When we are attracted to a person, what we are really attracted to is the particle of life, i.e., atma. Without the presence of this atma, without life, you see a body for what it really is: just a hunk of blood, guts, flesh, bones, teeth, stool, mucus, hair, urine, bile, and so on—a bag of chemicals. The monetary value of this bag of chemicals called the material body is about $9.
What is your essence? Is it matter - a mere collection of material atoms and molecules? Or is it something else?
The body is yours - but it is not you. The body is a garment that you are wearing, a machine that you are using, a vehicle that you are driving. The body is your possession. Just as a person does not identify himself as being the shirt he is wearing, he also should not identify himself with the body that he is wearing.
Name, race, age, sex, religion, nationality, occupation, height, weight, and so on—all these are bodily labels. Therefore if you consider your body to be yourself, you automatically identify yourself with such labels. If your body is fat and ugly, you think, “Woe is me! I am fat and ugly.” If your body is 60 years old and female, you think, ”I am a 60-year-old female.” If your body is black and beautiful, you think, “I am black and beautiful.”
But is the body really the self? Are you really your body?
If you erroneously identify yourself with your body, you will conclude that your existence will end with the destruction of your body. But if you know that you are the eternal self within the body, you know that your existence will not end when your body dies.
This planet can be made a happier, more peaceful place to live, but the change will have to come from within the hearts of all of us living here
A person who tries to be a goswami is careful not to engage in those activities that are harmful to his spiritual development. For example, he refrains from taking intoxicants (including all sorts of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and so on); from having illicit sex; from gambling; and from eating meat, fish, and eggs.
Often people try so hard to find happiness through sense pleasure that they may attempt to gratify several or all of their senses at the same time. For example, you may simultaneously be watching TV, listening to the radio, munching potato chips, sipping beer, and smoking a cigarette. Perhaps you may have your arm around the shoulders of your girlfriend or boyfriend. You may also have a magazine at your side, which you look at during commercials. You try to fill up every sense; yet still you’re not satisfied; still you want something more.
The most ironic thing about a life of crime is that it is based on a lie—the lie of materialism. The reason kids in poor neighborhoods idolize the local hoods is because they think that such hoods are happy. They see that by material standards the crooks are “successful”—they’ve got nice clothes, jewelry, flashy cars, the respect of others, pretty girls, lots of cash, and so on. But if such kids knew that material wealth and false lordship were not synonymous with happiness, then they wouldn’t see crooks as successful. So it is this big lie—the materialistic concept of success—that causes many youngsters to follow in the footsteps of hoods.
Each body has a multitude of different labels and characteristics. This in itself isn’t bad; just like it is not bad for people to wear different-colored clothes. What is bad is that due to identifying the body as the self, we wrongly consider the person to be the labels that are on his body.
Mystic yogis, by the practice of mystic or psychic powers, can do things that ordinary people consider very wonderful and miraculous. Such yogis then exploit the people, claiming that they are God Himself. And millions of foolish people believe such charlatans and blindly follow them. This is very unfortunate.