The glory of the human body is not its form, shape, appearance, rather it is it’s vivek (power to discriminate). Real and unreal, sentient and insentient, essential and non-essential, duty and non-duty – understanding such dichotomy is known as vivek. This ‘vivek’ has been given by God and is without a beginning. Therefore it is not born, rather it is awakened. By satsang this vivek gets awakened and becomes robust. Only by giving due concentration and deep contemplation in satsang (holy company, association with Truth) this ‘vivek’ is awakened, not by ordinary attention. Nowadays, it is generally seen that those doing satsang, arranging satsang, giving discourses, they too don’t have a deep understanding of spiritual topics. They don’t know the difference between insentient and sentient properly. After gaining bit of understanding, they start giving discourses. Those whose ‘vivek’ is awakened, they exuberate extra-ordinariness, remarkableness, uniqueness and divinity within.
From the very beginning, a sadhak (spiritual aspirant) should understand difference between body (insentient) and indweller of body (sentient). From the beginning i.e. with the body and indweller of body, till world and Paramatma (God), a sadhak should have ‘vivek’ . Vivek of body and indweller is not available anywhere except human body. Demi-gods (devtaa) have vivek, but due to being engrossed in pleasures their vivek does not work.
There are very few people that have ‘vivek’ of body and indweller of body. Therefore it is essential to understand the difference between the body and the indweller through satsangs. Body is insentient and Self (Atma, soul) is sentient. Self is a fragment, a part (ansh) of God and body is a fragment of world. Sentient is separate and insentient is separate. Salvation will be of sentient, not of insentient; because bondage has been accepted by sentient. Insentient is constantly changing and going towards destruction. Whatever age we have crossed we have died those many days. Word `dying’ might seem improper but it is truth. At time of birth the number of days which were in our account is not there now. Whatever days has passed we have died those many days, and how many days are left in account, we don’t know. Whatever period of life has passed has perished and that has happened in insentient part, not in sentient part. In the sentient part there is no such thing as death. It doesn’t have any age. It is immortal. Body dies, but soul doesn’t die. In this manner from the very beginning we should know the difference between sentient and insentient. Whatever is sentient it belongs to Parmatma (God, Supreme Consciousness) and whatever is insentient it belongs to nature. In Gita it has come –
Prakritim Purusham Chaiv Vidhyanaadi Ubhaavapi (Gita 13/19)
Know that prakriti (matter) and `Purusa’ (Spirit) are both eternal, but in both, Purusa (sentient) is without beginning (anaadi) and infinite whereas prakriti(matter) is eternal and finite. Few intellectuals accept prakriti as also infinite but it is philosophical difference of opinions. Here it should be understood that one who doesn’t know himself and doesn’t know others he is called as insentient (jada). One who knows himself and also knows others, he is called as sentient (chetan). The power of knowing (perceiving, understanding, ascertaining) is sentience (consciousness). This power is not in insentient (inert, jada).
From “Mere Toh Giridhar Gopal” in Hindi pg 26-27 by Swami Ramsukhdasji.