by purujit dasa
I AM NOT THE SAME EITHER.
Sometimes people argue, that the “I” changes also. They say that, for example at one point, when they were little children, they thought the world to be an idyllic place, where there’s no danger and every one lives in peace and harmony. However, as they grew up and started to see that this world is quite a horrible place with wars, bombs, hunger, murderers, etc. it has changed them from being naive to being a realist or even at some cases pessimist. We have experiences and experiences change us. We develop as personalities, we grow wiser, or we grow more selfish, or more paranoid, etc. Such statements however are only due to misidentification of the “I” with yet another material element, what we call, a “subtle” body.
In Bhagavad-gītā (7.4-5) it is stated that the eight elements earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence and false ego are all products of the Lord's inferior energy, whereas the living entities, who are seen to utilize the inferior energy, originally belong to the superior energy, the internal potency of the Lord. The eight inferior energies work grossly and subtly, whereas the superior energy works as the central generating force. This is experienced in the human body. The gross elements, namely, earth, etc., form the external gross body and are like a coat, whereas the subtle mind and false ego act like the inner clothing of the body.
SB 3.6.9 purport
Now, if you simply take time and analyze this subtle body minutely element by element, you will be able to see how the self is independent from it:
Its function is to accept and reject. Although we try to make it concentrated, the mind is focused but sometimes it’s not. Because we are observing the focused/unfocused mind, we are not the mind. There is an obvious distinction between the observer of the mind and the observed.
Devotee: ... the scientists are thinking now that man is his mind. They were talking about the brain.
Devotee: That if man only knew his mind he would know himself. What is actually the brain? And the mind?
Prabhupāda: Mind, that is also matter, material.
Devotee: They're saying that the mind or the brain is the source of man's consciousness.
Prabhupāda: No. Brain is the instrument for expressing consciousness. Otherwise, when the man is dead, why the brain does not work? Do you follow?
Prabhupāda: Why the brain work stops?
Morning Walk -- January 15, 1974, Hawaii
Srila Prabhupada defines intelligence as “the power of analyzing things in proper perspective.” In other words, that which helps us to control the mind is the intelligence. By intelligence, we conclude: “Let’s focus the mind now on the Krsna form, because it will give us unlimited pleasure”. But, also we have a choice of misusing our intelligence. Just like the modern science develops an atom bomb. It undoubtedly requires a high degree of intelligence to invent it, but the aim is fighting, an activity, which is under the influence of bodily misidentification. We have a choice between proper usage and improper usage of our intelligence, therefore we are distinct from the intelligence.
Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness.
Bg 3.40 purport
Also, intelligence changes. In our childhood, the intelligence is not very much developed. In the adulthood it develops more. Although the intelligence changes, I, the observer of the change remain.
Prabhupāda: Everyone has got mind, but the mind acts under intelligence. But the intelligence of different living entities are different. Similarly mind is also different. A dog's intelligence is not equal to the intelligence of the human being. A dog's mind is not equal to the human being's mind. So actually the soul, being put under different types of body using different types of intelligence, and different some mental, psychic action, thinking, feeling, willing.
Discussions on St. Augustine
In the conditioned existence we think we are the body: man, woman, ugly, beautiful, Canadian, Russian, Chinese and we use our mind and intelligence under these false bodily designations. If I think I’m Canadian, then I become very proud of my country Canada and work for the welfare of all Canadians. People also tend to think they belong to a particular religious designation, and they become very proud of belonging to this sect or that sect, even they might not follow the injunctions written in their particular scripture. This is false ego. But we are not the body and that which makes us think we are is also not us.
False ego means accepting this body as oneself. When one understands that he is not his body and is spirit soul, that is real ego. Ego is there. False ego is condemned, but not real ego. In the Vedic literature, it is said: ahaṁbrahmāsmi. I am Brahman, I am spirit. This "I am," the sense of self, also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of "I am" is ego, but when the sense of "I am" is applied to this false body, it is false ego. When the sense of self is applied to reality, that is real ego. There are some philosophers who say we should give up our ego, but we cannot give up our ego because ego means identity. We ought, of course, to give up the false identification with the body.
Bg 13.8-12 purport
(to be continued...)