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Illusion due to the Gross Body
A person "on the bodily platform" thinks and expresses himself according to the situation of his body. If he possesses a relatively big body he thinks, "1 am big." If his body is not able to jump over the hurdles in an athletic match, he thinks, "I am useless." In this way, his joys and sorrows are based on the relative condition of his body. Such a person is described as "conditioned". For instance, a man driving a Mercedes Benz feels very proud and identifies himself with his car so totally that when he sees a rickshaw in front of his car, he shouts, "Hey, Rickshaw, move aside!" Thus with a sense of false pride, he thinks himself to be a Mercedes and the other person to be a rickshaw. Later from his second floor office, when he observes some children throwing stones on the window glass of his car and breaking it, he feels as if someone is breaking his heart. In a fit of anger, he wants to destroy everything. When he rushes down and finds that it was not his car window but his neighbor's car window that was broken, his pain changes into joy.
Although this person is different from his car, he identifies with it so strongly that he has to rejoice and lament when put in different circumstances. Our situation is very similar to this. Just as the owner is different from his car, we are pure souls, different from our bodies. But because we identify with the body, 'I am an Indian' 'I am a Maharashtrian' 'I am an American' 'I am black' T am white' 'I look beautiful' - we are forced to enjoy and suffer according to the conditions the body goes through.Have you seen how much time people spend in decorating their hair? They apply varieties of fragrant oils and shampoos to keep it smooth, shining and attractive. But if by mistake one hair falls into the food while cooking and you happen to get it in your lunch plate, how do you feel? Disgusted! When our nails are connected to our body, we put so many types of nail-polishes to make them look attractive. But when the same nails are removed from the hand or foot they go straight into the dustbin. Thus the hair or the nails assume importance only as long as they are connected to the body. Similarly the body has its importance only as long as the soul is present in it. When the soul is in the body, the relatives of that person try to save his body at all costs. But the moment the soul leaves the body, the relatives start worrying about how to get rid of the body as soon as possible because it starts stinking intolerably. In fact, the Zen Buddhists meditate on the foulness of corpses to remember the horrible condition of the material body without the soul.