SHUN THE I-NESS
The Gita says: “Be humble, be harmless, have no pretension, be upright, forbearing; serve your teacher in true obedience, keeping the mind and body in cleanness, tranquil, steadfast, master of ego, standing apart from the things of the senses. Free from self; aware of the weakness is mortal nature”. Lose I, gain the self.
Each soul is potentially divine. “We are not human beings learning to be spiritual; we are spiritual beings learning to be human” goes a saying. If this be so, why these forget about our divine potential? What causes this amnesia? Man indeed forgets that he is the son of a king.
A child prince brought up by hunters does not know that he is of royal lineage; he will remain ignorant about his ancestry till somebody identifies him as a prince. Swami Vivekananda emphasized that the self in each person is not different from the godhead. The absolute is within oneself, declares the Chandogya Upanishad. In the Gita, Krishna describes the java as “My own eternal portion.”
In his teachings, Swami Vivekananda exhorts us to: “Put out the self, lose it, forget it; get rid of the little T and let only the great T lives.” The little T is the petty empirical ego that makes a person feels that he himself is the door of all action. Conquering the ego involves keeping our mental ‘eyes’ turned towards the great T.
It entails dedication of the faculties of attention and intellect to god while performing one’s duty. Such a dedication cannot be achieved by mere thinking. It should be done through sustained meditation and by withdrawing the mind completely from all conscious contact with ideas or notions other than god. Such a person retains his identity but is devoid of I-ness—his self is emptied of the self.
To establish contact with the great T the Gita advocates the path of detachment. Simply put it is: “Attachment gone, deliverance won.” But this is easier said than done.
The Gita says that the practical way to alleviate mental clinging is by changing the elevation of attachment. With the mind attachment to god, there will emerge a non-attachment with reference to things other than god.
Izaak Walton narrates the following anecdote in his essay title. Contentment: “Diogenes once went with his friend to see a country fair, where he saw ribbons, looking glasses, nutcrackers, fiddles, hobby houses and many other things. Having observed them, he said to his friend: ‘Lord, how many things are there in this world of which Diogenes hath no need’!”
Janaka says: “Infinite indeed is my wealth of which nothing is mine. If Mithala is burnt, nothing that is mine is burnt.”
“When purity of intention is developed, passions directed towards mundane objects die, producing tranquility of mind which in turn gives rise to the inward silence in which the soul begins to establish contact with the Eternal from which it is sundered and experience the presence of the in-dwelling god,” said S. Radhakrishnan, effectively summing up the essence of this inward journey.