H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Friday, 1 July 2011

How to transform a rebellious mind into a Wonderful Mind (1/2). By Matsyavatara das (Marco Ferrini)

From time immemorial it seems that inside us two “persons” have been dwelling together. There is an everlasting battle going on in order to gain supremacy over our personality between the superior self and the ordinary self. For a human being subject to the conditionings the most painful dilemmas are caused by the exhausting tension between these two poles, which produce different solutions depending on different motivations. These tensions continue until the ordinary self - which is a product of the arbitrary choices of our psyche - is harmoniously reintegrated in the energetic field of the superior self, the soul. The doubts which are sometimes alluded by the mind are connected to the ever changing and mutable world of transience, and it is normal that this phenomenon becomes more intense when we approach choices of vital importance. When we deal with such choices, the ordinary self protests, but one shouldn't be frightened. For a long time the ordinary self, the false ego, had the command over an individual, obscuring one's real self; unpunished, ego has dominated one's personality one life after another, turning it into a slave of mere illusory dreams of happiness, of delirious ambitions and of the fear of death. Trying to dethrone this tyrant, we are winning back our freedom: obviously it becomes rebellious. The ordinary self, also called “false ego”, is suspicious, presumptuous, proud, self-centred, unsatisfied and irritable. It is like a sly and ravenous beast, always looking for a prey in the form of prestige and illusory pleasures. The superior self is the real self, the hidden spiritual being, the atman, whose clear and wise voice we seldom have heard and listened to. False ego is the Destroyer, the principle of separation. It is the antagonist of Love. Ego gives us the illusion of reaching happiness, but if we are connected to it, we can experience only fleeting pleasure.
Ego gives us the illusion to possess love, but when this feeling gets in touch with the ego, it turns into an unwholesome attachment. Divine immortal love belongs to the soul; selfish and conditioned attachments belong to false ego, to the ordinary self. The first and most important work an aspiring spiritualist has to carry out is to free oneself from the false ego’s prison (ahamkara), no matter which tradition or religious path he chooses to follow. To free oneself from ahamkara doesn’t mean that one loses his own identity; on the contrary, one’s real identity can rise again only when the false identifications and the masks of our personality have been cast down (sarvo upadhir vinir muktam). Until we cling to false ego and delight ourselves in it, we won’t be able to get acquainted neither with God nor with ourselves. The path of inner transformation requires efforts and responsibility, but it is also grandiose, magnificent and fascinating. It leads us to see ourselves, the others and everything in the world with the eyes of the superior self, to perceive ourselves as God’s creatures who are acting thanks to His grace and mercy, in harmony with the Whole. Buddhism describes ego as the cause of pain and of every evil; and it opposes to it a radical renunciation to the mundane things. The Middle Eastern Traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, oppose to it renunciation, prayer and fasting. In the works of Vedanta and Samkhya ego is considered to be the main cause of avidya, of one’s turning away from God, of Fall and degradation, of the loss of one’s spiritual identity. It is the biggest obstacle to self-realization and to happiness; it is the power opposing the soul and God. It is the main cause of envy and of the Fall for angels and for human beings: from Lucifer to Macbeth, both in ancient and in modern events. Due to the ego Lucifer becomes Satan (“the Antagonist”, in Hebrew) and Lord Macbeth becomes a murderer, a degraded and horrible person. To him the destroying ego manifests itself as his wife, Lady Macbeth, who awakens and fosters his negative tendencies. The principle of Eva and Adam is inside each of us, and so are inside us both the angel and the demon. If we choose to foster the demon, he will win. If we foster the angel and his bright spiritual nature, the angel will win. In each of us there are Vritra and Indra, Lucifer and Michael. Our fate depends on our choices, on our decision to favour the one rather than the other. Together with pride and arrogance, false ego is the main distinctive feature of the asura. Humbleness is the opposite attitude and, partly, it is even its antidote. In a famous metaphor through which Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives teachings to his main disciple, Shrila Rupa Goswami, the devotion of the aspiring spiritualist is compared to a delicate little plant, bhakti lata bija, surrounded by the ego’s infesting plants which tend to choke her. If we wish evolution and happiness, we should take care with all our forces of the delicate little bhakti plant, protecting her by practising spiritual discipline (sadhana) constantly (abhyasa) and with emotional detachment from the material phenomena (vairagya), strengthening the pure wish of serving God and offering everything to Him.

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