The Beast Inside Me

(Following is an excerpt from the diary of a confused man who was born back in 20th century)

An epic battle has just ended, and I lost to the beast inside me. I sat on the couch and poured a drink in the glass to concede my defeat. The beast smiled, and I started to write.

Let me introduce the beast first. Some call him the inner demon, some call him the alter ego, and some even call him the monkey in the mind. I called him the beast because of the sheer power that he exerts to dominate me in all facets of life. He is the master of my body, and thereby my senses. In Bhagavad Gita, a human life was compared to that of riding a chariot driven by five horses. The chariot stands for the body. The five horses are the five senses. The reins stand for the mind, and the driver stands for the intellect. In my case the beast, more or less, is the driver and I am the rider. We travel together, but our destinations are different.

My life is nothing but a constant battle with him. My success purely depends on how well I overpower him on any day. I want to wake up early, he wants to sleep; I want to exercise, he wants to relax; I want to eat what’s healthy, he wants to eat what’s tasty; I want to aim higher in the spiritual path, he wants to aim higher in material gains; I want to push through the limits, he wants to sleep through the comforts. I am ever complacent and he is ever greedy. I have to face him first before I face the world.

A spiritual guru once advised on TV that one can tame the beast through meditation. I tried, but failed. However the meditation helped me to comprehend the true power of this beast. It requires more than just will to subdue him, which is a paradox in itself.

We have conflict over many things, so we agreed upon having some equal grounds – on the subject of eating meat, I have objection to killing animals. But he argued that the animals do not have purpose in life, and that the God has created them for our consumption with us being the higher ups in the food chain. So we agreed on subjective consumption based on certain types and certain days in a week.

There are certain concepts on which both our ideologies are misplaced – one day I was overwhelmed with compassion and donated few dollars to a homeless man on the way to office. The beast argued that this act was performed by him, and not by me. While compassion is a virtue, what I did was certainly a selfish act as the donation has helped in gratification of my senses. The subject was too complex, and I gave up from further retrospection.

Our debates continued –

“I am eternal, you are material” I poked

“You are a myth, I am the truth” he argued

“Your only purpose is survival, I pursue the higher truth” I mocked

“You are the confused soul, I am the pristine body” he retorted

On this reply, however, he wasn’t totally wrong. The body is innocent and pure like water – it is created out of biological reactions and takes the form from what it feeds upon. Its sole purpose is survival and it remains truthful to it. The so called human vices such as greed, ego, envy, anger and lust are its natural ornaments and are integral part of its survival eco system. The same cannot be said about me. I am confused on my purpose, and I suffer from existential crisis.

I see the physical world through his eyes, and he is my only foe. I can conquer the world, alas, only if I subdue him.

Back to the present, I sipped the last drop and placed the glass back on the table. The beast, now satiated, appeared to have retired to his dark corners. My thoughts flew like a perennial river as I typed this. The beast whimpered slowly “Enough writing this, no one will read this anyway”. I ignored, but he continued “Switch on the TV and check out the new titles on Netflix”. I replied “No way”. But then he winked.