UNIT-V THE LOWER SELF AND THE HIGHERSELF
We have so far talked about the values as an excellence within. Mention was also made to an anchor within which can withdraw us for a while from the exterior and provide us strength and a balance, an equilibrium. Gandhiji often talked about the moral courage and was himself a model of it. Our ancient Indian philosophy has continuously reminded us of this strength within. So it is not something new to we Indians. Even for other countries of the world, this realisation had always been there.
Bade Griffith is also talking of this inner strength as the eternal reality as follows:
MODERN MAN’S REAL ALIENATION
Modern man has experienced this isolation, this alienation, more than any man in history. All the ancient cultures, the Egyptian and Babylonian, the Persian, the Indian and the Chinese, not to mention the African and
Australian and American Indian, sought to preserve this integrity of man, to keep him in touch with the eternal Reality. The Greeks were the first to emancipate from this eternal Law, to develop a rational consciousness, which made man the measure of all things.
It was only at the Renaissance that the movement towards the emancipation of man from the universal Law, from the sacred order of truth and morality, really took hold.
Then the reflective consciousness turned away from the eternal light of Truth and began to concentrate on man and nature. The marvels of modern science and technology, the transformation of the world and of human society, which we have witnessed, are the fruits of this reflective consciousness centred on man and nature. But the cost of it has been the alienation of man from his true Self, from the Ground of being, of truth and morality, and now he is exposed to all the destructive forces, which this has
released. Yet the reflective consciousness can always turn back. Instead of concentrating on man and nature and centring on the ego, it can turn back to the other source and find the Self. This is conversion, the discovery of the real Self, of eternal life.
In this modern era of extreme exteriorisation, we have somehow started ignoring this aspect as an outdated. But reality cannot be denied. Let us deal with this inner-self in some details.
After working through this Unit, you will be able to:
Explain the concept of Higher-self and Lower-self
Relate interplay of Gunas with this concept
Practise dis-identifying self with lower-self and re-identifying with Higher-Self
The story given below will help us understand the concept.
5.2 THE GOLD WITHIN
Once upon a time there was a king who was famous for his charity. People said, “To hungry he gives food to scholars he gives rewards; to noblemen he gives titles and honours. In fact he is never tired of giving.”
But he had already grown tired of giving. He thought, “all my life I have been giving alms and awards. Where is the end? Are the people really needy or they continue to come simply because I give? Don’t I see the same faces coming to me again and again wearing a standard mask of gratitude?”
He thought a lot and decided to stop the practice ” If give I must, it should be only to those who are really needy. It is high time I know who are really needy and, to begin with, I must find out the poorest man in my kingdom, he decided.
Accordingly he sent his minister to find out the poorest man. A week later the minister returned and announced in the tone of a successful explorer. “My lord, not far from here, inside the forest, there is a small mountain. Top of that sits the poorest man of our land- a mendicant. He has no roof on his head, nothing on his body except a yard of bark; he lives on whatever fruits some wood-cutters care to leave beside him on their way home from the forest.”
“Is there really such a man in my kingdom? I must see him,” said the king and rode into the forest and then climbed the mountain and found out the mendicant sitting still, his eyes closed.
The king had to wait for a long time. When the mendicant opened his eyes, he said, “I am the king of this land. I am sad to see the miserable condition in which you are living. I want you to dress well; tell me, what kind of dress will you like? Dhoti or chapkan?” the mendicant smiled, but kept quite.
The king said again, I will like to build a house for you; tell me, what kind of house will you like to own?” The mendicant smiled again; yet he did not speak. A little later the king again said, “I will arrange to send some food for you everyday. Tell me your preference in matters of food. ” the
mendicant smiled but still kept mum.
The king began losing patience and cried out. “I appeal to you, do speak!”
Slowly but sweetly the mendicant said. “My dear king.
You are mistaken I am not the poorest man. There is another man in the kingdom that is poorer than myself So far as I am concerned although I look poor. I am very rich, for I can change the earth into gold”,
The king gaped with amazement for some time and asked. “Will you kindly tell me who is poorer than you? And will you kindly reveal to me the secret of transforming the earth into gold? The mendicant said, “To know these things you have to follow a certain discipline.”
“I will follow, said the king enthusiastically.
“For full one year, everyday, you must come here once before the sunrise and once again before the sunset and spend some time with me, ” said the mendicant.
“I will do so, ” said the joyous king, bowing to the mendicant.
And he came there twice everyday without fail. The mendicant seldom uttered any work, but his charming smile always spoke of his affection for the king. He made the king sit down and meditate for some time. For the king the discipline was a bit awkward experience for the first few
weeks. But soon he realised that it was a most welcome change from the dry or anxious hours of the court where he was always surrounded by diplomats and flatterers and discontent people. After a few months he grew so fond of his visits to the mendicant that he eagerly looked forward to the
The silence of the mountain, the sunrise and sunset which coloured the landscape, the breeze which embraced him with the message of freedom, the songs of the birds in the wood and above all the quiet yet overwhelming presence of the mendicant slowly made the king a different man. The little time he spent there everyday had its sure effect on the rest of his time and routine.
The king did not remember when a year passed. He even did not know when several years passed. At the end of the third year one day the mendicant suddenly asked the king, “well, it seems we have forgotten about the two things you wanted to know-about the man poorer than myself and
about the secret of transforming the earth into gold. Would you not like to know about them?”
The king smiled and replied. “But haven’t I known them already? I was the poorer man because I was anxious to possess more gold and I was begging to know the secret of changing the earth into gold. And secondly, I
believe, by now I have known the secret of changing the earth into gold.
When I sit here and marvel at the splendour of nature all around at sunsets and sunrises when the colours of heaven are sprinkled on earth- at the diamond -fringed clouds – at all God’s creation- all appear to me a thousand time more wonderful than gold”. The mendicant smiled and said. “You
have got it- and that is because you have turned gold within.”
It is rightly said that the kingdom of heaven is within. And once this is understood we get an anchor to settle in peace and beauty instead of mentally and physically roaming around wildly like a wild musk dear in search of kasturi, which he does not know is
5.3 LOWERSELF AND THE HIGHERSELF
According to Indian psycho-philosophy, the gold within referred to in the story lies in the cave of the heart. We may symbolise it with golden flame or the Higher-self. Its characteristics are given as follows:
- Eternally perfect
- Constantly blissful
- Completely autonomous
- Truth and light in itself
- Identical with the higher self of all others.
When we say I, majority of the times we are not referring to the self-mentioned above. This reference to self in normal usage is toward the lower self through which we are connected to the exterior world. But when we refer to the self within or the interior world or the internal centrifugal force or source/within, we are referring to the Higher Self. Though, the higher and the lower self are very deeply connected, the awareness of this connection is lost in our day to day over involvement with the exterior world.
While the lower self keeps jumping around, the higher self is watching silently.
According to Vivekananda:
‘ Religion is manifestation of divinity within you’. ‘Education is manifestation of perfection already in the man’
Thus divinity and perfection are not external objects, but internal bliss achieved through religion and real education.
We may compare the Lower self and higher self as follows.
Thus as the lower self is deficit-driven, it is demanding. The behaviour coming from this state is the one that tries to grab and watch self-interest only. The Higher Self being poorna gracefully allows others to gain and remains bliss-full.
Where as self (lower) of each individual is different from that of the other, the Self (higher) in all is the same.
Naturally the qualities like team-spirit, collaboration, can in real sense be driven from the higher-self which is poorna and identical with the higher-self of all others and not the lower self which is deficit-driven and cannot see a common string in all human beings. Thus it can lead us to interpersonal conflicts only.
Thus the need is to withdrawn for a time being from the exterior world and to look within to establish a connection with this true higher Self.
Socrates declared: ‘Know thyself’.
We know ourselves, only in the extremely narrow sense of selfish desires and ambitions of our mento-physcial existence. At the most some of us reflect the dimension of social existence too. And it is this type of extremely limited knowing, which underlies all the issues of human ineffectiveness in organizations. The great problem seems to be our inability even to diagnose this as the key issue.
Let us try to understand the higher and the lower self and their inter-relation more clearly through these illustrations though they cannot fully signify the nature of higher self in real sense:
(a) When air is pumped into a bladder, the football becomes round and swollen. The air inside serves certain function for a while. But when it is deflated or punctured, the football loses its shape and the air in it returns to its original free state. It returns to its source. The air in all different types of
shapes looks different but is actually the same air. On the same analogy the higher self of each one of us is identical and is a part of the same, all pervading divinity. Where as the lower self is one identified with this Body, Mind & intellect complex and which we normally call I and mine. Just like
the air inside a ball or a tube looses connection with the air in the atmosphere and is seen as a ball or tube only, we start recognizing ourselves with the body, mind & intellect complex which are the exterior forms and which keep us involve in the exterior world. We forget the real nature i.e. the higher self within. Thus more the lower self remain
anchored to or connected to the inner source or higher self, the more ethical will be the behaviour, and the personality. As we have already seen that the source of Values is within, that source is this higher self only, which in turn is a part or reflection of the all-pervading Divinity.
(b) Similarly a close friendship between a blind man and a lame one makes the two together a functional pair- the mobility of the blind guided by the sight of the lame. This metaphor is used to hint at the nature of the lower-self and higher-self combination in every individual. We can say, in each person there are two aspects: one, the active and mobile but insentient part of the being; the other the witness and still but sentient part of the being. The moment the blind stops listening to the lame he stands danger of misleading himself. In the same way if we stop paying attention to the
higher self within, we start following the path of disaster. We call this higher self the Atman, which is a part of all pervading Bliss – the Paramatman.
These working implications of Yoga-Vedanta psychology underlie the mystic affirmation uttered by Christ:
‘O Lord! Let Thy will be done, not mine’,
As Sri Aurobindo says:
By practice in concentrated silence, everyone can develop a kind of dual consciousness- the one engaged in surface-level activity, caught in obscurity and struggle; the other, behind, remaining calm and strong with effortless insight. After some sadhana the mobile but erring prakriti (lower-self) becomes subject to the guiding light and rectitude of the witness purusha
(higher-self). Then the individual achieves ever more perfection as a worker. The revived poorna higher self directs the executive lower self to perform wholesomely.
Thus by listening to that higher Self within, we are in fact listening to the God. This paves the way for empowerment of our consciousness, from a higher source, which leads to us to perfection/ excellence. Thus, the whole of Indian civilization and society, her systems and structures were in principle and in practice aimed at ultimately helping each individual to
ascend to the higher self. This was provided for by a constant and consistent weaving of the sacred into the secular, i.e. adding human values to the day-to-day activities. As Enrich Forman says:
We are aware of the existence of a Self, of a core in our personality which is unchangeable and which persists through out our life inspite of varying
circumstances and regardless of certain changes and opinions and feelings. It is this core which is the reality behind the word ‘I’ or Self and on which our conviction of our own identity is based.
Here Forman’s ‘I’ corresponds to the Higher self of Indian philosophy and is referred to as unchanging core.
For the ultimate truth in man is not in his Intellect or in his material wealth: it is in his imagination of sympathy, in his illumination of heart, in his activities of self-sacrifice in his capacity of extending love far and
wide across all barriers of caste and colour, in his realizing this world not as a storehouse of mechanical power but as a habitation of man’s soul with its eternal music of beauty and its inner light of a divine presence.
5.5 HIGHER SELF IN OPERATION
Can a model of man such as that outlined above provide any solution to our problems in the contemporary world and organizations?
- We in our organizations feel embarrassed to talk about the concept of Atma or higher Self. We talk of values because we have learnt their importance from our own experiences and from our deteriorating situation as it has turned out in the absence of them. But we are hesitant to fully admit this connection of values with the source- the Atma and try to deal with them (the values) at a superficial level only.
For example we emphasize punctuality, devotion to duty,
integrity, team building, collaboration, fraternity and the like.
But the guiding light, the source from which all these flow remains veiled. Such superficial treatment cannot lead to the real transformation or the character building. It is necessary to mention that the concept of higher Self is not meant for the world renouncing rishies or sages only. Even among the
rishies we have complete householders like Vashistha who, by his wife Arundhati, had many sons. More important, many of these profound insights flowed from monarchs, the most practical and the busiest of men of their times. Persons like Janak, Krishna, Ram, Bhishma, Vidhur, Abraham and Akbar and the like were not Brahmins or priests. These down to earth, practical rulers/advisers of vast kingdoms had the time and taste for contemplation and meditation. They had discovered some of the profoundest secrets for wholesome management of existence. This was why even some of the renowned Brahmin sages used to send their sons or disciples to such kings for the benefit of supreme knowledge. Gandhi
was also guided by this inner moral strength.
- In India, this question regarding the ‘essence of man’ has always remained in the forefront. It is probably this fact, which, more than anything else, accounts for the survival of the Indian civilization-despite its social and geographical contradictions and diversity, and its subjugation to foreign economic and political conquest for centuries. If we once again readdress ourselves to this question, we would be
recouping our lost effectiveness and vitality-both at the personal and organizational level.
Thus the need is to identify our-selves with this higher self and not I, which we normally consider ourselves to be. Ramana Maharshi said in reply to a question from Paul Burnton
“If ‘I’ is gone, will a man not turn an idiot?”
“No, he will attain that consciousness which is immortal and he will become truly wise when he is awakened to his true Self, which is the real nature of man.”
- In Organizational Behaviour, we always speak of Team Building, emphasizing that the employees should have ‘team spirit’. The word ‘spirit’ is, however, devoid of any real content when we utter it in this context. We have to try hard to learn that this spirit is atman or the true Self. And it is this Self, which is one in essence, that alone can constitute the foundation of extension motivation, teamwork, collaboration and the like. This indeed is what self-awareness means in Indian psychology, wherein all can discover unity and
- We, in Indian organizations should not overlook one of the starkest realities facing us in managing our roles: the highly differentiated Indian society, not in terms of caste alone, but in terms of language, religion, social customs and so on. Our ancient and modern Masters have been warning us that ‘matter divides, spirit unites’. It is this spirit, the concept of Atman or the higher Self, which has always guided us for centuries. That is how despite all disparities and
disputes, India still flourishes as one nation as against the
USSR, which had to disintegrate.
- We can find many exemplary functionaries in our administration
today also who could render prestige to not so prestigious
postings. Kiran Bedi got Megasyasay Award for the Jail
Reforms which none of her predecessor could think of. (For an IPS Officer the charge of jail was not considered to be a prestigious posting). She was once asked by one of the participants in a Training course on Values in Administration, “ Madam, many of the participants appreciate the course, but they say it is difficult to follow this path of serenity, and righteousness in today’s administration.
What is your message to them?” She simply said, “ I don’t do anything. It is all that my Atma tells me to do, I kept on doing. When I see expectations in the eyes of aggrieved people standing before me, I feet that they are seeing a ray of hope in me for removing their difficulties. My Atma then tells me what to do. Once inspired from within, I know no hindrances and no difficulties.” This clearly shows where the
driving force and the strength is, we may or may not accept
it. Thus it is not the post, which is prestigious, but it is up to
the person who holds it to make it prestigious.
- The whole life of Mother Teresa is nothing but the operation from this higher illuminated state. Her name as mother is deep written in our hearts regardless to the fact whether she possessed any worldly splendours or not. Such inspiration or strength to serve humanity are the outer manifestation of values like compassion, generosity and
affluence which have their source in the higher Self only.
5.6 ORGANISATIONAL ILLUSTRATIONS
Let us have minute look at the situation prevailing in most of our organization: We often find; Inter personal conflicts amongst colleagues who function in a competitive climate. Everyone tries to excel. To that
extent it is all right. But in a healthy competition one should always acknowledge a colleague if he or she happens to be excellent. In actual
practice, out of ego we do not hesitate in undermining others by refusing small helps, depriving them the vital information or documents or even the facilities needed thus making full effort to ensure failures in the colleague’s achievements. To this get added even the trivial benefits like phone connection, fax facility, use of staff car, priority to avail such facility
becomes a matter of prestige and does not remain need based. Over a period of time, formal organizational matters get linked up with these issues and endless battles begin to be fought – sometimes across individuals in a group, at other times across groups. But we fail to understand that if only one person or a few of them could manage the organization,
what was the need to employ all the others. Here we are guided by ego-centric self demands driven from the lower Self only.
However, if we are to think in terms of performance of an organization and want to see all of us as a part of an organization, we need the guidance of the Higher Self only which is same in all and which when awaken through practice over a period of time can help us withdraw from our ego and see that all individuals are identical in the real scientific sense and grounded in the Atma or Higher Self. This only can make us realize the requirements and capabilities of others. Unless the higher Self – the Poorna, illuminates deficit driven lower Self, all efforts of team spirit and conflict management will remain a lip service only.
Thus gradual establishment in the understanding of higher Self should be the most reliable foundation for achieving collaboration among the
employees in place of present conflict. Conflicts will perhaps not be totally eliminated, but costly collisions and derailments could be minimized.
The idea of true Self or poorna enables one to pursue excellence by complete concentration on the task itself without the burnout syndrome of competition-an inexorable outcome of the unripe ego. Slowly we begin to be liberated from the burning effects of jealousy, the gnawing effects of pride, the choking effects intrigue, the stifling effects of attempts to outbid others the debasing effects of greed, the intoxicating effects of power, the demoralizing effects of a cherished reward not received, and the like. His
or her higher Self stands far above these turbid waters of the lower-self. Unless and until we are not able to see ourselves as a part of the whole, the holistic approach cannot develop. Till that time we cannot replace the small
individual successes by the organizational achievements.
Mere intellectual understanding or willingness does not lead one to the perception of the Self as being distinct from the body. But as the regulated experiential effort goes on, say twice a day, these imageries begin to take root slowly yet surely. After several months, even years, one may
notice that one is able to view the administrative problem or a conflict episode in an illuminated perspective, with a greater detachment and objective clarity.
None will dispute that these are indispensable requisites for effectiveness. All managers will continue to be in this world, but not solely of it. It is, therefore, a wholly unwarranted and evasive inference that dwelling and reflecting on the meaning of Self or atman is destructive of secular pursuits. The truth is that sincere and intense inner practice of these ideas should hold in check, in due course, the very threat of self-destruction.
In a public administration situation, competition would fall in the domain of swadharma of an organisation and therefore quite a legitimate activity. However, with the higher self-concept as the regulating force, competition
should concentrate on good quality or reliable service, and not on cornering materials or favours or discharging the criteria “ show me the man I will show you the rule”, restricting free flow of information, etc. The atman concept should foster long-term success rather than short-term
gain. The means adopted to achieve the given ends will tend become purer. Even certain chosen ends may be given up if the means have to be compromised too often.
Some of us may find the concept convincing but difficult to operationalize. The very question may arise that if I start sharing, supporting others while they do not, I stand all the risk of loosing or lowering my prestige or why should I start boosting others performance when in comparison my
performance will be seen lowered.
Here we need to think if we are already reaping enough compared to the time, energy and attention that we wastefully employ in conflicting matters. Further, how far is this day to day prestige and applause essential for our
survival and existence in the organization. All such trivial loss even is a short term only. The sure long-term gain first of all is the freedom from these day to day worries and energy dissipation (which is much more compared to the amount we employ in peaceful constructive work) slowly and surely the seniors are able to see your increased performance
(qualitative as well as quantitative) our positive contribution can never go unnoticed for long. Slowly but surely, a positive change will take place in the colleagues also.
Thus in order to ensure positive change in others, we need to first improve our own attitude towards them. As has already been mentioned, the world is a not in our control and there are many things wrong going on around us. Unless we accept this world the way it is, we cannot have a positive
attitude towards it. It is our good behaviour only, which can start bringing a positive change around.
Experience shows that if we are able to control our impulsivity we can save ourselves from reacting emotionally towards the erring colleagues. This can save us from landing in a situation of conflict with others. The following exercise can help us control our impulsivity
CONTROL YOUR IMPULSIVITY
This strategy helps us to rise above the situation instead of reacting emotionally and becoming a part of the problem in the situation of conflict. Often we find our self being swept away by others’ emotions, if we react impulsively. In other words, we unconsciously give our control to others. They can upset us and when they are upset, unless we take charge of
our emotional state.
Taking charge of our own emotional state is not very difficult. It only requires a little consciousness. Human beings have been given the choice to decide their own way of responding to a situation. If we are conscious we can always decide whether to be angry in a particular situation or not.
Therefore, we should practice to pause for a moment before reacting emotionally. We will then be able to prevent much of the emotional distress by deliberately observing our emotions and becoming conscious of our thoughts. We then have the choice to deliberately altering our thoughts.
This strategy is particularly helpful if we tend to react to stressful situations emotionally.
5.7 THE HIGHER SELF, SATTWA, DOCTRINE OF KARMA & NISHKAM KARMA.
We can see a link in all the four concepts. A person driven from higher self will be a contented (poorna) stable and peaceful person, who can take a balanced view and action in worldly affairs. He can save himself from ego trips and act for the benevolence of others. Such person only can
reflect purity, serenity, honesty, compassion, and generosity, as he does not have a grabbing tendency. This following of Sattwa Guna further increase his inner strength. The higher self shines further and so on. As this thinking is not egooriented, but of a pure mind, his acts become spontaneous as
in Nishkam Karma. Such karma is going to bring him real prosperity only as per the Doctrine of Karma.
5.8 GROWTH TOWARDS HIGHER SELF
For the sake of self-growth, for attaining purity, clarity and calmness of mind from stress, for making it more capable of coping with, we can attain a stage of freedom from these daily situations. Unless we grow out of the selfish lower self, there will be little room in our psychic space for our
colleagues subordinates and superiors in the organizations.
Extension motivation (motivation to work for others benefit) will continue to remain an exhortation and never become a reality. We can feel concern with the woes and worries of others only if we Stop identifying ourselves with our own self oriented concerns. This is the spirit, which we require in our leaders today. The leader of a team sees the whole group as one and has respect for even a member in the lowest rank. He looks at the other person as himself and is interested in maximum benefit to all. He inspires them, encourages them in their meaningful activities (even of less significance) out of love for them. He himself works (on his own level and in his
own sphere) with enthusiasm and fortitude and maintains his equilibrium in success and failure. One of the best historical working models of this principle is the life of Buddha. True leadership depends, in a large measure on one’s capacity for such dis- identification.
One should try to concentrate on a steady, luminous spherical core in the
psychic heart center, Or, it could be imagined as a steady, effulgent flame.
Alternately, for some it could be a luminous personality like the Christ or the Buddha or any chosen deity depending on one’s mental affinity. In each case it is not the object or individual which is the real purpose of concentration but the pure consciousness or atman, which it symbolizes. Through practice, when our ability to visualize and rally around this
inner core of pure consciousness i.e., the true Self, undisturbed by the turmoil of the body- mind-senses-intellect quartet, becomes fairly stable, we may strive to see the same core in others- our colleagues, or friends, and even our foes.
This progress can be achieved because the theory behind the exercise offered above is that we are shifting our identification from small, unripe, executive self’ to the bigger, ripe, ‘Witness Self’. Such a balancing sadhana or effort is the key to the reduction of pettiness in organizations, and to the
restoration of dignity in work life.
Usually, in the early phases of our efforts, we shall fail to do this when we are in physical proximity to our colleagues. So we may try the process when we are away from them. By such trials we shall one day discover, to our pleasant surprise, that we can indeed visualize the same pure consciousness in others too, even in the midst of an interaction with them. Of course, it goes without saying that the first experiments should commence with our friends, most ideally with our family members. The chances of success in these spheres are much quicker and more certain.
Confidence thus acquired can then be transferred to the organizational context.
To quote Enrich Forman in this context:
Today the idea of a human nature or of an essence of man has fallen into disrepute, partly because one has become more skeptical about metaphysical and abstract terms like the ‘essence of man’, but partly
also because one has also lost the experience of humanity which underlay the Buddhist, JudokaChristian, Spinozist and Enlightenment concepts.
A TRYST WITH TRUTH
In the XYZ Department, there was a rumor that Sh. S. Ghosh, Deputy Secretary (General Administration Division) had been found involved in financial irregularity and has been charged with misappropriation of Government funds. Some senior officers of the Department, who were not
particularly well disposed towards Ghosh, were openly critical of his misdemeanour. Meanwhile, Ghosh was advised by the Secretary to proceed on leave as an enquiry is to be conducted against him on the basis of prima facie evidence.
Sh. Ghosh had approved the purchase of a large quantity of an item from AKW Company, a private sector firm. Immediately before the purchase deal was struck, Ghosh’s son-in-law, who was also working in one of the
Government Departments, made out a case that Ghosh had shown undue favour to AKW Company.
The case came up for examination by N. Gopal who was Under Secretary (Vigilance) in the Department. On close scrutiny Gopal found that Ghosh had not, in fact, flouted any rule or norm in this case and that it was clean deal. Besides, there was a precedent of the Department having purchased
similar items from AKW earlier also. It was fairly common knowledge that AKW was a reputed company and in the purchase penal of many Departments.
The personal equation between Gopal and Ghosh were, however, far from cordial. The adverse report from Ghosh had led Gopal to miss his well-deserved promotion the previous year. For some reason, Ghosh’s stance towards Gopal was frequently hostile, and although the latter was
known to be an upright and trustworthy officer, his detractors in the Department invariably found in Ghosh a sympathetic ear. On one occasion, Sh. Ghosh had also made a note that one of Gopal’s tour Bills was rather inflated although there was nothing in the bill to suggest this. It was
now time for Gopal to pay Ghosh back in his own coin.
In another development, the Deputy Secretary (Vigilance), Sh. T. Prasad, to whom Gopal reported, wanted to make use of this case and sent feelers to Gopal that his promotion and posting would be taken care of if he
‘manufactured’ adverse comments on the Ghosh’s case. It was true that Gopal’s comments as Under Secretary (Vigilance) were crucial in this case as any adverse remarks by him would seal Ghosh’s fate. Sh. N. Ramakumar, one of Gopal’s colleagues who also worked in the same Department,
whispered to him; ‘Gopal you know the Vigilance’s subtle art that can fix Ghosh. Let him lose sleep! After all you also lost one promotion!
Gopal observed that the same Ramkumar had been showing loyalty to Ghosh when the latter was his boss but was now beginning to demonstrate his allegiance to T. Prasad. Gopal sighed to himself. ‘How things change!’ but
refused to be carried away by his colleague’s blandness and said: ‘ I am no coward to fight shadows. I trust professional competence and integrity. I shall not stab Ghosh in the back.
Gopal’s examination of the case and conclusions were fair. Proposing exoneration of Ghosh, he returned home that evening happy and content in what he had done.
The case subsequently travelled through various stages, and was sent to CVC also for advice. When the case came back to the XYZ Department. Sh. T Prasad personally talked to Gopal to ascertain his view on the basis of all the developments on the case. Gopal stuck to his earlier ground and said: ‘ I have already given my comment. I have no doubt that Ghosh is innocent in this case.
Ultimately, the case got closed. Gopal’s boss Prasad was however furious at the his stubbornness and marred his confidential report. As a result, Gopal lost promotion for yet another year and in the throes of acute disappointment wrote a letter to the Minister with an outburst: ‘ Is this the way you reward your honest employees?’ The Office of Minister
acknowledged Gopal’s letter but failed to respond.
A few months passed without any further development in the Ghosh episode. Gopal continued to work as the under Secretary. Sometimes, taking a break from his hectic schedule, he would spend a few minutes on his own to reflect on his life and career: ‘ I have never opted for any undue advantage in my twenty years’ of service. I cannot recall having ever lied or having harboured any ill will against any of my colleagues. I had to raise a family of three children, look after my aging parents, and marry off two of my sisters, and I managed to do all these by honest means……., he
muttered to himself and this train of thought lingered in his mind.
‘ By God’s grace all my three children have proved to be brilliant. They have done very well in their professions and each one of them has inherited the qualities of honesty and hard work that my father and I stood for. In Pratibha I havefound a caring and supportive wife. What more could I have
asked for in this life? How much does the loss of promotion for a couple of years matter in comparison to a life lived for an ideal’.
As these words continued to reverberate in his mind, Gopal’s eyes fell on the glass top of his desk beneath which he had inserted a piece of printed paper. It read:
‘Success is not the aim of life. Perfection is’.
‘That’s what my father always told me’ he whispered to himself and proceeded to clear the next on his desk.
We see in Gopal a complete personality guided by higher Self, acting through Sattwa and taking a holistic view of his rewards in the life, not limiting his vision to promotions alone. Apparently, he is a looser by two years, but how and when will his reward for the honest reporting bestow on him is not known. In any case the immediate reward is the peace
and sense of contentment within, which many of us are deprived of. Many of us will agree that life is not promotion only but the all round prosperity in the life.
5.10 MIND STILLING EXERCISE
Sit comfortably. If you are wearing something, which is tight on your body, you can loosen it, relax, close your eyes………… feel from your toe to head that you are relaxed.
Your mind is relaxed and you do not feel like moving any part of your body. Keep your attention on the fontanel area of your head, i.e. above your brain. Relax your mind and body. If thoughts come just let them go. You are relaxed.
- Breath slowly. Inhale, stop and exhale, stop. Again inhale, stop and exhale, stop. Follow it a few times. There are no thoughts, or very less thoughts. Now just prey:
- Let the fontanel bone area of my head open up in the form of a lotus. Let me be one with the all-pervading Divine power. Let this power nourish me.
- Let the petals of the open lotus absorb this divine love into my brain, my central nervous system.
- Imagine that you are breathing through this opening, inhaling Sattwa guna, the positive energy and exhaling out the vicious emotions, the negative energy.
- Keep sitting and be receptive.
- Now slowly take your attention to your heart. At the core of your heart, imagine a golden flame or illumination which is:
- Eternally perfect
- Constantly blissful
- Completely autonomous
- Truth and light in itself
- Identical with the higher self of all others.
This is my true self, the higher self, the source from which flows all the magnanimity, generosity and nobility. My true and permanent nature, which should reflect outside in my deeds, my behaviour. Let me always be in touch with this fineness of mine. Let me be enlightened by
my higher self.
(You may also like to follow other steps, which are mentioned in the previous units. After sometime slowly open your eyes.)
5.11 LET US SUM UP
We have seen that in the inner core of our heart, there is a part or image of Divinity, which we called higher Self and which is the permanent and true identity of all of us.
If we are able to draw our attention to it we are guided by this higher Self towards purity, severity, compassion, generosity, contentment etc.
This higher Self only helps us to withdraw our attention from the worldly ego pampering motives and to act in the balanced Sattwic State.
While our ego-centric lower self is different and individual to each one of us, the higher Self is identical with the higher Self of others. The more we are nearer to this higher Self with, the more are we at peace. We
then inculcate the feeling of compassion and love for others. Such emotions only can act as binding force for teambuilding, conflict management and collaboration in the organizations.
Action from this higher state becomes spontaneous, holistic and benevolent. They also save us lot of energy, time and attention; which are otherwise wasted
People who act from higher Self only contribute to clean our administration and organizations with their actions and by acting as role model to others.
5.11.UNIT END ASSIGNMENT
In your own life (personal as well as official) you might have come across number of instances where you were guided by your higher Self. Please narrate one or two such striking instances for the benefit of other participants.
5.12.UNIT END ACTIVITY
Continue meditation, by adding one step as suggested in this unit.
Please read the following articles:
‘A Prayer to God’
The Realization of the Inner Life
The Composed Soul
A PRAYER TO GOD
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t
granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own! , but I will prune
you to make you fruitful.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all
I asked God to take away my bad habit.
God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to
give it up.
I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said…Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
The Realization of the Inner Life
(The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan)
The principle of the one, who experiences the inner life, is to become all things to all men throughout his life. In every situation, in every capacity, he answers the demand of the moment. Often people think that the spiritual person must be a man with sad looks, with a long face, with a serious __expression, and with a melancholy atmosphere. Really speaking, that picture is the exact contrary of the real spiritual person. In all capacities the one who lives the inner life has to act outwardly as he ought in order to fit the occasion; he must act according to the circumstances, and he
must speak to everyone in his own language, standing upon the same level, and yet realizing the inner life. For the knower of truth, the one who has attained spiritual knowledge and who lives the inner life, there is no
occupation in life which is too difficult; as a business man, a professional man, a king; as a ruler, a poor man, a worldly man; as a priest or monk, in all aspects he is different from what people know and see of him.
To the one who lives the inner life the world is a stage; on this he is the actor who has to act a part in which he has sometimes to be angry and sometimes loving, and in which he has to take part both in tragedy and comedy. So also the one who has realized the inner life acts constantly; and, like the actor who does not feel the emotions he assumes, the spiritual man has to fill fittingly the place in which life has placed him. There he performs everything thoroughly and rightly, in order to fulfill his outer commission in life. He is a friend to his friend, a relative to his relatives. With all to
whom he is outwardly related he keeps the right relationship with thought, with consideration; and yet in his realization he is above all relationship. He is in the crowd and in the solitude at the same time. He may be very much amused, and at the same time he is very serious. He may seem very
sad, and yet there is joy welling up from his heart.
Therefore the one who has realized the inner life is a mystery to everyone; no one can fathom the depth of that person, except that he promises sincerity, he emits love, he commands trust, he spreads goodness, and he gives an impression of God and the truth. For the man who has realized the inner life every act is his meditation; if he is walking in the street it is his meditation; if he is working as a carpenter, as a goldsmith or in any other trade or business, that is his meditation. It does not matter if he is looking at
heaven or at the earth, he is looking at the object that he worships. East or west or north or south, upon all sides is his God. In form, in principle, nothing restricts him. He may know things and yet may not speak; for if a man who lives the inner life were to speak of his experiences it would
confuse many minds.
There are individuals in the world who from morning until evening have their eyes and their ears focused on every dark comer, wanting to listen, or to see what they can find out; and they find out nothing. If someone were to tell such people wonders, he would have a very good occupation, the
whole world would seek him. But such is not the work of the self-realized man. He sees, and yet does not look; if he were to look, how much he would see! There is so much to be seen by one whose every glance, wherever it is cast, breaks through every object and discovers its depth and its secret.
And if he were to look at things and find out their secrets and depths, where would it end, and of what interest is it to him? The inner life, therefore, is seeing all things and yet not seeing them; feeling all things and not expressing them, for they cannot be fully expressed; understanding all things and not explaining. How far can such a man explain, and
how much can another understand? Each according to the capacity he has, no more. The inner life is not lived by closing the eyes; one need not close one’s eyes from this world in order to live it, one can just as well open them.
The exact meaning of the inner life is not only to the soul. Why, then, does not the average man live an inner life when he too has a heart and a soul? It is because he has a heart, and yet is not conscious of it; he has a soul, and knows not what it is. When he lives in the captivity of the body, limited
by that body, he can only feel a thing by touching it, he sees only by looking through his eyes, he hears only by hearing with his ears. How much can the ears hear and the eyes see? All this experience obtained by the outer senses is limited. When man lives in this limitation he does not know that another part of his being exists, which is much higher, more wonderful, more living, and more exalted. Once he begins to know this, then the body becomes his tool, for he lives in his heart. And then later he passes on and lives in his soul. He experiences life independently of his body; and that is called the inner life. Once mart has experienced the inner life, the fear of death has expired; because he knows death comes to the body, not to his inner being. When once he begins to realize life in his heart and in his soul, then he looks upon his body as a coat. If the coat is old he puts it away and takes a
new one, for his being does not depend upon his coat. The fear of death lasts only so long as man has not realized that his real being does not depend upon his body.
The joy, therefore, of the one who experiences the inner life is beyond comparison greater than that of the average man living only as a captive in his mortal body. Yet the inner life does not necessitate man’s adopting a certain way of living, or living an ascetic or a religious life. Whatever
his outer occupation is, it does not matter; the man who lives the inner life lives it through all. Man always looks for a spiritual person in a religious person, or perhaps in what he calls a good person, or in someone with a philosophical mind, but that is not necessarily the case. A person may be
religious, even philosophical, he may be religious or good, and yet he may not live the inner life.
There is no distinct outward appearance, which can prove a person to be living the inner life, except one thing. When a child grows towards youth, you can see in the __expression of that child a light beaming out, a certain new consciousness arising, a new knowledge coming which the child has not known before. That is the sign of youth, yet the child does not say so; he cannot say it, even if he wanted to, he cannot explain it. And yet you can see it from every movement that the child makes; from his every __expression, you can find that he is realizing life now. And so it is with the soul. When the soul begins to realize the life above and beyond this life, it begins to show; and although the man who realizes this may refrain from purposely
showing it, yet from his __expression, his movement, his glance, his voice, from every action and from every attitude, the wise can grasp and the others can feel that he is conscious of some mystery.
The inner life is a birth of the soul; as Christ said, that unless the soul is born again it cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore the realization of the inner life is entering the kingdom of heaven; and this consciousness when it comes to the human being shows itself as a new birth, and
with this new birth there comes the assurance of everlasting life.”
Words of Martin Luther King Jr.:
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the
key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”
“Compassion and nonviolence help us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we
are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called ‘the opposition’.”
“I do not minimize the complexity of the problems that need to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But I am convinced that we shall not have the will, the courage and the insight to deal with such matters unless in this field we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual reevaluation, a change of focus which will enable us to see that the things that seem most real and powerful are indeed now unreal and have come under sentence of death.”
“We must work unceasingly to lift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humaneness. I have tried to be honest. To be honest is to confront the truth. However unpleasant and inconvenient the truth may be, I believe
we must expose and face it if we are to achieve a better
quality of American life.”
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our
task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein
THE COMPOSED SOUL
This matter is being made unnecessarily complicated through discussion. Yet it is this that is most natural for us. It is absolutely the first work of the beginning and the last word of the ending. We have found within ourselves a oneness and it is the one that we are seeking everywhere among the many, so much so that when the infant stretches out its hands in all directions to know various objects by touching, smelling, eating, even then it is searching for this very one. We too, like infants, are touching many objects, smelling, putting them into our mouths, hitting them, getting
hit by them, accumulating them and discarding them like garbage. Through all these tests and endeavours in all suffering, in all gain, it is that very one that we are wanting. Our knowledge wants to reach unity; our love wants to mingle in it. Other than this, there is no other concern.
Anandaddheva khalvimani bhutani jayante. Bliss is manifesting itself in many forms in many times. We are seeing only those various forms, but our soul seeks to see through those many that original one bliss. As long as we do not see any trace of that original bliss, till then we do not find any joy in mere objects. Till then it is merely one object after another, event after event, tiring us out, paining us, exhausting us in endless roaming. Our science is searching for one truth in all objects, our history is seeking one
purpose in all events, our love is seeking one bliss within all beings. Otherwise, nowhere can it say OM, cannot say, “Yes, it has found”.
When we hunt around for our desired object in a dark room then we keep banging our head everywhere and stumbling. Then we consider so many small things large, regard so many trivial things as valuable. Clutching so many things to ourselves we say, “Here, I have got it,” and later find that within our very fists they have all crumbled into dust.
The truth is that in this darkness I do not even know what I am seeking. But, the moment a light is lit at once, in an instant, everything becomes simple. Similarly after so much seeking for so many days, so many knocks on the
head, just in a trice I get to know that all that had touched my hand was not the object of my search. The mother who, having arranged this entire room, was sitting silently, it is she who is the true treasure sought by my desires. As the light lit up, at once, discarding all things, I ran with both
hands outstretched to her.
Yet, immediately on finding mother all things were found together along with her, no particular object appeared separately to block me as an obstacle in my path. The very moment I recognized mother this decorated room became my very own. Then my movement amid all the furniture in
the room became unimpeded, then the proper function of each thing came under my control, then the objects did not master me, it is I who mastered them.
Hence, I keep saying, whether in knowledge, or in love or in work, it is on obtaining that very one, that genuine thing, that everything becomes easy, all the burden of things vanishes in an instant. The moment I learn swimming at once sporting even in unfathomable waters becomes as if
normal for me. Then even diving into bottomless waters I do not sink to death, but float up automatically. It is if I do not know this swimming that water obstructs me at every step, wishes to kill me. The waters in which, if I know swimming, moving about is sport and bliss for me, moving in those very waters is suffering and death for me if I do not know swimming, then even in shallow water I gasp, fling about hands and legs, and get tired out.
The moment we gain the object which we have to know truly and obtain, at once the multiplicity of this world can no longer bind us down, impede us, kill us. Then what was formerly a nightmare, now even that becomes natural; then we can freely find joy in worldly life. Then the world does
not control us, it is we who govern the world. Then the grief and distraction that was ours formerly at very step, that waste of energy, disappears.
That is precisely why the Upanishad has stated: te sarvagam sarvatah prapya dhira yuktatmanch sarvamevavishanti. They who have obtained that all pervading even from all sides, they being composed, being joined to the soul, enter everywhere indeed. At first they gain patience. And they do not roam ever distracted and bewildered amid numerous matters and varied affairs. They are taciturn, sober, and steady. They are yoked to the soul; they are united in yoga with that Supreme One. They do not
independently separate themselves by any egotism, any addiction. Mingling with the one joyously they enter into all the world’s many. All the many then leave the path open for them.
Saluting all those composed, united souls, it is verily their path that we will follow. That is the path of linking with the One, it is that which is the path of entering into all- the path of the supreme fulfilment of knowledge, love and
action. (By Rabindranath Tagore)