by Jai Maha Dev
by Jai Maha Dev
Doing good and being a ‘do-gooder’ are two different things. A ‘do-gooder’ does good for the sake of fulfilling an image of ‘what is right,’ whereas a person who does good for the sake of goodness itself is really doing what is right.
To do what is right we have to get our ego out of the way. Ego spoils our intelligence and makes us misuse the objective tools of perception for the sake of subjective identification. In other words, when we are in our ego we use our intellect and mental faculties to justify what our ego wants. We do this by creating images in the mind which support our ego (our false identification).
The conscious self is identified with the mind, body, and senses. This identification is called ‘ego.’ It is called a ‘false identification’ because it does not allow the conscious self to recognize (identify) itself. In other words, so long as we are identified with our body, mind, and senses, that long we remain ignorant of our real nature as the spirit-self.
The first step to freedom is to remove the identification of the mind with the body and senses. This is accomplished by developing healthy habits, restraining the mind from excessive sensual gratification, and training the mind to be still by filling it with positive and inspiring thoughts. This is called ‘doing good.’
As this process of ‘doing good’ continues, we clearly distinguish the mind from the body and realize that both the mind and body are separate from ourselves. We become the ‘onlooker.’ After awhile, we become the witness of the onlooker. The onlooker is the ego and the witness is the Self.
The ego looks at the mind and body, both from within and without. It sees but is unable to perceive or make sense of reality because it is still caught up in duality. Whereas, the Self is the disinterested Witness beyond the ego, mind, and body, and perceives the reality of non-duality.
There are not two or more realities; there is just one. This is the meaning of non-dual Reality. In other words, the nature of Reality is that there is only one reality, not multiple realities. The various phases of the moon indicate there are different phases not different moons (not more than one moon). Childhood, young adulthood, adulthood, and old age are different phases of life, not different lives. Likewise, the Self perceives the ego, mind, body, and the world as different aspects of one Reality. This, however, is not all that there is to It (Reality).
One aspect of Reality is the Self that perceives the ego, mind, body, and the world. Another aspect of Reality is the eternal non-conscious substance (Prakriti) out of which the ego, mind, body, and the world are created. The world of mind (ego, intellect, mind, and senses) and matter (the physical body and world) is known as ‘manifested Prakriti,’ and the Self that perceives it is Purush, the manifest Atman (Self). The state of Prakriti before its manifestation is called ‘the Unmanifest,’ and Purush, being the manifest Atman (made manifest by the power of its own inherent Prana, Life Force), is known as ‘the Manifest.’ Beyond all of this is the Supreme Self. All of these are aspects of one Reality, but only three are absolute and eternal: the Supreme Self, the Self, and Prakriti.
The best thing that we can do in this world is to realize the Truth, because the Truth will set us free, and only a free man (or woman) can help free others. The Truth is that we are the Self embodied in human form for the sake of realizing our Supreme Self. Understanding this, we can endeavor to understand the nature of our human life (the ego, mind, body, and the whole world), our real Self (Atman), and our Supreme Self (Paramatman). But if we fail to discern these different aspects of Reality we will remain caught up in unreality (which is another name for Ignorance), and hence we will never know our True Nature.
When we do not know our True Nature, it is impossible to ‘do good.’ Here of course, ‘good’ refers to the Highest Good, and the ‘doing’ is the manifesting of that Highest Good. The highest good that we can do is to realize the union of the Self and the Supreme Self. ‘Realizing the union’ means directly experiencing the All-Pervading Supreme Self (which eternally pervades the Self, the innumerable souls). This ‘union’ is YOGA and this experience is Ananda (Bliss). This is the highest good because there is nothing greater than this. Thus, there is nothing better to do than to ‘do good.’
Doing good for goodness sake is the right thing to do. This, and this alone, will take us beyond ourselves and beyond the highest heaven to the realization of the Supreme Truth.