Persona is a mental construct. You yourself first create it carefully, then fall in love with what you have created, and slave away your whole life trying to support it. You think that you are rich, powerful, skilled, intelligent ,knowledgeable, a great acharya! How pathetic then, that you constantly demand validation! All your actions seek applause to uphold your idea of your persona. You even die supporting your persona. Like the Greek myth of Narcissus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book 3. Young Narcissus was so obsessed with his beauty that he spurned all lovers but fell in love with his own hypnotically beautiful reflection in a pond! Unable to detach himself from his fascination he sat gazing at his reflection, pining away and wasting himself to death. So do we, pine away for ‘what is not’..and waste ourselves away. We ourselves hook onto the rings of sense objects and then complain “I am hooked!”

Once you realise the truth of your being, then no slogging on the treadmill of Sadhana is needed. It is a cognitive shift, a soft detachment from the clinging unreal to the liberating real. You loosen your grasp on the world and the world loosens its grasp on you. No effort is needed to convince a teenager to give up baby toys! It is ‘urvarukamiva bandhanaat’, easily detachable. The persona is the centre one is holding onto. When the centre is gone, there can be no limiting radius and no circumference and vice versa! We ourselves create the monstrous persona, a Frankenstein, which grows stronger than its creator. It commands us and threatens to destroy us if we don’t listen! It is now the owner and we are the owned. Then all Sadhana becomes a mere treadmill. One slogs and sweats daily but reaches nowhere.

Prarthna Saran President Chinmaya Mission Delhi.

Email: prarthnasaran@gmail.com

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