Devotional Thoughts

The truth about one’s real identity

The truth about one’s real identity

Lecture given by Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa on Sept. 10, 2014

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.12.1-2

maitreya uvaca
iti te varnitah ksattah
kalakhyah paramatmanah
mahima veda-garbho 'tha
yathasraksin nibodha me


Sri Maitreya said: O learned Vidura, so far I have explained to you the glories of the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His feature of kala. Now you can hear from me about the creation of Brahma, the reservoir of all Vedic knowledge.

sasarjagre 'ndha-tamisram
atha tamisram adi-krt
mahamoham ca moham ca
tamas cajnana-vrttayah


Brahma first created the nescient engagements like self-deception, the sense of death, anger after frustration, the sense of false ownership, and the illusory bodily conception, or forgetfulness of one's real identity.


The living entity is pure consciousness, and it also has senses which either manifest in the spiritual or material body, but the soul itself has got karmendriya and jnanendriya – spirit faculties. Karmendriyas are for doing and jnanendriyas are for knowing. This is elemental understanding of the jiva shakti. All the Vedas have confirmed that the jiva shakti is a seer and the doer from the subtle level to gross level. Now if you do some gross activity you say, “I am doing it”, but it has to have a corresponding doing in the subtle body. Even in material activity the soul is active, but it is active in illusion. Active means you are exercising your freewill to enjoy, whether in a dream or outside. We need to understand first the living entity who is entrapped in this body and here the way Brahma has created, very easy to understand how we fell into this illusion.

The first thing is when you fall into illusion see what is the intention and the relationship you want with the seen, that is called sambandha. All these elements – self-deception, sense of death, anger, false ownership – are perceptions. And the pure living entity associates with these templates and then associates with the false ego. The first self-deception is ahankara, the false ego.

What is the intent when I see this microphone, it should serve a purpose. How I can take prayojana out of this microphone? I have to plug it in and speak close to it, this is called abhidheya. So constantly the living entity is relating with the seen. When we see this material world for independent enjoyment it is called self-deception. In the spiritual world, we see what is the prayojana for Krishna in it? That is the sambandha of the jiva with everything in the spiritual world.

When you think what is the prayojana for me then you have to create a false identity for yourself, because in the spiritual world you don’t have false ego; only real ego. Everything depends upon how we choose our relationship. Many times we forget, we think that sense control is controlling the senses. No, above the senses there is the mind, above it is intelligence, above intelligence is a false ego. So false ego is the ignition switch. Just like there is sense enjoyment at sense level, at mental level there is pleasure of emotional exchanges. Every time we are experiencing this but we don’t realise.

So fundamental choice is whether I exist for myself or somebody else? Every false ego is somebody else. Just like if a ghost enters your body, if somebody says he is haunted, he is not the same person, similarly all our ahankaras – our souls are haunted by different Is. The false ego – I am a man, I am a woman, etc. Along with the choice of false ego comes a bundle of desires. And then our jnanendriya and karmendriya is fully engaged through the material body in serving these false masters, and we think it is me and we don’t serve our true self. That is why in this body whatever we do in this material world, the true self never feels any satisfaction. It is our original nature to deal with sat, cit and ananda, but continuously we are killing with asat, acit and nirananda. Sat means power, if I move my hand this is my sat power, sat tendency, but actually it is asat, because it is temporary. If I get paralysis, I have no power to move. The cit is knowledge of your relationship with this material world, that is all acit because aham and mameti, everything is qualified with I and mine. You see the world like that; I and mine, he and his, that means you are living in acit, the foundation of ignorance. The sense of false ownership, that is also one of the ingredients.

You first created nescient engagement – that means all the mental concoctions are happening. Then the illusory bodily conception and forgetfulness of one’s real identity is forgotten, and one takes up that I am this body. So ultimately people think, that I am independent in this body, that sense of identity, one takes pride in it, but actually that identity is a punishment. Because you are an eternal servant of Krishna, I am deathless, but suddenly by associating with this I get anger after frustration. Anger after frustration means so many unfulfilled desires are there. You have material desires and you don’t have power to fulfil those desires – that is called anger. Practically everybody in the material world is living in suffocated anger. That is anger from frustration.


When we chant Hare Krishna maha mantra and engage in devotional service, we are trying to awaken our original attitude. Repeatedly you exercise this choice, then purification will happen. All these elements that are there in the material atmosphere will not affect a pure devotee. He maybe in this material world; he is also Brahma’s creation, but he becomes liberated; he is free from self-deception, free from sense of death. Anger after frustration doesn’t exist because he is desireless, he sees everything as Krishna’s, forgetfulness of one’s real identity is also not there. He can become free from all these creations of Brahma.

When we do devotional service properly and perfect it, it is called sadhana bhakti. One day if you do it is not enough, you have to practice it because these concoctions are all in the subconscious mind. If you see an object, automatically the sambandha is coming up. You have to question your sambandha – I want the sambandha with this object according to guru, sadhu and shastra. A karmi looks at an opportunity for sense gratification, a devotee looks at an opportunity for Krishna’s gratification.

Primary rule is to change our attitude towards existence, we will know how to respect everybody. All mystic power of bhakti will come if the attitude of existence is constantly chosen by us using our freewill. The entire arrangement that Prabhupada has made – devotional service, deity worship, chanting, etc., he designed to give us this practice to change your attitude. And then this attitude gets purified – I am not independent, I am servant of Krishna.

(The above transcripts have been edited for better readability. However they have not been verified and confirmed by the original speaker.)

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