Sathya Sai Baba

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Sai Kirtan Group's Online Magazine Archive

Discrimination - Part One

We discussed in our last article about self-analysis. Done honestly and objectively it should give us a fairly good idea of the inner workings of our minds...

Author: Swami Dayatmananda

With Acknowledgements to "Vedanta" Magazine - Ramakrishna Mission


We discussed in our last article about self-analysis. Done honestly and objectively it should give us a fairly good idea of the inner workings of our minds. It is a step towards self-improvement. The next step is self-integration or integration of personality.

Sri Ramakrishna used to say: "There are two types of egos, one `ripe' and the other 'unripe'. "Nothing is mine, whatever I see, or feel, or hear, nay, even this body itself, is not mine: I am always eternally free and all-knowing," -- such ideas arise from the 'ripe ego'. "This is my house; this is my child; this is my wife; this is my body;" -- thoughts of this kind are the manifestation of the `unripe ego'."

The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to transform the unripe ego into a ripe ego. Though this statement is in the context of spiritual progress we have to say that without some amount of maturity a person cannot function successfully even in worldly life.

Self-integration, balance, maturity, self-actualization, and self-realization -- all these words are used to convey a similar meaning. It is the goal of psychology to help people achieve maturity of the mind. Instead of the word 'maturity' psychologists like Rogers and Maslow popularized the words 'self-actualization' or 'self-realization'.

Here the word 'realization' is not used in a spiritual sense but in a psychological sense. Self-realization, here, means growth and maturation of the mind, and of manifesting the inner potentialities of a person. Interestingly Karl Marx also used the word self-realization. By the concept self-realization he does not mean God-realization but an ideal society where every person has an opportunity of realizing his or her inner potentialities.

Only a mature person can become a self-realized person. Of course self-realization is an ongoing process ending only with the realization of the Self. To the extent a man goes on striving to actualize his inner potentialities to that extent he becomes a mature person; but before he can manifest his potentialities he needs to achieve some amount of personality integration.

An integrated person is like a fine-tuned automobile. When the personality becomes integrated it becomes a fit instrument to attain a goal. It is also true that one does not service a car without a destination in mind. Similarly without a definite goal one cannot achieve integration.

What is integration of personality? Psychologists declare that 'a man's personality is a collection of capacities, habits and attitudes which distinguish him from other men'. A person's conscious and unconscious mind together constitute his personality. According to Vedanta man is a spiritual being entangled in a body and mind. His personality is made up of not only body and mind, but also of soul. Consciously or unconsciously he is struggling to discover his true nature.

The Maharaja of Khetri once asked Swami Vivekananda, 'What is life?' Swamiji answered: "Life is the unfoldment and fulfilment of a being under circumstances tending to press it down." Life is a constant struggle, an incessant adjustment within ourselves and also with the outside world. One needs tremendous strength and inner poise to remain calm and sane. The Bhagavad Gita calls this poise 'Samatvam' i.e., perfect balance. Most people succeed in just keeping their heads above water. Not only does a balanced person keep his head above water but forges ahead manifesting his potentialities. Such persons alone deserve to be called self-integrated or mature souls.

What are the characteristics of a mature personality?

1. He has a thorough knowledge of the workings of his mind; he knows his assets and liabilities.
2. He is rational.
3. He accepts himself; loves himself; and takes responsibility for himself.
4. He has an optimistic, cheerful but realistic attitude towards life and the world. He suffers neither from a superiority nor an inferiority complex.
5. He has a clearly defined philosophy and goal in life.
6. He has sufficient self-control to sacrifice weaknesses and defects so that he can attain his goal.
7. He constantly strives to improve himself without getting frustrated.
8. He always tries to see the best in himself and others. He forgives himself and others. Failures only make him more determined.
9. He accepts and integrates evil and suffering as part of life and as stepping stones to a better life.
10. He has a place, a definite routine, for everything in life.
11. He has a keen sense of humour without becoming a buffoon. (As a wag said: "If we can learn to laugh at ourselves we will never lack entertainment in life!")

Self-integration is often achieved through constant struggle in many lives. It is not possible to move forward without a certain amount of maturity or self-integration.

When we attain some amount of maturity and integration a great reservoir of energy becomes available from the depths of our unconscious. Along with that our thoughts and higher ideals also will become clear.

The next logical step in the practice of discrimination is self-expansion with which we will deal in the next article. (to be continued)

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