Moving on to the 3rd and most critical component viz. “Self”, “Atma” or the “Soul”. What are its properties and how can we know it?
Our body, sense organs, mind, ego, this world of matter which seems real to us is “not self” but is “Maya”. “Self” or “Atma” is what is beyond Maya. Atma is formless and has no shape. It does not die. It is not a body which keeps changing every minute. It is not a mind either which is affected by happiness and miseries of life. It is above all this, witness of different states of consciousness. It is beyond the limitations of our body and functions. It is that by which we experience waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. It is that by which our body and all our sense organs function (we cannot see it with our eyes but it is by which our eyes are able to see). It is pure existence and changeless. It is neither born nor does it die or perish. It is eternal, Nitya.
We have a gross body and a subtle body. The Atma works the subtle body and through subtle body it works the gross body. Atma is separate from the body and the mind. Atma is always blissful. We think that the pleasure we get is in the object or the fulfilment of our desires, but it is not so. Actually, our mind is always in flux. It is never in a state of rest. When our desire is fulfilled, the disturbance of our mind ceases for some-time. At that moment we see the real nature of our soul, the blissful nature and feel happy. If we can keep our mind at peace, we can always remain in contact with our self, the Atma and in a state of bliss.
Only by concentration can we know our soul. As we cannot the see the bottom of the lake till the waves are active, in the same way we cannot see the real nature of our soul till the thought waves are present in the mind. When we are able to subside all the waves, we will find that the soul is immortal. It can never die. Every person is born with the impression of all the lives he has lived. He gains experience in life after life and slowly moves towards perfection. When “self’ is realised, one gets liberated from all the bondages. This state is called “Kaivalya”, a state of constant bliss.
Now, if that is so then why can’t we find happiness in this world and why is there so much misery?
Just imagine, if there were no misery on earth, no one will strive to be free from the cycle of life and death. In fact, this earth, with all the misery, is the place of action, the “Karma Bhumi”. Everyone who wants to attain the ultimate goal of liberation, i.e. self-realisation, has to come to this earth and with devotion, meditation and Bhakti, reach that State. The true happiness is achieved only through self-realisation. The nature of self is unending bliss. We remain far from happiness in this life till we search for happiness outside our self. That is in sense pleasures through our body, in emotions and rational thrills through our mind and intellect.
Therefore, know yourself, know your Atma and remain happy forever…..to achieve this, the secret is “meditation” which has also been made simple by Swamiji in the earlier section available in the gallery.
All about meditation – Part 1 : What is mediation? Why is it necessary? How to master the art?
All about meditation – Part 3 : How long should one meditate & How do you know that you are progressing?
All about meditation – Part 4 : Why do we at all need to meditate? So…..finally, Meditation is a “must”!