"The Omnipresent neither accepts anybody's sin nor even virtue. Knowledge remains covered by ignorance. Thereby the creatures become deluded." Bhagavadgita 5.15.
This chapter lists the fundamental phenomena that are not normally taken into account when examining the world. These phenomena have not been described by modern science and their existence is only mentioned by religious systems. Many religions, however, have lost the logical descriptions of these phenomena under complex systems of rules and rituals. It is only the Indian Hinduism that has never lost continuity and is still capable of pointing out these phenomena as well as their effects on the quality of human life, and what is more, it offers ways and methods of eliminating the problems of mind resulting from these phenomena.
The First Mistake - The World Experienced is Real.
"The mind itself is of the form of all." Sri Ramana Maharishi
When seeking, all the branches of human scholarship only occupy themselves with what the human senses perceive. When one wishes to achieve maximum accuracy in scrutinising the world, however, one must go as far as the source of everything: one's own mind. Asking, "What is the world like?", one must first answer the question, "Who am I, and how do I perceive the world?" One must first clearly examine, what it is, that one tries to examine.
Is the world as I perceive it real? What do I know about it? I can see the world around (my eyes perceive the radiation of light), I can hear it (my ears perceive the sound waves of the gaseous environment), smell it (my nose senses the chemical properties of the gaseous environment), taste it (my mouth perceives the chemical composition of food), touch it (various pressure and temperature sensors perceive the existence of solid objects, liquids and gases), and I sense the internal information of the body, too (pain, hunger, and other pleasant and unpleasant impulses). In my mind, it is these perceptions that build up the imagination of the world. The mind constructs an imagination of a three-dimensional space in which the perceptions are located. The mind, then, does not examine the world but a picture of it composed of these various individual sensory perceptions. Beyond the senses, however, the scrutinising intellect has no other proof of the correctness of this imagination pulled together from sensory perceptions.
Partially consciously, but mostly unconsciously, the mind processes millions of units of information - thoughts. One of these thoughts will be foremost within the imagination at one moment, but another will take its place soon and the original piece of information will be forced into the background and stored in the memory. Any information and any thought is never more than a mere part of the picture, a detail composing the total imagination. There is no prove that the imagination corresponds with any outside world. At the same time, there is no proof of the outside world not existing. The important implication of this is the realisation that nothing beyond the mind's construction containing the picture of the world is certain for a scrutinising being, and the accuracy and credibility of this imagination is very doubtful at any rate.
I hope that the above deliberation has clearly illustrated that what we normally take for reality is a mere picture of the world. This is where the first mistake in our assumptions is exposed. We assume it is the world that we scrutinise, but everyone have to admit that what they examine is not the world but an imagination created in their mind. Now we have to take a think clearly: What do we need to examine first, the picture of the world or the way the mind works? Isn't the observed and experienced picture of the world dependent upon the functioning of our mind more than we like to admit?
The Second Mistake - I Am a Body.
"Find out who you are and there will be an end of all your doubts." Sri Ramana Maharishi
Each of us is taught this opinion from the early childhood days: You are a human, a body born into this world. What you see are other people and looking into a mirror you see your own appearance. You are a human. No-one has an idea that things might be a little different.
Let us now view the whole issue in the light of the first exposed mistake. What I can see is but a vision, imagination created by the mind. Let us now free ourselves from all preconceptions and perceive everything as a mere vision. Let me give you a little example. Everyone must have seen a film in the cinema. Some live the story presented on the screen with emotion, crying or laughing according to the situation. Some perceive the story only as somebody else's, without involving themselves in it. Filmmakers can see the film differently. They see the constituent scenes, cuts, sounds, effects. They practically do not perceive the story like the common viewer does, but they perceive how the film is made up. This is the way one should go to approach one's own imagination in mind. They should perceive the picture on the mind's screen, taking in each of the percepts and then how they have been compiled into the picture. An ignorant person is easily deceived by the created imagination, while a knowing person will only perceive it as an imagination and will not be cheated by it.
Is it possible to perceive one part of the imagination as "I" - I am this body I can see in this mirror - and label another part of that picture as "Non-I" - the surrounding world? It is entirely natural to some people, as much as saying that the experienced material world is real. The greatest secret is that the denomination of the one part of the imagination as "I" is purely a construction of the mind over the imagination. This construction is based on observed phenomena and related to the forced opinion, "I am a body."
The following step will be absolutely impenetrable for most people, but it is totally logical. One can say that a "I" is what one sees and experiences in their own projection, meaning that "I" is that arm over there and that leg, etc. It is, however, easier and more accurate to state, "I am the one who perceives", and the arm and the leg are but parts of a constructed imagination. When I shut my eyes, arms and legs disappear from imagination. I cannot see them. Other sensory percepts do bring in the information, but the primary human sense, the sight, does not set them into the imagination. If the "I" is in the constructed imagination, then it appears and disappears depending on sensory perception, which is rather illogical. "I" as the perceiving Self, however, continues to exist, independently of sensory perception.
Therefore, once we know that our entire world is an imagination, a mere picture of the material world, it is also appropriate to treat it as a picture. Labelling one part of the picture differently from the rest will not be substantiated. The only reason is that we have learnt it that way, which quite certainly does not mean that it is true.
The purpose of this whole procedure is to separate the spirit from the matter. If we admit that the experienced world is but an imagination, then maintaining the opinion, "I am a body" would only lead to perceiving the "I" as part of the imagination, thus only a product of the mind. With the new perspective, the perception of "I" does become a hard-to-imagine source of the mind, but this way it is permanent and wholly independent of the imagination produced in the mind. The Self is a kind of observer contemplating what is happening in the mind.
You, your "I", really are not the body. What does it mean when you say, "I think"? Does your arm or your leg think that? Does your head think that? Or your brain? No, not even your brain, that perfect structure, thinks that. "I think" means "There is this thought in the mind now" without the arm, leg, head or brain even knowing about it. Analogously, the words "I'm holding in my hand" are not the hand's. The hand itself has no notion of holding anything. Who does know, however, is the one who observes the entire mind. That is our true Self, the origin of all thoughts. It is a consciousness capable of realising the signals coming from the body and its senses, and of governing the bodily functions. It is a spirit, an intellect. It escapes description and comprehension, but it is our true Self. I recommend you to study the works by Sri Ramana Maharishi titled Who Am I? and Self Enquiry, where the sage describes the search for the Self in his own unique manner.
To link the basis of the immaterial spirit, demonstrated as the Self, with the material body is a fundamental subjective mistake. One cannot tolerantly connect perceived matter with a perceiving spirit and not face problems, however subjective. These subjective problems, resulting from such a connection, seriously affect the functioning of the mind, the person's psychic status, and thus the way of experiencing life. One must wake up, however, to the fact that in the ultimate consequence, this way of experiencing life is the only indicator of a life's quality.
The Third Mistake - The Mind Works Logically.
"Now then, O scion of the Vrsni dynasty, impelled by what does this man commit sin even against his wish, being constrained by force, as it were?" Bhagavadgita 3.36.
This mistake is only a kind of complement to make us realise the essential influence of the mind on the perception of the world and people's actions. Experience tells us that different people will act differently in roughly identical situations. The only reason is that a situation which looks objectively identical is perceived differently by each person, resulting in different actions. All this depends on one's experience, ability to solve problems and self-control. The mind does act logically to a certain extent, but impetuous emotional behaviour occurs under stronger or long-lasting pressure, which has little to do with logic. Fits of fear, anger, despair, weeping, or aggressiveness are moments when one does not act very logically anymore. Emotional behaviour is connived objectively, but in the subjective world, it presents a kind of black spot obscuring part of the imagination. This black spot is ingeniously replaced by the mind's own picture. That imagination does not differ from one based on sensory perception and is thus indistinguishable. If more such black spots occur, they play a very important role in producing the imagination one lives in. In mental diseases, the objective world mediated through sensory perception only has a minimal share on the production of the imagination, which is then mostly created by the damaged mind. However, other individuals only produce their inner images using their mind and sensory perceptions, and long-lasting pressures on the mind give rise to sensitive triggers of uncontrollable actions or are the source of permanent mental trauma.
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