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Sit comfortably in your chair or squat on a rug and breathe deeply, quietly and evenly. Close your eyes and let your thoughts run over the question of what you really are. You are about to begin your great adventure of self enquiry.

One key to success is to think very slowly. The wheel of mind is to be slowed down and consequently will not be able to rush around from one thing to another. It is for this characteristic that the ancients compare the mind to a monkey. Think slowly. Next, formulate your words mentally with great care and precision. Choose and select each word accurately. Doing this will clarify your thoughts, for you cannot find a clear and definite phrase to fit your thoughts until you have done so.

First watch your own intellect in its working. Note how thoughts follow one another in endless sequence. Then realize that there is someone who thinks. Now ask: "Who is this thinker?" Who is this 'I' that sleeps? What is it in us that we call the 'I'? Those who believe that matter is the only thing existing will tell you that it is the body; and that he sense of "I Am" arises within the brain at birth and disappears at death or disintegration of the body.

Now, in order to understand the real nature of this mysterious 'I', and to find out its true relation to the functions of the body and brain, we must make a penetrating analysis of personality, the apparent self. This kind of self knowledge does not mean merely sifting and cataloging one's virtues, vices and qualities. What it means is searching into one's essential spirit. To evoke the real man within you, is to evoke your spiritual intelligence. When you can understand what lies behind the eyes that look back at you from your mirror, you will understand the mystery of life itself.

If you will steadfastly regard the mystery in you, that is the divine mystery in man, it will eventually yield and display its secret. When a man begins to ask himself what he is, he has taken the first step upon a path which will end only when he has found the answer. For there is a permanent revelation in his heart, but he does not heed it. When a man begins to face his sub-mental mind and tries to strip the veil which covers it, persistent effort will be its own reward.

The world is in a continuous position of flux and man himself seems to be a mass of changing emotions and thoughts. But if he will take the trouble to make a deep analysis of himself, and to ponder that there is a part of himself that receives the flow of impressions from the external world, and which receives the feelings and thoughts that arise therefrom it will be fruitful. This deeper part is the true being of man, the unseen witness, the silent spectator - the Overself.

   
  Questions
   
  1. (a) Describe, using your own words, what the passage is about.
    (b) Why do the ancients compared the mind to a monkey ?
    (c) How are you to watch your intellect ? Describe the method in your own words.
       
  2. (a) Does the author think that the 'I' is the body ? Explain your answer.
    (b) What must you do to evoke the real man in you ?
    (c) What will you understand from knowing the real self ?
       
  3.   What will be the benefits of asking who you are ? How ill it benefit you to make a deep analysis of yourself ?
       
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or short phrase ( not more than seven words ) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   adventure   v.   disintegration
      ii.   consequently   vi.   penetrating
      iii.   characteristic   vii.   evoke
      iv.   formulate   viii.   steadfastly
       
  5. Briefly summarize, in about 160 words, the steps to take in order to benefit from self inquiry.
       
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  Answers
       
  1. (a) The passage is about discovering the inner, real self.
    (b) Like the monkey which cannot keep still in one place, the human mind keeps moving from subject to subject.
    (c) We should think slowly and form our words carefully. We should see how our thoughts follow each other.
       
  2. (a) The 'I' is not the body, he feels that the body is the apparent self and the real self is what animates the body.
    (b) When the real self is evoked, the spiritual intelligence is brought out.
    (c) When you know the real self, you will know the mystery of life itself.
       
  3. (a) When you start asking who you are, you will stop only when you find the answer.
    (b) He will know that there is a part of himself which receives the flow from the external world and the feelings and thoughts.
       
  4. i undertaking
    ii therefore
    iii quality
    iv figure out
    v destruction
    vi deep
    vii call
    viii stubbornly
       
  5. First the aspirant should seat comfortably on a chair or squat on the floor. He should then close his eyes and think deeply about who he really is. He should think slowly and observe his thoughts following one another. This slowing of the thoughts will prevent the mind from jumping about like a monkey. The next thing to do would before the aspirant to form his words mentally and carefully. Then he should watch his logical mind and observe how the thoughts stream out one after another. At this stage he should ask who is the being that is thinking.

So as to understand the real nature of the self, a penetrating analysis of the personality is needed. The searching into self is actually searching into one's essence. It is not the analysis of one's good and bad characteristics. Continuation of this practice will bring out the real self. This in itself is a reward for the aspirant. ( 160 words )

           
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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