- Fundamental Human Problem Part 1
We have discussed two aspects, the mind
and the subtle body. Of the mind, the important
component is the Ego, involving 'I am this',
which is the essence of the individual 'I' which
‘does’ all the transactions. It involves the conscious-existent
entity, 'I am' identifying with inert entities such as body,
mind and intellect to facilitate all transactions in the world.
The ego, although a necessary vehicle without which I cannot
transact in the world, has become as if the essence of myself,
since I do not know what my true nature is. Thus a false guy,
ego, has become a real guy, since the real guy is not known.
When I take myself as 'this', the limitations
of 'this' becomes my limitations.
'This' is always limited by 'that', while freedom
is to BE beyond all limitations, absolute infiniteness,
Brahman (the word Brahman itself means infiniteness).
Any limitation causes unhappiness, and no one
wants to be unhappy. Unlike other infinities
with which we are familiar in mathematics, such
as pi or e or parallel lines meeting at infinity,
etc., which are all conditionally infinite or
qualified infinite (for example pi cannot be
more than and less than some numbers or parallel
lines are separated by some finite distance,
etc), Brahman is absolutely infinite or unconditionally
infinite or unqualifiedly infinite and therefore
unconditionally limitless which is the same as
Limitless though I am, I take myself to be
limited; notionally, 'I am = this'. This leaves
me with three fundamental limitations which can
be expressed as a) I am a mortal b) I am unhappy
and c) I am ignorant. I do not like these presumed
limitations that I have. Hence, I struggle hard
to gain my true nature. If we examine our lives
we find that all our struggles in life can be
reduced to two broad categories, a) trying to
gain something (pravRRitti) and b) trying to
get rid of something (nivRRitti). All these struggles
are to overcome the three fundamental limitations
stated above. Thus from birth to death or from
womb to the tomb, every living being is trying
to solve these three fundamental limitations
by way of trying to gain something or trying
to get rid of something, pravRRitti and/or nivRRitti.
This is true across the board and from time immemorial.
The tragedy of life is that no one can solve
these problems of limitations, now or ever. Let
us look at each one carefully and see where the
When I take myself to be the body, then body
problems become my problems. The body, by its
nature, undergoes six modifications: existence
in the womb (asti) for seven to nine months;
birth as a baby (jAyate); growing pains as a
child to an adulthood (vardhate); modifications
of the body (vipariNamati, i.e. problems of the
grownups); slow disintegration with all the health
problems in the world (apakshIyate) and ultimately
kicking the bucket (vinasyati). That which is
born has to die or that which has a beginning
has to have an end, (jaatasya hi dhruvo mRituH),
says Krishna. That is the Law of Nature. No body
or nobody is permanent here. Civilizations have
come and civilizations have gone. The world is
always in a continuous flux, never in a static
condition. Hence the Sanskrit word for the world
is 'jagat' and etymologically it means 'jAyante
gacchate iti jagat' that which is continuously
coming and going; that is the nature of the world.
What comes must go, like the slogan, what goes
up must come down.
In a dialogue between a celestial being (yaksha)
and King YudhiShTara in the MahAbhArata, yaksha
asked the king, 'What is the greatest wonder
in the world?'. Obviously, the King had no idea
of our seven wonders of the world. He responded, "We
see people being born and people dying every
day, yet everyone acts as though he is going
to be permanent in this world; and that is the
greatest wonder of the world". Incidentally,
related to the mind there was a question too.
Yaksha asked the king, "What moves the fastest
in the world?". The king replied without
knowing that the velocity of the light is the
fastest we can reach, "mind moves the fastest
in the world".
The body cannot but be mortal. When I identify
with the body, I feel that I am going to die
one day. The fear of death is the greatest fear
that a human being faces. No one wants to die.
Even those who want to commit suicide do not
want to die, but they think that by ending their
life they will solve their problems. They do
not want to die if the problems of their mind
can be solved without dying.
Those problems arise because of the ego or
identification with the body, mind and intellect.
Therefore we can never solve the problem of mortality,
whatever pills or medication we take or however
much we try to hide our age by coloring or making
up the deficiencies, etc. Man's longing to live
eternally is inherent, where as finite life seems
to be the fact of life. To solve this problem
some turn to religion. Some religions promise
eternal life, not now, but after death; of course
only if you believe in them. After your death,
no one would know if you lived happily ever after.
There is a day of judgment when you will be taken
to eternal heaven or pushed to eternal hell -
either way eternity is guaranteed. All these
beliefs sprang up since there is an inherent
desire to live eternally. No animal wants to
die. Preservation of one's life at any cost is
instinctive. Hence mortality is a problem, since
I identify myself with the body. It has become
not merely the body's mortality but my mortality.
But whatever we do, we can never solve or escape
the jaws of the death. I want to be eternal,
but with the body I can never be. Hence all attempts
to live happily ever after with the body will
Proceed to the next