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Within the Body is Pure Consciousness

Since the body is the temple of the Lord, it is not proper to be indifferent towards it or to neglect it, or to use it in an inappropriate or unrighteous manner. The body must be used only to perform activities which are sacred and selfless. You must take good care of the body and sanctify it by using it to do holy tasks. The body is inert no doubt, but within it lives the principle which is pure consciousness. This body may be compared to a boat which will help you cross the ocean of worldly existence. This body was not so easily obtained by you. Because of innumerable merits and numerous births in other forms, you have been able to obtain this human body. To use it improperly is to waste all the merits you have earned in all those countless lives.

It is your extraordinary good fortune to have been able to get this birth as a human being. Therefore, this sacred boat which can take you to your destination, has to be used very carefully so that you can cross the ocean of worldly existence safely. In this ocean there are terrible crocodiles and all kinds of terrifying creatures which are very harmful to you. These menacing crocodiles are the six inner enemies of man, in the form of lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and jealousy. They inhabit this unfathomable ocean of worldly existence at every level.

The water of this ocean of world existence which supports all these horrendous creatures, is made up of a mixture of opposites like joy and grief, attraction and repulsion. When you are in this ocean of life it is very difficult to say when you will obtain happiness and when you will suffer pain. When you are beset with so many crocodiles, the very best means for completing this journey safely is to see the unity in everything. You have to firmly believe that the divine principle, the godhead in the form of the self-effulgent flame, resides in everybody and in every thing. Once you recognize the presence of God dwelling in everyone, once the unity is recognized in all this apparent diversity, then you will no longer be able to hate anyone. That is why in the Gita the injunction, show no hatred towards any being is given first place.

The various acts of ritual worship, such as singing devotional songs and repeating the holy name, which at one time may have seemed so important to you, will seem very small in comparison, once you recognize this principle of God dwelling in every heart. It is only when you are ignorant of this great truth, that you consider the various devotional practices as paramount in your spiritual life. However, until you have mastered the art of swimming there is a need to use various flotation-aids for support. Once you have learned to swim, these aids will no longer be necessary. In the same way, all the various ritual practices are necessary until you truly understand the meaning of the Gita. Once you have comprehended the sweet essence of the Gita, all these rituals will appear quite trivial.