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Relation between mind, body, and spirit

by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa-403 004)

Relation between mind, body, and spirit


My friend, a family man, came to meet me from a distant city. He expressed his desire to own a small house for himself and stay alone. The reason was that his mother, wife and only son (18 years) were siding against him and confronted him on certain issues. The son had dropped his exams expecting poor performance. Though his wife was faithful to her husband she sided with her young son and justified meeting certain of his demands, i.e. providing him with a bike and allowing him to move in his friends’ circle. My friend felt neglected and hurt, too.
Let me take this example to compare the position of the mind, body, and spirit as a son, mother and father. When a child is born he is just body and spirit and spreads only love. But, when the mind develops, the child starts comparing both parents for his own purpose. If the mother is wise and guides her child in the right direction, indicating the importance of the father, then the child is always a source of pleasure. Thus, the purpose of motherhood is fulfilled.

In spirituality, the relationship between the mind and the self is established through the knowledge path by training the mind to leave its selfish instincts, and this relationship is sustained through the body by way of devotion between the mind and the self.
In the knowledge path one’s firm belief and sincerity are helpful in going through the rigorous training of the mind in leaving its dependency and attachments. A spiritual teacher or some scripture is usually available for guidance of the seeker.

When the mind comes across or merges in its true self during self-realization then a natural understanding dawns that this universe is the expansion of the self-being. The mind leaves its worldly pursuits, but not its duties towards others. Besides, it also leaves greed, hatred, jealousy, exploitation, competition etc. It never criticizes others’ worldly attitudes, because before self-realization it was behaving in the same way.
This is the non-dual view of the self but as long as the body lasts one has to deal with people who are normally dwelling in duality and who compare physical stature, gender, and distinctions on the basis of caste, creed, religion, etc. Therefore, the self-realized adopts duality in dealings with others and maintains his love between the mind and his own self, in non-duality, for his pleasure. This pleasure of love is eternal.

A question arises here as to how and when we forgot this eternal love, which we have to realize for our real happiness. However, this question becomes insignificant when one gains this kind of love.

Here is an example of a king who identified himself with a beggar in his dream. During the dream he was wandering homeless and in rags. When he awoke he was wonder-struck seeing himself on the royal bed in his palace. He asked the wise courtiers next morning ‘whether this is true or that is true’ without referring to his dream. Finally, he was told by a wise counsellor that neither this nor that is true. What is the truth is the present state of mind. Now for keeping the mind in the present state various techniques are suggested which are the key to keep the mind free from the past and future. Taking care of the present builds the future accordingly.

In this physical body man has to realize that both this world and his own body are separate from his own self and are the cause of sorrow as long as any kind of attachment remains. These (world and body) are also instrumental in realizing the self when there is no attachment left in the mind.

Our curiosity demands to know whether the detached mind and the self are the same. Both are the same and non-dual. But for deriving pleasure in the remaining life and to maintain one’s sociability one has to adopt duality, albeit in name only. It is only due to compassion, as long as the body of the self-realized one remains, that one is engaged in guiding others towards spirituality. It is also necessary to save oneself from falling prey to attachments again.

There is continuous love between the mind and the self in various forms to enjoy blissful love. In self-realization the mind merges in the self, and in due course of time the mind gets separated. Then the relationship starts to preserve this newfound love in the form of the owner and servant, which changes to friendliness, further to self as child, and finally to an innocent kind of paramour love.

In essence, a mind indulged in worldly pursuits can be considered to be a cause of burden on earthly resources and a hindrance in enjoying love while a spiritual mind is an embodiment of pure love. In the ecstasy of love all three – mind, body, and the spirit are one.

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