins its discussion on the Brahman or the Ātman or the Self.