Manifest Your Real Nature
What is My Real Nature?
We are all souls. Soul has no sex, no color, and no religion. But soul does have its own nature (Dharma). In ancient times (i.e., before 5000 years agowhich is not really so long ago), there was no religionbut there was still Dharma. All of the various religionsincluding Hinduismcame into existence after the time of the Mahabharat War (about 5000 years ago). In ancient times, Dharma was a way of lifethat is, it was a natural way of life to live with self-discipline, integrity, high character, responsibility, honesty, etc. These (and other) noble traits or characteristics ARE the nature of the soulthey are YOUR nature.
As embodied souls (souls wrapped in body and mind) we manifest our nature through our life, i.e., through the process of living. However, the instruments with which we are workingthe mind and body, and all the things of this world of PRAKRITIhave their own nature too.
Depending on what we have in mind, and depending on the nature of our body (such as our physical health, species, age, etc.), the nature of the soul is manifested to varying degrees. Generally, human beings manifest better qualities than animals, but as is well known, they can also manifest traits that are more selfish and cruel than any creature ever created.
The nature of the soul does not change. The soul is eternal. The soul is ever-pure, ever-free, ever-enlightened, always united with (i.e., pervaded by) the Supreme Absolute Self (GOD). Whether the soul is embodied or not, its nature does not change. But the mind is different from the soul. The mind does change. The mind is influenced by its surroundings (including of course, and especially, by its own body).
What is the Cause of the Creation of the Body?
Body is the result of KARMA, which means action. In other words, the gross physical body, and the subtle body (mind), are the result of actions. Whose actions? Who is the creator of actions? God is the creator of actions, and so too are we. GOD, Para-Brahma, the Supreme Creator, is the creator of actions in the form of the creation, preservation, and dissolution of the universe. Similarly, each and every soul is also the creator of actions. Just as the beginningless, unborn, everlasting Supreme Being (GOD) has been endlessly creating the universe, over and over, again and again (using the beginningless, indestructible, matter or PRAKRITTI), similarly, the beginningless, unborn, indestructible souls (i.e., you, I, and everyone else) have also been performing actions since forever (i.e., there was no FIRST actionand there will be no last one either, though of course everyone would love to have a vacation from time to time in the form of Moksha, or Liberation). [From time to time is a very, very long timePRANTAKALAwhich by all known standards can be considered as eternal.]
We Fashion Our Own Fate
GOD is the author of humanity, but each and every soul is responsible for their own mental and physical state. In other words, GOD creates this universe, and by His power the soul is embodied (i.e., PURUSH is united with PRAKRITTI), but each of us is the architect of our own destiny. The actions that we do and the thoughts that we hold are very importantthey shape our lives. Thats why no one should act or speak carelessly. Everything that we say, think, and do sets into motion invisible forceswe are constantly interacting with subtle natural forces which are shaping our lives. [Forget everything you have heard about gods and demons, and all that fanciful fairy tale stuffthese descriptions are only for the sake of those who cannot grasp the subtle but simple scientific facts. In other words, they were for those who lived in the past and not for those who are living in the modern times.]
Whether we like it or not, we have to live in this world. Whether we like it or not, we have to live in our body. Whether we like it or not, we have to work (perform actions). It is our nature to be alive and active. We live and work to improve, to make things better. Progress, civilization, arts, industries, and science are the natural outcome of our living, i.e., they are (in varying shades) the manifestation of our beginningless, endless, energy and consciousness.
We Need to Follow Our Dharma
All religions are man-made. On the other hand, Dharma is not man-made. Dharma is our nature, and our nature (our real nature) is eternal. When we form our mind to follow our eternal nature, then our life is very beautiful and full. But if the mind takes on the material nature it becomes deformed and deceptive, and our life becomes . . . . . incomplete.
To know our real nature we need Wisdomwe do not need doctrines, dogma, and images. To know our real nature we need discipline, we do not need religion. We need to discipline our mind to do what is right, to do what needs to be done. Religion is a 'lazy mans way out.' Religion makes people lazy. Religion makes people artificial and complacent. Thats not to say that irreligious people are real or genuine, on the contrary, they are just as phony. Most religious people at least mean wellbut sometimes they can be very mean and even cruel in their attempts to prove to themselves and others how right they are (as is evidenced by those who try to force others to convert to their religion).
"Do I Need to Convert to a Different Religion?"
There is no need to convert to any religion. First of all, what or who is converted? The eternal ATMAN, soul, is changeless, ever-REAL, and can never be converted into something else. It is only in the mind that one thinks oneself to be a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc. When someone is converted to a Christian, Muslim, or Hindu, presumably one changes from one religion to another, but really the only thing that has changed (if indeed anything has changed) is ones mental make-up. Changing our make-up is only a cosmetic change, a surface-level change. It does not really change what is inside. To really change our mind, to bring it in alignment with our real nature, is mostly a process of renunciation, of expelling from the mind the misperceptions, the useless images and impressions, and the wrong attitudes and tendencies. This process is the practice of Yoga, which means union with the Absolute. Specifically, Yoga means to yoke, or to join. So, Yoga means to take control of our mind (indeed, to take control of our life) and join it with our Essence.
It is All Up To Us and NOT Our Religion
Only we (the ATMAN) can do it. No religion, no prophet, no saint, no man and no woman can do what we, our Self, must do. Our Dharma, our intrinsic nature, compels us to take this responsibilityno religion can take the place of Self-knowledge and make us do what we already know we must do.
Persons who preach religion generally have a vested interest in their particular religion and therefore have the desire to convert others to their religion. But it is only when the mind is divested of all motives that it can become a vehicle of Divine Wisdom. The advice which one receives from anyone with a vested interest is never fully for ones good. Religion, being man-made, should be carefully examined to distinguish fact from fiction, truth from falsehood, correct conception from misconceptionbecause EVERY religion contains both valid and invalid practices and precepts. If one practices a particular religion without exercising this necessary power of discernment, one is certain to become fixed in ones images, i.e., fixed in half-truths, and consequently unable to realize the Truth (which simply means to see things as they really are, and not just as they are presented by the mind).
Go Beyond Religion
Ultimately, everyone must come to the understanding that religion is a mere artifact of the mind. Art and science are both superior to religion, and superior to all of these is Dharmayour own real nature. Art and science are born of our own true nature, whereas religion is born out of ignorancethat is, ignorance of science and failure to directly perceive the aesthetics (the intrinsic beauty, grace) of life.
Religion is unnatural; its a superimposition of the mind, on the mind. Trying to worship God through a religion is like corresponding with your husband or wife by means of email (or letter writing) when the two of you are sitting together on the same bed. It is senseless. In the same way, God (who is all-pervading) is within you and all around you, and you want to worship Him through a man-made image (i.e., mind-made image)it is ludicrous.
Those who think religion is necessary to worship GOD are totally mistaken. Yes, discipline is necessary, because the mind is naturally drawn towards the gross material world and must be directed inward in order to realize the vastness of consciousness. Some persons would argue that religion is simply a formalized disciplinebut is it really so? The truth is that none of the greatest religious teachers and leaders of our times (Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohamed, etc.) were preachers of any formalized religion. Religions have been formalized around their examples and teachings after they departed. Even this statement is not really correctbecause, in fact, religions (in general) have been formalized around the images and personal ideas of the followers only.
The only way to experience the Truth is to practice the Truth. The only way to truly pay homage to those who have spoken and lived the Truth is to enter into their spirit. And what is that spirit?THAT is Dharma, that is your Real Nature, which is the same as the Real Nature of everyone who lived in the past, everyone living today, and everyone who will live in the future.
This is the ancient teaching, and this is the teaching that is needed today. We need to break down all the artificial barriers constructed by various dogmas and creeds, and we need to begin with ourselves. Let every living being break free from the shackles of the mind and the limitations of the small self (ego). Let us all reaffirm our connection to that Absolute Consciousness, and let us show what we are really made oflet us manifest our Real Nature, our True Self.