Chapter 4: Reflections in a Mirror
This body is made from the excreta of your mother and father and is full of excreta and flesh. Therefore, moving away from it as from a chandal, the lowly untouchable, and becoming Brahman, the absolute reality, be fulfilled.
O seeker of the truth! By knowing the oneness of the soul and the supreme soul, just like the oneness of ghatakash, the sky within a pot, and mahakash, the sky without a pot, undividedly be always peaceful.
Becoming the self-illuminated, self-created sustainer of all and the eternal soul, Brahman, the absolute reality, drop the sense of your body and also of the universal body, as if these were containers of excreta.
Investing the sense of ego that has controlled the body into the ever blissful conscious self, give up the gross body and be your immortal lone soul.
O innocent one! Just as a city may be seen reflected in a mirror, I am that Brahman, the absolute reality, in whom the reflection of this world is seen - knowing this, O sinless one, be fulfilled.
We know the body only from the outside. Just as a person may go around a palace, see the outside form and beauty of its walls and conclude that this is the whole palace, similarly we see our body only from the outside.
The body is not only that which is seen from the outside. Seeing the body from the inside, one is at once freed of it. The form of the body that is seen from the outside is only the covering. The reality of the body is seen from the inside, the way the body really is.
Buddha used to send his disciples to the cremation ground to see the dead bodies, to see the bones, to see the skulls. That is how the body is: everything is covered by the layer of skin, otherwise you would be revolted by it and it would not be possible to have so much lust, so much attachment, and the feeling of “my-ness” for it. Try sometime to visualize the body from the inside; then you will be able to understand this sutra. Go sometime to a hospital; see the surgeon performing operations in the operating theater. What you will see inside the body, that is the reality.
This sutra is very helpful for meditation. Let it be very clear to you that there is no condemnation of the body in this sutra. Religion is not interested in condemning anything, or in praising anything. Religion is only interested in knowing what is.
So when it is said that the body is an accumulation of flesh, bones, blood, marrow, excreta, etcetera, remember there is no intention of any condemnation at all. It is not an attempt to disgrace the body; the body is just so. The whole thing is just a revelation of the facts the way the body is, nothing else.
This sutra says:
This body is made from the excreta of your mother and father and is full of excreta and flesh..Moving away from it as from a chandal, the lowly untouchable, and becoming Brahman, the absolute reality, be fulfilled.
The words chandal and sudra are very valuable. Ancient Indian psychology says that whosoever believes himself to be the body is a sudra; sudra means the one who has believed himself to be the body. Brahmin means the one who has known himself to be the Brahman, the absolute. One is not a brahmin just by being born in a brahmin family, nor is one a sudra just by being born in a sudra family. Sudra-ness and brahmin-ness have nothing to do with houses or families; sudra is a state of being, and so is brahmin.