“Gokarna says in the Shrimadbhagwatan: ‘This body is only flesh and bones; cease to be attached to it.’
This body is the vehicle and the Atman (Spirit) is the rider. Treat the rider separately from the vehicle. It is not easy to do so. It requires years of practice. We practice by thinking this is God’s property, not ours. The mind is God’s property, not ours; everything is Gods, and nothing is ours. In this way we free ourselves from all attachments, all constraints. Again, this concept is difficult for those who think that ‘I’ is the physical body.
A mahatma wished to live in complete solitude, in order that he could meditate undisturbed at all times. He recounted his wish to a rich man. The rich man had an isolated resthouse deep in the forest, rarely visited by mankind. He offered the resthouse to the Mahatma, and in addition provided a young servant to look after his comforts.
The young servant looked after his master so well that his heart was moved. He asked the young servant if he was content with his life, and if he could do anything to bring him happiness. The young man replied that he himself was content and happy, but he was afraid that his dead father had not achieved Self-Realisation as he was frequently appearing in his dreams. He asked the Mahatma for a remedy.
During the ensuing nights, the Mahatma was haunted by the problem of the young man’s father. One evening, the boy went to a neighbouring village to attend a marriage feast, telling the Mahatma that he would not return until the following morning. So the Mahatma locked up the house and went to bed. Now, the young servants bed was beside that of the Mahatma and lay empty. The mahatma’a mind was filled with the thoughts about the young mans father, and the failure to achieve Self-Realisation. He was quite unable to sleep in peace.
The marriage feast was over by midnight, so the boy returned to the house immediately instead of waiting until the morning. In the darkness he thought that the occupant must be the boy’s father (who had be haunting his son’s dreams because he had not achieved Self-Realisation). He recited holy mantras and sprinkled blessed water over the body, but the boy did not wake up as he was in so deep a sleep. Now the Mahatma became frightened out of his wits. He opened the window and jumped out in order to get away. In his haste he fell over with a heavy thud. The noise awakened the young servant. He chased after the Mahatma with a heavy staff thinking that he was a burglar escaping. Eventually they recognised each other before many blows were sustained, and the misunderstanding was cleared up.
In such a way, just a momentary thought stealing unconsciously into the mind, will make its home there; then it appears later at some inopportune moment to cause much mischief. Reels and reels of such thoughts from thousands of years (in many lifetimes) are lying imprinted in our minds. They will not let us have peace, unless we develop the same attachment towards God as we have towards the world.
Our desires (wishes) are like so many strings that pull us towards the world. (Mr Ouspensky: ‘man is a marionette pulled by invisible strings.’)
Let this pull be towards God, Instead of towards the world. The method is to think (see) that everything, including one’s physical body and mind, belongs to God. Whatever actions we do, including eating, drinking, reading, writing and looking after our duties, should all be dedicated to God.”
~ The Orange Book