Acharya Prashant: ‘We are two’. And, there are always two ways to look at our existence. One is to look at our physical body and say we are purely physical, material. Who am I? This (referring to the body). The other way is to see that you are probably not the body, rather, you are with a body or you have a body. Don’t you say ‘my body? We don’t say ‘me body’.
Out of these two ways, the first way is more common, more straightforward, and easier to take. This duality in our existence is the fundamental reason behind all human suffering. On one hand -there is this preprogrammed body that has its own processes and intentions as well. On the other hand, there is the invisible consciousness that is related to this body, attached to this body. But, at the same time has an objective very different from that of the body, hence, the twoness.
This twoness is not greatly experienced by animals. It is not experienced by any life form apart from human beings. Animals really do not have a force of consciousness that may potentially rally or revolt against their physical being. Or, you could say that in animals, consciousness is almost in agreement with its physical being. What the animal's body wants, its consciousness readily agrees too. If the animal wants to eat because its body, its stomach is now in need of food, then its mind immediately starts finding ways to get food. Without questioning, without resisting. If the body needs food then the only purpose and objective of the mind is to seek food. That’s how an animal lives.
But, in the case of human beings, there is a clear dissonance, hence, I said ‘we are two’. The body may want one thing but, the mind may want something totally different. The body may say that ‘I need sleep’ but, the mind may say ‘no I am in the middle of the movie, I want to finish the movie off.' Or, the mind may say ‘I am driving now, I need to complete the journey. I can’t go to sleep’. Or, the mind may say ‘I have a very very critical task to complete, I can’t go to bed’. Right?
Reasons that the mind may have differ in their dimension. The mind may say 'I want to consume, hence, I don’t want to sleep’. Or, the mind may say ‘I have a tremendous responsibility, I want to be liberated, hence, I can’t go to sleep’. Whatever be the reason, the mind has a certain autonomy, the mind has a certain choice. Potentially that choice is available. So, there is always an inner conflict. The conflict is always between your preprogrammed self, your Prakritik self. And, the urge of your consciousness for liberation. Right?
If you’re the physical body, the conflict which we just talked of that is, sought to be resolved here, how? If you’re the physical body, alone, then surely anything physical comes from something physical. Where does anything come from? This is a machine; it comes from a machine, right? This is a machine, it comes from another machine. And, that another machine comes from another machine. Or, you could say ‘this is material and all material comes from the material’. Right?
So if you say that you come from physical bodies then, what have you decided for yourself in terms of your identity? If you say, "I come from physical bodies- one man and one woman", then what have you told yourself regarding your identity? "I am a body!" Right?
Now there was this conflict- am I a body or am I a consciousness? We said, "Man is characterized by one conflict -am I a body or am I a consciousness." The moment you say, "I am a son or a daughter of two human beings", you’ve sickled the conflict in the favour of the body. Because, if I am coming from a body then I am a body, then I can’t argue in favor of consciousness. Settled, game over.
The Upanishad here is decreeing otherwise. The Upanishad is saying ‘life and the mind and the senses are born from Him’. Your life is not coming from two other life forms. This existing life form is not coming from two preceding life forms, a male and a female. No, you’re actually coming from Him. Now, the fact on the ground is, as far as your body is concerned, it is coming from your father and your mother. Right? And yet, the Upanishad is saying, "No, but you’re coming from some other father". What is the Upanishad saying then? "You’re not the body."
Because, we cannot argue against the obvious fact, that your body can’t come except from two other bodies. Nobody can debate that, right? The Upanishad is saying still "All life and senses really come from Him", which basically means that you’re not the body. Your real identity is your consciousness. And, if your real identity is your body then you’re an animal because, in the case of an animal, it is very true that consciousness is not at the central position. It is the body that is at the central position. Animals of one particular species do not behave differently from each other. Do they? Why? Because their bodies are not very different from each other. Why are two cats not very different from each other in terms of behavior? Because they’re not very different from each other in terms of their body. Basically, their body becomes their behavior.
Therefore, if you are someone who is body-centric and whose life and actions and thoughts and emotions and behavior come from the body then you are a cat. Are you getting it? Have you ever seen a cat and a dog behaving alike? Why don’t a cat and a dog behave in the same way? Because their bodies are different, as simple as that. Why don’t a man and a woman among human beings behave in the same way? Because their bodies are different, as simple as that. There is no great or deep reason behind all this. Are men and women different? Yes, because their bodies are different, full stop. Know the reason. Will a Rabbit and a Lion behave the same way? Why not? Because their bodies are different. So animals are totally captive to their bodies.
Now let’s come to human beings. Do human beings behave greatly differently from each other? Potentially yes. Same species, yet there can be a world of difference, right? That tells you who we really are. Animals cannot behave very differently from each other, human beings can. Can’t we? You can have a human being as Krishna and you can have a human being as Kansa . Among rabbits that’s not going to happen. You cannot have an elevated rabbit like Krishna and you cannot have a fallen rabbit lilke Kansa . You will not have that. Some marginal difference in behavior can be there. But, not beyond that. But, among human beings -there is the Sky and there is Earth.
Do you see this? Please. No, you could argue that even that could probably be because of genetic reasons because even in the same species, genetic material does differ. So, maybe Krishna was genetically superior compared to Kansa . Not superior, let’s say, genetically different. So, those genetic differences were dictating the difference in thought and action. We can encounter that. The same person, at one moment in his life, behaves in a very fallen way. Indeed, a perverse way. And, that very same person in his same lifetime is capable of behaving in a greatly elevated way. Have the genes changed? What has changed? The state of consciousness. Now, you should know, which side you must take. Are you the body or the consciousness?
Do not go by the desire, go by the facts of life. The fact of life is that even if you want to consider yourself a body, you actually are Consciousness. Your consciousness is central, your body is something that you have. You are the Consciousness; you have the body. That’s the difference. You are the Consciousness; you have the body. You understand this. And, that’s the point Upanishads , the Rishis (sages) are trying to drill into us.
It’s not that the body is not a fact. The body is a fact but, not the central one. The body indeed does exist, sure. And, not only so, the state of our body influences the state of our consciousness. We know that. Why does your consciousness start behaving erratically, starts sinking in fact, when you’re drunk? Because something has happened to your physical system. And, when your physical system is influenced, your consciousness also gets influenced. Doesn’t it? But, in spite of that correlation, in spite of that relationship, still, consciousness has a certain autonomy. Are you getting it? And, that autonomy is your hope, your desire, it’s your last chance. That perfect autonomy is what we all are craving for.
Can we have a consciousness, that is independent of everything? And, everything meaning 'the body', nothing else. Can we have a consciousness that is not dictated by the world? And when I say 'the world', I mean the body. Because it’s the body that comes into the world. Agreed? The Rishis have delivered the verdict here. Your body may come from the parents, but, you have not come from your parents. And, if you’ve come from your parents then you’re a cat. You won’t want to ascribe that species to your parents, right? If you’re a cat then your parents are? (A cat)
So, if not for yourself, then for your parents, avoid being a cat. Right? Is that clear?
You come from your parents only to the extent, your body comes from two other bodies. But, the real you, your consciousness, does not come from anybody. It comes directly from There. Where? We don’t know. Because we don’t know, because we can’t ever even potentially know, we call that ‘Brahma’. Consciousness comes from there. Because, we know for certain that our consciousness is not fully tied, not inexorably tied to our body. Redemption is possible.
Now, you also know what is the measure of our humanness. The level of your consciousness. And, how otherwise can you define the level of consciousness? The more your consciousness is free of the impulses of your body, the higher is your humanness. And, the more you live a body-centered life, the more of an animal you are.
Isn’t that very mathematical, very obvious very clear? So even if a person is greatly rich or extremely attractive. But, if that person is living for the sake of the body - And what does the body want? Look at the animals, what do they want? Food, shelter, territorial occupation, territorial hegemony, control over the tribe so that they can have the best female to mate with. All these things.
So, you might be a very influential person in society. But, if your influence is only in these dimensions, right? Then you’re just a beast. You may have a great house; animals too are looking to expand their territories. Are they not? Or, your product may have a high market share that’s what animals are also looking for. No? You might be visiting the best restaurants, animals too are quite particular about food. Aren’t they? All that doesn’t make you a great human being. All that only makes you more of an animal. Forget about being a great human being, you’re not even a human being at all.
The fellow was hungry, so he left an important job aside and started binging. And, then he got so full, so tight and so inflated that he fell asleep. Why call this fellow a 'man'? Call him a cockroach or something and that’s not an abuse, that’s a fact. Is it not a fact? You’re supposed to do something at 11 pm tonight, instead, what did you do? You ate a lot. Because you just cannot manage your physical impulses. And, what happened when you ate so much? (Felt asleep)
Why do you carry a name even? Does any animal have a name? Its only name is animal. Human beings have names. Do you understand why human beings have names? Because human beings are potentially different from each other. Animals don’t have names because no animal is really different from another animal. One Rabbit is not really different from another rabbit. So rabbits; it would be illogical to give them names. Or, you can give them names if they are your pets. For reasons of fondness, you may give them names. But, the fact is one rabbit is not really different from another rabbit. But, one man is really different from another man, potentially. Actually, one man is not really different from another man, because we all behave as per our bodily instinct. But, if we do that then, we are not human beings at all. And, we don’t deserve to carry names.
Are you getting it?