American Institute of Vedic Studies

Comparison and the Incomparable Self

Your inner Self (Atman) and true nature cannot be compared to anything. It has no name, form or action, no shape, size or color. It is beyond all elements and qualities of nature. It is beyond body and mind, time and appearance altogether. It dwells within everything yet is not limited to anything. At most we can compare it to space and light.

Your inner Self is what it is, which is the Being of all. The Self ever abides in its own fullness, peace and ananda. That Self is what you really are, not what you think you are or what others think you are, which are just the shadows of the mind. With such a power and awareness within us, why would we seek anything externally, try to get something from other people, or make them subordinate to us?


The Danger of Comparison

Whenever we compare ourselves to other people, we lose contact with our inner nature and get caught in the opinions and judgements of others, which are endless, ever changing and unreliable. We remove our awareness from our true Self within and externalize our sense of identity to social distinctions and outer actions defined by other people, in which we lose our inner balance, equilibrium and equanimity.

We give power to the separative ego, pursuing its self-interest over all else. We get caught in the dualities of attraction and repulsion that constitute the Samsaric realm that ends in conflict and sorrow, the revolving wheel of illusion of Maya. We compete with others, trying to be better than them, have more than them, achieve more than them; so we are comparatively ahead of them, though there is always someone else who is ahead of us and probably against us or what we stand for. As social opinions are fleeting and unreliable, the regard we achieve one day may be gone the next.

Comparing yourself with other people reduces you to a shadow of what other people do or say and their shifting emotions. Comparison easily breeds resentment and jealousy, which creates enmity and opposition even among people we may not personally know. It glorifies a social and bodily sense of identity that leaves out our true immortal Self and our ability to transcend all outer disturbances. We get caught in the whirlpool of collective karmas and the turbulence of human reactions, losing our inner center of calm and awareness.


Beyond Comparison

Once you cease comparing yourself with others, you will discover an abiding inner peace in your own unique nature. You will learn how to respect the unique nature of every person, every living being and everything in the universe, as what is incomparable is the reality everywhere.

We are all one in the essence of Consciousness, but our outer name, form and action must be different, just as our bodies and minds are different and have their unique orientations in time and place. What we can compare in others or between different objects are superficial distinctions in a greater oneness. The only way to experience this is not through the comparative analysis of the mind and its categories, but by direct Seeing and Being.

Hold to unity within but honor the diversity on the outside as its expression like the branches, leaves, flowers and fruit on a vast tree. You don’t need to be like anyone else or imitate anything on the outside. You simply need to be who you are in your own essence.


Being True to Your Real Self

Do not demean your true Self by comparing yourself with anyone or anything external. This is to cast your awareness to the outside in which some external force will take control over you. You are not an object and cannot be judged by outer appearances, nor is anyone else, so don’t compare others to yourself either. Your true nature is incomparable, immeasurable, and immutable, not merely a human person, but one with all existence. You cannot be seen as you are the Seer of all. Abide calmly in your inner light.

Affirm your incomparable Self within yourself that is also within the entire universe. That is the most important thing you need to accomplish in life. It is the greatest achievement for all time.  To do that you can let go of all outer appearances and opinions and rest content in your natural state of being.


Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

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