The Purusha, the Real Person within You

By David Frawley - 9.2 2018

The Complexity of our Physical Existence

If you carefully examine your life, you can easily observe that our human existence is complicated, many sided, with numerous subtle connections both within us and around us.

We spend most of our time trying to manage the bewildering challenges of our lives in terms of health, work, relationship, creativity or spirituality, and our interaction with different changing environments and shifting social circumstances. The new information technology adds yet more demands and expectations. Sometimes we fail and end up in disease, suffering, conflict or illusion. Some people lose control of their lives altogether and come under the domination of others.

We are not simply homogenous entities, but a network of forces and actions, reaching ultimately to the entire universe. Just think of our human body with its array of sense organs, motor organs, internal organs, physiological systems, tissues and fluids, extending to billions of cells. The body has its own organic nature, unique energy pattern, and complex biological needs like food, drink, exercise, security and reproduction such as Ayurveda addresses.

The body forms a community, realm or world of its own, as microscopic analysis clearly indicates. Most of our bodily functions occur by their own impulses, whether sensation, breathing, digestion or elimination. Our self-awareness exists mainly at the surface and periphery of the body through our skin, sense organs and motor organs. What is happening inside the body we know only by its consequences not by any direct cognition.

We as individuals have limited control over our body and must work carefully to maintain it. Often the body functions against our desires, or we act in such a way to damage the body, abusing it for our personal enjoyment.

It is difficult to truly say that we are the body, though our idea of self is usually our bodily self, as if we were the body. The fact is that the body resembles an unknown continent, and most of its functions are beyond our direct control, though under our influence.

Our Mental World

Similarly, our minds form a complex energy network with interrelated functions occurring rapidly from moment to moment. Our minds are connected to the body and its processes, but have their own activities that take us far beyond our physical circumstances. Our minds can contemplate history, envision the future, examine the cosmos, or conceive of something divine, infinite or eternal.

Our minds have diverse functions as sensation, emotion, reason, memory, imagination, motivation and intuition, spanning the states of waking, dream and deep sleep. Many of these mental functions occur at a subconscious level, like the automatic responses of our emotions, or our entire sleep state. We are not in control of our minds, which function automatically and erratically, even against our interests, according to various impulses, fears and desires we do not entirely understand.

The mind forms its own community, realm or world, much as the body. The mind is a complex creation of different competing forces and tendencies, far more intricate than the most complicated computer. We frequently change our minds, though seldom by our own conscious intention. Our minds compel us to act or react in ways that prove detrimental to us long term. Other people can influence or control our minds, as is the case with advertising or even politics.