By Subhash Chandra
Our ultimate aim is to realise the true Self within us. The road to self-realisation is tough, but not impossible. This chapter enables you to draw up your personality chart, initiate corrective measures where necessary and finally reach the goal of self-realisation. This exercise will be undertaken with the help of the following chart.
Culmination of human life
1. Role of religion
2. Concentration of life
3. Personality chart (human chart)
4. Gunas- knowledge
10. Prepare your personality chart
Role of religion: In the earlier chapters, we have understood that religion refers to the eternal principles of life and living. The word religion is derived from two Latin words, re and ligare. Re means back and ligare means to bind or to join. Hence, the purpose of religion is to unite one back to one’s own origin – that is your supreme Self.
But realising your true Self is a long drawn process. You will have to transcend the limitations of your body, mind and intellect. The body, mind and intellect have limitations, but the supreme Self has no limitations. Your Self is the subject, not the object of experience. Hence you cannot contact the Self with your material equipment, that is, your body, mind and intellect.
The road to self realisation is tough, as the mass of humanity experiences joy in the materialistic pleasures of life or in the objects and beings of the world.
But these objects and beings present only a false glamour of pleasure and joy. They inherently lack it. The truth is never accepted. People perceive their personal experiences as the truth. Even those who profess to know the truth are not well established in it. They understand it academically, and do not really live by it. Hence, it becomes virtually impossible to convince people about the absurdity of the worldly pursuits while they firmly believe and continue to draw their share of happiness from it.
The pleasures we draw from the objects and beings of the world are not real pleasures. Let us illustrate this with an example. There is only one sun above, while the reflection of sun’s light are innumerable in the countless reflective media of the world. The light reflected on a coloured glass or a prism is not the true light. The reflections have no light inherent in them. The true light belongs to the sun alone. Similarly, worldly pleasures are like the reflections of the sun light, not the sun light itself.
The human being is composed of the spirit and the matter. Spirit is that which enlivens your body, mind and intellect. The body is your gross body; emotions represent the mind, while thoughts comprise the intellect.
A human being’s components are his body, mind, and intellect. His spiritual core is his true Self, or the Atma. The Self remains ever the same — eternal, changeless – where as all other material equipment changes. The body changes, the mind changes, emotions change, our thoughts change. And the external world changes too. The Self is you, while the rest of the world is the object. When you the subject, come in contact with the object, there is experience created. But when both the subject and the object are in movement, when both are changing, and when two moving objects meet each other, it creates friction and this friction creates agitation. That is why there is disharmony and frustration. That is why you should not identify yourself with your material instruments.
But most people identify their material instruments—body, mind and intellect—with their true Self. We say we are feeling hot or cold, without realising that it is the body which is feeling hot or cold, not the Self. Similarly, when we feel happy or sad, we identify our emotions with our Self. But we do not realise that is the mind and not the Self that is feeling happy or sad. You true Self remains constant. It is eternal. It does not feel any joy or sorrow. As long as you identify yourself with your material equipment, you cannot understand your true Self.
Let us consider another example. Place a piece of wood against a magnet. You will notice that the wood does not get attracted by the magnet. On the other hand, a piece of metal gets instantly attracted to the magnet. The magnet here represents the world, while you are the metal. You get attracted to worldly pleasures or displeasures because you identify yourselves with your material equipment.
You should aspire to be the piece of wood, which does not get attracted by the power of the magnet. The piece of wood represents your real Self. The path to self-realisation is to disassociate with your body, mind and intellect.
This can be achieved by shifting your focus of attention from the material layers of the personality to the inner core, the Self. In all your actions, remember that it is your body, mind or intellect that is acting. Disassociate your real Self from your material equipment. When you begin identifying yourself with your real Self, you reach the abode of absolute peace and bliss. The role of religion is to enable you to understand your true Self.
Concentration of Life: The true Self is identical in every body. It is the same in a sage or in a sinner. Yet our personalities differ.
Your perceptions, actions, emotions, and thoughts experience heterogeneity, when you focus your attention on your body, mind and intellect. This causes friction and frustration. Your mind remains agitated. Therefore, to find harmony you should shift the focus of attention to the Self. Only when you recognise that the true Self is the same in every human being, that the true Self which is enlivening you, your body, mind and intellect is the same as the others, will heterogeneity give way to homogeneity.
We are all familiar with the dressing rooms of the kings. The octagonal shaped rooms would have mirrors on all sides, so that the king could have a 360 degree view of himself before stepping into the durbar. Imagine a dog entering this room. The dog sees the reflection of many dogs in the mirrors around and begins barking at them. The reflections, in turn, bark back. The dog does not realise that the other dogs are only its own reflection in the mirrors. The dog views the reflections as its adversaries and gets agitated. It continues to bark until it has no energy left.
Similarly, if you do not realise your real Self, you will be like the dog which sees adversaries all around. You should realise that the real Self is the same in all the beings of the world. For instance, if you hurt somebody, you will in turn get hurt. Others will refrain from hurting you, when you stop hurting them. This can happen only when you identify your true Self with others. You should realise that the true Self is the same in all beings.
Personality chart: The personality chart is also called the human chart.
The role of a human being in his lifetime is to rise from tamas to rajas to satvik. After satvik, comes trans-satvik.
The lowest of these three qualities is tamsik which is a state of inactive mind. It is steeped into inertia, indolence and indifference. A tamsik person displays an “I do not care” attitude.
The rajsik quality is your passion towards activities…your attachment to activities. You act with a desire for results or fruits. This is rajsik pravrithi.
When you start enjoying your action without the expectation of results, it is called satvik pravrithi.
In other words, tamsik can be defined as action with a selfish desire; rajsik is where you are unselfish, but still have desires for the fruits; satvik is actions without desires. It is important to draw up our personality chart in order to attain self-realisation and reach the satvik state.
Gunas (Knowledge): Let us now study the three Gunas – tamsik, rajsik and satvik. An analysis of how these three Gunas manifest themselves in the different facets of your personality will ultimately help develop your personality. The different facets of your personality are knowledge, action and intellect.
Such an analysis enables you to define the exact nature of your personality. It holds a mirror to your inner quality and character. It clearly defines your nature and helps you administer corrective measures by yourself. You can
correct your faults and gradually rise to the state of true knowledge or the satvik state of temperament.
Let us first discuss knowledge by applying the three Gunas. Thus, knowledge is of three kinds—tamsik knowledge, rajsik knowledge and satvik knowledge.
A person with tamsik knowledge believes that ignorance is bliss. All his actions are driven by selfish desires. He would not even mind killing somebody to acquire wealth. For such a person, his own happiness is paramount.
A person with rajsik knowledge differentiates between himself and the rest of the world. He does not realise that all of us have the same Self. This creates acrimony with the rest of the world. Often you get a feeling that you are being persecuted by the world. Thus, your knowledge is confined to attaining greater material progress than somebody else. This could be in terms of overcoming business competition or overtaking your colleagues at work.
A person with satvik knowledge recognises the true Self and does not differentiate between himself and the world. He realises that the true Self is the same in all of us. Thus, his actions are not governed by selfish motives.
Karma (Action): Like knowledge, karma or action can be categorised as tamsik, rajsik and satvik.
Tamsik action arises out of confusion and delusion. A tamsik is not concerned with the consequences of his actions or its impact on others. He is not worried about the injury that his actions may cause to himself or to others. Such actions ruin one’s strength and vitality…they offend human dignity and prestige.
Rajsik action is a level higher than tamsik action. Yet, it is desire-ridden, coupled with a longing for its fruits. We undertake such actions with an egoistic feeling. When the feeling of “I am the doer” creeps in, it amounts to rajsik action.
Satvik action is based on one’s obligatory duties. We perform such obligatory duties without any expectations. Our actions are not driven by desire. Any action undertaken without a selfish attachment or anxiety for the results is called satvik action. Satvik action does not flow from personal likes and dislikes…it does not spring from attachment to action… nor is it action undertaken with cravings for the fruit accruing from the action. There is no selfish motive attached to the action.
Actions in themselves, together with their fruits, serve to bind the individual. However, action may indirectly lead to salvation if one acts in a detached and selfless manner with no intention of obtaining personal benefits. Action should be performed with out any desire for fruits. The goal should be to reach a stage where any action is not bound by the desire for results.
Karta (Actor): In the case of the Karta or actor too, we apply the three Gunas —tamsik, rajsik and satvik.
The tamas actor is like a repository of evil deeds. His behaviour is unrestrained and he does not know what is proper or improper. He swells by the satisfaction of his own evil acts. He is always deceitful. His whole body is made up of falsehoods. The good deeds of others turn into bad deeds by his involvement. He considers good
qualities of others as bad qualities. When it is the time to do beneficial deeds he feels lethargic, and contrarily when evil deeds are to be executed the lethargy is under his control. He burns with jealousy when he sees the advancement of others. He remains jealous throughout his life.
A rajsik actor acts with a desire for the fruits of his actions. His actions are not selfless. He generally identifies himself with acts that bear fruits easily. If he succeeds in any task he mocks at the world in the surge of happiness and if he is unsuccessful then stricken with grief he denounces it.
A satvik actor is not egoistic. He does not have the “I am the doer” attitude. He is free from all attachments and is not bound to the world. A satvik actor possesses steadfastness and enthusiasm. He is energetic and cheerful in what he does. He is driven only by the love for self-realisation and does not bother about his physical happiness. When you see a person who is enthusiastic, happy and cheerful, your instantly recognise him as a satvik actor.
Buddhi (Intellect): The tamsik intellect is surrounded by ignorance which regards the unrighteous as righteous, understands vice as virtue and wrong as right. It has a perverted view of everything and leads you towards destruction.
Rajsik intellect wrongly interprets the ethical and unethical values of life. A person with rajsik buddhi does not understand his obligatory duties and responsibilities in life. In many cases, a rajsik person refuses to perform certain duties for the fear of poor results. However, he will perform such duties when the fear is removed out of him.
In the satvik intellect, it is the other way round. He will understand what is to be feared and what is not to be feared. Satvik intellect does not have any room for fear of the consequences of his actions.
The satvik intellect chooses the field of activity which is more suitable to his inherent nature. A person who rejects what is not according to his inherent nature is said to be of satvik buddhi. A person with satvik buddhi recognises that he is not cut out for a particular job. And having chosen the right field, he decides what ought to be done and what not ought to be done. Satvik intellect has the clarity to choose one’s course of life.
The intellect that understands which deed is good and which is evil after carefully considering actions and non-actions and measuring them with the scale of inclination to work and renunciation is the satvik intellect.
Steadfastness: Here again, the three Gunas are applied to steadfastness.
Tamsik steadfastness is the consistency with which a person foolishly keeps imaging, fearing, grieving and despairing. Such a person maintains an arrogant attitude in life
Since he loves his body and wealth, fear does not leave him. Because he has tied himself to dissatisfaction, sorrow makes friendship with him. Discontent does not leave him until death. And because of the attraction for youth, wealth and lust that grow within him arrogance also resides in him. He is always afflicted with fear and considers the whole world as his enemy.
Under rajsik steadfastness, you display a sense of insecurity. For instance, when you are advised to appoint a second-in-command at office you resist it. You become insecure about your own existence. You look at him as a threat.
You cling to duties and responsibilities that you have imposed on yourself. As a result, the thought of duty and responsibility makes you pale. You fear them. Also, human beings are driven by two motivations in life—acquiring wealth and enjoying it. For this purpose he develops an attachment to his work and anxiety for the fruits thereof. The consistency with which he works in this manner is rajsik steadfastness.
Under satvik steadfastness complete consistency is maintained in the pursuit of the supreme role of Self-realisation, the firmness in restraining the activities of the body, mind and the intellect to steer clear of the worldly entanglements and channelising the efforts to attain true enlightenment.
Ultimately, when we apply our intellect to our actions, we derive happiness. Happiness again falls into the three parameters of tamsik, rajsik and satvik.
Tamsik happiness springs from the ignorance of the supreme Self—a happiness delusive of the Self from the beginning to the end. There is a perverted pleasure which throws our true Self into oblivion, as in nefarious activities like murder, loot and rape. It is a kind of a negative happiness.
People often give up true joy and instead, mistaking the artificial sensuous pleasures to be more permanent, get anxious about them. Take the case of Ashwathama, born of poor parents, who had never tasted genuine milk in his lifetime. He asked his mother for milk. Being poor she could not procure cow's milk and had no desire either to disappoint her son. She therefore mixed flour in water and gave it to her son as milk. The boy jumped in joy that he too had tasted milk. Such is the state of most of us. We do not know the natural happiness inherent in our own Self but hanker after the alluring and adulterated happiness from worldly pleasures. This is rajsik happiness. Such happiness is temporary and ends in misery.
Rajas happiness exhausts the stock of happiness fast, destroys life and drains the wealth of merit. This happiness results in calamities. Worldly happiness which is sweet in the beginning leads to a bitter end.
On the contrary, satvik happiness which arises from the clarity of intellect feels detestable in the beginning but ends in blissfulness. This is long lasting happiness or ever lasting happiness. The bliss which is rooted in detachment ends in the peace of the Self-realisation,
The happiness derived out of the pursuit of the supreme Self which entails physical restrain, emotional detachment and intellectual understanding of the supreme knowledge is satvik happiness.
Renunciation: Is it possible for us to give up our duties entirely? Our mind thus vacillates between the renunciation of action and performance of action. Renunciation of action means performing it in a way untouched by blemish, that is, giving up attachment and desire for reward. A discussion of the three kinds of renunciation will enable you understand the concept better.
Tamsik renunciation is the relinquishment of one’s obligatory duties out of delusion. Such a person is ignorant and confused of what duties and responsibilities he has to perform. He does not understand how to destroy the bondage of actions through actions. He, therefore, abandons actions.
Rajsik renunciation is when you given up your actions due to fear. We renounce certain duties, responsibilities or actions out of fear of failure or suffering. This is not real renunciation.
Even though a rajsik person is aware of his duties, he becomes indifferent to them on the ground that their performance is troublesome. This is also abandonment of work, but it does not bear the fruit of relinquishment. When a person gives up his prescribed duties because he is attached to physical comforts, he does not gain the fruit of relinquishment. The abandonment of action through ignorance does not lead to emancipation and so being rajas-dominated, it is not true relinquishment.
Satvik renunciation is defined as the performance of action that ought to be done without appendages burdening it. Renunciation is actually performance – performing your duty without burdening it with certain other expectations. It is the relinquishment of the attachment for the fruit, while performing the obligations of life.
In short, if a man, in his ignorance renounces certain actions, his renunciation is inspired by tamas. If he abstains from any action merely because it is disagreeable, or because he fears it will cause him bodily pain, his renunciation is inspired by rajas. He will not obtain any spiritual benefit from such renunciation. But when a man performs an action renouncing all attachment and desire for its fruits, then his renunciation is inspired by satva. The true relinquisher is one who by relinquishing the fruit of actions, has turned action into non-action.
Personality Chart: A careful reading of this chapter will enable you draw up your personality chart. It helps you to assess your personality…what is the quality of knowledge that you possess…what is the quality of action that you execute…what kind of renunciation are you pursuing…are in treading on the tamsik, rajsik or satvik path?
On an apple tree, some of the fruit is ripe (satvik), some ripening (rajsik) and some overripe or rotten (tamsik). No matter which quality prevails, an element of each of the other two Gunas will always be present in all of us. Most of an individual apple will be ripe, but part will be rotten, and part will be in the process of changing from one state to the other. Our effort thus should be to reach the predominantly satvik stage.
Once you understand your true personality by applying the lessons of this chapter on yourself, you can administer corrective measures to convert your weaknesses to strengths. The personality chart would, therefore, serve as a yardstick to measure your spiritual status and programme your evolution.
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