What, if anything, does the ‘I’ consist of? Is it an illusion? As we see, hear and taste things through the senses, so the senses combine in the brain to make us sense thoughts and concepts, such as the ‘I’. But concepts aren't real and solid objects. Interested to know, how?
In order to understand this, certain details for the sake of clarity will be necessary. In the first instance there are five elements: earth; water; fire (light); wind and sky. There is then consciousness of self (ego); intelligence; and illusion. There are also the ten centres – i. e. , five organs of knowledge - ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose; and five organs of action: speech; hands and feet; the lower limbs and the reproductive organs. In addition to the ten senses, there is the mind, which constitutes the eleventh. Those pertaining to sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, are the objects of the senses as a means to knowledge. These are the twenty-four tattwas or principles of Nature.
There are further – feelings of pleasure and pain, hatred, attachment, and desire. Vitality and Endurance, constitutes the last two as the steadying effect that it gives to life. The life of the body means the functioning of the senses through a consciousness which does not reach deeper than the mind. The mind, which is an instrument and a means, i. e. , a subordinate with reference to the soul, assumes absolute sovereignty. It functions uncontrolled and undirected. It is attracted and repelled. It dwells over the good and bad of the past. It draws on imagination about the future. It creates ceaseless worries, or builds up wild plans, all directed towards the purely physical existence and physical satisfaction. The ego is a reflex of the soul and is known in spiritual terminology as Jiva, the living entity.
Consciousness of life is concealed in illusion, as dreams are concealed in waking life. The moon is invisible on the new moon day. Youth is only latent in small child, and scent is concealed in the bud of a flower. Fire exists unseen in a piece of wood. Similarly the five elements - earth; water; fire (light); wind and sky - shape the human body, and what makes it move about, is consciousness of self (Ahamkara). So illusive is this consciousness that it clutches at the throat of the wise, and trails them through many perils.
Now a bit on understanding their relationship: The incestuous relationship of the Ego, attached to the Body, gives birth to a daughter called Desire. When she is grown up and attains to puberty, she is mated to Hatred. The child of this marriage, nursed by its grand parent, Pride, the father of Ego, is the reaction to pleasure and pain (the duality of good and bad). This monster, fed on Hope, gets fattened and is violently opposed to Courage and Self-control - and being always drunk in Discontent, seeks delight in the chamber of Sensuality. Its (Duality’s) sole work is to spread the disease of Doubt, without which it cannot exist, and in the process cuts out many a by-path of evil deeds. Thus it is that a person, being misguided, moves in the jungle of worldly life and bears through it heavy blows of misery.
Once the relationship map is known, it becomes to that extent easier to retrace by a reversal of the process. Mind, which feeds on doubt can be consciously made to become more trusting. Begin from where you stand at the present moment. Start by doubting away your doubts so that the mind, now less discontent, false hopes begin to dissipate. The duality of good and bad is resolved to its being integrated into one of acceptability. Desire, thus aborted from taking birth, the entire family is made to become extinct.
The clouds removed, and the skies becoming clear, the Home of the One starts to be visible, and now all that is needed is to walk the distance.
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