They are on their trip to the famous gorge. On their way they have comeacross these not so famous mountains. From the feet of those mountains they saw the clouds kissing the peaks. They thought their road wouldsnake through the feet of the mountains and pass them. But, unexpectedly the road soon reached the peaks. Their car is now amid those clouds.
The sun has faded. Soon, the road has gone above the clouds and the clouds now appear like end less heaps of white cotton.
After a few hours of journey, they have reached the gorge they have set-in for. It’s an enormous valley dotted with mountains rocks with an ancient river flowing through it.The rays of setting sun make boulders look like golden hills. From the flat earth you could see miles of the valley and its magic. Soon the magic takes over your mind and you are no longer there…only the magic is there.
My philosophy lecturer in the college told me to stand up and asked,
“Who are you?”.
I said, ” I am Chetan”.
“That’s your name..who are you?”
Then I thought for a while and said, “What is a bus? A bus is it’s engine, steering, seat wheels, body etc. All put together it’s a bus. Similarly I am a collection of my body, mind, heart, name etc”.
Then the lecturer asked immediately, “Who is the entity that has just now given this answer?”
“That’s my intelligence”
“If I put this question to a bus, it won’t answer, right. I am talking to that entity in you.I am talking about that entity who is self-conscious. This entity constantly tells you, “you are right here..you are wrong there..hey man!, your capability is not sufficient..work hard”…I am asking about that entity..who is that entity? This is a big mystery and illusion at the same time. What is “I” in you”.
Then he continued his explanation…
“A new-born kid is not able to distinguish between his self and the external world. If another kid cries he feels that as his own misery and he too starts crying. He can’t make out if that cradle from his hand. The cradle is part of him in the same way his hand is part of him. But slowly he finds the difference through sensations, touch,sound, looks and smells between his self and the non-self.
As he grows up he learns to associate sounds with the images in hismind. This is mom, that is chair. If he does not know the word for an object he stores it’s image in his brain. Now whenever he interacts with the real world the images, sounds and words interfere and mix with the sensory inputs he gets from the real world. So, his perception is colored with the stored images.And you know images are the building blocks of thought.
Do you know what is meant by Zombie? Zombie is a person controlled by some other master. In a way we are all Zombies. We are zombies controlled by our genes and conditioning by the society and environment.”
“But,unlike animals,man has something called “free will” between conditions and his actions.”, I protested.
He said, “At a primary level free will is not so free. Free will is again a product of conditioning.It’s merely the shape that conditioning has given to our instincts and drives. It’s not the content itself. Content is our physical urges needs etc…… You have decided to watch that movie. The umpteen subtle conditionings that you have undergone since your child hood decide your decision to watch a movie.
Similarly at a secondary level free will changes conditions. Gandhi’s will has changed the conditions for all of us and made India free. Man is like a cattle tied with an elastic rope to a poll. With in the confines of the ropes length he is free. He can pull and increase the length of the rope. He can try and learn something and push his limits to achieve things which hitherto are beyond his reach. But there is a limit set to the length of the rope by nature. An elastic rope breaks after the limit and sets the cattle free. But the rope given to us by nature never breaks. As the elastic limit is reached the rope is strengthened further.So in a way the saying, “Man is born free but is found every where in shackles” is true”
I interrupted him, “In man’s case also, I beleive the rope could be broken”
He laughed, “you are a young man”, and then he continued, “As to any other living organism, our selfishness is given to us by nature for the survival sake. This selfishness acquires the images, words, sensations from the world out there and stores in our memory. It makes these images in the memeory party of it and then becomes the “self” or “I”. So,the self is a recorded entity. It’s not a live entity. It does not exist in the present.It’s all past. The entity that exists in the present is our individual consciousness. I’ll talk to you about this in detail later.Finally you told you were Chetan(liveliness), but you are not Chetan..you are Achetan(unliviliness)…you are nothing but the dead past stored in memory”