Discover The self only to Lose
Published in Times of India Speaking tree,10th Sep 2008
The self is a projection from the unified source of consciousness.
Any attempts by the self to be enlightened are based on the premise that this projection has a unique identity .It would be analogous to being a bubble in the ocean. There is a very fine distinction between the bubble and the surrounding water. But there is no denying that the bubble is within the water, and also made of the same water. If the bubble were to make any attempt to understand itself, sure, it would momentarily feel that it is separate and has an identity of its own. But that remains only till the thin separating membrane exists. Once this assertive margin gives way, there has been no change in either the content or the nature of the water. It was water, and will remain water. All creation is analogous to bubbles in this vast expanse of consciousness. Realization involves loss of this separateness from the surrounding water, a sense of just merging into the water. Dissolution of that membrane of separateness called the ego. If this dissolution occurs during the journey of life, it would be similar to the bubble losing the differentiating membrane on the way traveling from the bottom of the sea to the top. When the mind body organism ends (death) it would be the equivalent of the bubble reaching the surface and then just popping. This bubble has a plethora of forms and shapes. But still just a transient identification of being separate.
This feeling of separateness fuels all the attempts, and endeavors to embark on understanding itself , which in itself is an impossible task. Like the bubble trying to understand itself as a separate entity when actually it is surrounded and made up by the same water. The separateness that desires this enlightenment is the ego. The identification with the mind-body organism. The consciousness that animates this mind-body form is the true self. This true self creates a projection which has great conviction of separateness and independent existence. It is a distortion induced by the perceptive apparatus. Religious orientation and beliefs are not congenital. They are a product of conditioning. If not being religious was heresy, then most atheists would be facing doom since they are disbelieving and humiliating their creator. And conversely, the savants of the religion would be perennially blessed due to their proximity and intense belief.
Many cultures believe in reincarnation /rebirth, but it would be a great mystery to understand which entity takes rebirth? The identity that each of us has is a totally man-made nomenclature of convenience. So what would reincarnate? The identity that I have in this birth? This identity is as meaningless as trying to name the different drops of water in a flowing river and then trying to locate that specific drop which had evaporated (died) and fallen from the skies again.(Rebirth) So then which entity achieves that very elusive self-realization? Is it the individual? Is it the ego? Is it the mind? Well it is anyones guess. Then is this elusive self –realization just another object to lust for? A very subtle ego-trip that puts the individual on a pedestal because he is in pursuit of the intangible. All the present day attempts to seek or reach God probably induce a state of moral well being.. Probably, the ordinary laborer who sweats it out in the sweltering heat and lives an egoless existence may be far more spiritual than the hymn singing affluent who no longer gets a fix from tangible gratification. So probably spiritualism in the present day needs to undergo a paradigm shift. Total acceptance of what is, the ability to be in the now and here, and a deep realization that all we see around is just a different manifestation of the absolute. Any belief system that segregates cannot be the path to the almighty. If we are unanimous that the creator is one, then he surely cannot be partial to any one clan or sect. Because that automatically disqualifies all other belief systems from reaching the ultimate truth. So science should help us redefine religion and metamorphose it from the ritualistic domain into a more all inclusive and all embracing state of mind, that is not cleaved by color ,ideology or ethnicity. Then spiritualism will come out of the closet and make each one realize that we are all just drops of water in this ocean of creation.
Dr. Deepak Ranade.(The author is a consultant Neurosurgeon and may be contacted at depakranade @hotmail.com)