THE SELF AS ENEMY – THE BHUTATMAN OR ELEMENTAL SELF
As the Maitrayana Brahmana Upanishad affirms,
There is a different one called the elemental Self (Bhûtâtmâ), who overcome
by the bright and dark fruits of action enters on a good or bad birth:
downward or upward is his course, and overcome
by the duality roams about.
And then explains it thus:
The five Tanmâtrâs(sound, touch, form, taste, smell) are called Bhûta, and also the five Mahâbhûtas (gross elements). Their aggregate is sarîra, the body, and the one dwelling in it is called Bhûtâtmâ, the elemental Self.
Thus his immortal Self is like a drop of water on a lotus leaf, and he himself
is overcome by the qualities of his nature.
Because he is thus overcome he becomes bewildered and no longer sees the creator, the holy Lord abiding within himself.
Carried along by the waves of his qualities, darkened in his imaginations, unstable, fickle, crippled, full of desires, vacillating,
he enters into belief, believing “I am he,” “this is mine” and binds
his Self by his Self, as a bird with a net.
He who acts is the elemental Self; the one who causes the action through the organs is the Inner Self (antahpurusha).
As a ball of iron exposed to fire and hammered by smiths assumes different forms, thus the elemental Self, pervaded (overcome) by the inner man and hammered by the qualities, becomes manifold.
And the four tribes (mammals, birds, etc.), the fourteen worlds with all the number of beings appears as manifold.
And those countless things are compelled by man (Purusha) as the wheel by the potter, and as when the ball of iron is hammered, the fire is not overcome, so the inner man is not overcome,
but the elemental Self is overcome, because it has
united itself (with the elements).
The Bhagavad Ghita’s advice is:
Man should discover his own reality without thwarting himself for the self can be his best friend or his worst enemy.
It will be his friend when he has conquered himself, but if he ignores
his own reality the self will war against him.