I told you in my previous posts that I would dissolve your ignorance about the scriptures little by little by giving you their essence. In order to define what a limited individual is, I will quote aphorism III, 1 of Śivasūtra-s (a very important scripture):
“The individual Self (is) the mind||1||”
“Limited individual”, “limited being”, “conditioned being”,” individual Self” and so on, all these terms mean the same thing. The aphorism expresses that a limited individual is identified with his mind. In this way, he is living his mind’s life and not his real life. Reality amounts to immutability. The Self does not change ever. His Power does not change either. As the Self and His Power are Real in the fullest sense of word, they never change. But the mind changes all the time, and as the limited individual is always identified with it, he changes accordingly.
What is the mind? The mind is one residual manifestation of His Power. The senses and the physical body are other residual manifestations too. All of them are “real” in the sense that they “do exist”, but they change. Therefore, they are not “Real” in the fullest sense of word. Since the limited individual arises from the identification of the Self with the mind, he is doomed to change too. As a result, the limited individual changes and changes as if he was dancing to the tune of his own mind. The mind is full of ideas springing up all the time. The emergence of ideas and the resulting identification with them make the limited individual transmigrate.
Transmigration is constant mutation or change. A limited individual changes constantly due to different ideas arising in his mind. These ideas also affect the body. As the body changes, the limited individual also does so. A limited individual is in trouble all day long. Even when he experiences pleasure, he is in trouble due to his inherent incapacity to make the most of it! In the end, even his pleasure turns into pain. After his body dies, he takes another body (he is reborn). He could leave his former body behind, but not his bondage. This is why committing suicide is never a solution to spiritual ignorance. No, it is not that easy. Spiritual ignorance belongs to the Power of the Self which is immortal. One CANNOT avoid this spiritual ignorance by simply killing his own body. This is elementary, right? So, the limited individual MUST manage to find a way out while he is still alive, because death is never the solution to his affliction.
The aphorism III, 2 of Śivasūtra-s says:
“(Mind-born) knowledge (is) bondage||2||”
Therefore, all the knowledge appearing in the mind of a limited individual eventually leads him to bondage. This mental knowledge comes from an endless series of ideas. The limited individual ignores how to put an end to this bondage. This is one of his marks of spiritual ignorance. When he tries to stop his mind, he is powerless. His state is that of being “at the mercy of”. I mean, “he is at the mercy of other people, mother nature, planets, his own physical body, mosquitoes, diseases, wars, etc.” He has no real power to stop his suffering. He has mental knowledge about things, but he doesn’t know about his own Self. On account of his spiritual ignorance, he might dominate the entire world perhaps but is unable to stop a miserable feeling from entering his system. Mind-born knowledge is always bondage. For example, at present, technology is spreading all its glory, but human bondage is at its height nonetheless.
The problem is always the inherent spiritual ignorance about the Self. This ignorance catches the limited individual and keeps him at bay. He does not know how to escape it. One can see this happening all the time in the world. I am speaking the truth.
The vast majority of people simply are not interested in getting rid of their spiritual ignorance despite suffering continuously. However, a small amount of people among them finally realize that they do not want to keep living in that state of helplessness. These are the spiritual aspirants. All these posts (and the entire website indeed!) are intended for them alone!
The first thing that a spiritual aspirant must know is that spiritual ignorance in general cannot be overcome without extra help. So, he must find that extra help somehow. It usually comes in the form of a person with enough knowledge and capacity to duly instruct him/her. Without these special instructions, a spiritual aspirant will go nowhere, in general. There are several reasons for this to happen in this particular manner, but I will explain them to you later.
The second thing that a spiritual aspirant must know is that, since his identification with the mind is crucial in order for spiritual ignorance to keep him as a “limited individual”, he must get rid of that identification one way or another. There are two methods:
- Stopping/arresting the mind
- Considering the mind as the Power of the Self
When a spiritual aspirant tries to stop his mind for the first time, he discovers that he just cannot keep it silent for more than a few seconds. You can try it now and see that I am speaking the truth. Next, when he tries to consider his mind as the Power of the Self, he just does not know how to do it. Try it and see for yourself, dear aspirant.
In short, a spiritual aspirant needs precise instructions about how to perform those two methods. But even after receiving such instructions, he will realize he is still powerless. What is the reason? Simple:
“The Self does not want to reveal Himself to you. He is not pleased with you… why should He be pleased with you?”
Yes, I am making the things very simple for you to understand the process. Obviously, the Self is not like an angry person being stubborn or something. NO. But this way of explaining the process of spiritual enlightenment (Freedom) brings another actor on stage: “merit”.
I will continue speaking about this subject in my next post.