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The development of the total personality

Swami Veetamohananda



Man is conditioned in his psycho-physical organism by the different elements of matter, energy, consciousness, intelligence, love etc. He is free and attains excellence only when he functions from the Infinite sources of love, intelligence and knowledge. But, man generally functions on the level of objective nature. This is how he becomes a slave to the mechanism of nature. Let us be sure that we are all the expression of Infinite Reality. Matter is the manifestation of that Infinite Reality. There is a kind of spontaneity and creativity - an inexplicable force - even in the lowest forms of nature. 


Swami Vivekananda puts it beautifully:

"If conformity is the law of the universe, every part of the universe must have been built on the same plan as the whole. So we naturally think that behind the gross material form which we call this universe of ours, there must be a universe of finer matter, which we call thought and behind that there must be one Soul, which makes all this thought possible, which commands, which is the enthroned king of the universe. That Soul which is behind each mind and each body is called 'Pratyagatman,' the individual Atman, and that Soul which is behind the universe as its guide, ruler and governor, is God."


How is it then that the majority of human beings remain completely unaware of this fact? There are two reasons. The ego goes on persisting in limiting consciousness according to its pleasures. Secondly, the knowledge is developed only according to the need and demands of world forces. Self-awakening alone can open the possibilities for individuals to go forward. Control of our impulses shakes off our wanderings and confusions. Our life is a mixture of necessity and freedom. We need to exercise our choice properly in order to free ourselves from the determinism of nature. We need to develop an integrated personality to live a life of dignity and divinity.


How shall we build up our personality?

1. We are to train our physical and mental systems in an integrated manner.
2. We are to imbibe certain ethical values to develop the personality.
3. The goal of life should be to attain certain higher values.
4. The development of the powers of discrimination, concentration and willpower are essential.
5. Earnestness is required to be progressive. 


There is an urgent need to stop all the types of thoughtless abuse of the different organs of the body. Late night TV programmes, different kinds of entertainments which force the use of drugs, exciting drinks, food etc, cause a lot of harm rather than real joy of the Self. Illness of the body and mind are caused by these types of activities of life.


1. Our body is a precious instrument.  
Our body reacts to every word, situation, to world changes, climatic changes etc. Careful attention to bodily reactions can be handled and directed by higher consciousness. A natural way of living allows the body to grow naturally. A well regulated life is the best method for this. Being in a higher state of consciousness brings about auto-correction to the psychophysic. This is how the psychophysic is made fit for the higher values of life.
2. How can we better ourselves?
There is a beautiful teaching from Apastamba Dharma Sutra: "Absence of anger, elation, indignation, avarice, delusion, vanity and enmity; speaking truth; moderation in eating; refraining from exposing others' weak points; freedom from jealousy; sharing one's good things with others; sacrifice; straightforwardness; gentleness; quietude; self-control; friendliness with all beings; absence of cruelty; contentment, - these form the approved conduct for men of all stations of life. By observing them duly, one becomes universally benevolent." It is through these practices that self-fulfillment is achieved. This scheme of living brings the pleasures of life, prosperity, righteousness, wisdom and illumination. The cultivation of higher values helps us to develop will-power. These developed values cannot be destroyed by any power, either from within or without; they are Eternal.


3. Higher scheme of value awareness.
Action is not merely movement of the body. It is part of universal motion through which the self expresses itself. Self-expression through acts is known as creativity. A true act is always creative. Uncreative, alienated work causes stress and dissatisfaction and is a major world problem. It is no use blaming one's boss or society for this. The main cause of stress in work is the conflict of desires and the responsibility of decision making. Making decisions calls for continual exercise of the will. Being enslaved by emotions and instincts, the will is not free in most people, and the exercise of such a will is bound to cause conflict and strain. Apart from this, modern social life involves a good deal of repression and suppression of the basic urges of the individual. The net result of all these is the blocking of creativity and self- expression. The waking hours of an average member of modern society are mostly spent in a state of inhibition. The constant practice of awareness removes inhibitions and frees the will. When the obstacles to creativity are removed, every part of work becomes a creative act. This means more channels for self-expression. The more the self expresses itself, the more it expands and the larger become its fields of awareness.

4. Powers of concentration.

The reconciliation of activities and higher awareness is only a part of the larger scheme of excellence in our whole life. Only when we can give up differentiating the secular form from the sacred do we open ourselves fully to universal life and attain the fullness of the Self.


5. Self Mastery.

"The Self is revealed in every state of consciousness," declares the Kena Upanishad. Every thought and every physical act produces a flash of Self- revelation in us. But are we engrossed in incessant activity and day- dreaming? The constant inner revelation can be grasped only when we acquire a higher state of consciousness. The inner Self is the Universal Self. It is this Supreme Self that is the Inner Controller. Awareness of the inner Self matures, in the fullness of time, into awareness of the Supreme Self. Human excellence is achieved only when we unite with the Supreme Self.


Let us try to live up to the expectation of Swami Vivekananda:

"What we want is to see the man who is harmoniously developed...Great in heart, great in mind (great in deed)...We want the man whose heart feels intensely the miseries and sorrows of the world...And (we want) the man who not only can feel but can find the meaning of things, who delves deeply into the heart of nature and understanding. (We want) the man who will not even stop there; but who wants to work out (the feeling and the meaning by actual deeds). Such a combination of head, heart and hand is what we want. There are many teachers in this world, but you will find that most of them are one- sided. (One) sees the glorious mid-day sun of the intellect, (and) sees nothing else. Another hears the beautiful music of love and can hear nothing else. Another is (immersed) in activity and has neither time to feel, nor to think. Why not (have) the giant who is equally active, equally knowing and equally loving? Is it impossible? Certainly not. This is the man of the future, of whom there are (only a) few at present. (The number of such will increase) until the whole world is humanized."