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LecturesHeart of Prayer
Swami Atmajnanananda (English)
Emotion and Action
Swami Yogatmananda (English)
Swami Tyagananda (English)
From Karma to Karma Yoga
Swami Vedananda (English)
The Art of Asking Questions
Pravrajika Virajaprana (English)
Swami Brahmeshananda (Hindi)
Devotional SongsAb Shiva par karo (Jugalbandi)
Hara Hara Bhutanatha
Sundara lala Nanda dulala
Swami Kripakarananda (Hindi)
Uthlechhe prema parabar
Swami Kripakarananda (Bengali)
Prabuddha BharataLatest Issue
Editorial : Do Not Commit Suicide
Desperation causes aspiration. Some aspire to live, others to die. Death is the cessation of the life of a living being in this world. It is the dissolution of one’s perceived personality. The normal idea of personality is a compound of body and mind. The death of the body is ordinarily considered death. But are we merely bodies? Do we have no existence beyond our bodies? What is our true nature? What is our true personality?
Life brings out the best of us by putting us into situations that are the worst. Why does it do so? To make us wake up from our beginningless slumber of forgetting our true nature: blissful, ever-existing, and absolutely conscious. It tries to shake us from our dream of the world. Just as in a dream it is difficult to see ourselves, so in this dream of worldly existence we cannot see our true nature, the Atman.
Even when we think that we ought to start our spiritual journey, what do we do? We chalk out a programme, a routine, make some feeble attempts at meditation, do some scriptural studies, bring changes to our lifestyle, do some devotional practices, and try to help others. All these are at best preparations for the spiritual journey. Almost all of us remain stagnant at this stage of preparation, our entire lives, and do not progress further because we lack both vision and passion. We lack the vision of Atman, our true nature. We fail to understand the import of the Upanishads who try to give us an inkling of our glorious nature. Constantly studying them and meditating on their meaning gives us a grand vision of our reality beyond what we perceive: the seer behind the seen. With this vision we have a roadmap to start our journey. We know what it would be to reach the destination.
We know, from the seers of the past, that the arrival at the destination would be a state of complete fulfilment, a state of complete doubtlessness. What is self-realisation or God-realisation? It is a doubtless understanding of one’s personality. That is the vision we need to have to be spiritual aspirants, to aspire to be free from suffering.
With a clear vision of the spiritual path and its destination, we need passion to move forward. Have you seen the proverbial fish out of water? Are you one? Do you become restless with the pleasures of the world? People around the world become restless to get engrossed in sense pleasures but how many get restless to get out of them? Do you feel suffocated dabbling in the dreams of duality? Do people, sense-objects, your body, your mind, and whatever you perceive distress you? Are you impatient to get out of the vicious cycle of the seer and seen, the perceiver and the perceived? Do you want to become one with the sexless, ageless, immutable, inactive, Atman? Do you feel like ending this world born of ignorance? This is the passion you need to start your spiritual journey.
Everyone wants to live a happy life but few can live so. Everyone just holds on to the fleeting semblance of life and tries to settle on an unsettling ground. Ignorance is bliss is what most people believe and practise. They forget their blissful nature and kill themselves again and again, take birth and die over and again— all these because of wrong identifications with false appearances. They want to possess and to enjoy. They are the victims of the sense of I and mine. Their mirrors are covered with dust that they forgot to wipe off. Hence, the reflections they see are not clear and not true. This is suicide. Not the killing of the body but the killing of the understanding of one’s true nature is real suicide. Instead of renouncing the sense-objects for realising one’s true nature, the Atman, everyone is renouncing the understanding or even an inkling of one’s true nature, to enjoy the sense-objects.
We fail to see our true reflections through the dirty mirrors of our minds. We fail to glimpse that nature of ours, which is the true witness of the glimpses of this manifold universe. Our condition is worse than the amnesiac who has forgotten one’s name. We have not just forgotten our name but also our nature. We have forgotten that we are beyond name and form. Worse still, we are totally unaware of this and are not trying to get back the memory of our true Self. This is a great suicide. This is a suicide far worse and damaging than the suicide of killing one’s body. This is suicide at the deepest level. And the pain that this suicide brings leaves us being kicked from one lifetime to the other, much like the football kicked by the players on the ground. This suicide brings both the suffering and its effects that go on and on in a vicious cycle of ignorance.
We create illusions and see in people and objects, characteristics that do not exist. We attribute to this universe permanence that is never there. We constantly confound ourselves with confusions, the true nature of which we have never confirmed, and have never even bothered to attempt to do so. The body that would wither and die is pampered so much and we zealously search for techniques for prolonging youth, beauty, and vitality. We consider ourselves to be the body that is full of impurities as opposed to our true nature, the Atman, which is the epitome of purity.
By constantly neglecting our true personality, we kill itself just like we can kill the body by neglecting it for many days, by not feeding or maintaining it. This is spiritual suicide. Any pain at the gross level is less intense. The more we move on the scale of subtlety, the pain is deeper and deeper. The opposite of life is death. When a person commits suicide of the body, she or he changes life into death. Similarly when a person commits spiritual suicide she or he goes away from one’s true nature of bliss to a never-ending cycle of suffering.
By considering ourselves—who are truly, unborn, immortal, immutable, and indivisible— to take birth, to die, and having different parts and characteristics, is to give a fatal blow to our personality and kill its very essence. This is the suicide that no one should attempt, yet all of us are enamoured by our repeated attempts to bind our free self and to cover the glory of our pristine nature. This comes from the unexplained ignorance that has no beginning but definitely has an end if only we follow the instructions of the scriptures left to us by an unbroken tradition of masters. Let us not commit suicide. Let us use this life of ours to realise our true divine nature. Let us live a life of striving to know the truth of our personality.