Self, the True & False
The individual or jiva arises as a combination of ‘I am’ plus the localized entity of body, mind and intellect with which I identify myself. This false identification of myself (a conscious entity) with ‘this’ or non-self (an inert entity) is called an error of superimposition. This was discussed earlier with reference to Brahman and the world. This false self is called ‘ego’ or localized I. Are there two selves then – a true self and a false self? No. The false self is false and therefore has no validity of its own. The ‘true self’ is the only reality. But at the transactional level, the false self acts as though it is the true self.
The body as made up of gross elements in the form of the body and subtle elements in the form of the mind and intellect. sharIra, the word for body, actually means that which slowly disintegrates. Thus all the bodies are ultimately perishable in time. The subtle body consists of thoughts or more accurately the flow of thoughts, just as a flow of water is called a river.
Based on functions, the subtle body is further classified into four components:
1) mind, the emotional center
2) intellect, the discriminative center
3) ego/ false identity
We can group all these together and refer to them as mind.
We discussed some aspects of ego before in respect of identification of ‘I am’ with thought patterns or thought-content. In all my worldly transactions, when I say ‘I am’, it is the ego that I identify with as the individual. Since the ego is centered on the existent-conscious entity that I am, it behaves like a conscious entity, although the consciousness is actually similar to a reflected consciousness. The Divine self is the total consciousness that I am (which is all pervading) is ‘as though’ reflected in the local medium of reflection, the subtle body, which then behaves as though it is itself a real conscious entity. This reflected consciousness , is called jiva or the individual self. although what exactly this implies is not known. From our analysis, it is the all pervading consciousness, as though reflected in the local medium, subtle body or inner equipment constituting of the mind, intellect, ego and memory. An individual ‘I’ arises by identification of total consciousness with the reflected consciousness.
An easy way to combine the false self and the true self, is through worship of God… the false ego bows down and surrenders to the supreme self.