Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights and Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — Investigating The Persona

March 13, 2018

Investigating The Persona 

      The yoga discipline known as Isvarapranidhana has been variously translated as devotion to God, dedication to God, surrender to God. Who or what is this God I am talking about? God in this context is not some sort of a superman, but probably a super person. 'Persona' is a mask - the body and the mind that make you an individual constitute the mask. Behind this mask is God. So it is a 'super persona'. The mask, the persona, is the body-mind complex and the purusha is the individualised cosmic consciousness.

      Thinking or feeling that 'I' or ego cannot comprehend this truth, I give up. Therefore tapas, meditation, contemplation, yoga, sadhana - you can call it what you like - becomes terribly important. The question arises, 'What makes me do what I do?' One type of action proves to be wrong, another type of action obviously seems to be right. I think that it is right, all of you think that it is right and even by the result it is considered to be right, but it strengthens my ego. Therefore both these actions are wrong.    

      In order to discover what is right action, I must know right now who or what makes me do this that I do. When you ask yourself this question seriously, you are investigating the persona. If you are observing yourself keenly at that point, you will almost literally see that the attention or awareness which was flowing out starts returning to yourself.

      I like something or someone, and I do not like something or someone else. Suddenly you come face to face with your own prejudice. That is a very painful part of the inquiry, and most people drop the whole thing or get frightened and do not go further.  I am not going to ask myself 'What is it in him that makes me like him or dislike him?'

       Searching for an answer to this question in the objects in the external world is futile, the awareness has gone outside. Instead, the awareness goes searching deeper within. Is there a fundamental difference between like and dislike? If there is both a God who is all love and a devil who is all hate in me, are they two different things? When you reach that point the likes and dislikes drop away because they have no sense, no reality at all.

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