Let us analyze how we can get past the “I” and body consciousness in a practical way. Is it just fine to keep auto-suggesting “I am not the body”?
Various philosophies have explained in various ways how the body and self are different. However on an experiential platform this is better said than done. Just using dry intellect to discriminate self from non-self is no process at all. Such philosophies are better dumped into the dust-bin. Then there is a more practical way, the way of single-pointed devotion, the path of Bhakti and Bhajana. You start liking your Guru and through his benign association you start developing affection for Krishna. Once this association gets deeper; the association with the body will slowly but surely wither away. The intense liking for whatever the Guru says, his mood and his demeanour creates a feeling within us of something more tangible and more interesting than our own puny selves. This is the process of absorption.
Arjuna was Krishna’s bosom friend right from childhood days. They ate, sat and walked together. Many times Krishna sat on the chariot and Arjuna rode and vice-versa. Yet we see that Arjuna’s “I”ness was intact just as the materially contaminated ones. We are dealing with this topic at a higher level and the intention is not to equate Arjuna to normal human beings. It is seen that even after Arjuna heard 18 chapters and 690 verses; he intercepted Krishna with “ifs” and “buts”. His feelings were “That is my grandfather” and “That is my Guru”, “How can I kill them”? , “I better go and beg”.
The philosophies of the world are incapable of relieving one of the attachments to the ego or the false “I”. The only solution is in the philosophy of our Lord Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; the philosophy of Uttama or Raganuga Bhakti; although it appears very difficult to understand at first glance. The first thing is to cultivate co-operation. When we truly practice surrender; fully trusting without “ifs” and “buts” and become a devotee; realization has to follow, there is no other option. In the beginning the feeling of surrender may appear clumsy but one needs to simply co-operate. When Sriman Mahaprabhu stayed at Puri; His associates came from various places in Bengal. These associates were not family chums but they all unanimously co-operated with Him. They knew no other thing other than dedication. When someone cooperates and dedicates oneself where is the question of being associated with one’s flimsy mind and body and things related to mind and body? One who has learnt the art of absorption in “guru pada sevanam” that is worshipping the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva and following his instructions with utmost intent; one will develop such feelings towards the Lord because this is the same absorption that Sri Guru has for Bhagawan.
When Sriman Mahaprabhu ordered his dearest elder self Nityananda Prabhu to go away and not come to Puri, Lord Nityananda stayed in Bengal and did what was told to Him by Sriman Mahaprabhu. He never thought that He was independent. He never identified with His body but identified Himself with the instructions of Sriman Mahaprabhu. This is the only way and this is the way it works. In the Bhagavat Gita Arjuna represents the consciousness of a common man. Gita does not speak about Bhakti directly .It is a detailed commentary on material consciousness through different philosophies. Even when the Lord is present in front of us we are concerned about “My this” and “My that”.