We are not likely to understand the meaning of it because we are accustomed to identify self with our personality: 'yourself', ' myself', 'himself', 'herself', 'itself'. These grammatical words that we use suggest a wrong meaning of the term 'Self'. Self does not mean a person or a thing, though it is associated with a description of persons and things, yourself and others. The word 'Self' actually means the non-objective status occupied by everything in the world. Here is a sentence on which we have to bestow deep thought. A non-objective status which everyone enjoys and everything enjoys - this is called the Self. The Self is that which cannot be externalised, cannot be objectified, cannot become other than what it is; it cannot know itself as an 'other'. It is not an 'other' – it is just what it is.
The real 'you' or the 'I' is what we call the 'Self'. This 'I' cannot become a 'you', a 'he', 'she', 'it' – it is just what it is. Inasmuch as this is the condition of everyone and everything, in a way we may say the whole universe is just the Self – Atmai eva sarva. The whole universe is a Self, only to be understood in its proper significance. If the whole universe is a Self and it cannot be objectified, because a Self is a non-objectified status, it would mean the universe is an intense self-consciousness; actually, what you call God is nothing but this. It is a highly enhanced condition of universal self-consciousness.
This Self, which is principally and primarily a universal being, gets conditioned, by degrees, into lower forms of experience, until it descends into our personality-consciousness of the so-called physical 'I', the physical 'you', the physical 'it'. Thus it is self-control – I am coming to the point again – self-control means the restraining of the lower experience of the self by uniting it with the higher experience of its own Self. It is not a communion with somebody else. You are communing with your own self only in a larger, pervasive form than the condition in which you are at present. Your connectedness with things ascends in a series of larger pervasiveness until it reaches the apex of this pervasiveness in God-consciousness or Universal-realisation.
So, self-control begins with a little action of restraining the senses, and then becomes wider and wider, by degrees. These are the samapattis or samadhis mentioned in the sutras of Patanjali. These are the seven stages of knowledge. These are the communes attained with the levels of being, the realms of consciousness, the planes, etc. – these are the forms of Self. Gradually we get united with them until we become wider and wider, deeper and deeper, heavier and heavier, more and more comprises us, and nearer and nearer to our own self than we are now. Now we are far away from us. What a pity, we are far from our own selves. In the sense we are not this self we are thinking ourselves to be, as conditioned by this body; there is a larger kingdom in which we are residing, even now, from which we are apparently exiled into this grossness of the prison-house of this body consciousness. These are the fundamentals, and this is the background of all forms of self-control, which is the final meaning of any form of sacrifice – yajna.
4. Life as a Yajna or Sacrifice : ENDS HERE.
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To be continued ...