Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
एतस्माज्जायते प्रणो मनः सर्वेन्द्रियाणि च ।
खं वायुर्ज्योतिरापः पृथिवी विश्वस्य धारिणी ॥
etasmājjāyate praṇo manaḥ sarvendriyāṇi ca
khaṃ vāyurjyotirāpaḥ pṛthivī viśvasya dhāriṇī
Life and mind and the senses are born from Him, and the sky and the wind and light and the waters and earth upholding all that is.
~ Verse 2.1.3
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Acharya Prashant (AP): We are two. And there are always two ways to look at our existence. One is to look at our physical body and say that we are purely physical, material. Who am I? (Pointing at the body) This. The other way is to see that you are probably not the body, rather you are with a body or you have a body. Don’t you say my body? You don’t say my body.
Out of these two ways, the first way is more common, more straightforward, and easier to take.
This duality in our existence is the fundamental reason behind all human suffering. On one hand, there is this pre-programmed body that has its own processes and intentions as well; on the other hand, there is the invisible consciousness that is related to this body, attached to this body, but at the same time having an objective very different from that of the body. Hence the twoness.
This twoness is not greatly experienced by animals. It is not experienced by any life form apart from human beings. Animals really do not have a force of consciousness that may potentially rally or revolt against their physical being, or you could say that an animal’s consciousness is almost always in agreement with its physical being. What the animal’s body wants, its consciousness readily agrees to. If the animal wants to eat — because its body, its stomach, is now in need of food — then its mind immediately starts finding ways to get food without questioning, without resisting. If the body needs food, then the only purpose and objective of the mind is to seek food. That’s how an animal lives.