Nama-smarana is the only means whereby one can realise one’s true self. There is a spark of the divine in all creation. However, human being alone, of all creations, is capable of realising it, because he is the only being endowed with the faculty of logical reasoning and inference.
Initially aware of his high lineage, jeeva gradually degrades himself. At birth, he helds the conviction “I am He, the Divine Being.” Then he lapses into “I belong to Him.” Finally, when his fall is complete, he goes to the extent of denying even His existence. This is the result of the increasing hold of the body-consciousness, the “body-am-I” feeling, culminating in the firm belief that he is nothing but the body.
Even so, however, man sometimes speaks as if he knows the truth. For instance, if a friend dies, a man says, “Gone, alas, is my friend”, although he may be present before the dead body. This means that his friendship did not relate to the friend’s body but with the spirit or soul that had departed. Curiously enough he completely overlooks this in thinking of his own body and other living persons. This happens because, evidently he forgets the eternal, imperishable soul part, and body-consciousness has taken complete possession of him.
The obvious remedy for redemption from this situation is retracing the steps. The first thing to do, then, is to disabuse the mind of the idea ‘I am the body,’ and to rekindle the awareness that ‘I am, in reality, a part of the eternal Cosmic Spirit.’ Finally, one should realize the identity between the individual spirit and the Cosmic Spirit or Brahman. This can be achieved by constantly reminding oneself of the Cosmic Spirit, from whom the individual spirit came and to whom one really belongs. Nama is the easiest and most effective such reminder. Constant repetition of nama will awaken and maintain the knowledge and realization of the true self.
The spiritual destination is not difficult to reach if one follows the correct path. It is as simple as untying a knot, provided one knows which end of the string is to be pulled; if we pull the wrong end, however, the knot turns into a tangle. Since the Cosmic Spirit is nirguna, I can only realize it if I likewise become nirguna; and this I can achieve only by shedding the ‘body-am-I’ belief.
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