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No Self-Esteem for the Self
Questioner: Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I’m usually very busy with my work, but in any case you are like the father who supported me and gave me self-assurance that I never had. Thank you again, James! It is a great blessing to have come across you, James. I bow!
But I have a question. After you were with your guru, you were a scavenger and did manual labor for a living. Not getting paid properly usually does not give much self-worth, and so I wonder if it was ever an issue for you?
James: Definitely not. I had high self-esteem from birth, owing to good karma from previous births, and my parents instilled self-reliance in me and my brother, but when I got too greedy in my early twenties I suffered low self-worth for about a year. However, I had Isvara darshan at twenty-five, pursued it with passion and my self-esteem came right back. I became supremely confident in myself because I was doing the right thing, not chasing worldly stuff. I had done serious sadhana for two years on my own and for two years under the guidance of Swamiji, and when my mind was perfectly qualified I realized I was the Self when I was twenty-nine. James died at that time. There was no need to do nididhyasana, because my identity shifted permanently to the Self at that time. But from the outside I looked like James and it looked like I was doing sadhana, but I wasn’t. So when I became a scavenger and did manual labor there was no person there to have self-esteem issues. I didn’t have high or low self-esteem, because such ideas don’t apply to me. I just am. What good is Self-knowledge if your meaning in life comes from your status relative to the society? I dug shit out of my outhouse when it got filled up and enjoyed it. I worked with dangerous chemicals happily. What the body does has nothing to do with me. Isvara keeps it busy doing what Isvara thinks is necessary, meaning fructifying karma does everything. For me to say that I have low or high self-esteem would be like a violin saying it hits the high and the low notes perfectly. The violin isn’t doing anything. It is being played by a violinist. I am the violinist. The body, animated by my presence, goes here and there, does this and that.