The Paper Self

Imagine some savage who, in his ignorance, thinks that it is the paper of the banknote that has the magic, by virtue of which the possessor of it gets all he wants. He piles up the papers, hides them in all sorts of absurd ways, and then, at last, wearied by his efforts, comes to the sad conclusion that they are absolutely worthless, only fit to be thrown into the fire. But the wise man knows that the paper of the banknote is all mãyã, and until it is given up to the bank it is futile. It is only avidyã, our ignorance, that makes us believe that the separateness of our self like the paper of the banknote is precious in itself, and by acting on this belief our self is rendered valueless. It is only when the avidyã is removed that this very self comes to us with a wealth which is priceless.

Sir Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941

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