Topics about the subtle body are going on. King Prācīnabarhi asked a question to sage Nārada, “How is it that the human being performs activities here in this world, but he gets punishment in the hell where he is tortured or gains the results of his pious activity in heaven? This is an injustice because the performer’s gross body has died; the action is done by somebody else.” This requires an understanding, so Nāradaji gave a reply, “The gross body does not act.” Where it may be seen that I killed somebody. I abused somebody or I quarreled with somebody. All kinds of sins take place through the gross body; in reality the gross body does nothing. And this is the confusion in this world, people with animalistic mentality think in this way that, “Somebody is beating me, somebody is quarrelling with me or somebody is abusing me”; all this is confusion. The gross body does nothing.
By the gross eyes we think that the gross body is working, that there is a thief, he is stealing; that person is materialistic, he is engaged in sense gratification. Whatever affairs are perceived; all is false, it is wrong. As many people are here sitting with spectacles on their eyes. If they remove the spectacles then they cannot see properly, if they use the glasses, then they can see clearly. Now do the spectacles watch? The glasses cannot watch, behind are the eyes, which see and record. We mistakenly think that the spectacles are looking. That is why it is said in the śastra “What is rupa? That which ‘is seen’ and ‘observed’.” That man is fat, that man is black, that man is fair, that man is tall, that man is short; all these are what is seen and the eyes are what are watching.
Did you understand? Even the eyes don’t look, behind the eyes the watcher is somebody else. As behind the spectacle the observer and the eyes are different. The glasses are nothing. In the same way behind the viewer is somebody else. The eyes look, and if they are disturbed, then even high powered eye glasses can be used but nothing will be seen. Upon the eye there is a disease, then the doctor will say there is no remedy. If there is some kind of covering upon the eyes, then the eyes cannot see. So form is being seen, the watchers, the eyes, record it.
Then actually the eyes don’t see, one must go further inside. The mind is actually watching. By taking the support of the mind then all the senses work. If the mind is not present then the senses cannot do anything. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said this in the Gita 15.9:
śrotraṁ cakṣuḥ sparśanaṁ ca
rasanaṁ ghrāṇam eva ca
adhiṣṭhāya manaś cāyaṁ
The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.
Even the ears don’t listen, and the eyes don’t see. Without taking shelter of the mind none of the senses can work. I studied in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa that in separation of Sītā, Rāma was absorbed in emotion of separation as He slept in the forest and so many insects were passing over His body but he was not aware because His mind was not conscious. It was in a different state of emotion. In the Śrīmad Bhāgavat Lord Dattātreya went before one man, who was working and knitting a mat and the king with his army went by along with so many people. Dattātreyaji asked that man, “Did the party of the king go through here?” The man said, “I don’t know.” His ears were open, his eyes were open, all the senses were open but he was not aware if such a large retinue had passed by or not. Such a procession of the king had passed by but he did not know.
Lord Kṛṣṇa makes this same point clear in Gita 15.9. The ears are open but what is the benefit if the mind is closed and unaware? If the mind is not open then the ears are useless. Some man is sleeping and you say to him, “Foolish idiot, stupid dog, you are just sleeping,” you abuse him so much but there is no response; here his ears are open, however his mind is not. When there is the contact between the mind and ear then this organ would work, then the ear would listen and if you insult him then he would slap you; but while sleeping he will not say anything because his mind is now inactive.
All the senses of knowledge are like the skin; for example if some one may be sleeping and a snake passes over the body, nobody knows because the mind is separate.
A long time ago over 60 years, when I used to live here at Maangar there were so many snakes. Some people arrived one night to meet me; they came with a torch up the stairs and when on the roof they saw that a snake was sitting on my head. They said, “We saw a snake was sitting upon your head! ” I said, “I was not aware because I was sleeping.” They said, “When the snake saw us it went away.”
The ears are open, the skin is open and even on your body a snake passes by, but if you are sleeping you will not know. If a person is sleeping and you put some sweet on his mouth and you ask, “How does this taste?” But he does not know. There is the tongue, but the mind is not present there when one is sleeping. If you use an incense stick and the person is sleeping and you ask, “How does it smell?” His nose is open but his mind is not open.