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The Real Self 

by Manmohan Ambardar 

A man who subject to ignorance regards himself as a soul separate from the Supreme Being, and is therefore, entangled in Samsara. He suffers accordingly and cannot but help conceive that Supreme Spirit as a personal God, the Creater and Protector of all the souls and the worlds. And so long as he continues thinking of himself as a 'Soul', for him this personal God appears real enough.

In reality, this God which he has created in his own image and superimposed on that formless and nameless Supreme Spirit, is unaffected by this superimposition.

But that one Reality conciousness which is the Real Self, becomes for him - because of his own ignorance, something distinct from him, and becomes known to him as 'God'. This ignorant devotee ascribes to it a name and form and worship and regards It as other than himself. He regards Him as the Lord of all the souls, and the worlds and as gracious to his devotees.

It is right for him to do so, because that devotion of his confers on him, in the course of time, purity of mind and thereby leads him on finally to the experience of the Real Self, which is the reality.

It is said that any name and any form may be ascribed to the Reality, therefore, the devotees can choose whichever is most attractive to himself for devotion, that is, any one of the recognized forms , such as Siva, Ganpati, Vishnu and others. Since in reality the Brahman is nameless and formless, it is proper to assume that the Brahman will accept whatever name or form is given to it by the devotee. This is true catholicity.

Quarrelling with one another, asserting ‘My God is great, yours is inferior’ is due to immaturity of character and narrowness of mind.

The form that is thus chosen and ascribed to the Brahman may be a mental concept. The divinity may be invoked and imagined as resident in any object of creation, and worshipped.

The object serves as a symbol of God.

Thus, the Sun, the Sky, Fire, a hill (like Hari Parbat) a sacred river or the like may serve as a symbol of God, and an object of worship of all the available forms the most suitable and efficacious is the Guru who is a Sage, a knower, by experience of the Real Self for the sage does not think of himself - the self as other than the supreme Being. Therefore, it happens that in the Sri Bhagavad Gita the Lord says, "The sage (Inani) is myself". We must regard the Guru exactly as he regards himself; that is, we must look upon him as the Supreme Being that dwells inside ourselves as the Real Self. It is a serious mistake to think of him as separate from the Brahman.

Most devotees, who worship the Brahman as a Personal God, do not know that the ultimate goal of life is the experience of the Real Self; their goal is the vision of that particular God-form to which they are devoted. It is even possible that, due to the frivoler and persistence of his devotion, he may have that vision some time or other. But we should remember that the form that is thus seen will also disappear as it is not real, since the Real God is the formless Brahman, which is the Real Self. The form that is seen is such a vision is only a mental image. But though the devotee does not want and does not aim at the final goal; the experience of the real self as identical with the true God (Brahman) he will ultimately come to the Real Self. And it has to be said that the cause of his accomplishing it is by divine grace. As the Upanishads say, it is the final fulfillment of his desire. It is this that constitutes the true vision of God, as Brahman.

Good vision is illustrated in the story of Pralhada which appears in Yoga Vasistha and is as: Vishnu appeared to Pralhada in the form in which He was adored by Pralhada, and told him, "The vision is of no use for giving you freedom .......” You must obtain the right vision of the real Vishnu, the one that is realised in you as the Real Self.

Vishnu also taught him the practices needed for obtaining that vision and then disappeared. Pralhada followed these instructions and thereby obtained the experience of Real Self.

(Based on Bhagwan Sri Ramanamaharashi’s Uladu Narpadu (Sad -Vidya) which means forty verses.)

Source: Milchar

  

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