Body & Soul

Do You Know, Knowing the Self is the 1st Step on the Moksha Path?

Recently I saw the following quote on Facebook.

Body & Soul

This means; when one knows the Self, one knows the universe, whatever else one knows is useless if one doesn’t know the self.

Here knowing the self is not about self as a body as we usually assume. It is about the soul which is invisible and most difficult to know. Our identification with the body is so intense, that till the soul leaves the body we can’t differentiate.

This is the reason the above quote is extremely relevant for the seekers of enlightenment.

According to Hindu and Jain philosophy body and soul are different. (Even Christianity and Islam accept Soul is different from the body). For the seeker of Salvation/Moksha knowing the difference between the two is/should be the goal of human life.

We all know this and also speak about it but usually, we don’t know how to differentiate between the two.  We are confused most of the time when we say my Soul rather than my body.  The living being is a Soul and what is mortal is a body.

This can be experienced on the death of a body when the soul departs and the body becomes incapable of doing anything. This experiment clearly shows who was the enabler in the body. Yet we ignore this startling fact and continue with our belief of believing self as a body.

Those who want to know how do we know whether our belief is right, here is a 4-question test.

  • I believe self as a body – Ektatva
  • Attachment to the body – Mamatva
  • I am the doer – Kartutva
  • I am the sufferer/enjoyer – Bhogtutva.

When you think any of the 4 above is true, you do not think you are a Soul different from the body. You are identifying the self as a body.

When you i.e. Soul, distance from the above thinking, it is the beginning of your detachment from the body.

  • I am not the body.
  • Detachment from the Body.
  • I am not the doer.
  • I am not the sufferer /enjoyer.

Practice this 24 x 7 and one day you will experience the self which is different from the body.

This is what Kabira, Narsinh Mehta, Ramkrishna Paramhans, Vivekananda, Krishna, Mahavira, Shrimad Rajchandra & all enlightened souls have said.

“Man is not mind, he is a soul.” Swami Vivekananda

The biggest problem with our spiritual understanding is we have lost it in doing. We do worship, go for pilgrimage several times a year and life, we do fast, we wear certain dresses, we apply tilak and remove hairs, go pilgrimage walking, worship demigods, also believe God as a doer, study religious books, & many other things in the name of religion.

All the above practices are of no use unless you believe self as a Soul different from the body. Your oneness with the body makes all the religious practices for the body, & it has nothing to do with a soul. It is the Soul who gets liberated and it the soul who karmas are attached with.

The right belief is the beginning of the spiritual journey, not doing any other thing. 

Holy dips in Ganges or Sangam or anywhere else can’t remove Karma of the Soul, it might clean the body.

Non-believing in the self-potential (You the Soul) to become God/liberated Soul is the ignorance we live with and die.

“The Lord is in me, the Lord is in you, as life is in every seed, put false pride away and seek the Lord within.”

“Jaise Till Mein Tel Hai, Jyon Chakmak Mein Aag Tera Sayeen Tujh Mein Hai, Tu Jaag Sake To Jaag.”

― Kabir

“The fool thinks, “I am the body”; the intelligent man thinks, “I am an individual soul united with the body.” But the wise man, in the greatness of his knowledge and spiritual discrimination, sees the Self as the only reality and thinks, “I am Brahman.”

–          Adi Shankaracharya

“The Self is pure Consciousness, eternal, omnipresent, immutable and self-effulgent like the light of the sun”.

–          Yoga Vashishta

“Understanding the difference between body and soul—between matter and spirit—is the beginning of spiritual life and the only basis for true self-realization.”

“Our body is constantly changing: infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, old age, and finally death. But we, the unchangeable soul, witness this “virtual reality” from within. That’s why, even though our body changes throughout life, we always keep our sense of identity.”

–          Bhagavat Gita

“The soul seems the same as the body due to the illusory identification with the embodiment; both of them are, however, distinct and different like a sword and its sheath.

Manifest properties of lifelessness and consciousness are different; they can never become one; duality prevails forever.

If false identification with the body ceases, you are no longer Kartä of Karma, nor do you have to bear the consequences; that is the essence of religion.”

–          Shree Atma Siddhi Shashtra by Shrimad Rajchandra

All great and liberated souls have said the same thing, yet we are bogged down by endless rituals in the name of religion without even trying to know the true self.

Here is poverty by a renowned Gujarati Poet  Narsinh Mehta, who also wrote famous & Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan’; ,

Unless and until you have grasped the essence of the Self,  Vain are all your efforts and like unseasonal rains, you have wasted your human birth.

So what if you have taken a holy bath or offered twilight prayers and worship?

So what if you have stayed at home and given alms?

So what if you keep matted locks and smear ashes?

So what if you have plucked hair on your head?

So what if you indulge in recitation, penance or go on a pilgrimage?

So what if you count beads and chant the holy name

So what if you put on a tilak or worship Tulsi?

So what if you drink the water of Ganga?

So what if you speak of the Vedas or grammar?

So what if you enjoy yourself and have a good time?

So what if you have grasped the distinctions between the six systems of philosophy?

So what if you have adhered to the distinction of caste?

All these are worldly pursuits for filling one’s belly

Until you have seen the absolute brahman

.Says Narsinh, without beholding the Essence

One wastes his birth precious as Chintamani Jewel.

Unless and until you have grasped the essence of the Self,  Vain are all your efforts and like unseasonal rains, you have wasted your human birth.

In the last stanza, he emphasizes Knowing the self as a Soul is the beginning of one’s spiritual journey, rest all without this is delusion and therefore futile.

Religious and spiritual activities start first with the right belief about the Self, not with endless and mindless action/rituals.

“Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with ignorance. Knowledge alone destroys ignorance, as light destroys dense darkness.” Adi Shankaracharya

We have not been able to know this fundamental difference because we have not met and if met believed in Satguru (true Guru).

This would not be possible unless you have a Satguru to make you experience the same.

गुरु गोविंद दोनों खड़े, काके लागूं पाँय । 
बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, गोविंद दियो मिलाय ॥

Here Saint Kabir says Guru is even greater than God. He says, if Guru and God are both in front of me, who will I greet first. He then says it is only because of the Guru’s teaching that I am able to see God.

Here the reference to God is not the idol, idol of the Gods we all can see. The real God we need to experience with the help of Satguru is the soul within the body.

Somewhere in rituals, pilgrimage, penance, and everything else, the real path to enlightenment is forgotten.

The good news is it’s all there for everyone to read and know.  Just strive to know the truth and keep aside the belief that what you know and taught is the truth.

Jains are celebrating Paryushana these days, I am sure this would be quite relevant to know for their Moksha pursuit.

handpicked relevant post: Know the Crux of Jainism to Awaken Your Soul


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